In the world of career choices, there’s a perpetual tug-of-war between following your passion and seeking job security. On the one hand, you have the allure of pursuing your dreams and doing what you love, and on the other, there’s the comforting embrace of a stable income and financial stability. In a recent LinkedIn poll, 53% of respondents claimed they strive to balance both elements. This conundrum isn’t new, and one concept that can offer valuable guidance in navigating this dilemma is Ikigai.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that roughly translates to “a reason for being.” It’s a profound philosophy that encapsulates the harmony between what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. It’s the sweet spot where your passion, mission, vocation, and profession intersect. Let’s explore how Ikigai can help you find equilibrium in the balancing act of job security and passion.
1. Passion and Profession
Your passion fuels your enthusiasm and creativity. It’s what you’d do for free because you love it so much. However, sustaining your passion often requires financial stability, which is where your profession comes into play. Balancing these two aspects might mean starting part-time or exploring side projects related to your passion while working a stable job. Over time, this could lead to a full-time career that encompasses both your passion and profession.
2. Passion and Mission
The intersection of passion and mission is where your actions contribute to the greater good. It’s about making a meaningful impact on the world, aligning your passion with a purpose beyond your personal satisfaction. Finding a career or projects that merge these two aspects can be incredibly fulfilling, helping you balance passion and a sense of accomplishment.
3. Profession and Vocation
Your profession and vocation are about doing what you’re skilled at and what you can be paid for. It’s the practical side of your career that ensures financial security. However, if you can find a profession that aligns with your vocation, you’re more likely to excel and, as a result, achieve a greater sense of job security. This, in turn, can free up resources and time to pursue your passion.
4. Mission and Vocation
Incorporating your mission and vocation means finding a career that allows you to make a positive impact on the world while utilising your skills. This can be a fulfilling way to ensure job security and financial stability while also contributing to a better world.
So, how do you strike the perfect balance between your passion and job security? Ikigai encourages us to focus on the overlap between these four elements. By doing so, you can identify opportunities, both in your current job and beyond, that align with your Ikigai. Here are some practical steps to help you get started:
- Self-Reflection: Take the time to reflect on your passions, strengths, values, and what you want to contribute to the world. What activities energise you, and where do your talents lie?
- Exploration: Be open to trying new things and exploring opportunities that resonate with your Ikigai. This might involve taking courses, volunteering, or networking in your chosen field.
- Networking: Connect with individuals who share your interests or work in industries related to your passions. Building a network can open doors to career opportunities that balance both your passion and job security.
- Incremental Changes: You don’t have to make drastic career changes overnight. Start small, like dedicating a few hours each week to your passion project or finding ways to incorporate your passion into your current job.
- Set Goals: Define clear goals and milestones to track your progress. Whether it’s earning a certain income or completing a personal project, having goals will help keep you on the right path.
Balancing job security and passion is a challenging endeavour, but the Ikigai framework can serve as a guiding light. By finding that sweet spot where what you love meets what the world needs and what you can be paid for, you can navigate your career with confidence and purpose. Remember that the journey toward achieving balance may require patience and persistence, but the rewards of a fulfilling and secure career are well worth the effort. So, start your journey today and embrace the power of Ikigai.