Ikigai and finding purpose

by Mar 31, 2022

Finding purpose with Ikigai

If you are finding everything a bit much at the moment and would like to learn more about Ikigai and finding purpose read on..


It was clear even before the pandemic that people’s priorities were shifting, but two years in COVID conditions seemed to have nailed it. I didn’t know quite what to make of it and it appears that I wasn’t alone. Ed Han Senior Recruiter at Cenlar shared my observations:



We are now seeing this different thinking manifested in the Great Resignation / Re-shuffle, it doesn’t matter what you call it.  What was important to employees has now changed. The idea that all fulfilment can come from a single source following a linear career, that may involve many sacrifices is no longer attractive to many.

Those who don’t want to go down that path used to be labelled unambitious and made to feel woefully inadequate. Now thousands have simply given up their jobs. They know what they don’t want, but not what they do.

Times are changing

In research from Microsoft published by HBR, today’s employees want different things:

  • 47% of employees are more likely to put family and personal life overwork.
  • 53% are more likely to prioritize their health and well-being –  that figure rises to 55% for parents and 56% for women.
  • Millennials who now dominate the workforce are willing to vote with their feet. 52% of Gen Z and Millennials are considering changing employers this year (up 3% year-over-year.)
  • 18% of all respondents quit their job in the past 12 months, with well-being, mental health, work-life balance, and lack of flexible work hours cited as top reasons.

The top attractions of a new employer are: a positive culture (46%), well-being benefits (42%), a sense of purpose and meaning (40%), flexible hours (38%), and more than two weeks’ vacation time (35%) not far behind. This was a U.S. survey. They think that half of Europe is on vacation in August, and they are probably right.

Research from  “State of the Worlds Fathers”  covering seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, UK, and US) finds that 85% of fathers say that they would be willing to do anything to be very involved in the early weeks and months of caring for their newly born or adopted child.

Occupation and career is now behind family and children.



Set against the rising costs of living and COVID lingering, the return to the office, it’s hardly surprising that old frameworks can’t cope with the pace of change and the new normal.

People want more and different. Better.



So, to get a better understanding of what was going on and how I could better support coaching clients I have taken an additional coaching certification in Ikigai.

Ken Mogi the author of The Little Book of Ikigai describes ikigai as

“the spectrum that reflects the complexity of life. He believes that it is important to understand that oftentimes, the simple things are what make people happy, and ikigai starts from very small things.”

                                                                                                   “Not ikiai” Venn diagram courtesy of Ikigai Tribe

In the West ikigai is portrayed by a Venn diagram which does the rounds routinely, as doing something you love, for which you are paid. In a real Japanese sense, it isn’t about money, although I understand why that approach would gain traction here, because that is how we measure success.  I also explored that route but I’ve come to understand it’s about much more than that.  What I like about the concept is the importance of small steps and finding joy in the little things.

I intend to integrate elements of this core philosophy into my career coaching programme, particularly around the concepts of purpose and fulfilment adding an additional layer of transformational coaching to a goal centred framework of Cognitive Behaviour career coaching.

If you are  finding everything a  bit much at the moment and would like to learn more about my latest programme incorporating some basic Ikigai concepts.

Schedule a 30 minute complimentary discovery call now –  get in touch!




Dorothy Dalton Administrator
Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she supports organizations to achieve business success via gender balance, diversity and inclusion. She is CIPD qualified, and a certified coach and trainer including digital learning.
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