I am a big proponent of continuing to have a productive life after retirement. Some people call this an ‘encore career’. The key is that whatever we end up doing after we leave the full-time workforce, is done by choice and not by need, and with time under our control and not of someone else.
One of the best tools I have come across during my research and my training as a coach, is the Japanese concept of Ikigai. One possible translation of this word is ‘A Reason for Being’. The concept is nicely illustrated in the figure above (source: Neil Parisha, Toronto Star, 2016).
The ‘Sweet Spot’ of Ikigai
The four circles represent critical areas in life which ideally should be addressed if we are to find a fulfilling occupation. Clearly, this idea applies to any stage of our lives, but for the purposes of this article and of those that will follow, I will attempt to adapt it to our objectives of developing a Second Act, Plan B, or an encore career before or after retirement.
The yellow circle at the top represents those activities you love to do. As we move clockwise in the figure above, we find a pink circle depicting what the world needs. The intersection of these two circles corresponds to your MISSION in life. As we continue down clockwise, we have a blue circle representing what you can be paid for or what people would buy. The intersection of this with the previous circle corresponds, according to this concept, to your VOCATION. Then we find the green circle, representing your skills, talents, knowledge, and gifts – what you are good at. The intersection with the blue circle defines your PROFESSION, and where the green circle intersects the yellow we have your PASSION in life.
IKIGAI is the intersection of these four circles – a ‘sweet spot’ that defines that ideal occupation which fulfills your mission, vocation, profession, and passion.
I will begin covering the details of each of these circles in a future article. But in the meantime, try to spend some time studying this diagram to see if you can answer these four questions:
1. What do you love to do?
2. What do you think the world needs?
3. What are you good at?
4. What do you think you can be paid for?
If at all possible, try to answer these questions without involving your lifelong career.
In Peace and Prosperity,