In our book book, Harriet talks about the Japanese philosophy of Ikigai (pronounced “eye-ka-guy”). It means “a reason for being.” At its core, Ikigai is the practice of balancing your spiritual and practical needs. By harnessing your Ikigai you will not only live a life with your needs met, but also a life of purpose. Today, I would like to discuss the areas of Ikigai as we want you to benefit from this philosophy. By balancing these core areas: what you love, what the world needs, what you can be paid for and what you are good at, you will find your Ikigai. Of course, you will get an even better understanding of it in my book, The Secrets To Living A Fantastic Life which goes into the philosophy in more detail.
In the above diagram, we see the four main circles overlapping and giving us four more attributes of Ikigai. These intersections are important to understand as they will lead to the balancing of one’s self. If you concentrate too much on one circle, it will pull you away from other circles. This will lead you to feeling burnout, exhaustion, anger, and even effect your physical well-being. All parts are equally important. You must be able to find the answer at each intersection, as an unanswered intersection will only leave you empty.
Your Mission is the combination of what you love + what the world needs. The human soul is ethereal, and we need more in our lives than money and objects. Often, people put so much focus into those areas that they forget to live for themselves. Your mission seeks to find you purpose by connecting you to the world.
Your vocation, or calling, is what the world needs + what you can be paid for. By knowing what your mission is, you can allow yourself to ask an important question: How do I keep it sustainable? What does the world need that you can be paid for? This is something many entrepreneurs forget to ask themselves.
Your profession is what you can be paid for + what you are good at. It’s not enough to be good at something, you also need to be able to live. That means you need to find a career that will bring you an income.
Your passion is what you are good at + what you love. We are not robots, and money is not everything. We must remember to feed our souls! Often when we burn out in the workplace, it is because our passion is being ignored.
All of these intersections must be respected for you to find your Ikigai. Take time and write down answers for each section and see if they match up to how you are living your life. Over time create a plan so the life you are living matches your Ikigai.