You’ve probably heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – it’s a staple in undergraduate social psychology. In case you haven’t, or need a refresher, here is a quick recap.
In 1943, Dr. Abraham Maslow wrote a paper called, “A Theory of Human Motivation” in which he described his ideas about what motivates humans. He suggested that human beings have a series of needs which we strive to meet and that the best way to motivate someone is to appeal to the need most relevant to him or her at a given time. He arranged these needs in a pyramid.
Physiological or survival needs like breathing, food, water and sleep are at the base of the pyramid. Dr. Maslow suggested that until these basic survival needs are met, human beings will not be motivated by any other needs.
Safety and security needs are the next up on the pyramid. Dr. Maslow suggests that once people feel that they will survive today, they will be motivated by the need to survive tomorrow, the next day and in the long term.
Love and belonging needs are next. Dr. Maslow suggests that once human beings experience a reasonable level of security, their needs turn to developing friendship and family relations.
Esteem needs are next. Once people feel secure and loved, Dr. Maslow says that they seek gratification that comes from achievement, self respect and the respect of others.
Self actualization needs are at the top of the pyramid. Dr. Maslow often described self actualization as “being all that one can be.” And therefore, one can never be truly self actualized. Dr. Maslow suggested that self actualization is the pursuit of perfection. In other words, once you accomplish something that you previously thought of as the pinnacle, you will find that there is more that you can accomplish. This is in keeping with Tweet 30 which suggests that becoming self actualized is a process in which you set new and higher goals whenever you accomplish one of your goals.
That’s why I say that success is a journey, not a destination. Successful people see themselves as works in progress. Successful people are never finished becoming all that they can be. If you want the life and career success you deserve, you need to think of yourself this way.
I’m not suggesting that you take no time to celebrate your successes and look back at them with pride. I am saying however, that if you want to build long-term career success, you will use your successes as springboards to bigger and better things.
Set new goals. Develop plans for achieving these new goals. Work your plans. And then do it again. Think of yourself as someone who is “becoming” not as someone who is “complete.” Successful people realize that there are always new challenges and opportunities. Some of the best career advice I ever received was from an early mentor who told me to see beyond the horizon, to keep actively looking for new ways to learn, grow and succeed.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people never stop learning and growing. They follow the advice in Tweet 30 in Success Tweets. “Success is a journey, not a destination. When you accomplish one goal, reach higher and set a new one.” This is the idea embodied in the concept of self actualization; you can never be all that you can be because there will always be new challenges ahead. Setting and achieving ever increasingly difficult goals is the best way to live a fulfilling life and to create the career success you deserve. Keep learning, keep growing, keep achieving, and you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.