Answer these 4 questions to find and do the work you love!
4 min read
If you can answer "yes" to the question below, you don't need to read the rest of the post. Otherwise, keep reading!
Are you doing the job which you love, you are good at, you can make good money from it, and the world also needs it?
A couple of weeks ago, I did an online event to share some personal strategies about career transition. As a new immigrant who comes to a new country, I have some experience and story to share. One of the most frequently asked questions on that session was: hey Bear, your strategies are great! But, the major problem for me at this stage is, I don't like my job, and I don't know what I want to do! How can I find it out?
I had the same question, and I was lucky enough to find my answer. At least, I thought I found the right answer. When things unexpected happen, you might need a new answer as the questions are not the same. It's like when an HR person asked you five years ago about, hey, where can you see yourself in five years? How could you know you would wear pajama for more than a month and work from home rather than an office? And all your colleagues are doing the same thing? So let me ask you the question again: are you doing the job which you love, you are good at, you can make money from it, and the world needs it?
These four questions are the gist of what ikigai is about.
A couple of months ago, I read this little book, Ikigai. Basically, the book talked about a Japanese lifestyle that can help you live a longer and happier life. But one thing touched me: the author told us that many Japanese elders in their 70 or 80, still wake up early and go to work, not for money, but for the meaning of being. Ikigai means the MEANING OF BEING. It's something that can pull you out of bed in the morning and pump you up to the new day.
An ikigai exercise is all about four questions: What are you good at? What do you love? What can you be paid for? What does the world need? After answering all these questions, we, as human beings, can use our magic brains to connect the dots and find the things that combine all the answers. That's your ikigai.
Things you are good at are not about the skills you are using during work. It's more about your gift. You can recall your childhood as 7-8 years old. What could you do better than other kids? List those things down.
Things you love are the things you would do, even don't get paid for doing it. Such as play football, watch movies, and so on. Write those things down.
What can you be paid for? This one is about what you can do to get paid now or in the future. E.g., I can be paid for as a digital designer. Write them down.
What does the world need? This is a question we don't often consider from an individual perspective. But it might be the most important question of all. E.g., the old world needs set hours and locations when working, but the world's new need is flexibility.
After you have all the lists, you can try to connect the dots from these lists.
Let's take Alice, an imaginary friend of mine as an example. She's good at writing, convincing people, sports. She loves nature, outdoor activities, and travel. She gets paid as a digital marketing specialist. As the world in post COVID19 needs flexibility, caring about the environment, a healthy lifestyle, Alice's ikigai could be an advocate for a globally outdoors brand by blogging about her travel and outdoors experience and story. She can also use her digital marketing skill to be a better blogger. By doing that, Alice can do and make money from the things she loves, use the skill she's good at, and create value for other people and the world. How great is that!
That's the gist of the ikigai concept and the exercise. If you are not sure about the question, I asked you at the beginning, grab some paper and pen, find some time that you won't be interrupted, and start writing your answers. When you find your ikigai, the path leads to it will appear soon.
Check the YouTube video about this topic here:
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