The designers guide to Ikigai

Apr 16, 2019

I have been pondering this concept of Ikigai (ee-key-guy) for a while since I stumbled across this image of 4 circles intersecting. It’s a Japanese term meaning “ a reason for being”. It’s about finding happiness and living your life’s purpose. I was immediately intrigued and set out to learn what I could about this concept and how it applies to my life as an entrepreneur.

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert on this as I’m still discovering what my Ikigai is. This TEDx Talk from Tim Tamashiro discusses the origin (Okinawa, Japan) and how to discover your Ikigai. Check it out here:

Ikigai is found at the intersection where your passions and talents converge with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.

I used to call it being in the “zone”or flow state. It’s when work doesn’t feel like work. It took me years to figure out what that was for me. In my younger years I was focused on climbing the corporate ladder, thinking that when I reached the top I would be happy. I was busy chasing the dolla bills y’all 😉 Although I was paid relatively well for my work, I didn’t feel fulfilled with what I was doing. I was lacking that passion, that drive that made me want to get out of bed every day. It felt like a grind to me…

Until I started my own clothing business, which started as a hobby while I was working full time. I spent my weekends designing, sewing and creating things. I used my sewing skills to produce fleece hats and turned out people were willing to pay for them. That hobby eventually turned into a business where I was able to make a living doing what I love. My business allowed me to experience so many wonderful things. I love traveling! My favorite place in the world is Hawaii- so far I’ve been to Maui, Oahu and the Big Island. I hope to go to Kauai one day. I’ve also been to Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Paris and Bora Bora.

Running Punch Brand gave me a sense of purpose and excitement every day.  My work and life seem to blend together and gave me joy, especially seeing the smiles on my customers faces. From my imagination and creation I was able to give my fans what they were craving and that’s Kawaii, which means cute in Japanese ✌️

There’s a reason why Okinawan’s live the longest in the world, they live according to Ikigai.  In professional terms it means to make a living doing what you love. So why not give it a try and find your Ikigai, start by asking these 4 questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • What can you be paid for?

To sum up, a quote from Tim’s book: How to Ikigai: Lessons for Finding Happiness and Living Your Life’s Purpose:

“Each moment you invest into what you love to do and what you’re good at brings you closer to seeing your first glimpse of Ikigai. Only you can take the steps necessary to look deeper into the potential of your joys. You are conducting research about yourself. Your job is to look deeper into your heart. Be honest every day about the things you love and the things you find challenging. Explore your wants and needs. Start a journal. Keep track about the stuff you find fascinating. Do it today. Come back tomorrow.” – Tim Tamashiro