What’s your reason for being?

It’s a really important question, right?  Why are you here, on this earth?  What purpose were you meant to fulfill?

The Japanese believe in a concept called Ikigai, which is Japanese for purpose, and I believe it beautifully captures the essence of the myriad of components that go into defining your purpose.

The term ikigai is composed of two Japanese words: iki referring to life, and kai, which roughly means “the realization of what one expects and hopes for”.

Without purpose, life can be pretty boring, and at some point even become a tad difficult to bear.  Purpose gives you a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to keep climbing the hill, pushing through the obstacles and doing whatever it takes.

In fact, research has proven that knowing your purpose makes you healthier. In late 1994, researchers surveyed tens of thousands of Japanese adults between the ages of 40 and 79. Among many other questions, they were asked about whether they felt they had ikigai in their lives.

Respondents were followed for the next seven years. 95% of respondents who reported a sense of meaning in their lives were still living seven years after the initial survey, versus about 83% of those who reported no sense of meaning in their lives. The lack of ikigai was in particular associated with death due to cardiovascular disease (usually stroke), but not death caused by cancer. This is interesting because in the Western world, cancer has long been regarded as a disease of despair.

For me, I know I’m not living my purpose when I simply don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.  Sure, we all have those days that we’d rather sleep in, but when I have a prolonged period of time that I wake up and drag myself out of bed, when I’d rather pull the covers over my head and sleep for another 10 hours, I know it’s time for some realignment.

When I begin work with my clients, we always start with getting clear on their vision and their purpose. I wholeheartedly believe that your business success (defined as 1. its ability to transform your clients 2. its ability to make you happy and 3. its ability to create the income you want it to create) hinges on your ability to get total clarity on your mission in life and your vision for your life and your business.

This vision becomes your touchstone when the going gets tough, and the honest truth is, it will.  Without this clarity, you’ll likely fall victim to the emotional roller coaster of entrepreneurship, and end up burnt out, deflated, and ready to go back to that J.O.B.

So how do you discover your “ikigai” if the answer isn’t immediately clear to you?

You break it down, looking for the themes, discovering what “pops” for you, and peeling back each layer of the onion. The “ikigai” model is a great framework for this exploration.

At its core (pun intended), your “ikigai” is the intersection of what the world needs, what you love, what you are good at, and what people will buy.  The intersections of the 4 components form important clues to your purpose, so let’s start there:

It looks something like this:

Vocation:  The intersection of what the world needs and what you can get paid to do

Profession:  The intersection of what you can get paid to do and what you are good at

Passion:  The intersection of what you are good at what you love

Mission:  The intersection of what you love and what the world needs

At the upcoming Rapid Results Intensive, we’ll be looking at both vision and mission as the critical starting point for designing your business to fit into the lifestyle you want and the income it will take to support it. Want to come and play with me?  Check out all the details for the Intensive at www.RapidResultsIntensive.com and register now while the early, early bird pricing is still available (it ends tomorrow!)

Then next week, we’ll begin the exploration of each of these areas with some journaling exercises that will support you in gaining clarity!

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