Welcome back for day 9 of my Happy.Healthy.Whole Project! Yesterday, on day 8, I laid out the goals that I am pursuing for my project during the month of October (my favorite month by the way).
Today, I am going explore my purpose in life and cross one of those goals off of my list in the process! The goal was to “Do the Ikigai activity” and fell under the “Find My Calling” category of my project.
I have even made you a free Find Your Ikigai Worksheet so that you can do this activity along with me if you’d like! Grab it now to follow along!
Did you know:
“In the United States, only 50 percent of employees say that they are satisfied with their work.”– Ken Robinson
To be honest, I would have guessed that the number of satisfied workers would have been lower than that. But either way, it’s not good news.
Are you part of the 50% that feels no passion or satisfaction in their work? Do you feel like you’ve found your life calling? Have you wondered how to find your purpose in life?
If you are still searching for your calling or purpose as I am, then this post is for you!
What Is Ikigai?
I first became aware of the term “ikigai” when I was doing some reading on the topic of life purpose and happiness and it just kept popping up! After the fourth or fifth time this word came up in my readings, I figured that I had better check it out.
So after some searching, I bought the book Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. I read this book and found it very interesting, only to find out they were just releasing a sequel to it which was more of a workbook-style how-to guide called The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way. (They were both great books, but if you only have time for one, get the second one!)
According to the authors of these books, Ikigai, is a Japanese word which roughly translates to, “the happiness of always being busy.”
Throughout the book, the word Ikigai is also used to describe a person’s:
- Reason for being.
- Reason for getting up in the morning.
- Life Purpose.
- Passion in life.
In the books, the authors present what has since become a very widely distributed ikigai diagram. The diagram illustrates the 4 things that contribute to the Japanese concept of ikigai. They are:
- What you love.
- What the world needs.
- What you can be paid for.
- What you are good at.
It is said that the intersection of these four topics is your ikigai – your passion, and that if you are able to identify your ikigai, it will lead to a fulfilling, happy, and meaningful life.
How To Find Your Purpose In Life With The Concept Of Ikigai
The book, The Ikigai Journey offers a rather straightforward exercise to explore your Ikigai. (I will lay out the process here in case you think that you would like to follow along – I would highly recommend it!)
The book says to draw one large square on a piece of paper and divide it into four quadrants – one for each of the 4 components of Ikigai as mentioned above.
Then, in each of the 4 quadrants, answer the following questions:
- What do I love to do? Don’t overthink this. Just write down anything at all that makes you happy.
- What does the world need right now? What problems does it have that needs solving?
- What can I be paid for?
- First, write down what has made you money in the past or present without worrying about whether or not it makes you happy.
- Second, write down some possible streams of income that you might be interested in for the future.
- What am I good at?
- First answer, “what am I already good at?”
- Next, answer “what things am I interested in that I could potentially become good at with practice?”
After answering these questions, the authors say to look for overlap or recurring themes throughout the 4 components of Ikigai. These recurring themes could give you an idea about your ikigai!
So following up on one of my October goals for my Happy.Healthy.Whole Project, I am going to complete the Ikigai activity below.
What I Love
- Nature and being outdoors.
- Trying new things.
- Travelling to new places and learning about different cultures.
- Reading, especially non-fiction types of books.
- Writing, again, mostly non-fiction type writing.
- Learning new things and skills.
- Using creativity.
- Solving problems.
- Being part of an athletic team/community.
- Working towards something and seeing progress.
What The World Needs
Again, in this section just do a brain dump of all the things you think the world needs right now. Don’t worry about whether or not these are problems you can help solve.
2020 is an interesting time… I could probably go on all day with what the world needs, but here are a few things off of the top of my head:
- Less hate, closed-mindedness, selfishness, and divisiveness.
- More kindness, unity, tolerance, acceptance, and equality.
- Better systems and institutions in the US including healthcare, police, politics, education.
- An answer to climate change, pollution, and global warming.
- To get healthier through nutrition and exercise.
- Better coping mechanisms to decrease chronic stress.
- To be able to sort through all the misinformation on the internet.
- Cures for diseases.
- To learn how to be happier.
- More work-life balance.
What I Can Get Paid For
How I Have Made Money In The Past:
- The standard 9-5 grind.
- Coaching & teaching people how to exercise properly.
- Working in a lab.
- Leading adventure tours in the outdoors: rappelling, kayaking, hiking.
- Teaching online classes on wellness, behavior change, nutrition, exercise science, anatomy and physiology etc.
In The Future I’d Like To Make Money:
- With my blog through affiliate marketing and sponsored posts.
- Selling online classes or health and wellness coaching online.
- Freelance writing, editing, and/or SEO.
- By being my own boss!
- With passive income.
What I Am Good At:
If you are anything like me, this is a harder list to write than you would think! To make this easier and more effective, don’t worry about whether or not the things you are good at could possibly be something you could get paid for etc. Just write down anything that comes to mind that you have a talent or aptitude for.
What I am already good at:
- Teaching & coaching people.
- Organization, planning, and logistics.
- Writing and communicating in a business setting.
- Finding a happy balance between being healthy and still living life to the fullest.
- Sticking to things even when they get tough.
- Solving problems and coming up with systems, workflows, and protocols.
- Sports, exercise, recreation and physical activity.
- Noticing details.
Things I am interested in and could potentially become good at through effort and practice:
- Running my own business and being an entrepreneur.
- Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing.
- Digital Photography.
- Basic graphic design.
- Basic website maintenance.
- Editing and proofreading.
Now that I’ve completed what would be the 4 quadrants of the Ikigai activity, it is time to look for the areas of overlap to get insight into my Ikigai.
When I look at my completed Ikigai activity, I find that there are a few repeating themes. Check out what I have learned about myself from this activity.
I both enjoy, and am good at: writing non-fiction, teaching and coaching others about wellness and mindset, using creativity to solve problems, and organizing and planning.
I have already made money coaching and teaching people about exercise, mindset, healthy habits, and nutrition.
I am interested in having my own business, helping people get healthier and achieve their goals, and having more freedom of schedule to travel and spend time outdoors.
I want to make money through my blog by either coaching online or designing classes about healthy habits, mindset, and happiness.
And the final check is… does the world need classes or coaching on the topics of healthy habits, mindset, and happiness?
I believe they do… but what do you think? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Don’t forget to download your free Find Your Ikigai Worksheet if you haven’t already!