Regardless of whether you are a leader, a mid-level professional or a business owner, developing your ‘ikigai’ will ensure that you find career fulfilment. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life. Our ikigai is different for each of us, but one thing we have in common is that we are all searching for meaning.
Ikigai provides a holistic framework that helps you make balanced and informed career choices. The Venn diagram below outlines the framework. The 4 outer circles represent what you love to do, what you are good at, what the world needs and what you get paid for. When you look at this framework more closely you will see that the ikigai is the place where your passion, mission, vocation and profession intersect. This is where you will find true career fulfilment.
In a world full of distractions and information overload, the ikigai framework can help reduce the overwhelm and identify what is important in your professional life. By understanding this, you will be able to gain clarity, make the necessary changes and take action to achieve your desired professional goal. Answer the questions below to understand how this framework will help you to create career fulfilment.
1. What do you love doing?
As the saying goes, “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life”. This area is to identify what activities you love doing, either in your job or hobbies. Spend some time to reflect on the following questions:
- What activity makes it feel like time is flying?
- What would you still do even if you didn’t get paid?
- What can you not stop talking about outside work?
2. What are you good at?
The next area is to recognise what activities come naturally to you. It is highly likely that these activities are activities that you love to do also. Keep note of the activities that you are good at and that you enjoy. Some questions to consider include:
- What do your friends and family come to you for to get advice?
- What are you proud of?
- Does developing your skills in this area excite you
3. What can you get paid for?
The next area is to identify activities that you have been paid for. From the list of activities that you are good at and that you enjoy, double check have you been paid for any of these activities previously? When changing career, it is important to check if the new job will have activities that you enjoy doing and you are good at, but also that it will provide the financial security that you require. Three good questions to help you in this area would be:
- Is this something people are willing to buy?
- Does this give you the income you want, in the medium and long term?
- Are you making a living in the job you are currently working in?
4. What does the world need?
The final area is to identify what does the world need. Once you have secured a job with activities that you are good at, you enjoy doing and which meets your financial expectations, then it is about what impact do you want to give the world. Review these questions:
- What skills and knowledge do you have that the world needs?
- What kind of contribution would you love to make in life?
- Is there a demand for what you are doing in 10 or 20 years?
Once you have reflected and completed these 12 questions, spend time and identify what types of careers will provide activities that you love doing, you are good at, there is a need for and you will be paid for. Once you have identified this, you have found your ikigai and your career fulfilment.
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