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Leadership Capsules

Update your leadership abilities in a few minutes

Ikigaï

By Antoine Bebe


After the turmoil due to setting up in lockdown situation, whether you are working remotely or not working, you will find that you have a lot of extra time or a different time schedule. This is where an extraordinary situation may also bring in some opportunities. Amongst them, it may offer you the time for re-assessing what really motivates you, where you can bring a real contribution to the world and how to earn a living with passion. The Japanese use one single world - Ikigaï – to express what drives you to get up in the morning with enthusiasm. It is about what is worth living for.

Ikigaï can be used as a powerful model for personal development and a great tool for coaching. Its power comes from the integration of 4 circles: what you like to do, what is meaningful and contributes to a purpose, what you are good at, and what you can earn a living from.

The model also shows that you need all four dimensions to reach your Ikigaï. For instance, if you earn your living with what you are good at and you love to do, this is great, but you might feel purposeless. If you bring a contribution to the world doing what you love and are good at but are not paid for it, you might after a while get some frustration. If you are good at what you do and earn good money but yet you do not love what you do, you will feel emptiness after a while. And if you get paid for doing something meaningful that you love but for which you not good at, you may feel insecure or illegitimate.

Finding one’s Ikigaï is a process. Accept that the process may stretch over several weeks or months for the first phase and that it is always useful to update it throughout your life. A major personal goal in life is to attune oneself with one's Ikigaï.

Tips :

  • Start by writing down what you are good at, all the talents, skills and knowhow that make you special, that you can rely on, and that others recognize in you.

  • Then move on to the purpose. What could be your mission, which is something that you value and is contributive to a large system. A large system is a system you belong to and that is larger than yourself alone. If is a group of people, it could range from your family to humankind. If it is a space, it could be a specific location, a city, a country or the Earth. It also may be immaterial as a profession, a culture, a philosophy or a religion. Authorize yourself to dream, to be creative, to be open to new and creative ideas. Go back to them every few days as finding one’s Ikigaï is an iterative process. Accept that your current situation might somehow be frustrating and focus on the kind of dynamics you want to achieve in the 4 circles.

  • When you have a rough sketch of the activities that could be at the core of your Ikigaï, try and test them out as soon as possible to get feed-back from yourself and from your environment. You will then be able to adjust them.

To discover more:

Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life, by Héctor Garcia & Francesco Miralles