I decided to do a series on entrepreneurship to encourage moms just starting out. I know a lot of us in this country are hustling and striving to better our lot, I also understand that some of us believe no matter what we do and how hard we work, the society we have found ourselves is skewed to work against us. While this is certainly true to a large extent, you can at least be a success story in the midst of all the chaos by finding your Ikigai.
What is Ikigai?
'Ikigai' is a Japanese word that roughly translates to 'reason for being'. Your raison d’etre in French. The concept has its origins in the Japanese island of Okinawa which is said to be home to the largest population of centenarians in the world. As a result, it is thought that Ikigai may not only hold the key to happiness and fulfillment, but also longevity.
Basically, it's all about finding out what makes you happy and keeps you motivated. It is that thing that keeps you going when there’s nothing in the pocket, nothing in the belly and no encouragement from anyone. In essence, it's all about finding the answer to that question niggling at the back of your minds each day: 'What should I do with my life?'
I know people will be wondering why I am talking about finding happiness, when they are talking about paying the bills, and NEPA or even getting seed money to start a business, let me say this clearly even though this may sound farfetched. From finding form and purpose, from living a life of consequence and meaning, from discovering your Ikigai, therein lies your wealth and fulfillment in life.
And remember wealth is not only in monetary terms, there are so many ways to gauge wealth.
So to find your Ikigai, before you dabble into fashion because everyone is doing fashion, or start packaging another black soap and shea butter cream ask yourself the following four questions:
1. What do I really love?
What do I spend a better part of my day doing and my night ruminating on? If it is fashion; can you create fresh, innovative designs for people to buy? If you love music; can you write, produce, or market music? If you would rather spend your time watching drama or Nollywood; can you contribute to making it a better industry? Are you good at editing? Can you create a blog to review Nollywood movies, an app to make selecting films easy from the start of the Nigerian film industry?
2. What am I good at?
Everyone is a genius at something. There are over 7 billion geniuses in the world. God has put into every single one of us a unique, one of a kind gift which the world would pay for over and over again. Is it cooking you are good at, then hone that talent and give people food they have always eaten in a different kind of way. Give the world something extra ordinary and watch your fortune swell.
3. What can I be paid for?
By the time you find what you are good at and what you love doing, now pray for direction to enable you discern what is your best form of hustle. Even from failure, opportunity and success could rear its head. You become better, try again and then succeed. There are so many creative ways you can approach whatever discipline you decide to pursue.
4. What does the world need?
This is very important, sometimes the world does not need what we are doing, but know that that same product could be revamped or repackaged and presented in a different kind of way and end up a success. Aside thorough market research there’s need to constantly iterate in business until one gets to a product that is wanted by many. To discover your Ikigai, you must first find what you’re most passionate about. Then, you find the best medium through which you can express that passion and with knowledge, innovation, creativity and intelligence, you will make a fortune from it.
Personally, what I am passionate about is reading, writing, and creating value. My company is simply the vehicle through which I can take these passions, apply them to the things that the world needs, and then monetize and make profit in the process.
At the intersection of all of this are feelings of peace and lasting happiness and hopefully wealth that can sustain one throughout life. Now, go find your Ikigai.