The first time I learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,  was at Yale. His theory of human motivation has been useful in my career as a storyteller, marketer and change management consultant. I was, however, struck when the professor made the off-handed comment that,

“Some people’s pyramids are flipped.”

I wanted to stand up and pump my fist! “yes!” who cares about food, shelter, sex or money when you could go for “self-actualization.” Who didn’t want to create their dreams and make the world a better place? I suspect that most creative people and artists are wired similarly. Of course, surrounded by my more serious classmates, future financiers, and business process consultants, I kept my seat.

I did not, however, forget my lesson. Years later, while studying for my yoga teacher certification, I noted the similarity between Maslow’s pyramid and the seven energy chakras. After much meditation and considered in the context of human development, I think of these needs ranking different. Specifically,

It’s not a hierarchy. It’s a perspective.

In the context of career and life design, focusing on base needs is limiting. Instead, I encourage people to considered their from a human-centered or heart-centered place. The most successful people I know have had the good fortune of being able to lean into their interests, joy, strengths, and empathy. It’s lead me to conclude,

Happiness is a competitive advantage

Everything flows from the heart, it is the balance between your history and potential – the source of your energy. Doing heart-centered works leads to purpose-aligned confidence and communication (Chakras 3 and 5). It creates the momentum and courage to create and see the world (Chakras 2 and 6). That courage and strength allows for the vulnerability and compassion necessary to connect with one’s tribe and humanity (Chakras 1 and 7)

We are not building a life from the bottom up, rooted into the past.
We are learning to create balance so that we can fly into future possibilities.

Interested in learning more? Take the Career Maintenance Assessment.

 

 

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