I hope you have had a great week. The sunshine has finally arrived and everywhere is looking gorgeous. I have been seriously distracted today watching the lambs play in the field at the back of where we live. It is such a lovely feeling to feel a bit of sunshine on your bones!
I have recently become interested in the philosophy of Ikigai which articulates the Japanese secret to living a long and happy life. The Japanese people believe that everyone has an Ikigai – a reason to jump out of bed in the morning. If you know your Ikigai and live in alignment with it, you will live a long and happy life. What’s not to love about that? So, it leads on to the question about how to find your Ikigai which is where the fun begins.
Ikigai translates to something like “the happiness of always being busy”. I can imagine that many of you will be groaning at the thought of busyness being the secret to living a long and fulfilled life! In Japan people remain noticeably active once they retire and in fact they don’t even have a word that translates from English to Japanese to describe retirement.
So, what makes them so different? They believe it is Ikigai.
At its most simplistic, Ikigai can be defined as living to the following disciplines:
- Stay active and don’t retire
- Leave urgency behind and adopt a slower pace of life
- Only eat until you are 80% full
- Surround yourself with good friends
- Get in shape through daily exercise
- Smile more and acknowledge people around you
- Reconnect with nature
- Give thanks for everything that brightens your day
- Live in the moment
- Follow your passion
When I look at this list, it all seems like good common sense. So why do we find it so hard? So many people I know are just waiting for retirement because that is when they believe their life will really begin. I know lots of people that are constantly worrying about the past or planning for the future to the point that they are not enjoying the beauty of the moment. I see people burning themselves out because life has just got too busy and there is endless pressure to be achieving more.
For me, there is one thing in that list that outweighs all the others, it is to follow your PASSION. My belief is that when you follow your passion then the rest will fall in to place. This has been my personal experience however I know so many people struggle to uncover what their passion is because they get caught up in their current reality. I know that it can feel extremely frustrating to know that you have more to offer but to not k now what that looks like or where to even start.
I have shared with you previously that a few years ago I felt extremely lost. I had a nice life, things were comfortable however I had lost the passion that I once had for my career and was literally telling myself that I just needed to stick it out for another 15 years. When I look back now I can’t believe that I was actually telling myself that. I mean seriously….stick it out for 15 years?? I have never been someone who wanted to put in a half-baked performance and so I knew that something had to change. I wasn’t showing up in my own life and contributing in a meaningful way.
Over a number of months and following a lot of personal reflection and self-discovery I started to identify what my purpose was and I started to make plans to live a life that was better aligned to it.
I started by thinking about what I personally value and I knew that I had to do something that made me feel like I was adding value and making a difference
I started to consider how I could use my personal experience to help other people. I knew that if I had been feeling like I wasn’t living to my potential, that it was likely that other people would be feeling the same too
I reflected on the skills that I have developed over my career and considered what I was really good at. I knew that I was good at helping other people and helping them to unlock their potential and achieve more. I also knew I was good at sharing stories and helping people learn.
When I looked at what I had discovered, I knew that I could probably bring in an income from helping people to achieve their goals whilst doing something I felt passionate about and No Ordinary Woman became a reality.
This vision has taken me months to get clear and my goal is to be working on this full time within the next 12 months.
I was listening to a podcast recently by someone who has been very successful in the personal development space and has achieved great financial success. They were asked when they were going to retire and they paused and then asked why they would even consider retiring when they are doing something that they love?
In that moment, I realised that for the past 12 months I have not been sitting waiting it out for retirement. I’ve discovered my passion and when I am mentoring women and writing blogs and sharing my ideas and speaking at events, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like home. I have found what I am here to do and for that I am incredibly grateful.
Over the next few weeks I am going to explore the Ikigai model in more detail and share more tools and tips to help you discover your purpose.
Until next week