• Jeff Doolittle

How to Achieve Career Fulfillment and Satisfaction: Know Your Ikigai

Work is an integral part of life, and record numbers of people are leaving their jobs. According to the US Bureau of labor statistics, 4.0 million US employees quit their jobs in April. This represents a new high since the bureau began tracking the data in 2000. According to a recent survey of over 500 HR leaders and 2000 employees in the UK, more than one-third of employees are considering leaving their current jobs within the next 6-12 months. These recent workforce data points lend evidence to the reality that a growing number of employees believe that the grass is starting to look greener on the other side. Recently Bloomberg dubbed this period as “The Great Resignation.” If you are wondering about your career direction or if a new job will provide a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, you should first understand your ikigai.

What is Ikigai?

This week on a hike to 11K elevation-feet in Colorado with some friends, I heard about a helpful concept for anyone considering a career transition and joining The Great Resignation. Ikigai (e-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that refers to your direction or purpose in life, providing fulfillment, satisfaction, and a sense of meaning. The literal translation consists of two words, ‘iki’ meaning to live and ‘gai’ meaning reason. Evidence suggests that the positive psychological effects of ikigai include professional success, well-being, academic success, and physical benefits such as longevity of life. A research study of over 40,000 adults found that both men and women with ikigai had a decreased risk for death from external causes.

Understanding Your Professional Ikigai

The key to understanding your professional ikigai is to explore the following four questions:

  1. What do you love?

  2. What are you good at?

  3. What does the world need?

  4. What can you get paid for?