Given all the changes in the world of work, a model for wholeness and well-being might finally be realized. The work of psychologist,
Abraham Maslow, on the self-actualized adul, offers us a look at what healthy work lives can be.
Both organizations and individuals will benefit from this. There is a hierarchy of needs that he identified indicating that certain basic needs must be met first. Thus, in the perennial triangle, Physiological and Safety Needs, must be met before Belonging Needs, Esteem Needs and Self Actualization can be achieved. But once we have achieved at least the first two levels and created a solid foundation, the choice of work can clearly influence our ability to flourish as we aspire to meet the higher needs.
When we are functioning at our highest level we are also in what has been identified as the “flow state.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian research psychologist who has studied happiness and creativity and determined that those individuals who demonstrate those traits are in what he calls the flow state. “Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Similar to Maslow who decided for the first time to study healthy people, this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields. (wikepedia)
But back to Maslow (there’s just so much serendipity among these brilliant thinkers) and his work on self actualized individuals. The list of characteristics might fit every employer’s profile of the ideal candidate and it also severs as a goal for self-employed individuals and those who have discovered meaningful work. For more on these characteristics check out www.lifeworktransitions.