According to Abraham Maslow, reaching self-actualization is the ultimate goal of personal development. When we are self-actualized, we are more likely to feel comfortable in who we are; to be able to find the reality in a given situation; to be independent thinkers; to connect with others in deeper ways; and to be compassionate.
In order to reach self-actualization, we have to fulfill the more basic needs that reside on the lower levels of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. These lower levels include our physiological needs (like food and water), safety, love and belonging, and esteem. Achieving these milestones within the confines of our careers can be especially difficult. With that in mind, we offer the following tips on reaching self-actualization in a work environment.
Safety and security don’t just revolve around having a home and avoiding life-threatening danger. Rather, feeling safe and secure also means having things like job security, good health, and general life stability.
Finding employment with a company that has long-term growth potential or that offers a service that will never be unnecessary can help ensure job security. You should feel certain about your company’s future and vitality.
Having stability within your work environment is vital, too: change can be good, but too much change in too little time can be unsettling.
It is also important to find ways to ensure your health. Working in a dangerous job or for a company that lacks health coverage can disrupt one’s progress towards feeling safe. An employer that offers paid leave or cost-effective health coverage is a good employer, from a safety standpoint.
Love and Belonging
Love and belonging is all about relationships. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find friends within the workplace, but doing so is dramatically important. You want to find a work environment that makes you feel valued, like you are part of a cohesive team. If you don’t feel like part of a team, or if you feel secluded from your coworkers, it can be difficult to feel like you belong.
Having friendships in the workplace encourages us to come to work every day, and it makes a job more enjoyable. Things are less stressful when we have others to talk with and vent to. Look for an office setting that cultivates friendships and open communication. Try to encourage social events outside of work and make efforts to find friends. Also seek out companies emphasize team-building and group activities.
For Maslow, esteem is all about feeling successful. This is accomplished through things like awards and respect. An office setting that recognizes achievements through bonuses and other rewards can help us feel more esteemed.
Gaining a higher education can also help us with esteem. College degrees not only help us with job security, but they can also help us land higher positions at work. Being able to add “Dr.” or “Ph.D.” to your name is also a little bit of personal prestige that should give you a boost every time your write it.
Employees who have reached self-actualization tend to be more productive and positive. They become strong leaders in their companies and are usually the ones that others look to for advice. Finding personal growth in the workplace benefits not only you, but also the company your work for.
For more on achieving self-actualization at work, check out this infographic, courtesy of Pepperdine University Online.