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Drive Test Pt 1: Designing Your Life by Defining What Drives You

The Drive Test Pt1: Designing Your Life by Defining What Drives You - Start your Drive Test at

In part 1 of the Drive Test and designing your life, our goal is to create a list of statements covering every area of that describe what relationships, activities, places, and other things you are passionate about, motivate you, and leave you feeling fulfilled when invest in them

By clearly understanding what drives you in life, you’ll be better equipped (with knowledge of yourself and your desires) to make decisions in a way that creates more of what drives you and fuels passion in your life


 If you want a reminder of doing the Drive Test and Lifestyle Design Exercise will lead to your best life, visit The Drive Test introduction page


  1. Drive Test Part 1: Define your passions and what drives you
  2. Drive Test Part 2: Rank and prioritize your passions and “drivers” to understand what makes up your best life
  3. Drive Test Part 3: Create a plan, with small achievable steps, to make your ideal life a reality
  4. Drive Test Part 4: Polish your results, save them to review for motivation, and following up on your test every 6 months


DRIVE TEST PART 1: Defining What Drives You and Finding Your Purpose in Life


If you need a reminder of what the Drive Test and Life Design Exercise are, and how defining what drives you is the first step to making your ideal life a reality, visit the Introduction to the Drive Test: A Life Design Exercise


As we move forward in the exercise, consider these suggestions

  1. Do this exercise alone: quite often, what we want or need gets muted in our lives to external pressures from work, family, society, perceived obligations. Doing this exercise alone ensures you are getting to the core of what drives you, and no one else
  2. Encourage your partner to do this exercise (alone as well) and share the results upon completion: You’re likely going to realize things about yourself that you forgot or never realized…and they didn’t either. Giving you’re a partner a glimpse into “you” can be invaluable for understanding you and vice versa
  3. Keep a scratch work notebook: Along the way, you’ll have epiphanies, aha moments, and questions that won’t be great answered at the point you realize them, but they’ll be great to refer back to
  4. Take note of “AHA!” moments and realizations: These are the things people pay thousands of dollars to therapists and shrinks for and are potent indicators of how best to change your life, so take advantage of getting them for free
  5. Plan on keeping a permanent notebook: You’ll write your Drive Test results, Life Design, and your plan in this notebook, as well as future tests you’ll take. Having all of these in one please will give you an interesting view of yourself of over time and a unique perspective you won’t get anywhere else
  6. Don’t edit yourself, and don’t rule out drastic changes: The point of this exercise is to get to the core of you and build a life on that. If you edit yourself, you’re lying to yourself and finding your purpose in life will be impossible if you downplay it or hide.  This is a major reason for doing the exercise alone.  If being honest with yourself means keeping the results from your partner or anyone else, then keep these results for just you
  7. Note interesting realizations: This may sound repetitive but it is valuable and important. For any “negative” things that come up, realizations that something is important to you but neglected in life, or realizations that something in your life is not important to you still but heavily consumes your time, energy, and resources, these are important warnings.  Take note of them to think on later.


Now that the ground rules are set, let’s start the Drive Test…


Step 1: List 10 to 20 statements that describe your ideal life

Start by listing 10 to 20 statements being with the phrase “In my ideal life…” that describe what your ideal life would be like.  Consider the people and relationships, activities, possessions, and places that could positively influence or increase your happiness.  The resulting statements will be your “drivers” as these statements describe what drives you to live your life fully and these statements will be the first step to finding purpose in life.

The mark of a true drive or passion is that you can invest your time, energy, and resources into it and ultimately feel rejuvenated along the way and at completion.  You may be tired at the end, but the passion you have for that particular driver or situation motivates you to continue act and repeat the process of investing your time, energy, and resources into that passion


Tips for getting started

If you feel stuck and unable to write down what your ideal life is like, consider these tips…

  1. Think about things that you enjoy and the times you felt most live and build from there
  2. Consider starting with verbs, such as “I live…”, “I think…”, “I work…”, “I go….” and describe something ideal for you from there


Example Driver Statements:

  1. I live in a modern condo on the beach with all of the luxuries I need to be satisfied in my home
  2. I travel internationally for pleasure and fulfilling purposes 3 to 6 months each year
  3. Money is not an issue in my life. I have the resources do the things I enjoy
  4. I work in a job that genuinely interests me supporting outcomes that I believe in with a flexible schedule and the ability to work from anywhere – I am paid enough to fund a comfortable life, but my purpose and what I achieve motivate me to continue despite the salary


Now…Go ahead! List 10 to 20 of your own Drivers


Your Drivers

  1. .


Step 2: Categorize your passions and drivers by areas of your life to check for balance

An ideal life is balanced and diversified

In a balanced life, we invest in and feel fulfilled in all areas of a healthy life

In a diversified life, we invest in and receive fulfillment from so many different areas of life, drivers, and passions that even if we experience the discouragement of life’s downs and hiccups in one area, we average out to sustained fulfillment and progress because we are driven and motivated by a variety of ongoing activities outcomes that we are passionate about in our lives.

To ensure we design this balanced, diversified life that stays healthy and fulfilling in the near and long term we need to ensure each major area of life is covered (or at least reviewed) in our life design.  Not all of these areas may be important to you right now, but, it is worth reviewing each area to account for long term needs and desires

**NOTE** Keep an eye out for any realizations during this exercise about whether or not you’ve been overinvesting in some areas of life and neglecting others, despite how important (or unimportant) they are to you

Now…let’s get after it…


Step 2:

  1. Categorize each of your Drivers and Passions from step one into one of the categories below
  2. Check to ensure each category has at least one passion or driver
  3. For any categories without a driver, brainstorm and add at least one new driver

Categories in Life (for the purpose of our Life Design)

  1. Financial
  2. Career Profession/Purpose
  3. Physical (fitness and health)
  4. Emotional and spiritual
  5. social (friends)
  6. Family (immediate family: children, siblings, parents)
  7. Family (extended family)
  8. love life and romance
  9. Possessions
  10. Community, community involvement and giving back
  11. interests & hobbies


Example of categorizing Drivers





1. I live in a modern condo on the beach with all of the luxuries I need to be satisfied in my home

Interests & Hobbies

2. I travel internationally for pleasure and fulfilling purposes 3 to 6 months each year


3. Money is not an issue in my life.  I have the resources do the things I enjoy



Now…Go Ahead!!


Place your drivers into the appropriate category, and add new drivers to the empty categories






Career & Purpose


(Fitness and Health)

Spiritual & Emotional



Love & Romance

Community &

Giving Back


Hobbies and Interests



An Explanation of the Life Categories in Designing Your Life


Why are categories necessary when designing your life?  Better yet, why these categories?  The categories are necessary to ensure we account for every area of healthy life.  When stress is highest and our ability to focus is at a low, we as human beings tend to get tunnel vision and focus on what we think is important.  In this case, the human tendency is attempting to change your life in the ways that come to mind first.  In the meantime, we unintentionally neglect so many other important areas in life, whether they may be loved ones, or own interests, our health, or anything else, ultimately damaging our lives through neglect.

By placing the drivers we prioritize highest into separate categories we force ourselves to put every area of our lives on the examination table.  In the process, we not only develop balanced lives but we see our own errors – when we realize that we’ve invested heavily in areas that really don’t mean much in the long term or under-invested in areas that mean the world to us.

Now, why these categories?  Whether you are reviewing Maslow’s ideas on human needs, having a conversation with a psychiatrist, or reading some of the most beneficial self-help books, or thinking back on your own experiences, you’ll realize that the categories below cover many areas that when invested in properly with time, energy, and other resources lead to a healthier life and when neglected lead to the most stress and dissatisfaction in life.

Disagree?  Here’s some literature to read and consider:

Sebastien Junger’s book Tribe makes an excellent case that isolation is the root of a significant number of mental health issues and illnesses in general, meaning, prioritizing family, friends, meaningful social activities, and community is imperative to a healthy, balanced and fulfilling life.

Vicki Robin’s book Your Money or Your Life does a great job demonstrating how our relationships with money, earning it, and what we spend it on drastically affect our quality of life, meaning financial health, financial position, and financial habits can significantly affect our general satisfaction in life.

Jon Kabat-Zin’s book Full Catastrophe Living takes a scientific approach to proving how emotional health impacts not only our happiness and satisfaction, but also our physical health and how our lives play out.  So, emotional health can ruin physical health and prevent you from leading a full, fulfilling life or it can enhance your physical health and enable you to lead a fuller, richer life without changing anything beyond your mindset and emotional health related habits.

And the list of books goes on and on with examples of how each of the “categories” in our lives impacts how fulfilled we are by our efforts in the other categories

The takeaway is that to maintain health, fulfillment, and satisfaction across life, we can’t neglect any of the individual areas of our lives.  We must consciously invest time, energy, and resources appropriately into every area and consciously design each area into our ideal lives

Now, at this point you’ve already completed the exercise of categorizing your drivers by area of life and ensuring you have one driver per category…BUT if you have a sudden urge to go back over your list and make sure you didn’t neglect any area, feel free to do that now.


Post-exercise food for thought


For the categories/areas of life that you didn’t initially list anything for…could this be a sign that you under investing time and energy in some areas that are actually very important to you?  How would you like to change this in the future and in your ideal life?  Or, would you like to maintain this?


Now you should have a list of 10-20 statements that each describe something about your “ideal life”.  In part 2 of the Drive Test & Desiging Your Life Exercise., we’ll take a structured approach to prioritizing your list of drivers and find out what is most important to you in your life, and add some details to your drivers so that we can get a clearer picture of your ideal life.


PART 2 of The Drive Test & Designing Your Life Exercise>>


Was this exercise helpful to you? Share the love and the Drive test to a friend you know could use it by hitting the share button below.  Share it on Facebook, Gmail, whatever…just make sure you’re not designing your ideal life and leaving your friends  behind…


Interested in sharing your results or have questions?  Drop them in the comments below, we’d love to see how your progress is coming.  Or, email me at [email protected] with thoughts, questions, or suggestions


Introducing the Life Design Process: An Exercise in Envisioning Creating Your Ideal Life
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