I honestly believe that your capacity (and desire) to unlock your professional potential is determined by how comfortable – or, to borrow a phrase from my culture work, ‘psychologically safe’- you feel in your professional and personal life.

When you feel safe and secure in your work and personal life, your basic human needs are being met. And only once these prerequisite needs are met can you start to consider self-actualisation, or put another way, unlocking your potential.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see the diagram below) illustrates the cumulative nature of these needs. In other words, you can’t progress to the next level until the preceding need has been met.





It therefore stands to reason that you’ll find it harder to tap into and unlock your latent potential if you’re feeling stressed, burnt out or unsupported in your work.


So how do you ensure your career fulfills your basic human needs?


I have a theory that we all have a blueprint for work happiness. In other words, a unique set of ingredients that will determine how happy, aligned and ‘safe’ we feel in our professional lives. I call this ‘Your Work Happiness Blueprint’.



When you identify what you personally need in order to be happy and fulfilled at work, you’ll find it easier to be intentional about your career decisions. The more aligned your decisions are with ‘Your Work Happiness Blueprint’, the greater your likelihood of unlocking your unique potential at work.

By making decisions around the what (the roles and responsibilities), where (the culture, industry and environment) and who (your ideal colleagues, peers, managers, clients and customers etc) that align with ‘Your Work Happiness Blueprint’, you’ll be more likely to unlock your potential and shine brighter in your professional life.

I use this blueprint to help my clients design careers and businesses around their own definitions of work happiness. In other words, around their own individual Work Happiness Blueprint.

Your blueprint will be unique to you, just as mine is totally unique to me.


The link between your comfort zone and your potential


When we feel comfortable and safe at work (and in life), our capacity for self-actualisation increases. In other words, you’ll feel ‘braver’ and more resilient about taking a step out of your comfort zone, which in turn allows you to tap into your latent, untapped potential.

I’ve shared a few thoughts on this in the video below.



For more information about Sarah Clarke, visit her partner coach profile page.