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What's Your Ikigai?

“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, “What is my reason for being?” you are right where you should be, and at great place to begin.

Researching Ikigai I found a great Venn diagram illustrating the four components:

  • What you love to do

  • What you are good at

  • What the word needs

  • What you can get paid for

I love a simple Venn, for the neat and tidy way it creates a focal point for excellence. Looking at the Ikigai Venn, made me realize that In my coaching practice, I help clients find their Ikigai, but for me it boils down to a simple two-step process:

Internal - Knowing You

Gaining clarity on your strengths, passions and what gives you (or depletes your) energy. The first step is doing the internal work to really know yourself. (request my complimentary SECRET SAUCE FINDER WORKBOOK)

External- Alignment

This is all about alignment. Once you are clear on your secret sauce (the essence of you), you look outward to find a place in your system (community, company, etc) that needs what you bring.

My experience is that the internal work is the magic maker. It is also the part that makes it a long process. It is the journey of self-discovery. The journey that shifts you from complacency to creator in your own big bold life. Also, once you are clear on who you are, and your personal Secret Sauce, alignment happens quickly.

In my practice my Venn looks more like this:

It’s different in that I dedicate three circles to internal work (to find and create your Secret Sauce) and only once you are clear do you then align to where there is a need for the value you bring to the world.

If you are interested in beginning the exploration to find your ikigai, send me a note and request my Secret Sauce Finder as my gift to you! It is filled with journal prompts, exercises and words of inspiration intended to jump start you in the journey to creating your own Big Bold Ikigai filled Life!

Make a Moment, Make a Day, Make a Life!


actually visualize myself in a sun filled room. The melody of birds welcoming me as I stretch, elbows pointskyward, silly grin on my face, ready to take on the day like a fabric soft

#LifePlan #CareerPlan #mindfulness #LifeCoaching #Ikigai

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