Find your Ikigaï : Step-by-Step Guide

– Personal Development #1-

I have always been passionate about personal development and striving for becoming the best version of myself. However, I have questioned myself for a long time before finally deciding to write about this topic because it is so wide. Personal development is different for each individual as we are all unique with different interests and needs. Nevertheless, my researches about finding our true self and a sense of purpose to our life led me to the other side of the globe: Japan.

Japan is a leader in self-development. Despite the intense and stressful day-to-day lifestyle that one could perceive from this country, Japan has many principles and philosophies that are worth sharing for a better understanding of our self. One of these concepts is called Ikigaï which refers to your reason to live, or even more directly: the reason why you wake up each morning.

Before digging up the subject and how it works, it is important to mention that finding your Ikigaï can be the work of a lifetime. As we are individuals that are constantly changing and adapting to new environments, our values and interests are subject to changes (which is normal, by the way). However, regrouping the main bases of our Ikigaï, it gives to us a structure and meaning to our actions and decisions.

Enough of generic blah-blah. Let’s dive into the process!

Graph representing the general ideas of the Ikigaï principle.

Step 1: Write down what you love. Write down everything that comes into your mind: animals, music, traveling, foreign languages, getting to know new people, etc. There are no wrong answers.

Then, regroup each of these items into whether it is a mission or a passion.

Step 2: Write down what the world needs in your opinion. This aspect will relate to your values and what you find important. Such examples could be sustainability, better equity and/or justice, empathy, etc. This is unique to each individual so again, there are no wrong answers.

Regroup each of these items into whether it is something you consider as a vocation or a mission. It is important to differentiate a vocation from a mission. In my perception, a vocation is more of a sacrifice, a devotion. On the other hand, a mission is something that you want to achieve and that is a little more specific than a vocation*.

*This is my definition of these two words. I think there can be different interpretations… let me know what you think in the comment section below!

Step 3: Write down some skills or anything that you think you could be paid for. For example: organizing events, graphic design, good communication skills, creativity, etc.

Then, regroup these item into whether it is a vocation or a profession (or related to). You might recognize a pattern in the process at this point. It a good sign, your Ikigaï is slowly taking form!

Step 4: Identify what you are good at. Examples: foreign languages, photography, writing, dealing with stress. You might have the same words that you put into another category. Don’t worry, it is also a good sign because it means that there is a recurring theme in your ideas.

Regroup each items into whether it is a profession (or related to) or a passion.

Congrats! You have completed all the sections of the chart. Now it is time to analyze it and try to grasp something out of it: This will be your Ikigaï. Try to find a word, an idea, or a short sentence that regroup and synthesize your chart. This might take time, don’t worry and it is ok if you do not have it now. As mentioned earlier, finding our Ikigaï can be the work of a lifetime and it can even be your Ikigaï to find your Ikigaï!

Consider that the work you have done today is already a big step ahead and that you have already won something: your ideas are now regrouped, more concise than it was before the exercise.

I hope this article helped you and that it gives you a different perspective and structure for your upcoming decisions and actions. Feel free to leave any comments regarding your experience and/or interpretation of this concept.

À bientôt,


Reference : Trouver son Ikigaï by Christie Vanbremeersch

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