What Drives You?

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I was speaking with someone on the phone today and she asked me, “What drives you?”

It was a great question. Definitely not something I think about every day. But maybe I should.

The conversation we were having was centered around my job, and I gave some rambling answer about loving to be challenged, feeling like I’m learning new things all the time, and having respect and admiration for the work of others around me. All very true, and these things definitely drive me. The question stuck with me though as I made my way home after work.

What drives you?

I started thinking about all the things I told her, and figured out that the common theme was that I’m driven to just Be Better — to know more, to understand more, to be more efficient, to keep up. To always find ways to do things better than I did before, and to the best of my ability. I wondered if enough of that drive translates into every day life though — the life outside of work. Am I working to Be Better in other aspects of things I do? How can I Be Better tonight?

The answer to that was to stop by the grocery store, and pick up some ingredients to make a nice dinner. Steak, homemade mashed potatoes (got to use my new potato masher, yay!) and my favorite salad — arugula with goat cheese, blackberries and pine nuts sunflower seeds (couldn’t find pine nuts tonight). It felt good to put effort into dinner, it’s not something I’ve had a lot of energy for lately, even though I very much enjoy being in the kitchen. After dinner, all the pots and pans got cleaned, the dishwasher got loaded, and the counters got a good 409 wipe down. Kitchen’s cleaned, belly’s full and I might even have time for some hot chocolate and mindless television.

With a little extra thought, and a little extra effort, I was better. And I think I’ll revisit this question from time to time — What drives you? — in my work and in my life, to make sure I’m not just settling into familiar patterns but rather always striving to reach the next mile marker.

So, what’s driving you?

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2 thoughts on “What Drives You?

  1. One of my friends from the gym said she is an “expert” at judging online dating profiles, so I drunkenly let her read mine. She complimented my photos (I am extremely judicious about only picking ones where I’m a 7+, so I deserve that) but then she said: “I like the profile, I just can’t figure out … What are your values?”

    What?

    “Your values. What do you believe in?”

    What?

    Seriously, is this a D.C. thing? Isn’t it OK to just want to be a functioning member of society, get to the gym a few days a week, have a couple invigorating conversations with a friend during the week? Just because everyone else in town wants to save the world, I’m supposed to?

    I said as much, and she said, “Maybe say that: ‘I’m surrounded by people who want to save the world, but I just haven’t figured out how.'”

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