Have you heard of the Japanese concept called "Ikigai?" Translated it means "the reason for being" or as we like to say...your purpose.
It's believed that when you discover your ikigai you'll find your purpose in life. I learned about this concept in the context of discovering my own gifts and how best to serve my clients by ensuring that I'm not only giving them what they need, but doing what I love. More importantly I learned the questions to ask to gain that clarity.
This model is both relatable and helpful and it's been helpful when working with my clients to uncover their authentic self, their why, and their purpose. With so many influencing factors in life (parents, partners, jobs, children, environments, etc.) it's not uncommon to loose touch with ourselves and loose sight of who we were meant to be. If we look back, at one point there seemed to be great clarity, in our youth, but disapproving comments or self-doubt caused us to go in an alternate direction.
As a result many of us went off track and just acquiesced. Our life stories no longer being written by us, but for us.
Here's the good news. It's never too late!
It's never to late to course correct and get back to who you were meant to be. You can use the ikigai as your guide.
The four questions to ask are simple, but require a lot of thought and self-examination. They are:
1. What do I love?
2. What am I good at?
3. What does the world need?
4. What can I be paid for? (this will inform your life's work)
The answers to these questions will help you identify your passion and mission in live and then how to translate that into the work you're meant to do in the world. You can explore these question in more depth in My Little Ikigai Journal by Amanda Kudo.
In order to get to the heart of these questions you'll have to embrace curiosity. Our self-critical natures will cause us to judge, critique, or limit our responses. In order to fully engage you'll have to quiet your inner naysayer and be curious about what you learn and what comes up.
Albert Einstein was always a champion of curiosity. He once said,
Don’t think about why you question, simply don’t stop questioning. Don’t worry about what you can’t answer, and don’t try to explain what you can’t know. Curiosity is its own reason.
If you're in midlife you're probably thinking, "I'm too old for this," or "it's too late to try and figure out what I want". I can't caution you enough against that line of thinking.
Don't think of this journey as starting over. In fact, you're ahead of the game. Through your discovery process, you'll become acutely aware of the varied and exceptional talents and skills you possess. All you need to do is take stock of that information and begin to explore how you can use it in a way that you love, gives the world what it needs, and find a way to make a living.
Watch my Facebook Live below where I talk more on this point and my own journey.
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