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What Does Sustainability Have to Do with You?

By Michelle LaBrosse

Sustainability is one of the “buzz words” du jour. You can’t pick up an article or turn on the news without hearing it. So, I got to thinking about what sustainability means on an individual level – not from a purely ecological perspective but from a humanistic perspective.

Ecologically, sustainability is about biological systems remaining diverse and productive over time. For human beings, it is about the potential for long-term maintenance of our own well-being. While I know that without a planet, our own well-being as humans is a moot point, I still want to focus on things we can do to promote our sustainability as individuals.

When you think of your own sustainability as an individual, you bump into our old friend, Maslow, who gave us the hierarchy of needs. As you may remember, in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, once physiological, safety, love and belonging, and esteem are satisfied, then the very top of the pyramid is self-actualization.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 

Self-actualization is our growth, self-awareness, and understanding of who we are. It’s our ability to continue to strive and reach for that which gives us the greatest joy. Let’s look at this through the Project Management lens and see how self-actualization can make a team or an organization more sustainable. So, what’s the big deal about self-actualized people? They are:

Realistic. These are the people on the team who are confident, self-assured, and have a clear perception of reality.

Accepting. They accept themselves and others and are not looking to lay blame.

Problem Solvers. They can focus on problems beyond themselves. Knowing who you are is empowering because it frees up all that energy to look at the bigger issues outside of yourself.

Autonomous. They are self-starters who can get the job done and bounce back in the face of adversity.

In the present. These are the people who know how to appreciate all that is good in life, see the blue sky on a rainy day, and truly live in the moment.

Capable of peak performance. Because they can see the possibilities, they can achieve the highest levels of performance at whatever they pursue.

Sounds like the kind of people you want on your team, right? Mastering Project Management is one of the ways you can sustain peak performance and get the people on your team to work at the highest level. When people are better at managing and completing projects, they then create the habit of sustainable peak performance.   Doing the best job becomes the norm, not the exception.

How can you become more self-actualized and help your teammates to do the same? Here are five ways to get you on the path to your own sustainability

1) Throw yourself into something with complete passion, and let your mind become absorbed and focused.

2) Choose growth daily. Whenever you have the possibility to learn something new or experience something you haven’t tried, go for it!

3) Don’t censor your true self. Say what you think and feel out loud.

4) Take responsibility for everything you do and say. Ownership of your own actions and thoughts is powerful for clearing your mind and making way for progress and innovation.

5) Learn what you are good at, and focus on your strengths. People spend too much time working on their weaknesses instead of reaching toward where they excel.

Read other articles and learn more about Michelle LaBrosse.

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