4 Questions to Find Your Purpose with Ikigai

There's this very handy diagram based on the Japanese concept of Ikigai, meaning your reason for being that is very helpful to find your purpose.

June 25, 2018

Let’s talk about how to find your purpose. It’s a doozy isn’t it… asking yourself this question. I know for years I missed my own purpose and confused it for things I thought I wanted, things I thought others wanted me to do, and even went as far as creating businesses based on others perceptions of me. I never once took a moment to ask myself: Is this my life’s purpose?

The thing is, it can be very intimidating, the word purpose. It carries this enormous weight to it. You either spend your life feeling like something is missing, or are afraid to find a purpose because once you find it, that’s it. You believe it’s what you have to do for the rest of your life, which brings us to another scary word: forever. Take your favorite movie for example, there is one hero that discovers they are the chosen one, meets their destiny and saves the world. Their purpose was to save the world, right? Then what? Do they have to keep doing it? Or did they fulfill their highest purpose and then that’s all there is? Their purpose is over? Happily ever after? Not likely.

It’s Time to Break Up with ‘The One’

Well, I have great news… You ARE the chosen one, but your destiny isn’t this ONE thing, its MANY things. I want to free you right now from the misconception that a life’s purpose, that YOUR life purpose is this one destiny. That like the hero in the movie, you have to save the world and that’s it, roll credits. A purpose is anything you want, anything you set your mind and heart to, its all those dreams you’ve been hiding.

Many of us struggle finding ourselves, our joy and our purpose because we believe that there is only ONE thing that we are meant to do. Now let me tell you, trying to find that one thing is the reason why we feel like something is missing, like we aren’t meeting our truest potential. The idea that we have only one thing we are meant for limits us from fulfilling our greatness.

Dreams tend to evolve, change shape and move you forward, which is why I don’t subscribe to the idea that a purpose is one thing and one thing alone. A purpose is your reason. It’s not WHAT you do, its WHY you do it, and you can do a lot of things with a WHY.

How to Find Your Purpose

A true purpose goes beyond career and wealth, its a delicate balance found at the intersection where your passions and talents meet with the things that the world needs. This balance comes together to create an overarching theme (your WHY) for your life that will be the driving force behind every action you take and every decision you make.

There’s this very interesting Japanese concept called: ikigai. In Japan, millions of people have ikigai — a reason to jump out of bed each morning. It’s a lifestyle that strives to balance the spiritual with the practical, it’s your reason for being. Take a look at the chart below, it pretty much breaks down how to find your true purpose with things you already do and have right now.

find your purpose

Now, Ask Yourself These Four Questions

So based on the diagram above, there are four questions you can ask yourself to find your purpose.

#1 What do you LOVE? (This speaks to your passion)

#2 What are you super good at? (This speaks to your talents)

#3 What can you get paid to do? (this speaks to your profession)

#4 What is something the world needs? (this speaks to your mission)

Answer the questions and see what speaks to your heart the most. You will kind of see patterns forming as sort of themes. Are there any obvious intersections among the four questions? Take your time and if you feel overwhelmed leave it and come back to it later.

It is very important to do it with a clear mind, so if you start feeling overwhelmed like Simba in the Lion King asking yourself the question ‘Who Am I?’ over and over again, then give yourself a break! Remember, your purpose is not the ‘be-all-end-all’, its just your overarching ‘life theme’, not what you actually do. It’s kind of like journaling your way to your WHY, the driving force beneath all your choices. To make it easier for you, I re-created the diagram so that you can start mapping out your thoughts and find your purpose, you can download the template by clicking here!

Seriously though, don’t get overwhelmed pal! A purpose could be as simple as making people laugh or as complicated as saving the world from destruction, its all up to you and your unique magic.

What To Do Once You’ve Found Your Purpose

Whatever your WHY is, remember that it can play out in different non-boring, non-repetitive ways throughout your life. I seriously cannot stress this enough. I know I used to think that finding a purpose meant that I had this destiny to do this ONE thing and it’s sooo the opposite.

After completing that exercise I knew my purpose was to help people make their dreams a reality. It is my hope to help people live the most magical life by achieving their dreams and I do this by wearing multiple hats and having multiple titles. I’m a designer, a writer, a mindset coach, an entrepreneur, and each thing I do brings me so much joy. In the future I want to write a book, become a speaker, product designer, world traveler and so much more! The beauty of it is that at the root of it all is my innate desire to help people own their magic and make their dreams a reality, and it fuels my every choice.

So once you find your purpose, brainstorm all the ways this can play out in your life. What ways can you use this purpose to create an income? To be joyful every day? How can you make the world a better place? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Because that’s all a purpose is… fuel. It’s ikigai, it’s what makes you jump out of bed, have mindfully joyful days and knowing what brings meaning into your life at any given time.

It’s all about you and your unique magic. Have you ever heard of ikigai before? What steps have you taken to find your purpose? Let me know in the comments below!

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