In the world of personal development, there is a path that each of us must follow, with definite milestones to mark our growth. The sequence along this path includes survival, stability, success, and significance. I first heard the concept of this sequence by a mentor and head of one of the largest coaching and training companies in North America, Brian Buffini. I’m not sure who coined the sequence, but it’s also been discussed by such motivational greats as Zig Ziglar and John Maxwell.
We must first master each level before moving to the next otherwise we may find ourselves “out of sequence.” If a person is fighting just to make ends meet in survival, he cannot expect to jump to success or significance. He must first master stability before moving on to the next level. He can then move to success, then significance.
This sequence of personal development, like the chakra system discussed yesterday, maps well to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. At survival, we are simply trying to get our physiological needs met. In stability, we establish safety and security as well as love and belonging. At success we feel a greater sense of self confidence and esteem. Finally, at significance we experience what Brian Buffini refers to as a change of heart, which in Maslow’s hierarchy could map to self-actualization.
Interestingly, in one article I found that discussed these four levels, significance was defined as a desire to serve others in order to make ourselves feel important. This definition struck me as rather intriguing. Is significance just another way for us to feel important? Once we’ve mastered success, do we move to significance simply to find a greater feeling of importance about ourselves? Or is there another level entirely?
Yesterday, we mapped Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to the chakra system. We talked about how the top of Maslow’s hierarchy is self-actualization which maps to the throat and third eye chakras. It seems that significance in the personal development sequence maps to Maslow’s needs of esteem and self-actualization. The Chakra system goes one level further to the crown chakra which is associated with enlightenment, divine connection, and transcendence. Abraham Maslow acknowledged after his writing of A Theory of Human Motivation that there is a level beyond self-actualization called transcendence. Should the personal development world consider adding a fourth stage to their sequence in order to complete the journey? Survival, Stability, Success, Significance, Transcendence. What do you think?