I came across this concept in my professional career and it really dawned on me about the holistic view of professional and personal development how this ties in with so many other models around.
What I liked about it is that it really looked at how you could still sustain yourself financially while doing what you love. So what is Ikigai and how can you use it?
Now if you are struggling with productivity, you might want to read this post on productivity excuses
In a world bustling with distractions and ever-changing demands, finding purpose and balance in our lives can seem like an elusive quest. Enter Ikigai, a Japanese concept that brings together passion, mission, vocation, and profession into a harmonious blend. In this blog, we’ll delve into the profound principles of Ikigai and how you can use it to set meaningful personal and professional goals. To help you on your journey, we’ll also provide a free Ikigai Values Printable, designed to guide you through the process of aligning your inner desires with your outer achievements.
What is Ikigai?
At a basic level – Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” The word “ikigai” is usually used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile. Ok – So what does that mean to me? Where does this originate from?
In the culture of Okinawa, ikigai is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning”; that is, a reason to enjoy life. In a TED Talk, Dan Buettner suggested ikigai as one of thereasons people in the area had such long lives. So does that mean if I follow this I might live longer too? How does this translate to something practical?
In the Western definition of ikigai, the circular diagram breaks down the Japanese term into four spheres: what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs and what you can be paid for. Where all four spheres overlap, you find your ikigai.
In Japan ikigai is certainly not only applied to work. In fact, less than half of 2,000 Japanese men and women surveyed in 2010 counted work as their ikigai. The life philosophy, which goes back to the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD), can also be applied to a hobby or how you spend your time in retirement. And, it can evolve over time as our circumstances change.
So you can clearly use Ikigai to be more purposeful and intentional about your professional and personal life, and set goals that really speak to your values and whats important to you. So to find what this means, according to the Japenese culture takes a long search for self, and essentially means the discovery of your deeper meaning and your purpose.Pursuing your ikigai is meant to be a challenge and takes commitment, but should also be a boost to your well-being and encourage positive relationships. But hell! Do I have time for that? Ummmmm probably not! Do I have time to break it up and find incremental steps to finding that “reason for being”? yes.
The Components of Ikigai:
- Passion: What do you love doing? What activities make you lose track of time and fill you with joy?
- Mission: What does the world need? What meaningful contribution can you make to your community or society as a whole?
- Vocation: What are you good at? What skills and talents do you possess that can be utilized to make a living?
- Profession: What can you be paid for? What activities can sustain your financial well-being?
There are 4 books I found that cover Ikigai in great detail
Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Goals using Ikigai
Begin your journey by introspecting on each aspect of Ikigai. Identify your passions, skills, what you feel the world needs, and potential areas of income generation. This self-reflection forms the foundation of your Ikigai exploration.
2. Identifying Overlapping Areas:
Using the Ikigai Values Printable, mark the areas where these four aspects intersect. This visual representation will help you identify potential goals that align with your Ikigai.
3. Setting Personal Goals:
Passion + Mission: Consider goals that involve activities you’re passionate about and that contribute to a greater purpose. This might involve volunteering, starting a community project, or creating art for a cause.
Passion + Vocation: Explore goals that merge your passions with your skills. This could include pursuing a hobby as a side business or freelancing in an area you love.
4. Setting Professional Goals:
Vocation + Profession: Look into goals that leverage your skills and are financially viable. This could involve career advancement, skill development, or even starting your own business.
Mission + Profession: Consider goals that address a societal need and also offer financial rewards. This might include career paths in healthcare, education, or sustainable technology.
5. Striving for Balance:
While aiming for a convergence of all four aspects is ideal, it’s essential to recognize that complete alignment might not always be possible. Strive for balance and make incremental steps towards incorporating more aspects of Ikigai into your life.
Asking yourself the 5 key questions to get you to your Ikigai
What are your core values?
Establishing your 3 core values sets you up to align your life with what is most important. It also helps you use your Ikigai to set personal and professional goals. When you know what you value, you can live in accord with those values. This leads to greater fulfillment. When you don’t know your values, you violate them every day. This creates internal tension. And this tension triggers destructive habits and regressive behavior. In our printable we have created a list for you to easily establish those core values if you haven’t already.
What do you love the most?
This question is all about working our what gets your excitement and passion up. The broad scope of the question can be daunting so start small with questions like – what excites you? What can you do for hours without even realising? What could you talk about for at least 20 mins without prompting.
What is your social connection?
Do you have a wider purpose? What sort of community alignment do you have and how would you rate it out of 10? Is there more you want to do or is there something even bigger you want to achieve like solving world hunger or making small incremental changes to support the doing things to prevent climate change?
What are you paid to do?
This one I found to be the easiest section. But I am naturally more heavy handed in my career sections as this is the area I excel in. So how does your professional career reflect those core values? Is it that it brings you financial stability? Is it that it gives you value through what you do professionally? Is there a way you can incorporate your other values from Ikigai into your professional career?
What are you good at?
This one is great! Ask other people to give you some feedback as to what you are naturally good at? It could even be that you are good with children or the elderly? Could it be that you are a natural creative, or even something like gardening and planting vegetables.
Overcoming Challenges and Staying on Course
1. Fear and Uncertainty: Embracing the Unknown
Embarking on a journey to discover your Ikigai often means venturing into the unknown. The prospect of change and growth can trigger fear and uncertainty. However, it’s important to remember that fear is a natural response to stepping out of your comfort zone. In fact, fear is often a sign that you’re onto something significant. Embrace this discomfort as a sign that you’re stretching your boundaries and exploring new horizons.
Think of fear as a compass guiding you towards growth. Instead of allowing fear to paralyze you, channel it into motivation. Visualize the exhilaration that comes with conquering challenges and pushing your limits. When you view fear through this empowering lens, it becomes a catalyst for progress rather than an obstacle.
2. Patience and Persistence: Navigating the Long Journey
The road to Ikigai is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Achieving goals that align with your passion, mission, vocation, and profession requires dedication and time. Impatience can lead to frustration and burnout, derailing your progress.
Cultivate the virtue of patience. Recognize that meaningful goals are rarely achieved overnight. Break down your larger objectives into smaller, achievable milestones. Each step forward, no matter how small, brings you closer to your Ikigai. Celebrate these incremental victories, as they are evidence of your commitment and progress.
Persistency is key. When challenges arise or setbacks occur, remind yourself of your reasons for pursuing your Ikigai-aligned goals. Embrace the setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as indications of failure. Cultivating resilience and maintaining a steady pace will help you navigate the twists and turns on your journey.
3. Reassessment: Evolving with Purpose
Just as life is a journey of constant change, your Ikigai and goals will also evolve over time. What resonates with you today might not hold the same significance a few years from now. This is why regular reassessment is crucial.
Set aside time periodically to reflect on your goals and your alignment with Ikigai. Consider whether your passions have shifted, your skills have developed, or your understanding of your mission has deepened. As you grow, your Ikigai may shift, and that’s perfectly normal.
Be open to adjusting your course. Flexibility and adaptability are virtues that ensure you remain true to your evolving self. Embrace change as an opportunity to refine your goals, reinforcing the connection between your inner desires and outer achievements.
Overcoming challenges and staying on course in your pursuit of Ikigai requires a blend of self-awareness, resilience, and adaptability. Fear and uncertainty are natural companions on the path to growth, signaling that you’re pushing your boundaries. Patience and persistence fuel your journey, transforming small victories into stepping stones towards fulfillment. Regular reassessment keeps your Ikigai in tune with your changing passions and aspirations. By acknowledging these challenges and integrating these strategies, you’re better equipped to navigate the labyrinth of self-discovery, transforming your life into a masterpiece crafted with purpose and fulfillment.
Discovering Your Ikigai with the Template
When it comes to unraveling the intricate layers of your Ikigai, our comprehensive template becomes an invaluable tool on your journey. Designed to guide you through the process of aligning your core values with your Ikigai, this template offers a structured approach to self-discovery.
Accessing the Template: A Step Towards Clarity
To kickstart your journey towards alignment, the template is readily available for download here. It serves as your visual map, leading you through the synergy between your values and your Ikigai.
A Visual Guide to Harmonizing Your Desires and Purpose
The template offers a visual representation of the four key aspects of Ikigai – passion, mission, vocation, and profession – set against the backdrop of your core values. Each corner of the template represents one of these elements. As you explore each facet of your Ikigai and understand how it resonates with your values, the template transforms into a canvas where your dreams, aspirations, and beliefs converge.
Summarizing Your Best Ikigai: The Intersection of Purpose
Once you’ve immersed yourself in the exploration of your passions, skills, what the world needs, and your potential sources of income, the template provides a dedicated space for summarizing your best Ikigai. This concise statement captures the essence of your alignment, offering a clear representation of your purpose in one powerful sentence.
Transitioning to Goal Setting: Crafting Goals in Harmony
Having identified your Ikigai, the template doesn’t stop at discovery; it seamlessly transitions you to the goal-setting phase. The alignment of your core values with your Ikigai lays a strong foundation for creating goals that are deeply rooted in authenticity and meaning.
Guided Goal Setting: Elevating Your Aspirations
As you venture into the realm of goal setting, our resources provide invaluable support. Head over to our goal setting page to embark on a guided journey. Armed with the clarity of your Ikigai and the awareness of your core values, you’re equipped to craft goals that resonate with your true self.
Bringing It All Together: The Fusion of Self and Purpose
The beauty of using the template to bridge the gap between core values and Ikigai lies in its ability to merge two vital aspects of your existence. It’s the juncture where your innermost beliefs and your life’s purpose unite, offering you a roadmap to holistic fulfillment.
Your Template, Your Transformation
In the quest to achieve alignment between your core values and Ikigai, the template stands as a guiding light. It’s more than a mere piece of paper; it’s a conduit that aids your transformational journey. Through self-reflection, introspection, and goal setting, the template assists you in weaving together a life that’s truly in tune with who you are and what you’re meant to achieve. Click the image below to access your free download and embark on a path of self-discovery, purpose, and the realization of your deepest desires.
The Power of Ikigai Values Printable
To guide you through this transformative process, we’ve created a Free Ikigai Values Printable. This downloadable resource offers a visual representation of the Ikigai framework and provides space for you to jot down your reflections, goals, and action steps.
Embracing Ikigai: Your Path to Fulfillment
In a world that often emphasizes external achievements, Ikigai brings us back to the heart of our existence. It encourages us to find purpose in our passions, to contribute meaningfully to society, and to sustain ourselves through our skills and talents. By setting personal and professional goals rooted in the principles of Ikigai, you embark on a journey towards holistic fulfillment and lasting contentment.
Unlock your potential, align your desires with your achievements, and discover the joy of living a life true to your Ikigai. Download our free Ikigai Values Printable today and begin your transformational journey towards purpose, balance, and fulfillment. Remember, the path to Ikigai is as unique as you are – embrace it, and let it light up your way.