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I’ve been intrigued by the Japanese concept Ikigai for a long time. The meaning roughly translates into ”reason for being”. Beautiful in itself. Over the years I’ve made a few attempts to capture my Ikigai but never really had it all fall in place. When I recently revisited Ikigai again I became more aware of the intention – to explore my reason for being. As I reflected on the words, I realised I had previously approached Ikigai from a doing perspective, not from being. Maybe that was why I hadn’t been able to complete the process before?

With this insight I moved into the Ikigai process again, using the popularized framework with four circles (see above). But of course I got stuck. Again. It was as if I immediately forgot the being dimension. Is the cultural conditioning of doing so strong in me? Anyway, my friend Ann came to the rescue and offered me some input on how she experiences me and that set me off with better energy and flow. I also decided to amend the concept a little by clearly stating the being in the different dimensions. Also, I ran across this example of a modified Ikigai that resonated well with me and gave me some further inspiration.

In the end I decided to use the four circles as my guiding structure, and see where it took me. The point of the exercise, in my view, is to reach a personal purpose statement, through reflection. The Ikigai that I present at the end of this post stands as an early draft that will need more working on. But at least I have a draft now. And the hours spent getting there were worth it for me.

What I love: being involved in idea development and cultivation, being curious, being immersed in learning processes, being generous and sharing, being deeply connected with nature, being part of the inner development of creative young adults, being in discovery of simplicity within complexity, being in emergence and ”going with the process”, being in the deep creative energy of presence.

What I am good at: being systemic in my approach to life and work, being able to set people and processes in motion, being trusting, serving and challenging in emergent social processes, being aware of culture and its dynamics, being able to hold and navigate uncertainty and complexity, being deliberately developmental, being aware of and creating favourable conditions for development, being balanced between doing and being and thinking and sensing.

What the world needs: be more capable of holding and sustaining multiple perspectives, uncertainty and complexity, be more mindful of and responsible for individual and collective wellbeing, be more in tune with nature and biological systems, be better attuned to culture when working with change, be able to generate wise responses to the predicaments facing humanity and the biosphere, be more conscious, aware and kind, be in a state of agency while feeling hopeless.

What I can be paid for: being a thought leader and guide in human centred developmental processes for individuals and/or organizations, being a voice and holder of systems and culture dynamics, being a source of support and awareness for progressive leaders, being a holder of space for valuable conversations, being a steward of human development, being a leader and/or entrepreneur, being a speaker and writer, being a connector of people and ideas.

Draft Ikigai
My reason for being is to cultivate, connect and activate perspectives, people and ideas that nurture individual and collective awareness – thus serving the need for better responses to the immense predicaments humans and the biosphere are facing.