Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikiɡai])

A Japanese concept meaning "a reason for being."  Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai.  Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self.  Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one's ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life. 

Your ikigai is found at the intersection of…

  • The things you love
  • The things you are good at
  • The things others will pay you to do
  • What the world needs

It is at the crossroads of…

  • Passion
  • Profession
  • Vocation
  • Mission

In the simplest terms, it is your reason for being; the thing that gets you up in the morning.  There might be other nuances to this expression that don’t line up with my Christian ideology, but it seems to point toward the answer to the fundamental question that haunts all of us:

Why do I exist?

Scripture tells how we are uniquely created and wonderfully made.  C.S. Lewis points out that each one of us uniquely offers one particular aspect of the Divine that no one else can.  We are told that we are the crown of His creation and were placed here specifically to rule and subdue all that exists.  Clearly we are here for a particular reason.

Don’t ask what the world needs, rather, ask what makes your heart come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is men whose hearts have come alive.
— William H. Macy

If it is the “beautiful collision” of the world’s great need, your passion and desire, and the unique purpose of our creation (the way God’s glory will be most powerfully proclaimed), we shouldn’t be surprised by how opposed it seems:

  • It is exhausting, exhilarating, draining, and invigorating, all at the same time.
  • It sometimes seems incredibly difficult and yet you can’t imagine doing anything else with your life.
  • It paradoxically is both the hardest and easiest thing to do.

We’ve also learned that clarity about your life leads to clarity for your families, organizations, and companies.  And elusive as it might seem, we know hundreds of people who are experiencing the clarity, momentum, and freedom of knowing who they are and why they exist.  

It doesn’t always work out this way, but we would always prefer that a business owner or senior leader go through the LifePlan process and be really clear about the purpose for their lives, before we start working with their teams.  

The organizations you lead and the roles you play there, should support and fulfill the purpose for your life, not the other way around.  More often than not, we see leaders completely unaware of their calling or purpose other than what their vocational role might dictate.

It is our contention that you are not only created for a particular purpose, but that your Creator desperately wants you to know what it is.  The clues are written on your heart, have been evident throughout your life, and are fully embodied in the things that bring you greatest joy, deepest pain, and get you out of bed in the morning.

  • Are you ready to live with more momentum, power, and clarity?
  • Are you ready to understand more about the role you were created to play?
  • Spend some time looking into our LifePlan experience and follow the stirring of your heart about whether or not to attend.