Are You in Touch with Your Ikigai?

All this talk about Professional Branding is great, but it’s kind of useless if you don’t know what you want to do, right?

In the search for perfection or getting it right, we often get stuck where we are, for fear of getting it wrong. We sit around analyzing. We worry about making another wrong move. We avoid pursuing new jobs for fear that we won’t get it right.

You don’t have to be one of those people that has your entire life figured out before you make a change.

You know the ones, the people who had their life figured out by the time they were 15? A friend of mine in high school made it his goal to become president. Full on president. Of the United States. He knew that’s what he was going to do, and he’s doing all the things now that will hopefully get him there one day. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he was set on making it happen.

But if you know that where you are, isn’t where you want to be, then it’s time to make a change.

Do you *kind of* know what you want, but aren’t sure about all the specifics? You know you want something different from what you’ve got, but you’re not sure what exactly? If you fall in this category, I’m here to tell you that you deserve happiness. I’ll say it again. You deserve happiness, even if you don’t have it all figured out just yet.

Introducing Ikigai

Ikigai is roughly translated to mean “reason for being”. (Image credit: Toronto Star)

While traveling in Japan, I talked with a number of professionals about Ikigai. They talked about it as your soul, or your way of life. Ikigai is roughly translated as your “reason for being”.

You don’t have to postpone happiness in order to figure out your Ikigai.

I’m of the opinion that the secret to your Ikigai lies in your past and what you’ve done, not in your future. In other words, you don’t have to be like that friend of mine from high school who knows he wants to be president. You probably aren’t going to figure out your Ikigai and then go make it happen.

Instead, your Ikigai finds you.

With each step forward that you take in your career, you get closer to finding your Ikigai. Maybe in your next job, you do a little less of the work you hate, and a little more of the work that interests you. Or you take on a totally new challenge that interests you.

By taking small steps forward (away from what you don’t like, and towards things that interest you), you get closer to figuring out why you’re on this earth in the first place.

You’ll learn a little about yourself along the way. That new challenge that interested you? It might not be that interesting once you’ve gotten into it.  But there may just be a small part of that challenge that ignites a passion inside you, and helps you find a strength you didn’t even know you had.

That’s worth figuring out, don’t you think?

So instead of thinking you have to know your Ikigai to move forward, consider that your Ikigai is already inside you, waiting to be found as you move up in your career or over into a new career.

Take that first step, and get one step closer to discovering your own Ikigai. You can start by learning more about how Professional Branding can help you get one step closer to doing work that you love.

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