When you mention psychology, some people immediately think of off-the-wall theories, mental illness or an experiment with rats running through a maze. However, psychology is equally focused on what is necessary to be healthy and well-adjusted. It’s been twenty-five years since I graduated from college with a B.A. in psychology and a certificate in gerontology. To this day, I still refer to Abraham Maslow’s theory of Self Actualization. Maslow believed that all humans have the same basic need for air, nourishment and sleep, as well as health and safety. If you go to work feeling hungry or tired, it can be very difficult to focus on your job until your needs for food and rest are met. If you have been to the doctor and are waiting for important test results, your heart may start racing when the telephone rings. The stress created by the situation makes it hard to concentrate on other matters until you have some answers.
The next steps toward Self Actualization are meeting Love and Belongingness and Esteem needs. What it takes to fulfill these needs is different for everyone. That’s where personality type comes in to play. Each of the sixteen types has different preferences and strategies for meeting these needs. What will it take for you to achieve career satisfaction? If you aren’t sure, learning about your personality type will help you find out.
Love and Belongingness go beyond feeling accepted and loved by family and friends. Our professional relationships also fulfill these needs. Your personality type tells a lot about what you desire from others in order to feel appreciated and respected. Thinking types, for example, want to be recognized as logical, analytical, task-oriented people. A request from the boss to manage a new team or project meets the Thinker’s need to be seen as competent and task-oriented. Feeling types are accommodating, understanding and people-oriented. Being offered a transfer from the company’s Accounting Department to a new position with Human Resources is one a Feeling type will likely jump at, because they will have many more opportunities to work with and help others.
Selecting the career or educational path that’s right for you is an important step toward Self Actualization. Your values and goals help you identify what you need from a job, not just what the job requires of you. Do you like to work independently or with a team? Do you prefer working with concrete, specific issues or having opportunities to use your imagination? Are you more comfortable making objective or subjective decisions? Do you prefer structure or flexibility? Learning about your unique personality type will help you answer these and many other important questions.
In the words of Maslow: If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.
Contact Vicki at Career Crossing today for a free career coaching session and begin exploring your interests and find the career that’s right for you.