Ikigai is a Japanese term that combines the characters for "life" and "worthwhile". The best translations would be "raison d' être" in French or "life purpose" in English. Your Ikigai is this place where you are able to combine what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for and what the world needs.
If you have a passion, a mission, a vocation and a profession then you have your Ikigai, your purpose in life, the reason why you get up in the morning. But what if you are still searching? Finding your Ikigai doesn’t happen overnight for some of us, it may be a life-long process.
If you are still searching, the model is helpful in understanding what may be missing from your current situation and in explaining the "not quite right" feelings that you may be experiencing. Let's look at the dotted lines in the model.
If you are feeling:
... satisfied but not quite fulfilled, you may be in a job you are good at and that pays well but it does not satisfy your sense of doing something you love or that is worthwhile.
... comfortable but empty, you may be missing some "fire in the belly" or be totally bored for having been there too long.
.... excited about what you do while not being totally clear that this is the right place for you, you may be feeling insecure about your abilities to stay in that position.
... delighted and full but struggling to make ends meet, you may be missing the security of a regular paycheck.
So how do you find your Ikigai? The book "Designing Your Life- How to build a well lived, joyful life" by Dave Evans and Bill Burnett from Stanford University d.school provides an excellent framework for enquiring into what may be missing in your life and how to move forward. Engaging with a coach is an alternative worth considering.
And even if your Ikigai does not realize itself immediately, it can serve as your Inner Compass while navigating your current life and circumstances.
Follow your Ikigai. Happy discovery.