Finding your purpose is a heavy concept! It’s usually not something we discover early on in life and it evolves as we grow older. But, it is an important thing to consider. Our lives are precious – we only get one – so applying a purpose to it gives it value and makes it worthwhile.
Now I’m not just talking about your career! Sure, that’s a part of your purpose but it’s important to understand that they’re not one in the same. Western culture often confuses job success and monetary wealth with happiness and fulfillment.
Your true purpose goes beyond your career and money and includes your passion, mission, and vocation as well. All of these things come together to create an overarching theme for your life that will be the driving force behind every action you take and decision you make.
So where do you even begin on this journey? I’ve got an amazing resource for you! This is something that I have recently stumbled upon and it really made the idea of finding a purpose an easier concept to understand. To top it off, it includes a bit of journaling, which I am always down for!
THE CONCEPT OF IKIGAI
Multiple studies have shown that the Japanese people have longer and happier lives compared to people living in other parts of the world. And it’s not because they drink miracle water or walk on sacred dirt. It’s majorly due to their culture and way of life. From very early on, they make finding and pursuing a purpose a high priority.
Of course, Japanese people work and make money, but they do not define themselves by their jobs or monetary wealth. They build their lives around their purpose, or Ikigai, which means “a reason for being.” This is the one thing that drives their lives and gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
This diagram breaks down the concept of Ikigai, or finding your purpose. Take a minute to just take it all in! It’s really fascinating.
CREATING YOUR IKIGAI CHART
I’m going to coach you through creating your own chart, so go ahead and crack open your journal! Take a whack at recreating this chart on your own (it took me a few tries) or print out this template. Start off by filling in the outer four spaces:
What you love
Write down everything that holds a place in your heart – family, hobbies, places, your business, etc.
What you are good at
This is everything you have some skill in, whether you can get paid for it or not. Include hard skills, soft skills, your best personality traits, and any special talents you may have.
What you can be paid for
Some of these may be the same as the last one, but in this space, you’re focusing on the skills you can be paid for. Essentially, these are your professional skills. Think of the degrees you may have and consider your past job experience to get ideas.
What the world needs
What global needs really touch your heart? What kind of changes would you like to see made in the world?
READING YOUR CHART
Now that you’ve filled your chart in, it’s time to start putting the pieces together. Begin by looking at the first set of overlaps.
What you love + What you are good at = PASSION
Whether you can create a career out of this or not, this is what sets your heart on fire. Whatever this is, it comes naturally to you and brings you joy.
What you are good at + What you can be paid for = PROFESSION
This may not get you as excited as your passion does, but it acts as a career path for you.
What you can be paid for + What the world needs = VOCATION
This combines your career with your destiny. This is where you can really use your skills to make a change in the world.
What the world needs + What you love = MISSION
Think of this as your mission statement. This is what you are, or can potentially be, driven to do in your life. Every company has a mission statement – what is yours?
JOURNAL IT OUT!
Now, look at the second set of overlaps. This will give you an idea of where you are on the journey of finding your purpose. Pay attention to the areas where you may not have as much written and use your journal to discuss.
For example, a lot of people know what kind of professions they can pursue, but aren’t so sure what their passion is. This can result in them feeling satisfied and comfortable with life, but they ultimately lack the feeling of usefulness and excitement.
Determine where your strong and weak areas are and think of ways in which you can improve. Already, you may be able to see your purpose in the making!
Use these journal prompts to dive deeper into your chart:
- Which one of the statements in the second set of overlaps do you identify with the most?
- Which areas of the chart do you think you’ve mastered?
- What world needs can you further educate yourself on?
- Do you think your current career path fits you and your purpose well?
- Do you spend enough time on things you love and are passionate about?
- What skills (paid or unpaid) are you most proud of?
- What actions can you take today to improve your chart?
- List 10 words that describe what you want your life to be.
- List 10 words that describe what you don’t want your life to be.
- Roughly, what do you think your purpose is?
I hope this concept and journal activity can help you bring more meaning into your life! I am a firm believer in having a full life, outside of a day job and unconnected with the societal pressures of success and money. It’s not easy finding exactly what that is but every person has a reason for being here. Everyone has their own set of skills, passions, and desires that make up their unique purpose. So now that I’ve helped you in finding your purpose, what will you do with it?!
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