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Are you self-actualized?

This is a BIG question and probably a much better one is are in you intentionally in the process of being self-actualized? What about your business – is it evolving? How are you supporting others in your personal and professional life to grow and develop?

Do you remember Abraham Maslow? He is most famous for his theory of “self-actualization.” In Maslow’s era, psychology had a single-minded focus on mental illness. Neurosis and psychosis were the central themes psychologists studied and sought to understand.

Thank goodness Maslow asked a new question: “What does positive mental health look like?

A man after my own heart... he stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a "bag of symptoms". His lifelong research into this area yielded a new concept that is still growing in understanding 60 years later… self-actualization.

According to Maslow, the happiest people were able to satisfy not only their basic needs, but also their psychological needs. As those psychological needs are continuing to be met in healthy ways, a person evolves into experiencing self-actualization. What a better way to live this life — at least in my view of the world!

Let’s first review Maslow’s discovery of the basic needs that most often must be satisfied for a person to be open to self-actualization. Okay so there are those rare few who have mastered hunger and self-actualization but for the rest of us...

Physiological needs—food, water, and warmth—without these being met it is certainly difficult to focus on anything else.

Safety which encompasses physical security, protection, shelter and includes a sense of emotional security.

Belonging is the need for relationships, love, and, most importantly, unconditional acceptance – you can receive this externally from family, friends, etc. you can also give yourself love and acceptance!

Self-esteem is that part of us that wants to gain mastery over ourselves, to achieve, and to make a difference, to be our best self.

Self-actualization is our highest need and, according to Maslow, the pinnacle of life. It involves using our creative talents, having a mission in life, making a difference in the world, and pursuing a goal worthy of our talents.

In my many years in the field of personal and business development, I've found that so many people have more than surpassed their physiological and safety needs and are still feeling unfulfilled. They seem to think the road to fulfillment is more...more food, more house, more money. In essence more of the first two when an intentional evolving of the others is what their heart and soul are truly craving.

This full topic of self-actualization is way beyond the scope of mastering your strengths and yet…

When you go beyond the first two needs of physiological and safety... recognizing, developing and mastering your natural talents and strengths plays a core role in belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization.

In my next post, I will share the characteristics that have been identified of self-actualized people. You’ll see there as well, the critical role strengths play in several of the characteristics.

Cool stuff – right?

Maslow said… “The most beautiful fate, the most wonderful good fortune that can happen to any human being, is to be paid for doing that which he passionately  loves to do.” 

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