Find your ikigai

find your ikigai

After last week’s book launch for Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5: Stories from people who’ve done it (and how you can too), we’re not resting on our laurels but moving full steam ahead to help you get started with your very own business idea. Whether you want to set something up alongside your current work or you’re already working independently and trying to nail that idea that will really stick and bring you sustainable income, we have something for you to help you find your ikigai!

‘Ikigai’ is a Japanese concept that loosely translates as ‘a reason to get out of bed in the morning’. As outlined in a TED Talk by Dan Buettner, in the West, we tend to separate our productive work life from our personal life and leisure time. In Okinawa, an archipelago of 161 small islands off the south of Japan, this idea of ‘ikigai’ is a sense of purpose that encompasses your entire life. This is believed to be part of the secret to a long and healthy life.

Why ikigai for your business?

When it comes to career and business, I’ve long been a fan of work-life integration and creating a life that you don’t need a vacation from (although I’m also a big fan of vacations!). I feel like there’s a belief in our society, rooted in the Protestant work ethic, where work is work, it’s not supposed to be fun, and you’re just supposed to get on with it. Then you can use the money you earn to buy things and holidays to make yourself feel better. You can’t make money doing something you love, that’s just a hobby.

Instead, I believe that work can and absolutely should be enjoyable; it should be stimulating and fulfilling and meaningful. You should be able to earn money doing what you’re good at and what you love – in fact, you should earn more money that way as you’ll be passionate and motivated and, ultimately, you’ll be able to deliver better results. Starting your own business is the best way to have the freedom and flexibility to create those opportunities for yourself.

And, if you’re going to set up a business, whether as a ‘side hustle’ or as a full-time endeavour, you want to find an idea that you are willing to work for, that will keep you motivated through the ups and downs, and that will deliver great results and get you paid. That means finding a business idea that sits at the heart of your ikigai!

So what exactly gives you ikigai?


There are different versions of ikigai models floating around on various social networks, but the essence is that you will find your ikigai at the sweet spot where the following four things intersect:

  1. What you’re good at
  2. What you love
  3. What the world needs
  4. What you can be paid for

You may have some of this today, and you may recognise that something that is missing. Often, a corporate job will give you the ‘what you’re good at’ and ‘what you can be paid for’ but not the other two. While it may not be possible to find your ikigai and make a complete change tomorrow, it can be something you keep in mind and work towards as a long-term goal.

A business idea that sits at the heart of this model means that you’re using and improving your existing skills; you’re doing work that you really enjoy; the product or service that you’re delivering is useful to at least some specific group of people and meaningful from a ‘big picture’ perspective; and, because this is a business and not a hobby, there are people or organisations actually willing to pay you.

Business Idea Boot Camp

With all this in mind, I’m excited to invite you to a Business Idea Boot Camp over in my Facebook group! This five-day boot camp will help you lock in the business idea and model that will get you to where you want to be.

There will be live sessions in the group every day, with concrete action steps for you to take so that you really make progress, as well as prizes to reward the action takers! There will also be plenty of bonus sessions in the following days with more tips on what to do next and opportunities to work with me to help you take this forward.

*The Business Idea Boot Camp has now ended. Join the Facebook group to take part in future challenges!*


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