What is Ikigai? – My Life Handmade

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What is Ikigai?


Everyone has their own Ikigai, their own ‘reason to get up in the morning’.

The easiest way to think about Ikigai is finding the common ground between what you love, what you care about, what the world needs and what you can get paid for.

Finding your Ikigai can sometimes be a little challenging and it requires a lot of willingness, deep self-exploration and experimentation to find. Here are some steps to consider if you’re looking to find your own Ikigai.

Question time!

Explore the following areas by asking yourself the related questions and then jot down your answers in a journal.

  • Passion – What do you love?
  • Profession – What are you good at?
  • Mission – What does the world need?
  • Vocation – What can you get paid for?

Don’t rush though, taking your time to sit and reflect on them is key. It could take you a week or so to keep jotting down your answers – however crazy they may be!

Visualise your answers

Visualising your answers to these questions really helps to put them into perspective. There are a whole host of ways you could do this. Consider options like Venn diagrams, a mind map, mapping notes into quadrants. Pick which ever option suits you best.

Once you start to find your Ikigai your diagram is likely to alter, you’ll begin to scribble out some things and add others.

Does it feel right?

It’s best to really consider your options once they are laid out in front of you, whichever way you’ve chosen to present them.

Ask yourself things like “How’s it going? What’s bothering me? What’s really going on now?”

These are worthwhile questions to ask no matter where you’re up to with figuring out your Ikigai. With logic-driven thinking comes a deeper and clearer sense of purpose.

The road test

The real test to finding out whether you have found your Ikigai is by giving it a road test.

Putting it into perspective will lead you to finding out whether you’re finding these changes meaningful and fulfilling.

You may encounter the need to shift some of your priorities and explore new directions, but this will all depend on the route that is best for you.

Build yourself a support network!

A crucial thing in all areas of life, not just Ikigai, is to have a solid support network around you to enable you to develop and succeed.

An example could be the vocation element of Ikigai leading you to a new career path. It could be beneficial to have people in your life that have experienced a similar transition. Ask them questions. How was their experience? What were the challenges they encountered?

As well as this develop relationships with mentors who can help to guide you in the right direction, but most importantly have a caring network made up of family and friends outside of the working environment too.