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Aligning your business to your purpose through IKIAGI

Recently I discovered the Japanese art of IKIAGI which roughly translates into English as “reason to live”. I realised you can use the art of IKIAGI to find your purpose but also to help align your current business or potential new business to your purpose. This in turn creates a high level of satisfaction and happiness that we all yearn for.

There are four areas in IKIAGI and below I will detail how to use each of these four areas to assess how your business or potential one can be directed on a path that really aligns with you. Grab a pen and paper and follow the activity.

The first area is WHAT YOU DO YOU LOVE?

You will always feel contentment if you are doing what you love. This is why you need to pinpoint first what is it that you actually love doing? Once you have pinpointed these things you can move towards including them in your business. So please, grab a pen and paper and list down all the things you love. I love talking, I love helping others and I love pink. What do you love, just go crazy and write everything. Also take a moment to write down what you love in your current work. If you are struggling for ideas, ask a friend or co-worker what tasks you really seem to light up about doing?

The second area is WHAT DOES THE WORLD NEED?

Doing something the world needs is so fulfilling. The feeling of wanting to contribute to society is inbuilt. It is in our nature to want to help others. If you can incorporate this into your business you will feel a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of being needed. You need to list those topics or injustices that you see in the world that really bother you. Is there a news topic that you constantly read about? Is there a charity that you are always helping? Is there a problem in the world that needs solving. Can you see a simple solution to a problem? Can you see a problem that you want to fix. Write these ideas down.

The third area is WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT?

We are all good at something. If we do the things we are good at, success is easier. However if we are doing things we are not good at, we can really feel uncertain and this is stressful. Be honest with yourself and list the things you are actually good at. Be careful if you are one of those people who might be really good at something but you constantly down play how good you actually are at it. So be honest and really write down what you know you are good at. If you are struggling with this one, try and think of the last few times where someone has pointed out what an amazing job you have done at something. List these things down.

The fourth area is WHAT CAN YOU GET PAID FOR?

Doesn’t seem very zen like but money gives you the ability to live in comfort and supplies you with the things you need to survive. List all the things that you could do that would gain you income. Try and think of ways that you can incorporate the things you love into this category. How can you do things you love and get paid?

Equal Measure

The art of Ikiagi shows that if you attend to all four of these areas in equal measure you will feel you are achieving your purpose. You will have the highest satisfaction levels. If one of the areas isn’t covered in your business you will feel a want or lack in your life. If you are Doing what you love, what the world needs and you get paid for it but you are not good at it, you will always feel a nervous or uncertain about it. If you are doing what you love and what the world needs and what you are good at but not getting paid, you will still be stressed about money and will feel undervalued. Obviously if you are not doing what you love but covering all the other areas you will still be unhappy.

Evaluation & Strategy

Have a look at all these areas and see if any of them area already been done in your job. Have a look and see if you could include any of them. Do any of the four areas listed items match together well. This could be your next epic business idea!

Now I want you to look at what you already do and pinpoint what area you might be lacking in. Brainstorm some ideas on how you can improve that area. If you are in a business that you don’t love perhaps you could work on focusing on the areas of the job you do love. Consider even outsourcing the bits you don’t. If you are lacking in what the world needs area, maybe you could find a charity or group that your business’s values align with and you could help.

Your business and your life is under your control. If you are feeling a lack of motivation to work each day, or if you feel like something is missing from your life, try this activity and see if you can change something. Nothing can beat the feeling of having a purpose and working towards it.

How did you go?

I’d love to see how you went in this activity. Please feel free to comment below on what area you feel you are kicking goals in and which area you need to adjust?

Remember: Allow your purpose to guide your priorities


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