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How the Ikigai Framework Can Help You Find Purpose and Fulfillment

Years ago I discovered a framework that would help me figure out what I was on the planet and what I was designed to do.

The framework comes from the Japanese word “ikigai” which translates to “reason for being.” It has 4 parts and the intersection of those parts represents the sweet spot of your existence. Here is how it works:

What you love (your passion)

Passion is simple – it is the thing or things you just absolutely love to do.

There are so many things I love in my life. I love music, technology, making money, helping people, and single-player sports. Write down the things you really enjoy and can get immersed in for hours without thinking.

Be honest about what you are passionate about.

What you are good at (your vocation)

Vocation represents the things you are good at – even if you don’t like them.

Over time I’ve worked on and gotten better at speaking in public. I used that skill to enter the classroom as an adjunct instructor. I received an award for teaching excellence so based on that I can say that I am a good teacher

Vocation is what you do in your sleep that others say you are good at.

What the world needs (your mission)

Your mission is straightforward – it is what the world needs now.

There are too many hungry people in the world that need food. There are too many homeless people that need a place to stay. There are too many people in this world dealing with anxiety, depression, mental health, and contemplating suicide.

Your mission could be to eradicate things like these from the planet.

What you can be paid for (your profession)

Money is not the end result here but it is the tool for which the world runs.

These are activities that you do that someone is willing to pay you for that you can do. Anything from cutting grass to walking dogs to writing code to posting things on social media for a small business owner. You have some skills that can pay the bills if you think about it.

Your profession is a tool you use to help build your career.

All you have to do now is write each of these down on a sheet of paper and then think about the intersection of your vocation, mission, passion, and profession. I’m sure you can come up with some ideas you never thought of that you should take some time to explore.

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