You start out on this life and start your journey of personal growth which follows seven distinct phases which follow in succession from primitive values and behavior and depending on how your learning and travels you could find yourself anywhere amidst the 7 phases of personal growth.
An excellent overview of the 7 phases of personal growth can be summed up at Clare W. Graves’ Levels of Human Existence which mimic the path we follow as we progress from one phase to the next.
It’s a good idea to have a working knowledge of these 7 phases of personal growth if you’re working as a coach, counselor, and consultant so that you can keep your clients moving in a positive direction as they grow along their personal and/or professional journey in life.
The levels of human existence can be found not only in human growth and potential but are also present in other areas of life where potential and progress is found.
The most basic form of personal development basically starts at ground zero which is Phase 1.
Phase 1: Survival
This is where we all start. In terms of human existence. Survival refers to the base level of human existence, like seeking shelter from the elements and grubbing for food. Resources are extremely limited. Due to our current level of society, it is difficult to find anyone at Phase 1, unless someone was totally isolated and truly struggling with homelessness.
Phase 2: Relationship
This is where we develop a tribe mentality as we become a part of the greater community. In a tribal community, we forfeit our individuality for the benefit of supporting the tribal Chief. Your life is pretty much a result of whatever the Chief dictates. You can see how this can apply to other areas of life, like family, school, sports, work, and career pursuits.
Phase 3: Self-esteem
Phase 3 represents the rebellious stage, which harbors a lot of rejection and aggression. This is where the individual begins to express its individuality and doesn’t want to submit to the Chief anymore. For someone in phase 3, they will just about do whatever they want or can to get whatever it is that they want, regardless of anyone or anything else.
Phase 4: Transformation
The disregard for others in phase 3 leads to a wondering about the consequences of unbridled self-esteem. Asking questions, like what happened to others who were disregarded, an introspection, and thoughts of what if someone treated me like that?
There is a compulsion to do what it takes to carve out a successful separation for a better life and do the right thing. This is where individuals seek to devise a system to accommodate a number of participants who are willing to sacrifice self in the present for the promise of reward later.
Phase 5: Internal Cohesion
In phase 5 the entrepreneurial spirit breaks forth, and people want more out of life. They are tired of the same ol’ same ol’ and aren’t going to subject themselves to the lives led by their predecessors.
Phase fivers have the determination to do whatever it takes, sacrificing all while respecting the laws of the land to create a better life for them, their families, the community, and the world at large.
Even so, they are likely to disrespect the environment in phase 5 as their attention is so extremely focused on the struggle for success as they are going-it-alone, so determined to make it happen, doing it themselves.
Phase 6: Making a Difference
Because of the disregard for the environment in phase 5 the next level highly regards the environment. These are the people who are determined to fight for a better world, save the whales, join PETA, and may become vegetarians.
They will protest against war and other injustices of life.
Those who find themselves in phase 6 want everyone to play along with them. Everyone gets a say, vote, or equal share.
While gathering around the campfire and singing Kumbya may feel good but it just doesn’t get the job done.
It turns out, that this may succeed in the short-term, but not so much in the long-term because there are those who will seek to take advantage of or exploit the weaknesses of phase 6.
Phase 7: Service
This is the level of human mastery. In phase 7 you can access any of the previous levels using their attributes to apply to any current situation. In phase 7, you seek results and have access to a wealth of personal evolution and growth and have access to your own strengths to wield as necessary.
You can develop teams and anyone who is capable can lead a team. There is no need to do it all yourself (in contrast to phase 5). There is more respect and allowance for others to be who they are and offer their individual strengths for the greater good.
Level 7 is all about possibilities, options, and choices.
You can see how the 7 phases of personal growth can apply to many different slices of life and shows a steady progression from one phase to the next.
But the journey doesn’t end there. Following your personal growth, you can progress into the further evolution of man and the 7 Phases of Spiritual Growth.