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Ikigai, or the reason for getting up in the morning

7:25 am IN Best Practices Featured Know how BY

A Japanese concept named “Ikigai” (生き甲斐)means “a reason for being”, or in French the “raison d’être”. Everyone has an Ikigai, it´s our intrinsic driver. You need to search for it and identify it in order to discover your individual source of value in your life or the things that make your life worthwhile. Finding the Ikigai brings purpose, happiness and satisfaction. In general the questions you need to ask yourself are: What do you love? What does the world need? What can you be paid for? What are you good at? Putting all the answers together will allow you to identify your Ikigai. It´s the intersection of all aspects. Other intersections point to your “”passion”, “mission”, “vocation” and “profession”. The other four intersections in the illustration at the left, right, bottom and top corner of the “Ikigai” have a special meaning, for example “comfortable, but feeling of emptiness” between the Ikigai and what you can be paid for…

What does “Ikigai” mean for the field of managing projects? You may only be successful when you know your Ikigai and build on it. Knowing what you love and what you are good at may help you to decide, whether you accept a project assignment or not. Accepting a project whilst knowing that it is not fitting your Ikigai may end up in just doing a “paid job”. Before engaging team members you may ask them “what they love” and “what they are good at”… Their answers may indicate whether they are passionate about the project. Understanding what the world needs may sharpen your senses in order to clarify the scope and requirements of the project. It helps you to analyse whether there is a match between what you can be paid for and what the project sponsor or stakeholders need. The better the fit between projects and your Ikigai, the more chances there are to achieve what is asked for in the project. It´s the ultimate form of self-actualization and a reason to get up every morning…

- Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defence, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is President of IPMA, Past President and Honorary Fellow of GPM (the German Project Management Association), and founder and CEO of Projectivists, a PM Consultancy.

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2 responses to “Ikigai, or the reason for getting up in the morning

  1. In a recent graduation speech an America General recommended that everyone make his/her bed as soon as he/she gets up in the morning. This gets you started doing something!

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