Finding Your Ikigai (and A Long, Happy Life)
Are you missing a sense of passion and purpose in your life? Do you often feel stuck in your life or generally unhappy? If so, finding your ikigai may be just what you need in order to start living a life full of passion, purpose, and joy. So, what is this ikigai concept, and how do you find it? Let’s dig into this mysterious Japanese concept and see how it can help!
What is Ikigai and Why is Finding Your Ikigai Important?
The ikigai is a Japanese concept that refers to a motivating force or passion that gives a person a sense of purpose or a reason for living. Pronounced ‘ee-key-guy’, the term ikigai comes from the Japenese terms for alive and worth.
The ikigai holds great power. If you are successful in finding your ikigai, you will have a deep understanding of the things in your life that will bring you great joy. In addition, you will also have a sense of purpose and an understanding of your reason for being on this planet.
The idea is that if you are successful in finding your ikigai, you will be able to live a long life full of passion and happiness. If you are able to find your life purpose and passion, you will find meaning in all that you do and will be driven to achieve great things for yourself and the world.
Remember that your ikigai is unique to you. When you begin finding your ikigai, you will see that it requires you to reflect on your beliefs, values, and experiences. Finding your ikigai is a personal odyssey of reflection. It may take time and several attempts to find your ikigai. However, if you are successful, it will be worth it!
Finding Your Ikigai Worksheet Package
If you have decided to look for your ikigai, you may be interested in a guide to help you with finding your passion and purpose in your life.
Finding Your Ikigai: A How To Guide
In order to find your ikigai, you will need to complete a simple self-reflection process. Finding your ikigai requires you to answer a few questions about yourself honestly. It is important to get in touch with your whole heart while completing this exercise. If at any point you focus on the wants and needs of someone else, you will find yourself arriving at an inaccurate ikigai.
Consider the following 5 steps to finding your ikigai:
Step 1: What Do You Love?
Take a moment to think about the things in your life that bring you great joy. Try not to filter your thoughts too much here. Instead, get in touch with your instincts and what comforts your soul. Try to stay away from material things such as money and your possessions as much as possible. These tend to bring temporary happiness rather than true happiness within yourself.
When you are completing this step, try to also limit how much you think about how you will use what you love to make money. Many people use their ikigai to pursue work that brings them purpose and joy. However, this will come later in Step 3. The purpose of step 1 is to just get you thinking about the things in your life that you love.
Step 2: What Are You Good At?
Think about a few things you are skilled in. A good helping prompt here will be thinking about what people often ask you for help with. If you are constantly helping people with a specific task, the odds are you are good at it!
If you are stuck here, you may want to think about certain skills that you excel in at work. However, be cautious that you don’t end up thinking exclusively about your current job. This can confine your dreaming to your current job, rather than thinking big with your ikigai.
Step 3: What Can You Be Paid For?
This is where you want to think more concretely about what you do to make money. Often times, this is deeply connected to your skills. If you are good at something, the odds are you can be paid for it.
Are there certain things you have done in the past to make money? Again, think about previous jobs if you find yourself stuck. However, don’t limit yourself exclusively to work you have done. Dream big and think about different ways you might be able to make money. If you can connect to your skills here, that will make the next few steps even easier!
Step 4: What Does the World Need?
This is probably the trickiest question. Why? Well, because the world needs a lot of things! Our world is a very big place with many people and many needs. As a result, the answer to this question could be literally anything you think of!
If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities, consider narrowing your scope to think about what your community needs. How can you help the people immediately close to you? If you can provide some sort of service to those people, it is likely that it will also be useful for the world!
Step 5: Find the Intersection!
After completing steps 1-4, you are now ready for the final step: finding your ikigai! Using the diagram found in the Finding Your Ikigai Worksheet Package (also shown below), find what is common between your answers to all four of these questions.
As you look through your answers, you will find that some things combine together with answers to other questions. It is time to connect the dots between your thoughts and ideas!
To do this, place your favorite answers for each question in each corresponding circle. Try to find a way to draw these answers to the centre of the diagram. You will start to see a clear picture of how you can use what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs to find your ikigai.
Once you have completed this step, you will have been successful in finding your ikigai! Congratulations! Now, it is time to find a job that uses your ikigai so that you truly experience the joy of being paid to work a job you absolutely love doing!
Examples of Finding Your Ikigai
As I mentioned, finding your ikigai isn’t always easy. It may take several attempts, and your ikigai can even change over time!
To help you understand the process further, it helps to read a few ikigai examples. As I have written about on the blog, quitting teaching was the best thing I ever did. If you read about my story, you will see an example of finding your ikigai that I lived through.
After being unhappy with the lack of work/life balance the profession allowed, I left teaching without much of a plan. I spent a few years reflecting on my strengths and passions and landed on my feet with a new sense of purpose.
My experience led me to my current job that is directly aligned with the centre of my ikigai diagram! You can hear more about why I love my job so much on our YouTube channel.
What’s Next After Finding Your Ikigai?
Now that you have found the intersection between what you love, are skilled at, can be paid for, and the world needs, you are ready to look for ways to apply your ikigai in your life.
The most straightforward way to do this is to look for work that uses your ikigai. The old saying “working a job you love means that you will never truly work a day in your life” rings very true when you are applying your ikigai every day.
If you aren’t ready to look for other work, consider looking for ways to apply what you love and are good at. These are just two of the four circles that make up the ikigai diagram. However, finding hobbies and activities that use these two circles can help improve your happiness. It can also still help you with finding a passion and a sense of purpose in your life. After all, finding your passion and purpose isn’t just about making money and changing the world!
More Resources for Finding Your Ikigai
In addition to the workbook above, there are several other resources you can use to help you with finding your ikigai.
- I have shared my story in a video on our YouTube channel that also shows how to use the ikigai diagram to find your ikigai.
- This article summarizes the nine key things that the worlds longest living people have in common.
- Check out our top 20 books for finding your purpose!
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If you know someone who is struggling with finding their passion and purpose, this could be just what they need to make a major lifestyle change!