Yesterday I was clever, so I changed the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
We all have points in our life where we feel like we’ve lost touch with something. Where the daily grind eats at us and leaves behind forgotten excitement for life. It can be a struggle finding not just what makes us tick, but what makes us tick happily. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and forget the reasons we find happiness in things. Finding these again, or for the first time, can help center your focus with self-thought, mediation, and insightful joy with Ikigai. Now you might have never even heard of Ikigai, but by the end of this article not only will you know what it is, but you will learn how you to start using it to improve your own life.
Ikigai is a century’s old Japanese belief that translates into ‘reason for being’. It is what you live for, what drives you to do what you do each and every day. The Japanese believe everyone has an Ikigai, and the key is understanding what will bring true balance and happiness within. Being truthful to yourself and not to what society expects, is a big part of finding your true Ikigai.
So, let’s start there, what is your Ikigai? What makes you get out of bed in the morning? If the answer doesn’t come to you right away it’s ok! Lots of people have a hard time boiling it all down, or might not even know. We’ll take a look at each element of Ikigai and help identify what you might be missing.
“Strong reasons make strong actions.”~Shakespeare
How Do I Find My Ikigai?
Let’s start with Passion. Passion is defined as a ‘strong and barely controllable emotion’, which we usually associate with love. When you’re passionate about something you might find it hard to put it down or walk away from it. You can have passion for anything, you could be passionate about your family, a hobby such as classic car building, or even your job. Things we are passionate about we typically invest a lot of time in because it’s what we want to do. So, what are you passionate about? What do you love? Maybe you have a passion for animal rights, or maybe you have a passion for staying on top of the newest technology. Whatever it is you love, and find yourself always coming back to, plays a big part in understanding your Ikigai.
So now that we have an understanding of our passions, what’s our mission? A mission is a specific task with which a person or a group is charged, and with Ikigai, it’s with the world. What does the world need? How would you like to make a difference in the world? We all have that sense of community and pride for it, and it’s human nature to strive to improve what’s around us. So, what does your world need your mission to be? Whether it is helping those less fortunate, changing an entire political platform, or simply recycling, what can you do to help the world? Not every mission is going to be big, and not everyone is going to totally change the world in one day. But even in small parts, our mission is giving something to the world it wouldn’t have without us. What kind of difference do you want to make in the world?
Here’s where we ask what our vocation is. It’s defined as a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation. But what does that really mean to us? It’s not just what you want to do, but also what you’re good at doing. Of course you can be good at something you’re not really passionate about; we can train ourselves to be good at things. But what do you find you are naturally good at? Anything from communication, writing, cooking, to leading other people could be your vocation. We usually enjoy our vocations to some extent, as it takes practice to be really good at something. Maybe it’s not something you are overly passionate about but still find you have a natural knack for it. Take a look at what you do during your days, you might not even realize what comes naturally to you as your vocation.
So, the last piece to discovering your Ikigai is your profession, it’s what you do to make the money. Do you work under someone else and let them help guide your career? Or do you own your own business and take a charging lead in your life? Whatever you do, you don’t want to hate it. It’s important to do something we enjoy, that we love to do. If you have to spend your life doing something, you want to do something you love.
“Do the thing you love. Do the thing you are really good at. Do the things you can get paid for.” ~James Schramko
James isn’t wrong; people who don’t feel passion for their job have a higher rate of hopping from job to job looking for what they are missing. When it comes to being happy in your career not just any job will work. We should put forth effort into finding a career that we benefit from in more ways than one.
“Ikigai is not something grand or extraordinary. It’s something pretty matter-of-fact.”
What’s the Point?
So, what’s all this going to get you anyways? Ikigai can help you understand yourself better, and it offers insights that most people don’t ever look at within. It can help us lead to a better understanding of our own lives’ purpose, with a more fulfilling approach and the knowledge of emotional intelligence behind it. Anyone can use Ikigai but it is most valuable to those who feel like there is something missing in their current life, or a void that needs to be filled. People who want to focus their life and find more meaning, will find value in Ikigai. The results are a holistic experience that can redefine you as a person. It’s taking all the things that you enjoy, what you’re good at, what you love, how you make money, and rolling them into one unique ball that is all you. By placing all these thoughts together, you can end up with a new idea, business, or trade that has never been before. You could discover a new way of doing something in your career that shakes its core to profitable new heights.
All Things Change in Time
By using Ikigai for yourself you can understand what brings you the most joy in your day-to-day life. After doing some self-thought you can make the changes in your life for a happier tomorrow for you and your family. But tomorrow brings new things, and as we change so might our Ikigai. What we find now might change later in life as we age, mature, and discover new things. For anyone whose work is their reason for living, this will come as a relief as they approach retirement and begin the search for a new Ikigai. So, it’s not something that has to last forever. Your Ikigai can change just like you do. It’s beneficial to re-look at your Ikigai every so often, especially when you feel you are missing out on something in your life, and there’s a void that you want to fill, it’s time to look at you Ikigai again.
“Your Ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing.”
With Ikigai you won’t have to feel the weight of an unenjoyable, daily rut. You’ll be on fire for your life and goals, starting each day with new excitement. You’ll have appreciation for your passions, understanding in your mission, a yearning for your vocation, and find a new fondness for your profession. Make time to focus on yourself and discover what the reason for your being is; what is your Ikigai?
Ikigai is a way to consider your whole picture to identify the areas in your life that empower you. When it comes to your professional life, we at Encore Consulting Group use our Wholestic Approach and believe that your success in life is as good as the weakest link in a chain of 11 links. Your 11 Leadership Hats impacts the balance that you are able to build within yourself and your teams.
You cannot allow yourself to compartmentalize your life. You must learn to stay in the present and remember that you are more than your business. When it comes down to it, businesses do not have a conscience; people do. You will find your sweet spot for jump-starting your career at the intersection of your Passions, Knowledge, and available Resources.
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Trushar Mody is BUSINESS STRATEGIST, SOFT SKILLS TRAINER, OUTSIDE-THE-BOX THINKER AND THOUGHT PROVOKER. He is a Warehouse of knowledge and wants to share it. His passion lies in teaching Wholestic Learning and Emotional Intelligence.
Trushar Mody is a role model who has extended himself to help others along their own journeys. He works from his passion of helping people live their lives with purpose and without fear. He is a managing partner and senior trainer at Encore Consulting Group.