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Aug 21, 2023
How I Found and Embraced Ikigai for Business Success

Let's uncover how aligning passion, skills, societal needs, and financial sustenance can lead to a profound sense of satisfaction. Are you ready to unlock the key to a more fulfilling and purposeful career and business? Join me on this transformative exploration as we unravel the secrets to career contentment and success.


Approximately two years ago, I found myself engrossed in my emails at a coffee shop when a kind gentleman approached and introduced himself. After a few friendly icebreakers, he inquired about my profession. I replied that I was a corporate and commercial lawyer. However, his next question struck me deeply as he asked, "Is that all?" Struggling to respond, I explained the long hours and demands of my job. But he persisted, asking, "Are you fulfilled?" These two questions profoundly altered my perspective on fulfillment, and as a result, they have since transformed the trajectory of my career and life as a whole. 


In our fast-paced modern world, where we juggle numerous responsibilities and obligations, finding true purpose and contentment can feel like an elusive goal. However, there is a concept that originated in Japan known as "Ikigai," which offers a profound approach to living a fulfilling and meaningful life. Ikigai represents the convergence of passion, mission, vocation, and profession, and discovering it can lead us to a state of deep satisfaction and purpose. In this article, I'll share with you my understanding of the essence of Ikigai and how it can positively impact our lives in general and our businesses and careers in particular.

What is Ikigai?

The term "Ikigai" stems from two Japanese words: "iki" (meaning "life") and "gai" (meaning "value" or "worth"). It represents the intersection of four crucial elements:


  1. What you love (Passion): This refers to the activities and pursuits that ignite joy and enthusiasm in your heart. These are the things that you would do even if you weren't getting paid for them because you are pursuing that which sets your heart on fire. 
  2. What you are good at (Mission): This element revolves around your skills, talents, and expertise. It includes the things you excel at and feel confident doing.
  3. What the world needs (Vocation): This aspect involves identifying the needs of others and how you can contribute to the well-being of society. It is about finding a sense of responsibility and making a positive impact on the world.
  4. What you can be paid for (Profession): This component involves recognizing the economic aspect of Ikigai. It entails finding a career or job that not only sustains you financially but also aligns with your passions and values.

Understanding How Ikigai Can Be Achieved: The Overlapping Zones of Ikigai

When these four elements intersect, they create three overlapping zones, which can help us understand how Ikigai can be achieved:


  1. The Intersection of Passion and Mission: In this zone, you engage in activities you love and are good at, but there might not be a demand for these activities or a way to earn a living from them. While this zone brings joy and fulfillment, it may lack practicality.
  2. The Intersection of Mission and Vocation: Here, you have identified your skills and found a way to contribute to the world through a career or profession. This zone provides a sense of purpose and helps others but may not encompass your deepest passions.
  3. The Intersection of Vocation and Profession: This zone represents the realm of practicality, where you are paid for what you do and contribute to society's needs. However, you may not be entirely passionate about your work, leading to a feeling of emptiness.
  4. The Intersection of Passion, Mission, Vocation, and Profession (Ikigai): This central zone embodies the balance of all four elements. When you find your Ikigai, you are doing what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. This convergence results in a profound sense of purpose, fulfillment, and joy.




Unveiling Your Ikigai

Discovering your Ikigai requires honesty, introspection, and self-awareness. Here are some steps to help you unveil your Ikigai:


  1. Identify your passions: Reflect on the activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. What makes you lose track of time and feel deeply engaged?
  2. Recognize your skills and strengths: Take note of your talents and abilities. What are you naturally good at? How can you use these skills to make a positive impact on others?
  3. Understand the needs of the world: Explore the problems and challenges faced by your community or society at large. How can you contribute to addressing these needs?
  4. Find the balance: Consider how you can combine your passions, skills, and societal needs in a way that allows you to sustain yourself financially while staying true to your values and purpose.
  5. Embrace the journey: The path to uncovering your Ikigai might not be straightforward. Embrace the process and be open to change and growth as you explore different avenues.

Living with Ikigai

Once you have found your Ikigai, it's essential to nurture it and integrate it into your daily life. Remember that Ikigai is not a destination but a continuous journey of growth and self-discovery. Here are some ways to live with Ikigai:


  1. Cultivate mindfulness: Be present in each moment and savor the activities that align with your Ikigai. Mindfulness helps you appreciate the little joys and find meaning in everyday experiences. Mindfulness helps you live in the moment.
  2. Embrace challenges: Challenges are an inevitable part of life, but with Ikigai, you have a solid purpose to guide you through difficult times. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.
  3. Prioritize well-being: Ensure you take care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. A healthy and balanced lifestyle provides a solid foundation for living with Ikigai.
  4. Share your Ikigai with others: Spread positivity and contribute to the well-being of your community by sharing your passions and skills with others. Creating connections and helping others can deepen your sense of purpose.


Ikigai is a timeless concept that reminds us to seek purpose and fulfillment in our lives. By aligning our passions, skills, societal needs, and financial sustenance, we can unlock the key to a profoundly rewarding existence. Remember, Ikigai is unique to each individual, and the journey to uncover it may take time and patience. Embrace the process, and you will find yourself living a life imbued with joy, meaning, and contentment. So, embark on the quest to discover your Ikigai, and let it guide you to a life well-lived.


As a business owner and entrepreneur, finding your Ikigai helps you scale your business.


Here are a few tips:


  • Focus on your strengths. What are you good at? What are you passionate about? Focus on these things and let your ikigai guide your business decisions.
  • Solve problems that matter. What problems do you see in the world that you want to solve? Find a way to use your ikigai to solve these problems and make a difference in the world.
  • Be passionate. When you are passionate about your work, it shows. Your customers will be able to tell that you are passionate about what you do, and they will be more likely to do business with you.
  • Be persistent. Finding your ikigai and scaling your business takes time and effort. Don't give up if you don't see results immediately. Keep working hard, and eventually, you will achieve your goals.


A captivating Harvard Business Review study in 2019 titled "The Soul of A Start-Up" shed light on a vital aspect of most successful ventures - an intangible asset- an energy and a soul. This essence not only ignites enthusiasm but also fosters deep connections and mutual purpose among team members. While passion and soul undoubtedly play a significant role, sustaining a business requires more. Factors like efficient systems, compliance, customer journey experiences, problem-solving capabilities, and more are crucial for its survival.


As a transactional lawyer, I once dedicated myself to the sole objective of ensuring the smooth closure of deals. Though the work was rewarding, I couldn't shake the feeling of emptiness and a sense of something missing. I questioned myself, seeking a greater purpose beyond mere closures. I yearned to leverage my skills to assist clients in their ongoing endeavors, making a meaningful impact and growing with them. Thus, my move from being a mainstream lawyer working within a law firm to being an entrepreneur and Consultant marked a pivotal shift from transactional to relational.


Now, I believe in empowering individuals to find their "ikigai" and live their best lives. My focus lies in accompanying other entrepreneurs on their journey and equipping them with the tools to unlock their greatest potential for an authentic and fulfilling life. While closing deals is undoubtedly significant, I now place equal emphasis on fostering the organic growth of small and medium-sized enterprises. The energy and soul of your company are pivotal in sustaining its success, and my life's mission is to assist other business owners in keeping that flame alive.


 Discovering Ikigai is crucial for personal fulfillment, and as a business owner, uncovering the Ikigai of your company is equally vital. While individuals seek their purpose and passion, businesses, as juristic entities, must also find their unique path to fulfillment. 


Joining Upwork has given me the freedom to discover my ikigai as I explore the convergence of passion, skills, societal needs, and sustainable growth whilst empowering others to lead a purposeful and thriving business. I hope this article has inspired you. If it has, please reach out to me so we walk this path together, one project at a time and one business adventure at a time.