Eliminating Toxicity for Greater Self-Actualization

Eliminating Toxicity for Greater Self-Actualization

by Doni Landefeld, Ph.D. 
Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach
Certified Positive Intelligence Coach
EQ-i 2.0 and EQ360 Certified

July/August 2023

Many times, clients or prospective clients will show up for a session and express that they’re not feeling fulfilled in their work or are stuck trying to determine next steps. These next steps could be pursuing another role with a different organization, positioning for a promotion within their current organization, or we’ve even heard prospective clients ask for clarity on what they call a “side hustle.” With this particular topic, we’ve found it useful to apply a combination of curiosity and the sage power of navigate to get to the heart of what matters most. Beginning with the end in mind, doing a bit of reverse engineering can be powerful to connect purpose and vision for a client, as this will ultimately lead to higher levels of the emotional intelligence skill of self-actualization. Self-actualization is becoming and living the greatest and truest version of yourself so you are deeply fulfilled and living a purposeful life.

We often uncover that there are three areas to explore, some of which can take some time to tease out. These three areas, in combination with truly understanding what you are tolerating, can help to gain clarity. When we peel back the layers of the proverbial onion, we discover that clients who are stuck or feel unfulfilled are tolerating toxicity in some fashion. The following quote was the inspiration for this blog’s topic:

“I like my products like I like my people: non-toxic”
Source unknown


“You get what you tolerate”
– Henry Cloud

Let’s address the three most common areas we examine to help clients get ‘unstuck’ and live a more purposeful, fulfilled life. We thought this is a timely topic for the summer months as many travel and take a little time to reflect on what matters most.

Values – As all of our clients are familiar with, we incorporate clarity of core values into every engagement, whether it is an executive or team engagement. For our executive clients, values are important because they represent who we are. When we’re not living our values or stifling those that are most important, the result is misalignment which can lead to frustration, feeling stuck, overwhelm or burnout.  

Values serve as a compass, for individuals and organizations. When they are honored and upheld, meaningful impact is achieved, along with greater fulfillment [of mission or purpose]. 

Boundaries – are another area we often find clients struggling to maintain. Particularly for those who might have a strong Avoider or Pleaser Saboteur (from the Positive Intelligence platform we use), we uncover how boundaries are either not maintained, might be blurred or not well-established.  

It’s important to note that there are different types of boundaries to maintain and the areas we explore include boundaries that are physical, time-bound, or information-bound. Physical boundaries might be our space or environment. For those working remotely, it may be challenging to keep home life from interfering. Distractions or interruptions like dogs, temptations to do chores, deliveries, kids, and spouses can all blur the boundary needed to be as effective and efficient as possible. A favorite example of time boundaries is carving out designated times to do or not do tasks; we work a lot with leaders to respect the sacred space of weekends and evenings so they do not intrude on their employees’ precious time away from work. Employee productivity and well-being are positively correlated! And information boundaries are about what types of data/communications/etc may or may not be shared with individuals in your sphere of influence.

Energy Drains and Fillers – this is the third area we explore to learn what is lighting up or sucking the life from clients. And notice a theme here again of three things that we focus upon: people, places, things. This is an exercise we often do with clients, where we have them create a document that they can add to over time. Who are the people you love to be around who recharge your batteries and bring you more enjoyment? Who are those that drag you down or suck the life from you, perhaps so much that your recovery rate requires a lot of precious time? What are the places that lift you up and conversely, what are the places that drain you or create dread? Finally, what things or activities light you up and what are those that are life and soul-sucking?

Creating a core honesty around these three areas is difficult. Typically because there’s an opportunity to develop greater self-awareness – to understand all triggers and all associated emotions.   

There’s a lot of positive and emotional intelligence we can apply here to help you and your team have greater awareness and to show up more purposefully so you get more done, and have greater fulfillment and well-being. It all connects to performance and well-being and this results in the highest levels of self-actualization. Let’s kick those toxic tolerations to the curb, weaken the saboteurs and maximize self-actualization for you and your team.

Curious about learning how you or your team may self-actualize or perhaps would like to take our Positive Intelligence Saboteur Assessment? Schedule your complimentary strategy session here: 

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