Your ikigai is what motivates you to appreciate life every day, your reason for jumping out of bed in the morning. Ikigai is the confluence of what the world needs, what you can be paid for, what you are good at and what you love. The ikigai method says that if you have the right intentions, you will eventually find your true purpose.
Finding your ikigai is finding your “reason for being.” This is your reason to jump out of bed in the morning; your reason to look forward to Mondays instead of hating them. The questions below will help in your search for your ikigai. Answer these questions based on your current job and living situation, not on an aspired one.
12 question to find you ikigai
What you are good at
- Are you useful?
- Is what you do something others have asked your advice on?
- Are you among the best in your workplace at what you do?
- With more experience or education, could you master what you do?
What you love
- Do you do something you are truly passionate about?
- Could you talk about your work for hours on end enthusiastically?
- Are you emotionally connected to the results of your work?
- If money was not a factor, would you still be doing the same job?
What the world needs
- Are you helping to solve a problem?
- Is the marketplace demanding what you have to offer?
- Are people willing to pay (money, attention or time) what you have to offer?
- Will your work still be needed in 10 years from now?
What you can be paid for
- Have you been paid for what you do lately? If not, are other people being paid for similar work?
- Are you making a good living doing what you do? Or can you eventually make a good living doing this work?
- Is there a high amount of competition in your industry?
- Do you do your job better than others who do this?
The 4 steps to figure out your ikigai
Step 1: Answer all 12 questions decisively. The answers need to be either NO or YES.
Step 2: If you have answered YES to all 4 questions within a circle (for example, What the world needs), keep doing what you are doing!
Step 3: Spend your days focusing on checking off each circle by getting 4 YES answers. Do the work needed to make all answers in a circle YES — and make your next career choices with a focus on the completed circles.
Step 4: Once you have answered all 16 questions with a YES, congratulations! You have discovered your ikigai — your reason for being.
If you’re unhappy in your current job, ask yourself if it aligns with your true calling. If that’s not the case, you can change direction. There are countless opportunities to do so. The ikigai method says that if you have the right intentions, you will eventually find your true purpose.
It might take years or even decades to discover your reason for being. And what you feel is your life purpose today might not be as relevant when you re-evaluate it in 10 years. But you owe it to yourself to start looking. Find what makes you feel engaged and happy.
This article is an excerpt from my book. Interested in reading more?