The Japanese have a saying for finding the source of value in your life.
“Iki” means life and “gai” means alive and it's the thing that makes your life worthwhile.
Many also refer to Ikigai as living a blissful life, doing what you love or giving you reason to wake up in the morning.
It’s the meaning to your life.
Roughly translated into English it means “finding your purpose” and I believe it’s the foundation of your personal brand.
Although Ikigai is not tied to your financial status, the business World has morphed Ikigai into not only doing what you love, but also getting paid to do it.
After all, having a blissful life is nice, but you still have to pay for your mortgage, car, food, kids school fees and a nice vacation every year right.
Even if you are a digital nomad, with low overheads and no ties, you still need an income to live.
In fact, we have seen such people simply cut back more and more into their lifestyle in order to do this. The less they earn, the more frugally they live. And that, to me, is not living a blissful life.
The real secret to having a blissful life, doing what you love and being paid for it, is to ensure you are doing something that people want.
Otherwise it makes your blissful life quite stressful and limits your joy.
Being paid well for doing what you love and making sure that is something others want from you is where Ikigai becomes your personal brand.
The thing you want to be well known, well paid and wanted for.
That after all has got to be a dream for most humans, to earn nicely so they can do what they love rather thane exchanging their time for money, or worse, doing something they really dislike until they can afford to live the dream.
Have you taken the time to consider your Ikigai and how that can form the basis of your personal brand?
There is a quick exercise you can go through to help you find your purpose, and become recognised as the go-to person, with a reputation as being the best because you obviously love what you do and the respect that earns you the ability to charge what you want.
I call it the 3 R’s Of personal branding and you can read more about it here…
In the meantime, you may want to take a break from chasing the dream and figure out what is it that you love doing...
Take a break from chasing the dream and figure out what is it that you love doing
Consider when you most feel ‘in the flow’, the times that you disappear into the task and time slips away?
What do you feel most proud of, what moment have you been at your happiest, fist-pumping the air or doing a happy dance to celebrate?
If you are still unsure, ask your client what is it that they love about working with you?
Ask your associates, friends and family when they see you the happiest and what they think are your natural abilities.
Then look into your past, what you did as a child that you absolutely loved. What of that activity have you brought forward with you to where you are now?
The story of the peacemaker who now councils others as a mindset coach, the bespoke jeweller who loved making model planes and cars to the perfect specification and colour. The rugby player who could see the entire field and plan moves as a fly-half who became a respected production manager for advertising agencies…
The special gifts and talents you were provided in your DNA can have an extraordinary bearing on your Ikigai.
The special gifts and talents you were provided in your DNA can have an extraordinary bearing on your Ikigai
When it comes to you’re expert ease, you can consider what you do that provides an awesome outcome for others.
there's nothing more fulfilling than being wanted for what you do well
Chances are you have slipped into the area of unconscious competence, where you do things with ease that others find difficult. That’s why it’s called expert-ease and you probably undervalue it.
Consider more than what people need. Everyone needs a dentist once a year, but do we want to go see them?
A need becomes a want because we have some sort of pain.
So what pain does your natural talent, the thing you love doing solve for others?
Is it stress, lack of time, loss of connection, feeling overwhelmed or out of control, being sick and tired (or tired of being sick).
We often get hung up on what we do, rather than the solution we provide and the unique way in which we do that. People want to know, like and trust the person they are working with.
They buy your confidence and your approach and care less about how you do what you do.
Get clear on your ideal client, make them real and consider their pain and how you can turn a need into a want.
You can find out more about your ideal target avatar and creating a cascade of influence in the Selling You Guidebook.
People buy your confidence and your approach and care less about how you do what you do
As an entrepreneur, you have done something awesome with your brain, but you might also be letting yourself down in the income states because of it.
you deserve to be well known, well paid & wanted
The Amygdala in the brain is you fear centre and it works hard to keep you safe and when you decided to start your own business you overpowered the Amygdala which was screaming at you about all the risks.
Now the superhuman ability you have as an entrepreneur, that enabled you to overcome the fear centre, has it’s own kryptonite. It’s called bright-shiny-object-itis and it leads to FOMO, the fear of missing out.
Your entrepreneurial brain has the most amazing way of seeing opportunity and creating new ideas, but if you let it run amok, without a clear sense of direction, it can distract and divert you into desperation terrmiorty.
When you try to do everything and help everyone, you lose your credibility and devalue your trust currency.
The saying goes “a confused mind will never buy” and if you have ever met someone who ‘does it all’ you will know the feeling of insecurity you get.
So the best way to ensure you are being paid well for doing what you love, is to ensure you are clearly focused on your ideal client and stick within the niche you discovered when you focused on what they want.
The odd thing is that finding your niche makes the entrepreneurial brain cringe, but once you get clear on what you want to be respected as the best in the business for, you can get really creative with how you offer that.
And you can package all of the many areas of your expertise and knowledge into a niche if you consider that niche isn’t about what you do, its more about who you help and the outcome you deliver.
A simple exercise to get into finding your niche, is to do a brain dump of all the things you know about.
Grab some post-it notes a pen and a large empty table or wall. Then write on each note something you know abiout. It doesn’t need to be related to what you do or your vocation. It can be a skill, system, process, ability or experience.
Once you have emptied your brain (don’t worry you can always write more later and you will), then consider how you would go about teaching someone what you know, sorting the notes into the process of steps.
You may find that some notes bunch well together and others sit to one side. You may notice some core skills sit together with more soft or natural skills.
Once you have them all sorted, now you have your overarching niche, the thing you can become respected as the go-to expert for.
For more help packaging your personal brand you will find more exercises you can use to focus and refine what you want to be well known, well paid and wanted for in the best-selling personal branding guidebook 'Selling You'.
You can package all the areas of your expertise if you consider that niche isn't about what you do, it's about who you help and the outcome you deliver.
If you are ready to get clear on what you want to be well known, well paid and wanted for now is the time to find your Ikigai.
Lauren Clemett is the Best Selling Author of the “SELLING YOU” series of practical guidebooks Know Me, Like Me & Trust Me. She is a personal branding specialist and award winning Neurobrander, helping service providers and consultants generate more income from their expertise. For more information Click Here.
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