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Finding your ikigai – Do these 3 steps steps in finding ikigai (+Free Checklist)

What is the meaning of ikigai?

Before, finding ikigai, let’s try to understand ikigai first. Ikigai, which translates to “reason for being,” is a Japanese concept.  The Japanese words for “life” and “value” are “iki” and “gai,” respectively.  Your ikigai is your true self, your happiness.  It’s what makes you happy and motivates you to get out of bed each morning. Read more on ikigai here

Why is finding ikigai so crucial?

Women can expect to live 88.09 years on average in Japan, while men can expect to live 81.91 years on average.  While it’s true that diet has an impact, many Japanese people think ikigai plays a significant role in their longevity and quality of life. Knowing your ikigai will not only help you live a longer and happier life, but it will also:

  • Create your ideal work environment.
  • Establishing strong social ties at work and striking a healthy work-life balance
  • Go after your career goals.
  • Having fun at work

Knowing and comprehending your ikigai will put you in alignment with the work you’ve always wanted to do and what the world expects you to do.

finding ikigai
finding ikigai

Here are 3 simple steps to help you to finding ikigai :

Step 1. Answer some fundamental questions to finding ikigai

1. What do you love?

If you’re working professional:

  • Are you really into what you do?
  • Do you look forward to going to work more than you look forward to leaving work?
  • Do the results of your work make you feel something?

If you have an interest or skill, like a hobby or craft:

  • Do you love your hobby or craft so much that you can’t stop doing it?
  • Does your hobby or craft make you happier than anything else?
  • Do you feel something when you do your hobby or craft?

2.What do you do well?

If you’re working professional:

  • Do people ask you for advice on things that have to do with your job?
  • Do you find it easy to do some parts of your job?
  • How good are you at what you do?
  • Are you an expert at what you do? Do you aspire to be an expert?

If you have an interest or skill, like a hobby or craft:

  • Do you get compliments on your hobby or craft, if you have one?
  • Do you find it easy to do your hobby or craft?
  • Do you have a hobby or craft that you’re really good at?
  • Are you good at your hobby or craft? Do you want to be good at it?

3. What do we need in the world?

If you’re working professional:

  • Does the market think your work is in high demand?
  • Think about what your efforts at work will be worth in the next year, next decade, and century.
  • Are you working towards solving any of social, economic, or other important problems?

If you have an interest or skill, like a hobby or craft:

  • Does the market want or need what you do as a hobby or craft?
  • Will your hobby or craft still be useful in the future?
  • Does your hobby or craft help people, the economy, or the environment?

4. For what can you get money?

If you’re working professional:

  • Do other people get paid to do the same work that you do?
  • Do you make a good living from what you do?/Will you be able to make a good living from what you do?
  • Is there enough competition for your work to keep it interesting?

If you have a hobby or craft,

  • Ask yourself if other people have made a living doing the same thing.
  • People around you have asked if they can buy what you do or make, right?
  • Does what you do or make have a healthy amount of competition?

If you answered “yes” to every question in the “If you are a working professional” section, keep doing what you’re doing! If you said “yes” to every question in the “If you have a hobby or craft” section, congrats! You can do things to turn your hobby into the job of your dreams. Start by going to step 2.

What if you told them no? Don’t worry. Keep reading to find out more about how to find your ikigai.

Step 2. Brainstorm to finding ikigai

Spend some time picturing your perfect day from beginning to end. Even if you don’t believe it, this will help you find your ikigai and your real purpose in life. What do you have on? Who do you want to talk to? What do you have in mind? Think about how you feel. How do you feel when you’re at work?

Make sure to write down what you see when you’re done (or write it down as you see it). Next, look at the questions to which you said “no.” Spend some time coming up with ideas and writing down small changes you can make to get closer to your goal. Align this with what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for.

For example, did you say “no” to the question “Do you feel emotionally connected to the results of your work?” You might prefer to work with clients in person instead of over the phone, or you might want to apply for a leadership position at work. Or, if you said “no” to the question “Does your hobby or craft seem natural?” You might need to take some classes to improve your skills so that your work feels more natural. During this process, your main goal should be to find your ikigai.

During this time, it’s normal to feel doubt, fear, or have bad thoughts. It can feel hard to think about your future. The trick is not to give your doubts and fears meaning. You are tougher and more flexible than you think.

Step 3. Do some research to finding ikigai

You can now imagine what your perfect workday would look like. Now, you might want to think about studying, doing research, taking classes, or hiring a coach or mentor. This step can help you figure out if your vision is in line with what you want to happen in real life.

You might want to be a wedding photographer, for example. But after working with a professional wedding photographer, you decide it’s not for you. Or, you might have wanted to sell vintage clothes, but after looking into how to do it, you decided you didn’t want to keep up with that much stock.

If you go through this process and find that your vision matches your real-life expectations, then congrats! It looks like your search ends here & you have found your ikigai. Read the next section to find out how to set it up. If the opposite is true, don’t worry, it can take a while to find your ikigai.

Repeat steps one through three until you find your ikigai. If you still can’t find it, you might want to try out different roles and/or crafts. It doesn’t matter if you bake cakes, learn how to code, help out, start a book club, or make a logo. Try different things until you find what you like.

Even if you find your ikigai, that doesn’t mean you’ll love everything about your job. It means you are willing to accept even the parts that aren’t so good. This is because your job matches what you love to do, what you get paid to do, and what the world needs.

Understand more on ikigai & finding ikigai here

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