To Find Your Ikigai, Start with an Open Mind

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Often when I am connecting with people, I will bring up the concept of ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy). If you have not heard of it, it is a Japanese term that means “a reason for being” or your reason for getting out of bed in the morning. Check out the graphic below to get the gist of what this is all about: 

In order to get to your “sweet spot” or ikigai, you have to ask yourself a few “simple-yet not-easy-to-answer” questions: 

  • What do I love? 
  • What am I good at? 
  • What can I be paid/rewarded for? 
  • What does the world need? 

So where do we go from here? Well, this is where things get interesting. To kick off this process of exploration, you need to start with an open mind, don’t begin to shoot down your ideas as soon as they enter your head. You need to allow yourself to dream a little bit and get some things on paper; there will be plenty of opportunities to edit later. Once you start connecting with what you love and what you are good at, share it with someone you trust and who know you well to get a second opinion. They will most likely see something that you don’t see. 

Now you can let a little bit of the outside world in, do some research see what is in demand, and how fields that interest you are evolving. The only way you can uncover the life of your dreams is by taking steps in the direction of what lights you up. One conversation at a time, you can find out more about what your next move could be. The foundational principles of ikigai are vital to remember: have an open mind, stay curious, and adopt a learning mindset. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” 

Never stop evolving; you beautiful human!

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