Find your Life Purpose with Ikigai
When you find your life purpose, it can transform everything. You get up with a spring in your step, you feel energised and you have greater resilience to see yourself through any challenges. As a Life & Career Coach, it’s like the Holy Grail! Finding life purpose is one of the topics I support my coaching clients with the most. Here I share with you a really powerful tool to help you discover your life purpose and a few little stories I hope will inspire you.
Some people are born with a sense of life purpose. Some find it as they move through their career. Whilst others feel like it’s something that only other people can attain and wonder if it’s ever possible for them. I believe that we were all born with an innate life purpose. This doesn’t mean that we all need to save the world, become Prime Minister or teach disadvantaged children in Africa. It means that in our own small way, in our own little world, we can do our bit to champion whatever we believe in, be that uplifting others with our sense of humour, encouraging others to be more loving and forgiving or bringing each other together so we all feel less alone and more connected.
I do also believe that it is possible for us all to find our life purpose through our work. And I’m going to share a nifty little tool to help you with that! I’ve long since been drawn to Eastern ways of thinking and this one comes from Japan. It’s a concept called ‘Ikigai’ which translated literally means ‘a reason for being’. I like to think of it as a reason to spring out of bed in the morning. I found my Ikigai in my mid to late 30s and it feels like it is getting stronger and stronger all the time as I refine what I do and hear the stories of my clients’ transformation.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning 'reason for being'
Your Ikigai lies in the centre where your passion, mission, vocation and profession intersect (I knew that Maths A-level would come in handy one day). We’ll take a look at each of those now and I’ll share with you what my Ikigai is (although you’ve probably already guessed!)
1. Finding Your Life Purpose: Passion
What things do you love to do? What do you lose yourself in? What things make you lose track of time because you’re so absorbed in them? Think of both inside and outside of work. If you’re struggling, think of the things you loved doing as a child which you have lost touch with now. For me, self-development and spirituality have been my passions for most of my adult life. They are the only things I ever truly lose myself in reading about. I love working with clients and finding out their passions and enabling them to live better, happier lives.
2. Finding Your Life Purpose: Mission
Is there a problem you see in the world that you want to solve? Is there a cause that you’d love to champion? Or maybe a difficulty you have been through yourself which you’d love to help others with? I struggled being in the corporate world and felt like a part of me was getting lost. I spent months (if not years) trying to find a way through until I finally took the plunge and became self-employed. My mission is to support others who are struggling in their work and feeling lost and enabling them to come out the other side and do work which is more joyful and in alignment with who they truly are. Because I believe that life is too short to be stuck.
3. Finding Your Life Purpose: Profession
Looking throughout your career, what are the things you are good at doing? What would you say are your most important transferable skills? Pay particular attention to the skills you love using and the ones that other people know you for. And how about any skills you have outside of the workplace which you use in your hobbies or home life? In my role as a Retail Buyer, I wouldn’t say I particularly excelled in any of the most obvious areas but what I was good at was nurturing my small team and enabling them to be the best they could be. I spent time with them as it mattered to me. At the time, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to this, but looking back I think there was definitely a clue as to where my heart truly lied!
4. Finding Your Life Purpose: Vocation
Unless you don’t have to earn a living anymore, chances are you can’t exist on passion, mission and profession alone! So finding work which you can also be paid for is a crucial element to making this work. In my experience as a Coach, this is where a lot of limiting beliefs can arise. I recommend that you check in with your thoughts on this area and get really clear on how much you want to earn from combining your passion, mission and profession. And that starts with you believing in your own worth! My coaching clients are willing to invest in themselves. They see the power in it and by putting a value on their happiness, they become an attracting force for the rewards they seek.
I have witnessed some great success stories from clients who have discovered their Ikigai:
- Jenny who, in her 40s, decided to leave her HR career behind, re-ignited her lifelong passion for fashion and discovered a career as a Style Coach where she is now supporting and empowering women to find their inner glow by finding their own style.
- Emanuela transformed her passion for science and her mission for teaching children about micro-organisms into becoming an Author of children’s science books.
- Sue combined her profession as an illustrator and love of art with her deep desire to help people by becoming an Art Psychotherapist so she can support those with mental health difficulties to find peace and healing.
If you’d love to find your Life Purpose, what action are you going to take as a result of reading this?
I recommend that you have a bit of a brainstorm under each heading and make some notes in your journal (trying to resist any judgement!) Also make a note of any limiting or self-critical thoughts which come up as you do this. They are clues to any blocks you may have which could get in the way of you finding you Ikigai.
Trust what emerges from this and don’t worry too much if it doesn’t give you immediate clarity. Sometimes, just sitting with this and giving yourself mental space will allow the clarity to arise. Go for a walk in nature – it’s a cure all for when we’re stuck! I’d love to hear what arises for you in the comments below.
Here’s to you finding your Ikigai (and enjoying it when you do!)
Do you need some extra support to find your Life Purpose?
Sometimes, we need a helping hand to enable us to find the clarity we’re looking for and to hold us to account to take the action we know we need to. I work with clients on topics such as finding life purpose, releasing limiting beliefs and building confidence. If you’re interested in working together, simply drop me a line or request a Coaching Taster Session where we can chat through your individual needs and you can get a feel for whether I might be the right Coach for you.