Why it is less about finding purpose and more about defining your Ikigai to find fulfillment

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

In 2010 I graduated high school, diploma in hand, ready to dive into the unknown, attend college, and land a great corporate job. I worked my ass off to get great grades all throughout my school years, while participating in athletics and clubs, while having a social life. I landed the job I wanted as a consultant at a massive corporation. Finally. It all paid off. I was there! In the big corporate job. A few months into the job, I looked around and realized how miserable everyone looked. It took me a few short years to find out this wasn't what I actually wanted. It took me another year to gain the courage to leave. This "dream job" was not what I was meant to be spending my life doing.


There seemed to be a game of tug a war inside of the average American between fulfillment verses ego. It was as if only a select few had both and it took years of struggle before they got there. People either had these crazy dreams, yet no sense at how to make it a reality. Others knew how to bring in money, yet had no sense of fulfillment.


In America we use the word purpose to describe what we want to do with our lives from a work standpoint. Why else would we be here? it must be to work on something. Although we generally have good intentions when talking about finding purpose, we miss something massively important. Something that the Japanese have mastered.


In Japan, they use the term, Ikigai, which stands for your "reason for being." It is the reason you get up in the morning. It is the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for. It is your passion, profession, vocation, and mission all in one. It is freeing, it is challenging, it is transformational, it contributes to your overall fulfillment.


In Japan, they use the term, Ikigai, which stands for your "reason for being." It is the reason you get up in the morning. It is the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for. It is your passion, profession, vocation, and mission all in one. It is freeing, it is challenging, it is transformational, it contributes to your overall fulfillment.


So how do you find your Ikigai?

This unfortunately doesn't happen overnight. And it isn't something that can be forced. This comes with greater internal understanding and experience of trying different things. It is a combination of intellect and intuition. The Yin and the Yang. The heart and the mind. It first requires deep self exploration into your being. Who you are at your core, what your gifts are, where you see pain in the world, where you feel compelled to make the world a better place, how you can best help others. Then experiment with trying things that align with the core of who you are. It is perfectly okay to try out different jobs. What do you absolutely LOVE doing? What are you exceptionally good at? What does our world need more than anything? What pisses you off about the world or the people in it? Where do you want to help? How can you get paid doing this? (For more questions like this, check out my free Purpose Guide.)


This may take weeks or months. Make a list of everything you want to try and take the time to volunteer or get paid to go and do those things. Don't sit in wonder of whether you like it or not. Go and try it. State your desires to the universe and let the universe help you. Watch them unfold before you. Deep down your soul knows what it desires. And you don't need permission from me or anyone else to tell you to go and do that. You may want permission because culturally this might involve going completely against the grain, and that is what coaches can be utilized for. It may seem scary and massive to take on, but deep down your soul desires this. To live out your reason for being. And eventually you will get there. Just by reading this, you are well on your way there. If you are feeling stuck, find out your best method for expression, whether it is writing, talking, making music, or art and then go do that. Express yourself and let it come out naturally. Let it flow without overthinking and straining your mind.


Then what?

Come up with a few different beautiful options that light up your soul and picture yourself doing that job. How much do you like it? Does it help you become the best version of yourself? Are you fulfilling your mission for the world? If yes, the next step is to take inspired action and go for it! Creating a vision, putting the intention out into the universe, and doing everything that feels naturally in your realm of possibility to create what you desire. When you finally make this decision the soul of the world will conspire to help you get there. The clearer your desires are, the more the universe can help you. It may not always be easy. There will be people who won't support you, especially if risk is involved. Your loved ones want to keep you as safe as possible, but that is even more reason to surround yourself with people going after their ikiagis and living out their personal missions. It is quite crucial to have support throughout this process, whether it is a coach, a mentor, a group. Someone who has done this before and can be a word of wisdom. Life's decisions will become easier as your get into alignment with your actions and your desires. Your decision making will become easier as you have more focus and can filter your activities in relation to your ikigai. "Will doing this serve me in my mission towards my ikigai?" When you are living in alignment, life becomes simpler. Simple doesn't mean easy.


Your soul desires to be in alignment with your mission and your reason for being. From self exploration to self understanding to experimentation to self actualization, the answers all lie within the internal. Nothing is external. This process will take time. Allow yourself to be free from societal pressures and start exploring. Allow your Ikigai to guide you home. Your future self will thank you.


Check out my free Soul Purpose Guide on my website or reach out to me for coaching if you desire personalized attention with this process.


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