Live On Purpose

Tammy Allen, SR. Director | Marketing & Communications, NIIC

As appears in Business People magazine – The Scene

Many variables during the COVID-19 pandemic led to the nation’s quit-rate, reaching a 20-year high in November 2021, according to PewResearch.Org. Top reasons included “low pay (63%), no opportunities for advancement (63%), and feeling disrespected at work (57%).”

Find Your Ikigai
A Japanese term meaning “a reason for being.” Business owners embody this. “Ikigai, concerning business, is about your why. Why are you in business?” Luke Ferris, Foundr Magazine, June 6, 2022.

Purpose Matters
Santiago Jaramillo, CEO and co-founder of Emplify, introduced me to ikigai during his keynote speech at The NIIC’s Ideas@Work Event. He discovered his ikigai at about seven-years-old. He started a business distributing water to his village neighbors using his little, red wagon.

He and his mother celebrated his earnings by buying American chocolate. Outside the store he saw hungry children begging for food and, after eating his chocolate, felt unsatisfied. He spoke with his mom about using his profits to feed them. They bought groceries, made sandwiches, and handed them out to the hungry children.

Santiago’s calling is to find ways to make the world a better place. He identifies needs and creates solutions through his businesses.

Discover Your Ikigai

To live a more engaged life, consider your ikigai. Success is not found by “leaning back.” Greatness often lies inconveniently out of the way, outside your comfort zone.

My ikigai is to positively live to make a difference, to leave the world a better place. I pour my time and talent into mission-driven organizations.

It takes reflection and self-knowledge to identify your ikigai. Look for the convergence of:

  • What you love (passion)
  • What the world needs (mission)
  • What you are good at (vocation)
  • What you can get paid for (profession) or volunteer to do

Live Your Ikigai
Understanding your ikigai can lead to fulfillment and happiness, and may help you live longer. “A highly unusual percentage of seniors on Japan’s Okinawa Island live to 100. Their secret is ikigai, a unique sense of purpose,” according to BBC.com.


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