What is my purpose? Why am I doing this job? Why am I unfulfilled?

Why am I not content? Sound familiar? Life’s well-meaning ‘roadmap’ is imprinted on us. Get an education, work hard, get a job, get married, have kids, buy a house, retire.We follow this pre-defined structure and so many of us get lost or stuck.

We end up feeling unhappy, bitter, depressed even. Yet still we follow the formula, despite being unfulfilled. What is going on?

Introducing Ikigai (pronounced e-kee-guy). Our Japanese friends have brought us a beautiful concept, which roughly translates as finding meaning, through a wider and deeper search for happiness.

Ikigai … what?

What is the reason you get up in the morning? What do you ‘live for’ (other than money or a swanky business card)?Here’s where it gets interesting. If you overlap the below themes, you start to get a sense of what Ikigai actually entails: 

  • What you love
  • What you care about
  • What the world needs
  • What you can get paid forIkigai is a practice, it is a methodology, an ever-evolving commitment to yourself. 

And this affects me because …

When you follow the journey to find your Ikigai, it enhances your wellbeing, supercharges your relationships and boosts health. All great reasons to start your discovery today!

So, how will I find my Ikigai?

First up, are you ready to deep-dive into experimentation and raw self-exploration? Yes? Then the first step is to grab a journal and create some space in your day to embark on a journey of contemplation and reflection. These questions will fire up your neurons and get you thinking:

  • What is your passion? 
  • What do you know you are good at? 
  • What is the world in need of? 
  • How can you make money? 
  • What change in the world would you like to see?
  • Here and now, what makes you happy?
  • What gets you out of bed?Over time, thoughts and ideas will begin to surface. By being raw and honest with yourself, you will open up the channels to receive insights. No matter how crazy your thoughts seem to be, jot everything down. It’s all part of the process. Go free, naked and wild.

Make it visual

Now visualize whatever you have noted down. Imagine walking yourself through the life you have described in your journal. Get detailed, live the life you desire as if you already have it.

As your insights surface, select a few to action. Perhaps you wish to socialize more, pursue a career or start meditation. Start making tiny adjustments, book tickets to a show, update your CV, wake up thirty minutes earlier to practice meditation.

All these incremental tweaks will compound. You will move towards meaning and purpose, closer to your Ikigai.

Check in

Check in with yourself regularly by asking searching questions:

  • How am I feeling?
  • What doesn’t feel right? 
  • Why am I feeling this way?

Remember your Ikigai is your inner guide. It is evolving real-time. Turn up the volume and listen.

Test it

Finding your Ikigai is an ongoing quest. You must take steps and make tweaks along the journey in order to find meaning.

You may need to rearrange priorities or explore new directions. For example, you may decide to launch a new lifestyle business, travel more, prioritize family or start to ‘un-schedule’ your diary.

Cheerleaders

Who in your inner circle will be offering you support? As you begin your transition towards your Ikigai, it’s vital to have your cheerleaders in place. Mentors, family and friends can all act as guides through your journey.

Top tips

  • Don’t judge yourself. For example, if career gives you purpose it doesn’t mean you care less for family or vice versa. 
  • The journey won’t always be rainbows and glitter. Stay true to your sense of purpose to keep the bad days in check. 
  • Permit your Ikigai to guide you. Ask yourself if you are happy at regular intervals.