When most people hear the word “driven,” they imagine someone who pushes through impossible odds to succeed. An athlete who plays through an injury to score the game-winning goal. An innovator who overcomes the naysayers, self-funds a startup and becomes successful beyond their wildest dreams.
While these are certainly great examples, there’s more to being driven than just sheer ambition and willpower. Driven leaders are humble, they think outside the box, they practice daily resiliency, and they’re always learning. Here’s what I mean.
Being Humble: Rebounding from Losses
One of my favorite quotes is, “you learn more from losing than winning.” While I agree with this statement, it’s not automatically true for everyone. Some people insist on playing a blame game, pointing fingers at everyone but themselves, or always attributing a loss to circumstances out of their control. Instead of bouncing back better, these individuals keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.
To rebound from a loss, you need to be willing to debrief, analyze where things went wrong, and be honest about how your actions impacted the outcome. It’s not easy being humble, especially when your pride is hurt following a setback. But bringing humility to your loss is key to being more successful next time.
Thinking Outside the Box
As a recruiter, this is the mindset I bring to every placement. “Very frequently”, a veteran won’t look like a traditional fit for a job, but I know that candidate will be an exceptional hire.
For example, I recently worked with an industrial sanitation company looking to hire a chemical engineer. I ended up placing a stellar veteran from the Navy’s enlisted nuclear program. He didn’t have a chemical engineering degree, but he had a crash course in mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering from operating a nuclear sub, one of the most complex pieces of equipment and most high-stress environments in the world.
To help place this hire, I walked the client through the candidate’s core skills to help them see the incredible value this hire would bring to their organization. My job was to think outside the box, and to help my client think outside the box, too.
Practicing Daily Resilience
Let’s be honest: things rarely go as smoothly as we hope they will. When an issue arises, can you work together to get to a place of shared success? In recruiting, there’s no magic formula for success to follow. Everyone is unique and you need to create customized solutions for your clients and candidates, especially when things don’t go according to plan.
One of the most challenging moments a recruiter will face is when a new hire decides to leave the company. Part of my job is to ensure a candidate and client are a great fit; I want anyone who is hired to stay for the long haul and grow their career and their new company. It’s personally disappointing when a new hire departs after just a few weeks or months– you can’t help but feel responsible for missing something that would have prevented this situation. That’s where resiliency comes in. You need to maintain a positive relationship with the client after the premature departure, setting aside your own frustrations and staying focused on moving everyone forward.
Success doesn’t come in one day, one week, or one month. It takes time to feel like you have some ground beneath your feet, and even when you have a strong base, things may change quickly, and you need to adapt. That’s why it’s so important to start every day with a learner’s mindset. What worked yesterday may not work today, so keep an open mind for new possibilities.
At Lucas Group, we have a weekly “lunch and learn” session with top-performing colleagues. It’s a casual conversation over a video call where they share what’s helped them be successful. Not everything about their approach may apply to your game plan, but there are always nuggets to gain from these conversations that can help you succeed.
At the end of the day, being driven is about winning together with our colleagues, candidates and clients. If plans fall through, we keep working toward a solution. When needs arise, we respond and act quickly.
What does “driven” mean to you? How are you driven in your professional role? I invite you to share your perspective in the comments below.