August 28, 2018

Discover Your ‘Ikigai’ for Professional and Personal Development






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If you’ve ever met a Japanese worker, you know what commitment and discipline mean. These people have something in them. That something makes them immune to distractions. No matter how hard they work, they seem joyful and fulfilled. We’ve seen this attitude in Japanese kids when cleaning their own schools, we’ve seen it conveyed through the soccer team at the 2018 World Cup, and we’ll see it in almost every Japanese person we meet.


What do these examples have in common? It’s the concept of ikigai.


Iki means life, and kai means achieving expectations and hopes. Ikigai is often translated as “the reason for being.” It’s the focus on that particular reason that reflects itself in everything you do.


But this is all philosophy. What does it have to do with entrepreneurs?


A lot! Your professional development is only an aspect of your personal development, and both these aspirations are encompassed by your ikigai. In terms of professional growth, ikigai means achieving the highest levels of engagement and productivity while reaching job satisfaction at the same time.


Ikigai is a combination of vocation, profession, mission, and passion. When you discover it, you’ll not only be aimed towards personal achievements, but you’ll also inspire your team to be more productive. Oh; now we’re getting somewhere, aren’t we? Making teams productive – that’s something all entrepreneurs can benefit from. So why don’t we dig a bit deeper in the concept of ikigai?


Discover Your ikigai and translate it into your business


Since we’re trying to relate ikigai to your business practices, let’s focus on these questions:

  • What do you love doing?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does your audience and the world need?
  • How can you combine all answers to the questions above? This final question will lead you to a purpose that brings value to society and fulfills your personal aspirations.


In other words, think of the mission statement of your business. It reflects what you love doing, what you’re good at, and what the world needs.


That’s the ikigai, the reason of being for your organization. When you’re trying to motivate your employees, that’s your starting point.


Encourage each employee to discover their own ikigai


The social media expert in your team should certainly know how to get around social media. That’s what the company needs. However, they should also love these platforms and the idea behind them. That’s what an  employee needs to achieve job satisfaction. They have to love what they are being paid for. Finally, the results of their actions should be useful for the audience they are directed to. Everyone should gain some kind of value. That’s ikigai – seeing the bigger picture that encompasses the results of your actions.


  • First, share your own ikigai, and the way you conveyed that concept throughout your business.
  • Invite each employee to share their own ikigai. Why did they opt for this career? How does it make them happy? How can they use their ikigai to make the company better? You can you turn this into a training session, which will prompt people to discover their purpose.
  • Meaningful conversation about life’s purpose will help the members of the team make better connections. They will feel they are working towards a greater cause, and they will understand each other better.


Ikigai: The ultimate way towards job satisfaction


When your employees discover their ikigai and relate it to their work, they won’t shorten their working hours. This won’t lead to an instant increase in their salaries.

The transformation, however, will make them happy to come to work every day. The motivation will result with greater productivity, and the improved productivity levels will lead to organizational growth. Ultimately, each individual within the business will benefit from that growth. Isn’t that what we’re all aiming for?  



Silvia Woolard is a professional writer at Best EssaysAu and novice entrepreneur from Phoenix, AZ. She mostly writes and works in a field of popular psychology and marketing. You can follow Silvia in her Twitter.





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