As much as we like to think we are nearly 100% altruistic in all areas of life; the truth is we usually want to know “what’s in it for me!”
Personal growth and development is one life area where asking that question is not narcissistic; but an honest assessment of what such activity can mean to me personally and professionally! Equally, it’s a question that will help me know and understand how what’s in it for me impacts the lives of others – positively, but negatively as well.
At it’s core, personal development is simply getting to know ‘me’. Gaining self-knowledge that helps me become the woman I’ve been designed to be. Gaining the strength, courage and passionate desire to reach the destiny for which I was born.
Last week, I talked briefly about Abraham Maslow, his theory of self-actualization and hierarchy of needs. Maslow believed that the greatest destiny for humans is to achieve all they are designed to be. He called it “self-actualization”. Over the course of his professional life, Maslow interviewed a number of persons he believed had reached that pinnacle of success in life, including Albert Einstein, Henry David Thoreau and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Via Wikipedia, Maslow noted that folks he deemed self-actualized shared common or similar personality traits.
All were “reality centered,” able to differentiate what was fraudulent from what was genuine. They were also “problem centered,” meaning that they treated life’s difficulties as problems that demanded solutions. These individuals also were comfortable being alone and had healthy personal relationships. They had only a few close friends and family rather than a large number of shallow relationships.
Self-actualizing people tend to focus on problems outside themselves; have a clear sense of what is true and what is false; are spontaneous and creative; and are not bound too strictly by social conventions.
Maslow noticed that self-actualized individuals had a better insight of reality, deeply accepted themselves, others and the world, and also had faced many problems and were known to be impulsive people. These self-actualized individuals were very independent and private when it came to their environment and culture, especially their very own individual development on “potentialities and inner resources”.
According to Maslow, self-actualizing people share the following qualities:
Truth: honest, reality, beauty, pure, clean and unadulterated completeness
Goodness: rightness, desirability, uprightness, benevolence, honesty
Beauty: rightness, form, aliveness, simplicity, richness, wholeness, perfection, completion,
Wholeness: unity, integration, tendency to oneness, interconnectedness, simplicity, organization, structure, order, not
Dichotomy: transcendence, acceptance, resolution, integration, polarities, opposites, contradictions
Aliveness: process, not-deadness, spontaneity, self-regulation, full-functioning
Unique: idiosyncrasy, individuality, non comparability, novelty
Perfection: nothing superfluous, nothing lacking, everything in its right place, just-rightness, suitability, justice
Necessity: inevitability: it must be just that way, not changed in any slightest way
Completion: ending, justice, fulfillment
Justice: fairness, suitability, disinterestedness, non partiality,
Order: lawfulness, rightness, perfectly arranged
Simplicity: nakedness, abstract, essential skeletal, bluntness
Richness: differentiation, complexity, intricacy, totality
Effortlessness: ease; lack of strain, striving, or difficulty
Playfulness: fun, joy, amusement
Self-sufficiency: autonomy, independence, self-determining.
Wow, that’s a lot of qualities for me to take in and believe I can achieve some of them; let alone all of them! I can almost hear the rustle of feet moving from the room, head shaking that all this is so much nonsense. Especially when each of us simply wants to succeed at what we’ve chosen to do with our lives!
Yet, today Maslow’s theories form the basis for much of what we consider quality personal growth and development strategies. TWEET THIS
So what’s a woman in business to do? What decisions are best for us to make when we long to achieve a level of actualization that will activate and use our PAPA-given potentialities and native talents?
Most importantly how do we tackle what appears to be a daunting task when the thought of doing so causes knots in our stomachs and sweat on our brows?!
Here’s some of my thoughts to consider:
1. Make certain your physiological needs are met in ways that creates a sense of balance and equilibrium. If safety and security is more than a casual concern from time to time; all energy and attention must go to correcting those basic needs before tackling anything else up the actualization chain.
2. Engage a friend! In fact, engage more than one friend. Engage a small “tribe” of folks you trust who know you well and can give honest feedback in a way that you can accept and put into practice.
3. Ask basic questions about yourself, personally first and then from a business or professional aspect, to begin to get a handle on how others experience you. Not only how they experience you but what qualities they see you have already achieved – most importantly what talents, abilities and propensities they experience you have and/or are capable of developing!
4. Sit with Maslow’s list of self-actualizing qualities to learn what you’ve already accomplished or are in the process of accomplishing. In fact, keep it handy as you journey through life as a means of determining where you are in your own actualization process!
5. Find one or two personal growth and development tools to give you greater insight into qualities you and your friends may be missing. One such tool is the Johari Window which helps us learn that area of personality known as our “blind spot”.
6. Engage with a mentor or coach who will keep you on target personally, as well as professionally. These 6 suggestions are just a few simple acts in which we can engage when we get serious about personal development.
Next week, I’m going to take some of Maslow’s self-actualization qualities and unpack them so we get a handle on the richness that occurs within (and with out) when we decide to climb the ladder to success.
One quick caveat before signing off. . . if we’re not serious about personal growth and development; we’re not serious about our business and professional success!
Think about that!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Eriching Women in Business Worldwide
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[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://affiliatedwomeninternational.com//wp-content/uploads/2015/05/linda-google-NB-profile-pic.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I’m the Visionary Partner for Affiliated Women International (AWI) where we inspire, enrich, encourage, motivate, and inform women in business world wide. A unique community of women dedicated to embracing each other’s success![/author_info] [/author]