I recently met two dynamic entrepreneurs who have managed to scale their business to a level I have never done, and this, only in a few short years. Needless to say I was impressed and maybe even a little envious. After questioning and comparing my business model choices full on for three days, I finally landed face to face with my ikigai. Ikigai is where your passions meet your mission. Ikigai is the merging of what you love, with what you are good at, what the world needs and what you can make a living from.
As an artist and an entrepreneur, I stand between two worlds. Technology has completely changed the pace and landscape of business. You can now launch a venture without ever touching a product or seeing a customer. A world of influencers can catapult your bottom line by leveraging social media exposure and maximizing followers. As we have devoloped this instant world, where continual engagement means next day delivery, we are also witness to emerging movements promoting back to basics practices like digital detox, shirin yoku, earthing, meditation and mindfulness, most likely as an attempt to restore balance. It is in these "off" moments that your ikigai surfaces.
So how do you unearth your ikigai?You pay attention to what lights you up. It's the why that moves your idealized vision. My products and services have only been the conduit to advance my "just cause" for connection and compassion, inspiration and renewal. The lure of continual engagement is incompatible with my needs for peace, freedom and privacy. Maybe that's the free-spirited artist needing time and space to create. Or perhaps it's the minimalist in me wanting a boundary from the illusion of more. Either way, it allows me to keep things in the moment where gratitude for my work lives, at a manageable pace, in line with my values. This is less about judgement and more about choice.
My why has never been about making millions. It has always been about providing a service, in the best capacity possible while making a living doing what I love. By definition, both artists and entrepreneurs are risk takers, visionaries and lifelong students. Resilience and adaptability are important qualities to make a living with either one of these. And so in the final analysis, I realized that the artist is the personality i am most at home with. This epiphany put things in perspective with my encounter with these new entrepreneurs. Success has many definitions, and to live by your why, is one of them. It makes work feel like play. To that end, I am very grateful to those who have allowed me to do so.