Basic Needs: How a New Career Can Fill The Void

Lifelete Fundamentals

August 24, 2015

Perhaps, the one thing we all have in common is a desire to be at our best. In any athletic or professional setting, performing at your best requires building a solid foundation. In 1954, Abraham Maslow provided a framework for this foundation, proposing all humans have five basic needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-fulfillment. In his work, Maslow proposed these needs are met independently, in successive order, and that less than 1% of the population reached the self-fulfillment stage. If you try thinking of the last time you felt you were at your best, you will likely be able to identify which of your basic needs were met in the pyramid below. A new career not only provides the financial resources to meet your basic physiological and safety needs but also gives us the opportunities to demonstrate our skills and develop meaningful relationships.

Having lived a life dedicated to reaching the highest level of competitive sport, it would be unrealistic to think that one would not experience some sort of void during career transition. In 1985, authors Deci and Ryan challenged the successive and hierarchical properties of Maslow’s theory in their development of Self-Determination theory. This theory helps to better define the “void” that often occurs during career transition. Self-Determination theory revealed three basic human needs that must be met to achieve Maslow’s five basic needs:

  • Competence: The need to feel a sense of mastery over some life domain.
  • Autonomy: The need to feel that one has the ability to make decisions that will influence the course of life events.
  • Relatedness: The need to feel related to others, and have a support system.

Further research revealed that relationships that fostered autonomy were described as the most rewarding, and linked to greater individual achievements (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Relatedness or connections with others is the primary means of achieving autonomy and competency, and for meeting one’s physiological and safety needs. The definition of the term “competition” itself comes from the Latin derivation Competere (Com-together + petere-to strive) meaning to strive together. This suggests it may not be the game we miss most, but the bond formed through working toward a common goal.

Work with your AthLife Advisor to position yourself to be at your best when you join your next professional team and opportunity to strive together.

Basic Needs: How a New Career Can Fill The Void