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What's Your Ikigai?

June 20, 2017



“What is My Life’s Purpose?"


As an Executive, Career and Life Coach focused on helping clients design and live fully inspired, integrated lives, “What is my life’s purpose?” is one of the more common questions clients identify as an area in need of clarity.



“I don’t really have a passion; I just know it isn’t this.”


I’ve been studying the Japanese concept of Ikigai this week. I’ve come across it before but it popped back on my radar, and I decided to dig into it a bit.



The word Ikigai combines two Japanese words: iki meaning life; alive and kai a benefit.  Ikigai is most often translated as “A reason for being,” or “The reason you get up in the morning.” Sounds luscious, right? 


I actually visualize myself in a sun filled room. The melody of birds welcoming me as I stretch, elbows pointed skyward, silly grin on my face, ready to take on the day like a fabric softener ad, “Ikigai!”


The second thing that comes to mind for me is coffee. Dark, French-pressed, steaming. Some days coffee is a rock-solid reason to get up in the morning. Whatever it takes right? But unless you are Howard Schultz, coffee is most likely not my or your Ikigai loved ones. If the first thing that pops into your head is coffee…read on. I think we can do better.


Luckily for all of us, the Japanese believe that everyone, just like Mr. Schultz, has an Ikigai.  They also believe that like a great cup ‘o joe, the search for it takes quite some time. So, if you are struggling to answer the question,