In a world filled with hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly makes us happy and fulfilled. Enter the Japanese concept of ikigai, a beautiful philosophy that can help you find your purpose in life and even apply it to the world of entrepreneurship. Ikigai, pronounced “ee-kee-guy,” is a blend of two Japanese words: “iki,” which means life, and “gai,” which means worth or value. It essentially translates to “a reason for being.”
I discovered this concept in 2022 when I bought this book (Ikigai; The Japanese Secret to a Long &Happy Life by Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles) for my bridesmaids as part of their thank you gifts; I couldn’t stop myself from buying a copy for myself!
It’s important to note, that even though the best selling book has the below Venn diagram on its back, the Venn diagram itself is NOT the Japanese meaning/concept of Ikigai, rather a way it can be used with regards to career or entrepreneurship.
This article explains this very well: https://ikigaitribe.com/ikigai/ikigai-misunderstood/
I’ve always found the advice “follow your passions” (specifically to build your business) to be problematic.
For me, this is why so many people struggle and consider themselves bad business owners. They are told to monetise their passion.. but no one checks if it is indeed monetisable! If something isn’t monetisable, it’s a non-starter as a business.
Case in point, charitable or philanthropic endeavours are not monetisable in the classic way; people will rally around a cause, but if your target audience are people who have no money and you want to help them change that… they can’t pay you with money they don’t have!
This is why, for me, the purpose approach is so powerful and helpful for entrepreneurs. By balancing the four areas, we end up with a business that thrives AND aligns with your personal values.
Entrepreneurs who find their purpose in their business ventures are more likely to stay motivated, creative, and resilient in the face of challenges. By aligning their business with their personal values and what truly drives them, they not only find success but also a sense of fulfilment that goes beyond the bottom line.
Finding your purpose and your ikigai can be a lifelong journey. It’s about understanding your true self and aligning your actions with your values.
It doesn’t have to be found in your business, but in life, balancing the four aspects by pursuing a creative hobby, helping others, OR building a fulfilling business, ikigai reminds us that the path to happiness isn’t just about wealth or success but also about personal satisfaction and making a positive impact on the world.