Tag Archive for: Personal Values

Discovering Ikigai: The Art of Finding Joy and Purpose in Every Day

In the picturesque landscapes of Okinawa, Japan, a profound philosophy known as Ikigai has its roots. Ikigai, translating to “a reason for being,” is a concept that encapsulates the essence of living a fulfilled and balanced life.

It’s the secret behind the joy and longevity of the Okinawans, offering a blueprint for anyone seeking purpose, happiness, and a sense of accomplishment in their daily lives.

The Essence of Ikigai

At its core, Ikigai is about finding the sweet spot where your passions, skills, societal needs, and economic opportunities converge. It encourages a holistic approach to life, blending the personal with the professional and the spiritual with the practical. The concept revolves around four pivotal questions: What do you love? What does the world need? What are you good at? And, what can you be paid for? The intersection of these aspects reveals your Ikigai, guiding you towards a life of satisfaction and meaning.

Journeying Towards Your Ikigai

Finding your Ikigai isn’t an overnight affair; it’s a journey of self-exploration and experimentation. It starts with introspection—taking a deep dive into your interests, skills, and desires. It’s about asking yourself what brings you joy, what talents you possess, how you can contribute to the world, and how you can sustainably support yourself through your passions.

Exploring different avenues, embracing new experiences, and being open to change are crucial steps in discovering your Ikigai. It’s equally important to practice mindfulness and gratitude, cherishing the process as much as the outcomes. Building connections and engaging with your community can also provide invaluable insights and encouragement along the way.

Living with Ikigai

Understanding your Ikigai is one thing; integrating it into your daily life is another. It entails making deliberate choices that align with your purpose and values, possibly leading to changes in career, hobbies, or lifestyle. Setting clear, actionable goals and seeking a balance in all aspects of life are vital strategies for living in accordance with your Ikigai. Moreover, embracing continuous learning and seeking ways to give back to the community can enhance your journey and deepen your sense of fulfillment.

The Path Forward

Ikigai is more than just finding what makes you happy or what you’re good at; it’s about achieving a harmonious balance that nurtures your well-being while contributing to the world. It’s a dynamic, ongoing process of growth and discovery. By pursuing your Ikigai, you embark on a rewarding path that not only enriches your own life but also positively impacts those around you.

In essence, Ikigai offers a transformative approach to living, blending joy, purpose, and balance into every day. It’s a philosophy that encourages us to live intentionally, with a clear sense of direction and a heart full of gratitude. Whether you’re searching for meaning, seeking to change your life’s course, or simply wishing to deepen your understanding of yourself, Ikigai provides a timeless framework for a life well-lived.


Read more and explore the concept of Ikigai further:

Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

 


 

In the last few years we’ve recognised that we probably haven’t had the opportunity to feel the benefit of many of the things that we take joy from. Covid has really challenged our opportunity to find joy in our life.

We’re really talking about those things that are present in our life already…and the opportunities exist. But, if we’re not actively looking for them, and we’re not seeking them, sometimes they can pass us by.

 

I was recently asked to speak at an Aged Care Forum on the topic of ‘Joy and its Link to Self-Care’. This is a great theme. One that we don’t speak enough about, so it was a lovely opportunity to discuss a topic that is important, yet not commonly sought out in business circles.

Listen to my thoughts below about how joy can be found anywhere and our need to actively seek it. It is not passive. Joy does not occur through blind hope. It can be discovered and created, if you take the time to be mindful of the many joyful moments that occur every day…even the small things.


Read my related blog: Your Roles, Your Time, Your Choices

Themes such as understanding the difference between an internal and external locus of control. Delving into how important socialisation, being with others and relationships are for all of us. I also discuss how perspective relates to joy. These themes and others are covered with the intention that there may be opportunity for the discovery of more joy.

The invitation to expand on and share my thoughts with such a large group of attendees was appreciated. The possibility that one or more participants might apply some of their learning in practice is exciting. You may also find value in the key points highlighted. This may lead to more joy for you and others…and that’s never a bad thing.

 


Additional Resources:

Brett Ledbetter: Finding Your Inner Coach, Ted Talk

10 Keys To Happier Living

 

Values continue to be an important part of our lives.

But do you know what your core personal values are and understand how they impact you and those closest to you?

Personal values continue to be important for many reasons, both at work and at home. It is more relevant than ever to continue to elaborate on this core aspect of your motivations, decision-making process and behaviours.

I have written about values beforeUnderstanding your own set of personal values can be a powerful tool. Increased self-awareness and knowledge of what is most important to you can help to identify how you act. They also help you to discover what motivations drive you and why you react to particular events or situations more than others.

CoachStation: Personal Values and Leadership Development

Picture Source: Verne Ho, Unsplash

 

Situations, leaders and cultures sometimes challenge your values. Often in the workplace and in relationships we are asked to compromise on those things that matter most to us.

Too much compromise however, can make you feel as though something fundamental is amiss.

Your personal values are a central part of who you are – and who you want to be. By becoming more aware of these important factors in your life, you can use them as a guide to make the best choice in any situation. Some of life’s decisions are really about determining what you value most.

They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.

When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you’re satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things feel… wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness. This is why making a conscious effort to identify your values is so important. (1)

Watch our latest CoachStation Leadership video below to learn more about personal values…

References:

(1) What Are Your Values?: MindTools

Understanding your own set of personal values can be a powerful tool. Increased self-awareness and knowledge of what is most important to you can help to identify how you act, what motivations drive you and better understand why you react to particular events or situations more than others.

What are personal values?
Wordnetweb defines values as beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something). Values exert major influence on the behavior of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations (BusinessDictionary.com).
Values can and do change over time depending on environment, parental influence, teachers/schooling, friendship groups, specific situations and many other contributing factors. Importantly, values can be shaped through both negative and positive experiences. An individual may hold a core value based on something that has happened in the past that they regret, have unhappy memories about or the same value can be important to an individual because of positive stimuli.

An example I use regularly in training is the 9 year old boy (let’s call him Jack) playing football with his Father. Now, Jack may describe respect or trust as core values in later life. Either of these values and many others could be shaped by Jack’s experiences growing up. In the football example Jack may be criticised, chastised and ridiculed by his Father as they practice, almost certainly influencing Jack’s enthusiasm, self-belief and other personal attributes.

In contrast, Jack may have experienced a supporting, encouraging and rewarding environment as he and his Father practiced football. In either case, the values of trust and respect may be important to Jack as he continues to mature and develop, however the original triggers and influences that provide the platform for these beliefs and values derived from completely different experiences.

Since becoming more aware of what values are and the place they hold in my life I have discovered a stronger sense of comfort that was missing previously. Let me provide a personal example that I often use regarding the impact of values and the benefit of a deeper understanding on how they can influence an individual.

In the past I would sometimes be driving home at the end of a day feeling frustrated, angry, disappointed or some other negative emotional response. I would often dwell on these emotions and the events that triggered my responses. A short time later, due to the build-up of my emotions, I would start to become angrier and more frustrated reflecting my lack of ability to understand myself and why I couldn’t let the moment pass. In a sense I was getting annoyed about being annoyed in the first place. Sometimes this inability to simply ‘let it go’ became a bigger issue for me than the events that triggered my response in the first place.

Since gaining a better understanding of personal values and my own responses I began to recognise that in the vast majority of cases when I was most frustrated or disappointed it was due to one or more of my core values being breached. Understanding my responses and the reasons why has provided a more solid platform for me to move through those moments more readily. I am not saying that I don’t have negative responses or reactions – simply that I understand my responses better and as a result, can more effectively manage my own emotions relative to the situation.

Values are deeply held convictions which guide behaviors and decisions. When honoring values a person feels right, in-tune with and true to themselves. Stress often results from being out of alignment with values. Examples of personal values might include integrity, generosity, diligence, persistence, and humor. There are hundreds of words in the English language describing personal values, though each individual might hold dear to a handful. Values are deeply held beliefs that guide our behaviors and decisions. They reside deeply within the subconscious and are tightly integrated into the fabric of everyday living. We make decisions and choose behaviors, friends, employment, and entertainment based, in large part, on our values. (1)

To provide greater insight and understanding through coaching and in order to develop a deeper knowledge regarding personal values, I have conducted an assessment of personal values amongst almost forty team member’s, leaders, clients and acquaintances since 2009. The tool I use is the Real Deal Values cards created by the external company, Peak Learning. This tool consists of eighty cards with a value-based word or phrase printed on each.

Identifying and Working With Pre-Existing Talents of Employess.

The process is a facilitated discussion that provides an opportunity for each participant to sort through the cards numerous times, gradually removing those values that are less of a priority, eventually identifying the essential and core values.

The process includes several stages and seeks to create greater awareness for each participant regarding their own value set. This can assist in identifying why an individual reacts more strongly to certain decisions, situations and environments through an improved level of self-awareness.
The values are aligned to one of four groups:

  • Relational – requiring at least one other person to be valid.
  • Intrinsic – those values driven from within i.e. not requiring a significant external stimuli
  • Extrinsic – values deriving from external sources/inputs i.e. requiring an external stimulus
  • Achievement – aspirational or outcome based values.

In many cases, these values had never been consciously articulated or verbalised by the participant. Bringing these thoughts and ideas to the surface allows for greater opportunity to manage situations and emotions based on higher self-acceptance and self-reliance.
The discussions regarding why each value card has been kept or rejected provides insight into what motivates an individual, adds value to the session depth and ultimately the participants growth and development. We then discuss why the participant has selected these particular values, investigating why these are most important to them. There are no right or wrong responses – the values that an individual holds close are for their reasons alone. The discussions seek to delve into what the values are and why they are defined as a higher priority for the participant.
It is relevant to note that by discarding the initial cards, the participant is not stating they are unimportant values, simply that they are less important than those remaining. The process focuses on prioritisation, self-awareness and depth of thought.
Although due to the number of participants to date and relative scale, conclusive results cannot be drawn, there are key observations that should be of interest to us all:

  • Trust made it into twenty-three of the participant’s top 10 core values and thirty-one (79%) of the top fifteen values for all participant’s.
  • The following Relational-based values were also prominent, listed within the sample groups top fifteen values, as reflected in the percentages provided:
    • Honesty (71%)
    • Respect (68%)
    • Loyalty (44%)
  • Good Leadership (39%) was the predominant Extrinsic value listed
  • The Achievement based values highlighted Being Challenged (39%)
  • Relational Values made up 47% of the total
  • Intrinsic Values made up 32% of the total.

Of the Intrinsic values the most prominently listed were:

  • Learning/Growth (70%)
  • Enthusiasm/Passion (59%)
  • Making a Difference (54%)
  • Health/Strength (46%)

So, what does this all mean? Simply stated, personal values matter!

This research clearly shows that trust is a key value that is prominent for many (or at least the candidates I have worked with!). This value is reinforced by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. In a 2009 international study, the majority of people said that they trust a stranger more than they trust their boss. Think about what this finding means if you’re a manager. It means that there’s a good chance that the people you lead are less likely to trust you than to trust someone they simply walked by on the way to work. Think about what this means to your credibility. Credibility is the foundation of leadership…and trustworthiness is an essential component of credibility…Think about what it means to the organization’s performance. High trust organizations have been shown to outperform low-trust organisations by 286 percent in total return to shareholders (2).

However, trust is not the only relevant value here. As detailed above, there are many consistent patterns and trends in personal values stemming from the results. If we can assume that this sample is reflective of the broader population then there is much we can take from the findings.
Interestingly, when considering the group trends, Relational and Intrinsic-based values made up over three-quarters of the values selected. Admittedly, this could be a reflection of the people I know, industries that participant’s work within or other contributing variables, although it is a compelling trend. Another alternative is that this sample could well reflect the values and related wants and needs of more than just the participant’s involved, in fact possibly those of people you work with today. Maybe some of the people are even in your own teams.

There are two key points worth reflecting on:

1. If you do not understand what each of your team member’s core values are, you could be potentially missing the ultimate success of growing and developing your team to be the best they can be. This could be impacting the business bottom line, morale, relationships and other key elements.

2. If we can assume that this sample is reflective of the broader population then we should ask ourselves as leaders: how well do we meet the needs of our team members to provide both the environment and opportunity to excel every day?

Values are not the only component of effective leadership, understanding an individual and team building. However, they are a core element and if overlooked are likely to lead to a series of assumptions about what drives and motivates, potentially leading to a missed connection with your people. Is this something that you can afford to ignore?

 

(1) Personal Values and Core Beliefs
(2) The Truth About Leadership: 2010, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner