Ikigai Examples (Find Your Life Passion and Purpose)
Are you searching for a life of passion and purpose? Perhaps you have heard of the ikigai concept and are searching for your own ikigai. My goal is to share a series of ikigai examples to help you on your search for passion and purpose.
The idea behind the ikigai concept is simple. If you find your ikigai, you have found your life passion and purpose. The Japanese word ikigai loosely translates to ‘reason for living.’ To find your ikigai, you need to have an understanding of:
- What you love
- Your strengths
- What you can be paid to do
- And what the world needs
Finding your ikigai and using it in your job means you are in for a happy and carefree lifestyle. After all, who doesn’t want to be paid to do something that they love and are good at while making a difference in the world? The ikigai examples I will share here will help you do exactly this!
My Quest For Inspiring Ikigai Examples
After I left my job as a teacher, I spent about two years in career limbo.
I knew about the Japanese concept of the ikigai, but I didn’t find my ikigai in teaching. Teaching was something that I was good at. And I had a passion for showing students how to use a growth mindset to find opportunity in setbacks and challenges. I taught at an international boarding school made up of a diverse group of students from all over the globe. Because of this, I was also making a difference in the world!
On paper, this sounds like one of best ikigai examples out there, doesn’t it?
- Something you love? Check.
- Using your strengths? Check.
- Makes a difference in the world? Check
- Get paid? Check!
However, there was something serious missing.
When I became a parent, I very quickly found out what I was missing. A sense of work/life balance was completely absent from my job. I didn’t notice as much when it was just my wife and I. But suddenly I had a little bundle that was just oozing precious moments that I wasn’t there for. I knew it was time to make a change.
As it turns out, quitting teaching was the best thing I ever did,. Long, hard hours (many of which were outside the 9-5). Seemingly endless arguments with entitled students and parents. It was enough for me to realize that I needed to look elsewhere to find my life passion.
But how could I possibly find a job that incorporates all of my passions and strengths, allows me to make a difference in the world, while also supporting a healthy work/life balance? Does this job even exist?
Ikigai Examples Close to Me
I started looking in familiar places to see if I could find ikigai examples in the lives of those closest to me.
I had very passionate colleagues who were very clearly living out their ikigai dream as teachers. However, these colleagues were at different stages of their lives then I was. They either had no children, or their children had children of their own. They had all of the strengths, passions, and difference making that I had. But, the work/life balance issue didn’t seem to bother them.
I kept looking for other ikigai examples.
My First Ikigai Example: My Father
Next, I looked to the person who first taught me the value of hard work and doing something that you love doing: my father.
Not being a formally educated person didn’t stop my dad from being one of the smartest people I knew. While he worked in construction (a field that isn’t known for demanding intellect), he wasn’t your average construction worker. He understood the value of education and hard work. He pushed me toward post-secondary school so that I could get the education I needed to do something that I love.
My dad owned his own business. Somehow it seemed like he knew how to do everything. Doors, windows, roofs, siding, framing, foundations. You name it.
When I was younger, I spent the summers working with my dad and learned how his job was one of the most powerful ikigai examples I could find. I learned how passionate my dad was about his business and applying the skills he had. I saw first-hand how he used problem solving in his job. He got things done efficiently and in the most cost effective way. His work may not have directly made a difference in the world, but he was well known in the community as being the best of the best.
This one of the earliest ikigai examples I can think of. He was good at his job, he loved it, he made a difference, and he was paid to do it. Above all else, he also supported his family while doing it. Whether he realized it or not, my dad was working his ‘ikigai job’.
My dad was never a man of many words, or many emotions. However, when it came time to retire, I remember asking him how it felt to no longer be doing the job he did for 25 years. He said nothing, and just starred at me with a neutral expression on his face. This exchange was enough for me to know just how much he loved his work, and how much meaning and purpose it brought him.
My Ikigai Example: What Did I Do After Quitting Teaching?
So, I had just quit teaching and was in a position where I was transitioning jobs – and maybe even careers. What did I do after I quit teaching? Armed with a few good ikigai examples from my colleagues and my dad, I started looking inward to find my own ikigai.
To start, I needed a good idea of what I was passionate about and good at. I also needed a way to make a difference in the world. When it came time to find new work, I knew that I had to take inventory of my passions and talents to see where I would thrive.
My First Step Toward My Ikigai
My wife had also just left teaching after we had our first baby. She had landed an online teaching job that provided her with the flexibility to prioritize her own purpose and passion – being an incredible mother.
She recommended me for an online teaching position. This was a good transition job that kept me in the education field. However, it was a step back as far as ikigai examples were concerned. I didn’t get to interact with students in the same way and inspire them to love math. It was a much less passion-driven way of teaching.
Regardless, I was grateful for the opportunity. I used this time to build connections and show that I am a hardworking teacher that is willing to learn and take on any challenge that come my way.
One Step Closer
Before long, there was an opening for a job as the head of the department. I hadn’t had much experience managing a team, but used my growth mindset to take on the challenge and see what I could learn.
This job used many of my strengths, but it also involved many of the same negatives from being a classroom teacher. There was still students and parent entitlement, but this time, I was an admin member who was actually in charge of resolving conflict. Just when it seemed that I would be stuck in an ikigai loop, I found my ikigai.
My Ikigai Example
All of the best ikigai examples you will read about involve jobs that use passions and strengths to make a difference in the world.
I managed to land a job as a developer who could write and design engaging instructional content for our school’s courses. As such, I am currently a web developer that specializes in developing engaging and interactive educational content for online schools.
This position allows me to use my strengths and passions. My job challenges me to find new and exciting ways to present educational content in engaging ways. I get to do this using technology, another skill I have been passionate about since I used to fix my parent’s computer as a child.
Education and technology are two things that the world deeply needs. We have a need to be more connected than ever. People rely on technology to help them perform many of the daily activities that they have built their lives around.
My work provides me with a great sense of meaning and purpose. I feel fulfilled in my job knowing that I am creating content that helps young people learn and develop their own passions that they will in turn use in their own ikigai pursuits.
Above all, most importantly, my job allows me to work from home and balance my home and professional lives. This is something that every other job I have ever had has been missing. My job allows me to prioritize my love for my family, while applying skills I am passionate about, to make money, while performing a valuable service that the world needs.
This job is directly in the centre of my ikigai diagram.
This is my ikigai. I live it, and I work it. And, I absolutely love my job!
What is Your Ikigai?
Your ikigai is a personal combination of what you love and what you are good at. We all end up feeling stuck in life at some point. But applying these traits to help the world while supporting yourself will lead to discovering your very own ikigai examples!
If you haven’t found yours yet, don’t give up! We all end up feeling stuck in life at some point, and it will take time, trials, and plenty of failures. And you will have many jobs that don’t feel like ikigai examples. But remember that every job teaches you something useful if you are willing to listen, learn, and grow.
As the ikigai examples I shared have shown, if you keep your compass aligned toward your passions and strengths, you will find your life passion and purpose and work that lights a fire in your soul!
Remember to grab your Ikigai Workbook, and watch my ikigai story on our YouTube channel to learn how to use the ikigai diagram to find your ikigai!
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, these ikigai examples could be just what they need!