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The Road to Self-Actualization

The Road to Self-Actualization

If you are struggling to understand your life’s purpose, you are not alone. The road to realizing your full potential is not an easy one. But what does it mean to be self-actualized?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs may be a familiar concept to you. This five-stage model is drawn as a pyramid – from the bottom up. Our basic needs (such as psychological and safety) must be satisfied before progressing on to our growth needs (such as our sense of belonging and self-esteem). Only as we satisfy each stage of the model will we be able to move up in the pyramid to satisfy the next level of need. Placed at the very top, which Maslow considered to be the highest form of needs fulfillment, is self-actualization.

So how easy is it to reach the top of the pyramid? Well, Psychologist Abraham Maslow added that only one in every hundred people truly reach self-actualization. This is especially accurate now considering that society rewards individuals who are high in self-esteem, rather than in self-discovery.

Many of us do a great job at satisfying the four previous needs on the road to self-actualization – we are proficient at feeding ourselves, making sure we have a place to safely rest our heads, nurturing relationships, and making ourselves feel good. However, some of us end our efforts there and tolerate not understanding and knowing who we truly are.

Why are we here? What are we meant to do? What is our life purpose?

Before finding the answers to the above question, you need to know yourself from within. The following section will help you identify the steps to finding a deeper understanding of who you are, and ultimately, help guide you in defining your life’s purpose. 

How to achieve Self-Actualization

1. LIVE FULLY

Immerse yourself in your everyday experiences. When we completely submerge ourselves in what we are doing, we experience “peak” experiences (experiences that would occur at the top of the pyramid). Maslow taught us that reaching these peak experiences causes us to feel pure joy, a heightened sense of curiosity and awe, and a feeling of ecstasy.

Ask yourself – What experiences have I had that have sent me over the moon? Why bother participating in activities that only give you satisfactory feelings? Why not partake in things that really give you goosebumps?

Note – Goosebumps are bumps that appear on a person’s skin when they are cold or experiencing a feeling of strong emotion. This emotion could be anything from fear to pleasure to nostalgia and even awe.

Living fully means satisfying your needs to the fullest. It means immersing yourself in everyday experiences that give you satisfaction.

2. RECOGNIZE YOUR UNIQUENESS AND STAY POSITIVE

Recognizing your unique qualities and what they can offer those around you can prove to be quite powerful. So, how can you determine what is unique about you? The answer is by accepting your imperfections and keeping a positive narrative of yourself.

Accept your flaws and imperfections. We are all human, and humans are all but perfect. The sooner you are able to grasp this, the sooner you will allow yourself to be fearless. By being fearless, you are opening yourself up for self-growth. Consequently, self-growth will lead you to new and valuable experiences, which will promote these “peak” experiences that everyone keeps raving about.

Practicing optimism and positive self-talk will remind you of the great things only you can offer to the world. Having the ability to see the bright side to life will not only keep gray clouds at bay, but it will also motivate you to attempt new things, which will lend a hand in deepening your understanding of yourself. Once you have a better grasp of who you truly are, you will be better armed when finally tackling the great question of – What is my life’s purpose?

3. MAKE HONEST CHOICES

How will making honest choices help you in defining your life’s purpose? If we examine our daily choices, are they in line with our core values and beliefs? Perhaps, we don’t quite know yet what our core values and beliefs are. Well, by choosing to make honest decisions regarding our everyday lives, we are working on recognizing what is important to us.

If you make honest choices and are mindful of your selections, you will begin to decipher and sort through what is important to you.

Nike, just like most companies, has a mission statement. The benefit of a mission statement is that whenever a company has to make a decision, big or small, they can refer to their statement to make sure every decision they make is in alignment with their mission. An organization’s mission statement will strongly reflect the company’s core values. Nike’s mission statement is, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Through Nike’s products, branding, marketing, and strategic business decisions, we see their mission statement shines through.

Developing your own personal mission statement will help you make genuine and authentic choices for you to honor your purpose in life. One quick tip is to save your personal mission statement in your notes app on your phone, that way you can refer back to it whenever you have to make a tough decision.

4. LET GO OF YOUR EGO

Those who are self-actualized are able to feel self-acceptance, self-love, and self-value. The mere 1% that have been able to reach self-actualization are aware of their desires for social acceptance and societal pressures, but they hold a true understanding of themselves, instead of a distorted idea of who they should be according to exterior influences.

Your ego can play to your advantage – it can help boost your self-confidence and heighten your sense of self-worth. Having said that, letting your ego take precedence of your true self, also carries a dark side.

Your ego enhances your need to be right, your desire to win and supercharges your need to be superior. If the dark side of your ego takes charge of your everyday life, it will not only inhibit you from seeing different perspectives, it can also prevent you from opening up to new practices.

Letting go of the shadowy desires from your ego will open up your mind to new experiences that will increase your willingness, openness, and curiosity. In turn, these skills will lead you to your self-discovery and following your life’s purpose.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and how it benefits your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help on your road to self-actualization, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

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How to Mentor in the Workplace

How to Mentor in the Workplace

Learning how to mentor in the workplace is an important skill to learn. A mentorship relationship is indeed a two-way street. The mentor has to be willing to help, advise, and coach the mentee, and the mentee has to be willing to put in the effort in order to get the most out of the relationship. Of course, it is the, for the most part, the mentee’s responsibility to get the ball rolling in the right direction. After all, mentees are the ones who require the mentor’s help to propel and accelerate their professional development.

So what do mentees need to know about being a mentee? The following points will highlight what it means to be in the mentee’s shoes and what etiquette they need to mentor in the workplace.

How to Mentor in the Workplace

LET GO OF YOUR EGO

As a mentee, you are the one asking for guidance and assistance. Proper mentor-mentee relationship etiquette is to let your mentor take the lead. Consider this relationship as being dance partners – one person leads, and the other follows. Remember, your mentor’s experiences count for a lot; they are credible and they hold an incredible amount of information power. Trust in your mentor’s abilities to guide you in the right direction. They have walked miles in your shoes, so let them show you the way.

ACTIVE LISTENING GOES A LONG WAY

How do you let your mentor take the lead? Through active listening. But what is the difference between listening and active listening, and why is active listening important? It’s crucial to go further than just hearing what your mentor is saying. Practicing active listening in your mentor-mentee relationship shows that you are absorbing what your mentor is saying, paying attention to their advice, and comprehending their messages clearly.

If your mentor is a successful professional, chances are they are extremely busy outside their mentorship relationship with you. Active listening not only shows your enthusiasm for the opportunity to work alongside your mentor, but it also shows that you are able to take direction well, even amidst all the busyness.

BE PREPARED

Your time with your mentor is precious and valuable. Not everyone is fortunate enough to find someone with who they are so eager to work alongside and actually be given the opportunity to do so. Showing preparedness by clarifying from the very beginning of the relationship what you are expecting from there, what your goals are, and what you are willing to do in order to achieve those goals shows not only your respect for your mentor, it also shows the respect you have for yourself. Coming prepared with goals and expectations for your mentorship relationship will help in building an effective and efficient connection.

DON’T GET DEFENSIVE

Your mentor has years of first-hand experience, that’s why you want to learn from them, right? As a mentee, it is crucial that you ask for feedback constantly. Although criticism is difficult to take in sometimes, it is an integral part of our personal and professional development. What is important to note about feedback, is how to interpret them as constructive criticism. As a mentee, you should be able to separate your personal insecurities from what your mentor is trying to communicate with you. Often, we are unable to take criticism constructively because we project our personal insecurities to the situation instead of directing the comments strictly to the event.

Mentors will oftentimes have a different point of view from you. Try not to get defensive because they are there to show you alternative ways to criticize situations and tackle situations. Appreciate their honesty with you. If you have concerns with their suggestions, discuss them openly to arrive at a consensus.

RESPECT YOUR MENTOR’S TIME

Working with mentors can test your ability to multitask. Recurrently, your mentor may give you a variety of work to be completed; this is because they want to give you as much work experience in the field as possible, and they also have less time to dedicate to their own work after taking you under their wing. Respect your mentor’s time and complete work promptly. This also extends to your communication efforts. Returning their phone calls and emails promptly allows them to schedule extra help or reorganize their personal schedules in the event that you are unable to complete assigned tasks or if you are otherwise unavailable to do so.

TAKE IT SERIOUSLY

This section goes hand-in-hand with respecting your mentor’s time. If you are in business, your mentor is likely a successful business person. If you are a teacher, your mentor is likely a successful professor. If you are in culinary arts, your mentor is likely an extremely busy executive chef. Whatever your field is, it is important to take your mentorship relationship seriously. Again, it is not often that mentees are able to choose their own mentors and be given the opportunity to work alongside them. So, take it seriously!

Consider looking at your opportunity from the perspective of a person who did not get the same chance as you. Perhaps it is because they could not commit the time. Or, maybe it is because your mentor, out of all the individuals who had approached them, chose you to be their mentee. Be gracious that you are able to learn from your mentor because there are others who may be willing to work harder than you but were not given the break to.

SHOW GRATITUDE

Mentors have a great impact on their mentees’ lives. They are the ones who develop their critical thinking skills so that their mentees are able to take on challenges in their professional careers in ways that direct them to success. When you write our graduation notes to be printed in your high school yearbook, many of us thank our teachers, family, and friends for helping us get through the five years of secondary school. Why not do the same for your mentors? Mentors do a lot for you – they may invite you to sit in meetings or go to conferences and networking events that will connect you even more so with individuals in your field. Those are opportunities that not very many people get. It is important that you show your gratitude to your mentor because without them, you would probably have to take the long route to your destination.

Respect Your Mentor’s Confidence

Your mentor’s experiences are priceless. They have likely worked with numerous organizations, with each one giving them more knowledge. With every endeavor your mentor has gone through, they gain more confidence. Respect their sureness and be open to their suggestions. If you do find yourself questioning the legitimacy of their actions, talk to them directly. Everyone comes with their personal beliefs and values, and mentors are there to open your eyes to different solutions, not to challenge your principles.

Let Your Mentor Invite You In

First and foremost, your mentor is there to be your professional role model. They are there to show you the ins and outs of your career so that you may accelerate yourself to your professional growth and development. However, because some mentorship relationships require both parties to work closely together for long periods of time, it is inevitable that professional relationships become more personal. If this is the case, let your mentor invite you into their lives. Remember, as a mentee you are there to learn from their professional experiences first.

Keep The Doors Open

When you stay in relationships that no longer have a purpose, it is doing the other party and yourself a disservice. Eventually, your mentorship relationship will run its course, and you, as a mentee, will need to leave the relationship.

It is important not to burn bridges when you leave any mentorship relationship. Keeping the doors open between yourself and your mentor allows an opportunity to work collaboratively again in the future.

Learn more about creating positive two-way communication within a mentor and mentee relationship with our online courses! 

To learn more about the power of emotional intelligence and the benefits of coaching and mentoring in the workplace, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help leading your organization to success, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram to keep up with our latest blogs!