Ikigai – Answer these 4 questions to find your true purpose


The answers to these 4 simple questions are at the heart of your true purpose.

Ikigai (EE-key-guy) is a traditional Japanese concept that embodies happiness in living. Like many Japanese concepts, it’s comprised of two strong underlying ideas.

“Iki” = life

“Gai” = worth

It means, essentially, the thing that pops you out of bed in the morning.

The answers to these 4 basic questions will help you identify your own, unique Ikigai.

  1. What are you good at doing?
  2. What do you love to do?
  3. What does the world need?
  4. What does the world value?

Ikigai is commonly depicted by this powerful Venn diagram:

Although there are 4 questions (simple, yes, until you try to answer them), there are 2 main components.

  • You – and what you bring to the world (see my blog on Your SuperPowers)
  • The world – and how you can share YOU in a way that meets its needs and values

Identifying what you bring to the world becomes easier as you gain experience. If you’re in the last third of your career, and ready to find your LAST.BEST.JOB., you may already know with confidence what you bring to the world.

Today, with humans connected on a global level and technology advancing daily in ways our ancestors couldn’t imagine, identifying how you can share YOU with the world in a way that meets its needs and values is a sky’s-the-limit venture.

In these powerful words by Howard Thurman:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs
Ask yourself what makes you come alive
And then go do that
Because what the world needs
is people who have come alive”

Know what makes you come alive, then turn on your creativity or tap into the creativity of others. There is a way to do what makes you pop out of bed in the morning, and get paid generously while you’re at it.

Lorri Anderson

Lorri Anderson

Lorri Anderson is an expert consultant to businesses and a powerful coach to individuals. After a long and rich career as a strategic HR executive, she is driven to give back by changing the Human Experience in today’s workplaces, one business or human at a time.

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