As you all know, I am interested in self-discovery and the self-discovery journey. It's an ever-evolving journey. I've always been on a self-discovery journey, but only in the last several years have I attempted to document and share the strategies I am taking to find happiness and meaning.
I stumbled on the Japanese term ikigai and it clicked for me. It is a concept that describes why you do what you do, what you live for, and what you are drawn to. It's the intersection between: What you love, care about, get paid for, and what the world needs.
In the work that I am doing now, I feel I am just tapping into my ikigai. Working with underrepresented and underestimated groups in emerging and frontier economies. Working on designing programs that can give these groups access to resources that will help them gain social mobility and close the wealth gap. Spending my time writing and sharing the knowledge I am gaining. I am truly enjoying myself.
But if you have found your ikigai, what keeps you there? When I was working on my dissertation, I found research about what motivated faculty to commercialize their ideas.
Motivation is what keeps me going. And once, I realized what was driving me, it helped make sense of my moves. Lam in her work about motivation says these faculty entrepreneurs are motivated either by ribbon, gold, or puzzle. Some people are driven by increased reputation and career rewards (ribbon), others are driven by financial and monetary rewards (gold), and while others are driven by the satisfaction and effort of working on something (puzzle).
When I understood my motivation (which is puzzle), it made sense my chosen path as a researcher, program designer, and community builder. Every day, I get to step fully into my ikigai and as I continue the journey to self-discovery, I continue to make sense of my actions and the path I have chosen.
Have you found your ikigai? Do you know what motivates you?