Your ikiwhat???? To put it in simple terms: what is your purpose, the thing you live for, your reason for getting up in the morning?

In a nutshell, happiness in life is more than money & status. Many of us have a long term goal of doing work we are passionate about.

And according to recent studies, lacking a sense of purpose can be detrimental to your health (as I found the hard way).

One study found that that people who have a sense of purpose in life are at lower risk of death and heart disease. Why? Researchers found that those who feel purpose often have healthier lifestyles. They are more motivated and resilient, which protects them from stress and burnout.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept & the easiest way to see it is as an intersection between what you LOVE, what you CARE about, what the world NEEDS & what you get PAID for.

There are several essential qualities you need to appreciate in persuit of your ikigai:

  1. It is challenging – it takes growth
  2. It is a choice
  3. It involves commitment of time & belief
  4. It boosts your well being – through positive relationships & good health, it gives more energy than it takes away.

Finding your ikigai is not an overnight thing. Once you’ve understood the concept you will realise it takes time, maybe a lifetime! You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What would you like to see change in the world?
  • What in your life now makes you happy?
  • Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
  • Have you had any life changing moments that provided a lightening bolt of clarity?

Think about life & career experiences that have had an impact on your values. Once you’ve answered these questions look for intersections, themes & patterns. It’s not always easy to see yourself objectively so it can be useful to ask close friends & family to anonymously tell you what they consider to be your 3 best qualities to help you identify your traits. I found that mapping it out in the style of the venn diagram shown helps to organise your thoughts & helps to identify the intersections. This is then a living document that will evolve & grow over time.

Once you have your ikigai you have to test it & live it! Commit to consistent actions to make progress & adjust it along the way as you grow. Living your ikigai may involve shifting priorities or changing directions…….maybe a new business overlaps multiple interests – the CBD business has done that for me & I feel closer to finding my ikigai as a result!

Saying yes to ikigai can mean saying no more often. I have always found it difficult to say no to people & as a result have spent a lot of time doing things I don’t really want to do at the expense of my own happiness. Ikigai may mean you have to give up on some commitments in order to focus on your priorities!

The Saturday Morning Test is your answer to one single question: What do you do on a Saturday morning when you have nothing to do?

Neil Pasricha

Run your ikigai through this test – it should be something you are drawn to when you have a day off! To help you in your journey to ikigai it is important to build a support system. If it involves a change of career make sure you have mentors & cultivate friendships with like minded people. This is what I love about the new business I have embarked on, I have joined an amazingly supportive community of people with similar values & motivations & I have mentors that have achieved success in the industry & who love to teach from their experiences!

2 Comments
  1. Phil 8 months ago

    Brilliant article Mrs D. I’m planning my ikigai right now ?

    • Author
      Lisa Dunnington 8 months ago

      Please share your results…..we can do a case study!

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