Ikigai – A reason for being
Ikigai – the place where passion meets mission, vocation and profession. A place where we sit, contented and ‘right’ with the world, a place of where the energy flows freely, beautifully, productively. A place where we have purpose.
When this diagram appeared on my personal Facebook feed last week I just had to share it. I also promised myself that I’d take some time out to give form to what each arm of the diagram means to the ‘Realize Beauty’ me. I guess in doing this it will be a sort of business ‘sanity check’ or review….
- That which I love.
- PASSION: Chemistry/ science/ the scientific process/ seeing detail and beauty. I have ALWAYS been fascinated by the natural world and turned that love into a passion for science early on – a passion that was nurtured and indulged by my parents and my Uncle Raymond, a loveable uncle who could be relied upon to turn up un-expectedly in spring with a bag of frog spawn to put into our pond. I associated visits from Uncle Raymond with microscopes, plant identification, walks in Dingley Woods (beautiful, beautiful bluebells) along with my mum and sisters plus lots of interesting discussions. It wasn’t that we talked about ‘doing’ science or being scientists we just got on and did it and I LOVED that with a passion and saw beauty in everything.
- MISSION: I love chemistry and the detail, answers and clarity that is just waiting to be discovered by those strong and brave enough to dive deep and keep looking. However, it wasn’t long into my professional career that I became deeply disappointed in the fact that truth, beauty and reality played second fiddle to ‘that which could be marketed most easily and profitably’. Being brought up in an entrepreneurial family (my dad owns his own business) I completely understood the dynamics of the free market but felt that I had too much passion for the science to just take the pay cheque and sell out. Hence I started Realize Beauty with a view to provide readers, paid clients and students (I teach) with a place to swim in the deliciousness of detail and the freeing power of knowledge. My mission was and still is to share my love of chemistry around a) because I derive a lot of pleasure from doing it and b) sometimes other people enjoy it and find it useful too.
- That which the world needs.
- VOCATION: I feel that my blog and my teaching (face-to-face only, I need the connection as I teach what I feel and see) are my vocation. I feel that I was born to do this and my ‘feelings’ are validated by the reality that both come naturally to me and bring me ‘success’. I feel alive when I write and am often surprised when I read back some of my articles – not because of the bad spelling or grammar; that doesn’t surprise me at all – I feel surprised at how flowing and fun to read some of my articles are. Yes that does sound big-headed so I’ll qualify it by saying that I don’t ‘like’ everything I write but when I get into the zone I really do surprise myself and that’s magical. But anyway, I feel I am meant to be doing this and so I do.
- MISSION: I’d sum this up in the ‘that which the world needs’ category by the approach I take to this segment of Realize Beauty. My approach is WHOLE HEARTED (Brenee Brown talks about this a lot) and PRESENT. I am one of those people who can’t really do anything half-arsed if you know what I mean, to throw another pun at it I like to ‘go hard or go home’ even when it isn’t necessary. My mission is to teach and write with conviction and with a presence and vulnerability that only a hands-on human can offer. I strongly feel that the world needs more of that human touch and that suits me just fine.
- That which you can be paid for.
- PROFESSION: Well I think I’ve demonstrated that this is possible. I left the corporate world over eight years ago now to set up Realize Beauty and now it feeds me and my sister (who works for me) and so I’d say that yes, we have made a profession out of this without turning it into a mini corporation or a nightmare job.
- VOCATION: Making Realize Beauty ‘fit’ both myself and my sister has been a work-in-progress over the past couple of years but I am finally feeling that we are getting the balance pretty much right. When things are going well we are both able to work hard, produce great outcomes AND be fully present and available to our families. I didn’t want to compromise my family connections for the sake of a business but I knew that I wanted a busy and professional business. Feeling that we are close to achieving that really does give me a reason for living.
- That which you are good at.
- PASSION AND PROFESSION: Like many people I find it easier to talk about the ways that I stuff up than talk about the things that I do well and it still doesn’t come that naturally to say that yes, I am ‘good’ at this, that or the other but when I think about it yes I am good at this. I have made some beautiful and successful formulations for clients, have successfully tested and assessed their products for overseas markets, seen their brands grow and prosper and have often been appreciated for my good advice and technical knowledge so yes. I am good at this, I’m passionately good at this.
I feel lucky that Realize Beauty fits the definition of Ikigai just perfectly for me.
I also feel lucky that I can think of many other Ikigai things in my life too.
I am so very, very lucky.