In my travels along the Internet, I bumped into this lovely concept called ikigai (your purpose, essentially) and of course shared it at our Self-Management for Actors Facebook group. It was a big hit there.
So… let’s take a moment and break this all down.
Let’s work clockwise from the top, starting with What You Love. Okay, for me, that’s building communities; working with smart, passionate people; getting my hands in the clay on creative endeavors; “yes, and…”-ing kernels of ideas to help build them into brilliance.
Next is What the World Needs. The world needs storytellers. The world needs a lens through which to filter its emotions and a story that helps them say, “Oh thank God. I am not alone.”
Where those two things intersect? That’d be my Mission. So far, right on target.
Next up, there’s What You Can Be Paid For. Welp, I can be — and have been — paid for a LOT of things because I’m one of those people who’s good at so much (more on that in a sec) that I’ve been able to monetize just about everything I’ve attempted in life. If we go with my degrees, I can be paid to write. Let’s go with that. Writing is certainly how I’ve paid most of my bills for most of my life.
Where those last two things intersect? That’d be my Vocation. Writing about and for storytellers? Yup. Still on target.
Finally, we’ve got What You Are Good At. See above. I’m good at pretty much everything other than cooking. I’m great at communicating, teaching, motivating, building communities… LEADING. When we pull together this with the last item, that’s my Profession. Yup. Totally correct.
And circling back up to the top, where this last item and the first one intersect, that’s my Passion. Absolutely. Leading, motivating, energizing, creating, and supporting communities… that’s absolutely my passion.
Pull allllllll of that together and bring it to the center… that mutual intersection, that’d be my ikigai — my life’s purpose.
I am without question living my life’s purpose, and it’s why my personal logline — “Living my dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs.” — is accurate. It’s missing the community-building and the specificity of the writing and the focus on storytellers specifically, but all of that is absolutely under the brand umbrella I’ve developed over decades at this.
Wow. Lucky, lucky me!
Now, before you say, “Hey! No fair! Mine’s not lining up like that! You got off easy, Gillespie!” let me say, I know. I’ve also been working on this a looooooooong time without even knowing it.
If you’ve been with me throughout my blogging life (begun in 1998, before it was called “blogging”), you’ve read all about my Age 28 Epiphany, my Listmaking for Clarity, my epiphany-filled 30s, and my clarity-creating 40s. I spent a LOT of time doing a combination of things I could be paid for and things I am good at because that’s what’s easy and — dear GAWD — NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would ever attempt to make a living doing what they loved, right? And certainly no one would ever have the audacity to believe that what they loved might *actually* be something the world NEEDS! The EGO of someone who could possibly believe that these things could ALL intersect!
Yes. I am audacious enough to believe — mainly because I live the truth of it — that what I love to do is in fact something the world needs, and I’m good enough at it that I can be paid very well to do it.
I am living ON PURPOSE.
If you are not, do not scramble into chaos about it. Do not stress out. Instead, start with one decision that gets you incrementally closer to your ikigai. Step away — slowly — from something you’re paid for doing that has the opposite energy of what you love doing. Find ways — gradually — that what you’re good at serves the world beyond what you may have been bold enough to imagine, to fantasize, to dream.
Basically, I’m encouraging you to live your dreams.
And not just because it’s my ikigai to do so. 😉
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