SIWIKE tools : Ikigai – to help you find what you want

When people are looking to find their purpose and fulfillment it could be a very challenging exercise. Leveraging the retirement memo, the eulogy, or the “I want” exercise can be helpful. Another useful tool is the ikigai. Ikigai in Japanese roughly translates to “the reason you wake up in the morning quote. In French you hold say “raison d’être”. Or you can call it Purpose or fulfillment. 


Take for concentric circles and have them intersect at one point. One circle representing what you’re good at. The second: what you love to do. The third: what the world needs. The fourth: what the world will pay you for. That point in the middle is your Ikigai. I find that Ikigai is a useful concept to understand before doing the “I want” exercise. 


The Ikigai concepts help you self-reflect which can make the “I want” exercise easier. Take some time to list out what “you are good at”. They could be hard skills or soft skills. Rank them relative to each other. You can also use assessments like strengths finder to help you. If nothing comes to mind, ask your friends and family. 


Take time to list “what you love to do”. You don’t have to be good at them. If you can think of things that service other people and provide value for others those would be more likely to help you with the other circles. You might also want to consider what you aspire to be good at. If nothing comes to mind, ask your friends and family. 


Take a few minutes to see if you can find the intersections of “what you are good at” and “what you love to do”. The higher the rank for each of them the better. If something is a relatively new thing that you picked up and have started to get good at it or started liking it then note that and move it up your rankings appropriately. 


You can then take a look at “what you are good at” combined with “what you love” and see what aspects could provide value to others. Value is typically provided in either entertainment or utility.


Then it’s a matter of taking “what you’re good at”, “what you love doing”, and “what the world values” to see how you could get paid for it. See what companies do that. If you can’t find a company, you might have to broaden your scope or  go the entrepreneurial route. 


If you love basketball and are a good writer, perhaps you can work in public relations or marketing for a sports team. See if you can be a little bit more creative about how those might work together. 


Now depending on the lifestyle you want to live, “what the world will pay you for” it might not be a sustainable living. So you might need other options to make ends meet. Often times if you are doing something that you love you’ll spend more time on it which might make you become better at it. And if you are better at it, you would tend to get paid more for it. The other side would be to take what you’re good at and see what aspects you love about it to see if you could master it. Mastery tends to command a higher value than just being average. 


For those that do better with templates, find the ikigai brainstorm template FI YSA worksheet – Ikigai Brainstorm


Brainstorm your elements of the Ikigai, then do the “I want” exercise. You should hopefully have more inspiration. 


Also published on Medium.