My take on Ikigai and finding your passion

I work with a lot of clients on exploring their Ikigai. Not with the aim to help them to working full-time in their Ikigai, but rather to get inspiration for finding it in different areas of their life.

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A lot of people have a profession; doing something they’re good at and that they therefor get paid for. Maybe they also work for a company that do good in the world and so work also feels meaningful although not necessarily fun. More and more people spend their free time doing good work for the world, hopefully loving that and using their talents for the good of others but they’re not getting paid for it. Some people climb the career ladder doing things they love, are good at and they get good money for it, but it’s not a company that really makes the world a better place and so there’s a nagging feeling of having more to give to the world.

You can look at the Ikigai in a thousand different ways but for me it’s more about finding a balance in between the circles. Spending our life chasing money doesn’t bring lasting satisfaction, only focusing on having fun doesn’t bring depth and meaning, doing things others wants us to do because we’re good at it usually leads to frustration and helping everyone else but not ourselves finally will deplete us. One doesn’t work without the other. We need a little bit of everything. In our whole life picture.

What my clients usually struggle with most is their passion or what they love. Finding it, keeping it, living it. But what is it really?

Many people are really frustrated because they don’t know what they want. And when you don’t know what you want, how can you know your passion.

I heard Elizabeth Gilbert talk about this in a similar way. She had been talking about finding your passion hundreds of times when someone from the crowd asked her to please stop because she felt really excluded. The woman in the audience had been searching for years but only felt drained and confused from not finding it. She writes about this a lot in her amazing book Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear but I also found this short blog post with her conclusions on it.

“Passion is a tower of flame, but curiosity is a tiny tap on the shoulder — a little whisper in the ear that says, "Hey, that's kind of interesting…"

Passion is rare; curiosity is everyday.”

What if we would just lower the bar and go for curiosity. Find it, keep it, live it. Everyday. Go where curiosity leads you and don’t worry about what will come next, because when you’re there the next step will be right in front of you. But not yet. Trust that it will be.

Looking at the Ikigai related to your life today, what comes up? Where are you lacking and what can you do to get closer or creating a better balance? And if you don’t know yet what you love, follow your curiosity to the next thing and trust that that will take you to where you want to be.

With all my love,