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Masters: Learn These 5 Steps to Reach Your Full Potential

If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Complacency kills and familiarity breeds contempt. Yet for many life becomes seeking security and safety, or as Pink Floyd puts it, becoming comfortably numb.But if life is anything at all it’s about reaching our highest imaginable potential, or achieving what Abraham Maslow described as self actualization in his famous paper “A Theory on Motivation”.

Where do you sit in the self actualization hierarchy? Be honest, because the answer has everything to do with the satisfaction you achieve in life. To reach the highest point of Maslow’s hierarchy is to achieve our greatest expectation of self.

When we talk about goal setting, we’re usually describing some personal attempt to move up the needs hierarchy, and how high we aim for has mostly to do with personal motivation and the sense that our lower needs have been fulfilled.

And that’s the catch. What’s more…

Too many people get caught up in the lower hierarchy levels in a state of need. It’s important to note that, as we move up the needs hierarchy, we progress from filling our own needs toward helping to fill the needs of others. Helping others is, in effect, the key to self actualization!

So how do we make this progression up the needs hierarchy? Below lists 5 important ways:

1) Define your highest calling

This is very personal and unique to each individual. Be your own CEO, define your personal self actualization based on what’s important to you, not on what will please or impress others, including significant others. What personal gifts do you have to give away that will improve other’s lives?

2) Quit wallowing in the self

That’s the stuff at the bottom of the hierarchy. Abandon self pity. Love what you once thought of as discomfort. Accept that you’re not supposed to be loved by everyone. Quit pretending life should be perfect. Maintain faith that ,as you grow in helping others, your basic needs will be fulfilled.

3) Gain necessary skills

As Steven Covey says, sharpen the saw. Gain the skills necessary for your self actualization. Read. Take classes. Get certifications and degrees. Speak on the subject. Write on the subject. Begin teaching others. Practice, practice, practice.

4) Set SMART goals

Set goals for your self actualization that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time sensitive. Write them down, put them on your refrigerator, live by them. Achieving these goals are literally the difference between a fulfilled life and an unfulfilled life.

5) Focus on goals, not on obstacles

Obstacles are what we see when we lose sight of the goal. Obstacles do not stop those who love their goals and their vision of self actualization. Love your goals more than you hate the obstacles by a factor of 10 and you will smash through any barrier.

We only get one shot at life. We owe it to ourselves and to those around us to be our best possible selves by overcoming our personal needs and by growing to serve others with our unique, personal  talents.

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