The Japanese word ikigai is a word that doesn’t translate well into English. The best approximation for ikigai is a “reason for being,” but ikigai means so much more than that. Your ikigai can also be defined as your “life’s purpose” or your “dream job” or the like. The most accurate definition for ikigai, however, is that it’s the intersection between the four competing goals that someone may want from a job.
The goal of making money, the goal of doing something you’re passionate about, the goal of doing what you’re good at doing, and the goal of doing what your community needs. Many jobs may meet one or two of these goals, but few can do all four. If your employees can find their ikigai, then they’ve found the perfect work-life balance and they will likely be more successful and hard-working in the future. So how does someone start trying to find their ikigai?
The first and most important thing they must do when they’re searching for their ikigai is quite simple; they must find their passion. Someone’s passion is something they can’t change and so, they can never find their ikigai if they don’t know what their passion is. And of course, one’s passion cannot be found if they don’t look for it. Encourage your employees to have hobbies and to try new things that are related to their job. That way, you can find employees whose ikigai aligns with the workplace.
The next step is to ensure that those passionate employees are being well paid for their work. This is a difficult step but a necessary one to take. The next step is to make sure that those employees are actually good at their jobs. Finally, you must make sure that their jobs are beneficial to the community. This is something that’s also very difficult to achieve, but with enough corporate social responsibility, it’s a possible thing to do. If you can accomplish all those things and find your employees’ ikigai, then you have perfected their work-life balance and it will lead to happier, healthier, and better employees.
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