Finding Your Ikigai: The Key To Workplace Happiness

/ by Lisa Chatroop

The Japanese believe that by finding your ikigai, you can achieve a happier, more balanced life. But what is an ikigai, and how do you go about finding yours? We’re glad you asked!

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept that loosely translates to “a reason for being”. Some may call this their life’s mission, their reason for getting out of bed in the morning, or Raison d’être. In short, ikigai is the answer to those three questions that seem to plague most people throughout life:

What should I do with my life? What would make me happier? Isn’t there more to life than this?

For some people, their “reason for being” abundantly clear. Maybe they had a life-changing experience that helped unveil their true purpose, or perhaps it’s something they’ve known since childhood. However, if you’re like most people, finding your ikigai can seem difficult, if not impossible.

According to Japanese culture, your ikigai lies at the center of four interconnecting circles:

  • Mission: What you love
  • Vocation: What the world needs
  • Profession: What you can get paid for
  • Passion: What you’re good at

Each of these elements helps contribute to your happiness; all four are crucial to your “reason for being”. As we all know, your personal happiness relies on much more than simply having a career (Vocation) and getting a paycheck (Profession). Likewise, Mission and Passion aren’t enough to sustain you financially if you don’t know how to turn it into a paying job.

finding your ikigai

In most cases, people know what they’re passionate about, but either assume it’s not a viable career option, or don’t know how to go about pursuing it.

What’s preventing you from finding your Ikigai?

  • You don’t think you can make a career out of your passion
  • You can’t risk leaving your stable job to pursue your passion
  • You’ve become too tied up in the daily grind and have lost sight of what makes you happy
  • You were told at an early age that your passion wasn’t a viable career option
  • You’re worried that you’re not good enough to pursue your passion

Is there an ikigai test?

Ready to begin finding your ikigai? Good&Co’s free career tools are a great option for those searching for an ikigai test! Developed by a team of scientists, the free tool will uncover your personal career strengths in just 18 questions! Click here to get started.

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