You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.

~ Stephen Richards


What’s great about this quote from Stephen Richards is the fact that if you like who you are, keep doing what you’re doing. And if you don’t like who you are, you have the power to change.

People who have their Maslow’s Hierarchy needs met (physiological, safety, love and belonging, and esteem needs) have the need now to pursue a life of meaning. They want to reach their full potential. They want to learn and grow and consistently be their best. They want their life to have a purpose. They want to leave a legacy. They want a mastery mindset. Self-actualization is that pursuit of meaning, striving to achieve personal goals and self-improvement. This emotional intelligence skill tends to be associated with feelings of self-satisfaction. They like where they are in life, and would like even more, deeper, richer meaning.

Whereas the average individuals often have not the slightest idea of what they are, of what they want, of what their own opinions are, self-actualizing individuals have superior awareness of their own impulses, desires, opinions, and subjective reactions in general. ~ Abraham Maslow

Going Deeper into Self-Actualization

How can you get there? Here are 5 questions for you to reflect on to increase your usage of this emotional intelligence skill of self-actualization.

  • What are some of the things I truly enjoy doing?
  • How do I currently make time to do these things?
  • What areas in my leadership would I like to further develop?
  • Why is it important to me to develop these areas?
  • How can I incorporate these things I enjoy doing and these areas of my leadership development into my current lifestyle today?

Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. ~ Albert Einstein

Look honestly at yourself and see what you have accomplished. See where you have limited yourself out of fear. Good leaders have good self-actualization. People want to follow leaders who have the confidence in themselves to go further, and are excited about doing so. These types of leaders make people feel braver themselves.

Mastery Mindset

I briefly mentioned above that self-actualizing leaders want a mastery mindset. I will be talking about this throughout our conversation on the 15 emotional intelligence skills. For this Self-Actualization EQ skill, a mastery mindset means that the goals you set are mastery vs performance driven. Most of us have been taught that it’s about the outcome, the results, and the performance. How many times have you almost achieved the goal, but not quite, so you believe you have failed? When, in fact, you have gone further than you would have if you had not done anything. A mastery mindset creates goals that focus on the journey not the outcome. What I find is that those types of goals actually get me better results than performance driven goals.

An example – I have a vision of running a marathon and today’s goal is to run 6 miles. This is a performance driven goal. During the 6 miles I am simply focused on how much more time do I have, how many more miles? It’s hard work and at the end I may have achieved your 6 mile goal, but I’m exhausted, beat up, and not looking forward to tomorrow’s run.

However, a mastery driven goal is that I will work on my arm placement the whole run – ensuring my arms are in the right position against my body, at the right angle when swinging forward and backward, for maximum push and slicing through the air with minimum pull. At the end of this workout you have achieved your goal, and you may be exhausted, but your long-term goal of the marathon will not be simply running 26.2 miles, you will do it more cleanly, more easily, and have more fun doing it.

A mastery mindset focuses on the longer vision while working on today’s action goal. It’s the difference between running and being a runner – performing and being a master. It’s about the journey. What kind of journey do you want to have in the long run?

If you are interested in a journal/adult coloring book to help you implement emotional intelligence skills into your life and leadership, get my book: Coloring Outside the Lines: A Grown-Up’s Creative Guide to Increasing Emotional Intelligence (on Amazon). For information on leadership, Emotional Intelligence & Negotiations, or any of our programs, call us at 682.200.1412 or go to

For the next skill in the Emotional Intelligence series – Self-Awareness, click here