What Does Ikigai Mean? And How To Find Yours

What does Ikigai mean?

Pronounced ick-ee-guy.

I first came across the word Ikigai after hearing Ross Edgley speak about it.

It’s a Japanese word meaning ‘a reason for being.’

Ikigai is that sweet spot between the following four things:
– what you love
– what you’re good at
– what the world needs
– what you get paid for

Check out this wonderful picture I stole from the internet to give you a better understanding:

In the past, my Ikigai was to take care of people in my beauty salon – I painted their nails and tweezed their eyebrows to perfection.

As I’ve gotten older my career plans and personality have changed, but I’ve always had the ‘looking after others’ and creative vibes.

After closing my beauty salon it took me 5 years to find my Ikigai. Every time I thought I found it, I realised it wasn’t right for me. One or more of the four sections were missing.

Then one day I found it and I knew it was right.

How to find your Ikigai

Clients and friends ask me ‘how do I find my Ikigai?’

My recommendations are:

The List
– Write a list of the things you love – include small and big things
– Write a list of the things you are good at – the things that come naturally to you
– Include on these lists the things you are curious to try

The Actions
– Be confident and curious to try new things – start a new hobby between work, mix with new groups of people
– When you get a feeling for something, go with it

The most important thing to know is, it can take years to find your Ikigai. It’s like kissing frogs to find a prince or princess – you have to kiss many to get the one you’re looking for.

I can’t tell you how many things I tried in the 5 years between closing my beauty salon and where I am now. There are not enough pages on the internet to write that list ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was a Fitness Instructor, PA, Personal Trainer, Events Organiser, Professional De-Clutterer (yes, that is a thing) – each time thinking I’d found my ‘thing’ only to get disappointed a few months later.

A great example of someone finding their Ikigai

I’ll give an example of my housemate Katie.
We are in week 6 of lockdown during COVID-19. We’re both freelance and our work has dropped significantly, so we busy ourselves on building our businesses for the future. I feel as though during this time we have both found our Ikigai. We didn’t go looking for it, it just happened.

Katie is a journalist and writes restaurant reviews and about travel and fitness. She LOVES cooking! And she is amazing at it! (I can honestly say, I have never eaten this well in my entire 37 years!)

All she ever talks about is new recipes. She is a terrible sleeper and admits to laying in bed thinking about new meals she wants to make.

Last week, she built a website for her recipes. There was no business plan, strategy meeting or planning, She cracked straight on and made it because she really wanted to do it!

I believe she has found her Ikigai and within a year or so she will:
– have a successful food website
– still love cooking
– spread joy throughout the world with her gorgeous dishes
– begin making money from sharing her recipes

She is fulfilling her Ikigai plan. And it happened without trying. She did it because she loves it and it’s what comes naturally to her.

So here’s the million dollar question…..

What’s the thing you wake up for each morning?
What’s the thing you think about all the time?
What’s the thing you’ve had a burning desire to do for ages?

Get started with these questions, take some steps in the right direction and each day you will be one day closer to finding your Ikigai.

Final words

Opportunity doesn’t come to find you. You have to go looking for it.

I really enjoyed writing this blog. I hope you enjoyed it too.
Have you found your Ikiagi or are you still looking?
Come and find me on social media and let me know what you think of this wonderful Japanese word.