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Ikigai for new entrepreneurs: how to find purpose in life and do what you love

Do you want to start a meaningful business that fits like a glove, but do you still have lots of question marks spinning in your head? Then the Japanese concept ‘Ikigai’ might be a great starting point to get a bit more clarity and to find your true purpose in life.

The thing with clarity is: it doesn’t fall from the sky.

Unfortunately.

I’ve tried to ‘think’ my way to clarity, but it simply doesn’t work that way.

It’s a process. A journey.

Personally, I had to dig deep and explore my core values, my most memorable life’s moments, my deeply rooted pains, the things I enjoyed as a child. I really had to discover how the dots were connected.

“Before we can stand out, we must first get clear on what we stand for.”
― Simon Sinek

This is where the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’ comes in. In my experience, the Ikigai principles as well as the powerful ‘Purpose Venn Diagram’ (which is based on the Ikigai philosophy) helped me a lot to get laser-focussed on my WHY. They played a major role in finding purpose in my life and to build a meaningful business that I am proud of.

Let’s dive in and explore these two concepts. You might want to grab a notebook or pen and paper to take immediate action.

Finding Your Ikigai

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept that means “reason for being”. It refers to finding joy through having a purpose in life. A reason to jump out of bed in the morning, if you will.

Sounds great, right?

But, Ikigai isn’t necessarily about making money. Or changing the world.

According to neuroscientist and best-selling author Ken Mogi, the concept of Ikigai is simply about finding fulfillment in little rituals.

In other words: taking small steps and enjoying each and every one of those steps.

This is critical. And it can be hard (guilty!)

Working hard to get your business off the ground is important, but keep in mind that fulfillment is IN the process. Not at the end.

The first step in finding your Ikigai is to take small steps ahead and more importantly to don’t forget to enjoy the bumpy entrepreneurial journey. To find excitement in the daily accomplishments. And to celebrate the process.

I hear you thinking: I know I know, I will try.. but HOW do I get more clarity on my business idea first?

Excellent question. I have good news: scroll down and you’ll see a powerful framework to give you the clarity that you need.

Let’s dive in.

Find purpose in life with the The Purpose Venn Diagram

A framework to find purpose in life

The Purpose Venn Diagram, which is based on the principles of the Ikigai philosophy, is a powerful framework that helps you discover what you love to do so you can more easily build a meaningful life around your values, skills, and lifestyle.

I HIGHLY recommend you do this exercise. It’s a pretty straightforward tool that consists of four questions:

  • What do I love?
  • What am I good at?
  • What can I be paid for?
  • What does the world need?

I know, it ain’t rocket science. But the magic is in ACTUALLY writing your answers down and seeing things unfold. (Tip: write it down on paper or in a dedicated notebook, not in a Google Doc).

It is meant to be a long-term practice and the answers to those questions can come later than you expect.

Here’s how I answered these four questions:

  • I love to build things from scratch (e.g. lego!). I am fascinated with human psychology and personal development. I love the outdoors and being in nature. And I love to cook and try out new recipes.
  • I’m good at listening to others with empathy and inspiring others to challenge ‘reality’. To create something they’re proud of. I am also good with numbers, data, and processes.
  • I can be paid to write in a variety of ways (online courses, events, workshops, affiliate, ebooks).
  • The world needs more purpose-driven entrepreneurs who are creating a positive impact in the world. The world needs coaches and mentors who support others to create a meaningful life that makes them feel excited and aligned with their values. The world needs to be a healthy, sustainable, and joyful place to live.

In my experience, the Purpose Venn Diagram is one of the best ways to turn your skills and passion into a meaningful, profitable business. It might require a bit of patience (definitely not my strong suit), but the dots will connect at some point. And once they do, you’ll feel invincible.

As Steve Jobs would say:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

If you have an exciting but fuzzy business idea in mind and you would like to get things crystal-clear, then you’re also welcome to apply to my new bootcamp program.

Remember: you don’t need all the answers today. Some answers will come to you in time. Grab your notebook and give it a try.

Good luck, or in Japanese: 頑張ってね!(ganbatte ne!)

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