Now there is a significant difference between self realization and self actualization although they are directly related to each other. The former is the process of realizing and discovering the truth and purpose of life itself. Eastern doctrines teach that the soul itself has a purpose that is already decided before its creation. It is up to the carrier of the soul to search for it.
If realization is finding out what to do with life, then actualization is the process of doing something about it. Even if the idea is there, nothing will happen to those who will not take any action to solidify the main idea. When one reaches actualization, then he as already planned on how to make his dreams become reality and is ready to strive for it.
Reflecting on life itself should actually be the first step to the whole process. Many people are unhappy with their lives in totality because they have not even made it anywhere past this stage yet. It is because of this phenomenon that it is common to see many employees who do not enjoy what they are doing. The first step to realization is for one to find out the things that he is good at and the things make him happy.
When one determines what his strengths are, he must also determine what his weaknesses are. He must question the things that will bring him down and figure out how to face them. Doing this will be a part of character maturing since a mature mind will help one get a clear grasp on life. The only way for his personality and character to fully flourish will be by knowing his weaknesses and minimizing them.
Of course this definitely does not happen overnight. Some are able to realize their true potential quickly while others may take a longer time because they are not in tuned with themselves. Take a trip or take a vacation to another country as this will help expose and clear the mind.
When he has realized his true potential, then he must make a set of plans or goals. Part of actualization will be to focus on the methods and ways on how to achieve the goal. As stated above, dreaming without action will not produce anything. That is why one must study and find ways to reach his goals.
Once he has gone through for these goals and have underwent the hurdles, he will have gained self realization actualization. He will have already fulfilled his dream of accomplishing something worthwhile. Do remember though that before attaining this goal, one must go through a lot of hardships. However, it is better to take the risk than to regret later.