IKIGAI, a concept originating from Japan, is quite trendy nowadays. Many individuals are searching for a deeper meaning and purpose in their lives. This Japanese concept of Ikigai offers a unique perspective: discovering one’s Ikigai can lead to a more meaningful and purpose-driven life. Why?
First, let’s see what “IKIGAI” means.
IKI is translated as "life" or "to live." In the context of Ikigai, "Iki" represents the life one leads or the act of living.
GAI is translated as "worth" or "value." In the context of Ikigai, it signifies a reason, a purpose, or something that makes life worth living.
So, combining "IKI” and "GAI" making the word "IKIGAI", you get the concept of "a reason for being" or "a reason for living." It's about finding a purpose or value in your life that gives you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. I do love, personally, the idea of “the reason to wake up in the morning."
Then, let’s have a quick look at the origin. The concept was born thanks to global studies leading to the discovery of places where inhabitants lived longer, healthier, happier, and more satisfied in many areas of their lives. It was then precisely in the archipelago of Okinawa in Japan where life expectancy was found to be the highest in the world. The region is even named “longevity village” or “island of centenarians.” It is also not surprising that Japanese culture considers harmony, balance, and the integration of various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and personal growth.
But how do you find your Ikigai, this reason for living, by self-reflection and exploration of 4 major aspects in everybody’s life:
what do you love
what you're good at
what you can be paid for
what the world needs
And your IKIGAI is precisely at the intersection of those four questions. Taking the necessary time to answer those four questions and work on the intersection drives to your own Ikigai. It's where your passions, talents, societal contributions, and financial stability converge, leading to a life filled with purpose and satisfaction.
It might take time and effort to find it, or it may come easily, but it’s worthwhile. And everybody has one’s Ikigai! The journey is not always straightforward. Ikigai is not static; it evolves over time. Looking for one’s own Ikigai is recommended every time you feel uncomfortable in a part of your life, regarding your job, or when there is a change in your life.
As a coach, I do like working with my clients on this concept, especially in career assessment or upon international mobilities. When people have a new “white page” to write, it’s precisely the moment where they can lead this exploration and self-reflection, and I guide them with other different tools, especially images, to give deeper insights. It is a valuable concept for personal development and well-being. I
In conclusion, finding one's Ikigai is a journey that can lead to a more meaningful and purpose-driven life. As you embark on your own journey to find your Ikigai, remember that it's a process of self-discovery, growth, and the path to a more fulfilling life.