Japanese Concept Of Ikigai Finding Your Life Purpose

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CulturallyOurs Japanese Concept Of Ikigai Finding Purpose

CulturallyOurs
CulturallyOurs
Japanese Concept Of Ikigai Finding Your Life Purpose
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Show Details

In this bonus episode for Season 02, we explore purpose and how to identify your life’s purpose so that you can translate that into what you want to do in business and entrepreneurship. The concept of finding purpose – the reason for being – is called Ikigai in Japanese culture. This word is derived from its literal translation of iki, meaning life and kai, meaning the realization of hopes and expectations.  According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. An Ikigai is essentially as basic as a person’s reason to get up in the morning and a reason to smile and enjoy life. You too can find your ikigai i.e. your reason for being and for finding your purpose by answering a few simple questions.

We have a FREE downloadable worksheet that you can use to find your own individual Ikigai. You can find the worksheet at the link below.

Show Notes

Karthika shares a bonus episode around one of the most popular blogposts over at CulturallyOurs – the Japanese concept of Ikigai. Ikigai is described as a tool to finding one’s purpose in life – the reason for being. This word is derived from its literal translation of iki, meaning life and kai, meaning the realization of hopes and expectations. According to Japanese culture, everyone has an ikigai. An Ikigai is essentially as basic as a person’s reason to get up in the morning and a reason to smile and enjoy life. There is also a simple Free downloable worksheet to help you find your own Ikigai – your reason for being – be it in life or in business.

The Transcript

How many of you remember the adage, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. But teach a man to fish and you feed him for life!’

No, this episode is not about fishing and nor am I interviewing a fishing enthuriast, although that would be cool, wouldn’t it?

We just ended Season 02 of the podcast last week and what an incredible season this has been. I went all over the global talking to amazing people chasing their wildest dreams. I started off with a super cool 16 year old vegan food blogger Sasha Back from Australia, then headed off to South Africa to talk to Niki Peel, a wedding photographer and creative. I could listen to her South African accent all day long and she is such a riot! I then went to Germany to chat with my sweet friend Meeta Wolff. I zipped back to Chicago to meet Megan Steffen incredible artist and entrepreneur and Ari Krzyzek, a brand and graphic designer. After that I went off to India to catch up with Pravin Shekar a veteran entrepreneur of almost 20 years. Of course along the way to India, I stopped in London to speak with Liz Schaffer who is  travel journal publisher and Freya Dawson an international editorial and documentary photographer. I also met the amazing Indian Australian entrepreneur Uppma Vridi from Sydney who has gotten numerous awards for her Ayurvedic Indian chai blends from all over the world before making my way back to meet some amazing local entrepreneurs here in the states – Maggie O’Reilly who owns an ethical fashion brand, Dr. Karen Bartuch who runs the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at North Central college and the uber talented artist and florist, Katie Davis of Ponderosa and Thyme. And given how much I enjoy traveling, I ended the season back in England talking to two people I have dreamed of connecting with for many years – Rachel Taylor and Jody Daunton of Another Escape, a publication that celebrates outdoor explorations and creative lifestyle.

I hope you are not feeling dizzy because like me, you too met all these amazing people just with the press of a button to download the podcast on your phone or computer! Isn’t technology simply incredible. And if you missed any of these episodes, just go back to season 02 and catchup with these incredible people and their fascinating entrepreneurial journeys.

Today is a bonus episode if you will – one that addresses a core issue that a lot of us entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs want to understand – purpose – what is it that we are meant to do with this one crazy life that we have and how can we do that what lights us up and keeps us craving for more.

Join me as we explore purpose – in business and in life – on this episode of CulturallyOurs.

I was at an event a few weeks ago and I heard a lot of people talk about not knowing what they wanted to do in life – especially as it related to starting a business or even a career path. They wanted to do so many things and were finding it hard to choose what to pursue. I get it. I really do. I used to hate the word – multi-passionate because I felt that meant I did not know what I wanted, that I was indecisive. But I think we are all multi-passionated in some way or another.

If Season 02 taught me anything it is that nearly everyone I spoke with all had something in common – a drive and a passion to do something that gave them purpose. But not all of them started their journey knowing what they wanted. Many held onto their day jobs and freelancing gigs for several years before chasing their entrepreneurial dream fulltime. Others changed direction mid-journey as priorities changed and they gained more clarity on what they wanted to do.

And I don’t know about you but listening to them gave me inspiration – lit a fire in me to chase those goals and fulfil my crazy dreams – those wild ideas that make life worth living. But I also understand the practical aspect of things like bills that need be paid, food that needs to be put the table, having the talent and honing in on the skill set. So today I want to talk to you about something that we covered on the CulturallyOurs blog many months ago – the Japanese concept of Ikigai. It is actually one of our most popular blogposts and I will link it in the show notes so you can take a look at it as well.

It was published around the new year when we are all about writing down our goals and aspirations. But I think this process is worth revisiting many times throughout the year especially if you are transitioning through seasons in your life, looking to pivot, start a new business or a side hustle or even switching careers. There is also a downloadable worksheet that you can use to map out your own Ikigai after this episode so you not only learn what it is but also take action. Because we all know – taking action is often the hardest part of any journey.

Before we get into Ikigai, please know that if you have ever wondered what is it you were meant to do for your time on this earth, you are not alone. Most of us go through life and wonder what is it we are supposed to do – what is our reason for being? Sometimes we run into a roadblock on figuring out what exactly to start. We are trying to find purpose – that sweet spot where life becomes meaningful and more importantly, purposeful. This is particularly true when we want to start a business. What do we focus on? – this thing that we love or that other thing that we are good at or this completely different thing that we are super excited about but know nothing of!

In Japan, this concept of finding your life’s purpose or meaning is called Ikigai. In Japanese culture this translates roughly to a reason for being, encompassing joy, a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of well-being.

This word is derived from its literal translation of iki, meaning life and kai, meaning the realization of hopes and expectations.

Even in the business world in Japan, the incorporation of the elements of ikigai to an employee’s position is thought to yield the highest levels of employee engagement and productivity while also fostering job satisfaction and a sense of loyalty to the organization. Doesn’t that just sound like the perfect work scenario?

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai. An Ikigai is essentially as basic as a person’s reason to get up in the morning and a reason to smile and enjoy life. You too can find your ikigai i.e. your reason for being and for finding your purpose by answering a few simple questions.

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What is it that you love?
  3. What is it that the world needs?
  4. What can you be paid for?

To have an effective ikigai session, don’t over analyze or over think these questions. Go with your gut and just jot down the answers.

These answers are tailored to essentially help you figure out the following four things

  1. Passion – which lies at the intersection of what you love to do and what you are good at
  2. Mission – which lies at the intersection of what you love and what the word needs
  3. Profession – which lies at the intersection of what you are good at and what you can get paid to do
  4. Vocation – which lies at the intersection of what the world needs and what you can get paid to do

At the intersection of these 4 elements lies YOUR IKIGAI

And if you are having a hard time visualizing this, don’t worry. Just download the worksheet and it will all become clear. The worksheet is a bunch of interconnecting and overlapping circles that converge to a center quadrant. And no you don’t have to be a geometry expert, trust me it is super easy to do.

Give it a shot and see what answers you come up with. Again, don’t over analyze this. Go with what your gut and your instinct are telling you. Listen to that internal voice. This exercise is supposed to help you find your purpose, not to stress you out. Remember my earlier adage about fishing, this is where that applies. Why let someone else tell you what to do. Map out your own path. And if changing or moving the ship is not possible at this time, that’s okay too. When (and notice I did not say if, I said when). When you are ready to follow your Ikigai, you will know exactly what your purpose is – your reason for being.

 

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