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Developing Self-Actualisation

RocheMartin defines Emotional Intelligence by a set of 10 competencies and this is one in a series of blogs covering each one:

Self-Actualisation is about being clear on your goals and being able to generate the ongoing energy, motivation and commitment to do what it takes to get them

The 3 components of Self-Actualisation are:

  • Passion

    • Generating enthusiastic commitment by linking what you do to things that are important to you: your values, your purpose, your interests or the things you enjoy doing.

  • Work/life balance

    • Practising self-care to maintain your energy and effectively balancing the allocation of your time and energy across ALL areas of your life in a way that feels right for you.

  • Achievement drive

    • ...and then using your passion and energy management to set goals and create realistic action plans that you can commit to.

To find out more and why it's so important, have a look at this blog.

A few ideas to develop your Self-Actualisation

  • Developing your capacity management skills

  • Maximising your capacity

  • Creating realistic goals and plans

  • Make sure that you make everything you need to do feel as simple, manageable and as comfortable as possible!

  • Borrow from your role-models - including yourself!

  • Coaching

Developing your capacity management skills

We have a limited capacity - an amount of time and energy that we need to balance across all areas of our life.

And we need to do that in a sustainable way if we want to meet the demands on our time and energy, avoid stress and burnout and develop self-actualisation.

To do that, you need to

  • Understand and recognise your signs of stress and consistently pay attention to how you are doing, so you know when you need to take urgent action and re-balance. This will mean you avoid burnout where you're not able to do ANYTHING in ANY area of life.

  • Aim for a balance between demand and supply which means you are meeting your human needs and consistently achieving an acceptable level of satisfaction in each area of life that is important to you (whatever that means for you - see my blog on the circle of life).

  • Accept that SOMETIMES you may need to compromise if you have an unusual demand in one area. Trade-offs between areas will be necessary but do what you can to minimise the number and duration of these and get back to a better balance as soon as possible.

For example

  • I spent many years working on projects and got used to giving up some personal time for work in these busy periods.

  • When my dad was ill before he died, I had to strip away all but the most important things in every other area so that I had the capacity to deal with what was going on in the area of family.

So if you notice that any one area is ALWAYS taking priority, you need to look at what you can do about that.

Work is the area that most commonly dominates and you'll find plenty of tips for what you can do about that in my blogs on productivity and time management.

Maximising your capacity

Self-care is possibly the most important of our basic human needs, as if you don't do things that restore and maintain your capacity, you will become depleted and won't be able to do anything or help anybody else!

Illustration created by Scott Gordon

To illustrate - consider this picture

  • The water line represents your capacity

  • Self-care increases your capacity - the water level goes up.

  • Navigating demands (represented by the rocks) has the opposite effect. The bigger the rock, the bigger the demand.

  • If the water level drops below the level of the rocks, you don't have enough capacity to deal with them and if the water level drops really low, you won't have enough capacity to deal with even the smallest of rocks.

So remember

Self-care is a necessity and not a luxury

...and you need to remember capacity management when you're thinking about what you want to ensure that you are...

Creating realistic goals and plans

Any goals and plans you make need to be 'ecological' if you want to give yourself the best chance of success. They need to fit in with whatever else you have going on at the same time and you need to make sure they are well thought through and that you break things down into nice easy steps to avoid being overwhelmed.


You'll find more suggestions on what to bear in mind in my blogs on defining and achieving goals.

And most important of all, you need to remember that as humans, we're not really wired to like change, so...

Make sure that you make everything you need to do feel as simple, manageable and as comfortable as possible!

And one way of doing that is to...

Borrow from your role-models - including yourself!

Most people are familiar with the phrase

Fake it 'til you make it

which sounds a bit inauthentic and phoney BUT it's just a different way of suggesting you

  • model excellence, or

  • act as if you are your chosen role-model

...which sounds a bit more genuine and is the basis of how we often learn - particularly as children.

Just walk past your local tennis courts during the Wimbledon tennis tournament and you'll notice they may be a little busier than normal with kids who are modelling their favourite tennis stars.

But your role models can be different versions of yourself as well as other people you admire. Perhaps

  • a future version of yourself, like the person you will be when you've achieved your goal.

  • a previous version of yourself, perhaps when you were younger and didn't care what anyone else thought

  • a more self-confident version of you (see my blog on self-confidence), or

  • a version of yourself from a different context

That last one can be really handy. What skills do you have in one area of your life that you could use for goals to help you here and now? How can you liken one thing to another?

For example:

Making new friends, or business networking?

One of my clients was really comfortable talking to strangers and making new friends in his private life but hated networking events, which was a key part of his job. He felt like he had to be instantly impressive and sell himself.

But when we looked at it, he realised that the people he liked working with were the people he had connected with at a human level first. It wasn't about their work credentials.

Once he realised this, it was easy for him to ditch the pressure of being impressive and act as if he was outside of work meeting someone new, which meant he could be himself AND be comfortable, and better at networking


Coaching is by far the most efficient, effective, engaging, empowering and enjoyable way to build any of the Emotional Intelligence competencies.

Helping you to develop, refine and embed your own personalised strategies for each competency.

If you’re interested in understanding your level of emotional intelligence using one of the RocheMartin assessments or would like to explore coaching for developing components of it like Self-Actualisation, you can book a free call here.

And if you'd like to try out my monthly emails that provide a roundup of my blogs as well as other insights, you can sign up here.


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