Take a moment to seriously consider where you see yourself five years from now. Will you be where you are now? If so, are you okay with that? Or better yet, ask yourself where you would like to be five years from now. In other words, what would your life look like if you were able to find your dream job and live happily?
Consider what your life might be like if you were doing what you love to do. Imagine that you no longer had to engage in work that doesn’t move you. You wake up on Monday mornings not with awful dread, but with vigor and motivation. Just imagine how happy you would be getting paid for simply following your passion, or as the Japanese call it, ikigai.
Think of the value you could bring to the world if you were in a position that rewarded you both extrinsically and intrinsically. How satisfying would it be to apply yourself in a meaningful way that better serves your life and the lives of others, and be financially rewarded for it?
This is known as the “sweet spot”. It is perhaps the highest level of ikigai there is.
Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
– Mark Twain
If that sounds attractive, it is high time to start thinking about moving your life in a new direction or at the very least begin transforming your pastime or hobby into something for which you can be paid.
Trust me, it is not as difficult as you think.
Dream jobs come in all shapes and sizes
Know that success comes in all shapes and sizes and there is no one size fits all and that it has absolutely nothing to do with what others deem successful. In fact, it has everything to do with what you want. Becoming an entrepreneur, reaching fame and infamy, or changing the world is meaningless unless you want it.
Of course, going into business for oneself is often a big motivator for people who want to be their own boss and do what they love. It is often viewed as a pinnacle to success as owning your own business can be very rewarding. But, it is not the only place where you can find meaning and satisfaction.
There are many others who are quite content with working for an organization and view their success through the lenses of the corporate ladder. Surely there are others who enjoy a more social occupation such as working as a firefighter, teacher or librarian. There is no dream job that covers everyone’s preferences.
Determining your own lifestyle is a personal preference and by no means should you compare yourself to others. There are no rules dictating what you should do.
But, in order to get to where you want to be, if you are not there already, you might want to consider what steps to take from here.
Although you should encourage yourself to think big, it is important to align yourself with your current situation and capabilities. Aspirations regarding ikigai and one’s life purpose easily tend to get lofty and filled with grandeur, which may not be realistic when starting out. This is all too common with people want to get rich quick.
Indeed, there is no need to rush into things if you are not ready. In fact, it is reasonable to just start off small as many successful people do. The first step, of course, is to get yourself in the right state of mind and lay out a plan or direction to take.
Know yourself first
Achieving success starts with a deliberate process that lays the foundation for the journey ahead, so taking your first steps towards your dreams should not be considered lightly.
It starts simply with one foot in front of the other. Too big of a jump could be unrealistic, so it is important to identify a more sustainable or methodical approach that may be better suited to you. There is no reason to take unnecessary risks when starting out.
In order to move beyond a simple ikigai, hobby or interest, however, you should first take a close look at yourself. Reflect on what is going on in your life. Focus not so much on the past, but rather the present, the here and now. Pay close attention to the little things in your life that matter.
Practice such mindful meditation regularly so that you become more familiar with your personal needs and preferences. This will help you to make some clear decisions about what it is you value.
Passion is the basis for finding your dream job
When speaking of ikigai, perhaps the most essential component for a purposeful life is your passion. Without passion for what you do, you will never be able to sustain the healthy lifestyle you want. It is therefore essential that you first come to terms with what exactly you love doing. Unless you enjoy it, you will never be able to create a meaningful and purposeful life around it.
Simply, you wouldn’t be living your ikigai if it weren’t your passion.
Passion is the basis from which all your actions extend. It is through passion where you find a purpose-driven life. But remember, passion alone doesn’t pay the bills. The next piece to finding your dream job is to consider whether or not your passion is a part of a larger mission in life.
Your mission in life
Assuming you have a clear understanding of what your passion is, it is time to connect that with your values. What kind of role model would you like to become? In what ways can your passion be used to help the people around you or even change the world?
Some people like to volunteer at their community center or in large NPOs that have a wider impact on the health and prosperity of nations. Others may find their mission in their relationships with friends, family and associates. There are those who make it a point to help others build a business, lead productive lives, stay healthy and on track, and much, much more.
Whatever your mission may be, by engaging in what you love to do for the benefit of not only yourself but also as a contribution to the success of others, you will realize a profound level of purpose and happiness.
Building the skills you need for that dream job
We live in an age where there are more and more people around us are breaking through the status quo and living out their dreams. Now more than ever, people are turning to what drives them. They are putting their lives in order and are pulling out all the stops to capture new opportunities.
At the macro-level, there are now a number of attributable success factors that can make such a journey more achievable than ever before. There is the proliferation of the internet with the world’s entire knowledge-base at your fingertips, on the go productivity, and improvements in socioeconomic factors such as education, income, diversity, health, and lifestyle to mention a few.
At a more personal level, it is wise to once again reflect on where you are at the moment. Try to identify what talents you have. Take note of the skills you are comfortable with and in what areas you feel you need more development. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Look for opportunities in the abilities you possess.
And if you realize the need to develop certain skills to pursue your passion, then get started. If you recognize any deficiencies, then is necessary that you acquire the skills you need to take your passion to the next level. Indeed there are many ways you can approach this such as on the job training, formal education, online courses, and even millions of videos. All of which are good places to start.
Seriously, there is little that holds you back if you are determined to move forward. “Determined,” being the operative word.
Commit to landing that dream job
Realize that aside from winning the lottery, overnight successes are far and few between. For most people, success takes time and commitment.
Excluding external obstacles or other influences that inhibit you from moving forward or cause you to back off from your ikigai, the most essential characteristic you need, other than personal passion, is your ability to commit to your future success.
Most certainly it sounds like a no-brainer, but there are many people who find it difficult to commit themselves towards a specific purpose. It takes a conscious decision and concerted effort to follow your passion. Understand that you are making a decision to take on more responsibility. Your dream job is within reach, but you must pursue it vehemently.
It is that commitment and the responsibility you take on that binds you to follow through with your actions. Your actions give you momentum and direct you from procrastinating during difficult downtimes. It motivates you to get things done as it puts you in line with a specific goal and helps you remain focused on a mission.
Take the leap towards your dream job
Reflect for a moment on your mission and what you really like to do with your time. What do you put your effort into and why? How do you help those around you with their problems? What solutions can you provide?
If you are currently between jobs this may be an opportunity for you to start fresh. From here you can take actions that will put you on the path which is best for you.
Consider the environment you would like to be in. Are you interested in working with others or going solo? Is working from home a more desirable working style or do you feel more focused at the office?
And, just as important, don’t ignore the environment you want to avoid. In fact, it is worth reflecting on what demotivates you as well. Discard the things you know you are averse to.
First, don’t quit your day job.
If you are already working, take a close look at your current profession. Do you enjoy your job? What is it about the job that you value? Can you identify what you like or dislike about it? Importantly, do your passion, talents, and mission in life align well with the job?
If they do, then great! It may just be that you have already found your dream job! The next step for you would most likely be designing your career path from here onwards. Take into consideration the mindset and skills you will need to move forward. Analyze the obstacles before you. Then, start implementing a plan!
However, if you feel that your current job is not exactly what you have in mind as your dream job, a different path from here onward may be necessary. It is worthwhile to consider not only what type of job you want, but also under what conditions do you want it.
Another important consideration for you is, what is manageable at this moment? Can you drop what you are doing now to venture off in a different direction? Are you financially prepared to break from your current employer? Is your confidence at a level you can work with and are you emotionally ready for the change.
These and other similar questions about the impact of such a change might have on you should be seriously reviewed. You need to come to terms with these challenges and any apprehension you may have. But understand that everyone goes through the same fears and they shouldn’t stop you from moving forward. The question is how to move forward.
So, there is no reason to quit your day job until you have established your foundation. In fact, you owe it to yourself to prepare for what is to come.
Build momentum in your spare time. Think of it as a test run to something bigger and better. Use your weekends to explore and learn not only how to generate financial gain for your mission, but also as a sandbox where you can develop an approach.
One day you will find yourself in a position where you can safely make the change.
On somewhat of a side note, be sure to seek the advice of your role models. We all know a number of people who are following their calling. They are passionate about what they do and have developed the necessary skills to sustain their lives. Usually, they are very inspiring and have a wealth load of knowledge they will readily share.
Surely if you ask them, they may hand down to you some great advice and tons of encouragement. Mentors and role models have a unique way of helping you realize your own strengths and beliefs, which is worth its weight in gold. After all, they too are following their dreams. And you can too.
Start preparing for your dream job now
Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying your ikigai in your own way, be it simple or otherwise. However, it is only when you take on a higher level of commitment and responsibility that you will see your ikigai transforming from a part-time passion into something much greater, a lifestyle.
Know that it is possible to get from where you are now to a more specific purpose or mission that helps make the world just a little bit better than before. We see that all around us every day.
It may be as simple as changing your hobby into a part-time income and growing your revenue stream slowly. Or, perhaps you get a job working for a company that is passionate about the same things you are. You might rise up in a company or just stay at the position you are comfortable with. You may even open your own business at some point.
Your journey may not be an easy one to start, but rest assured that no longer are you restricted to where you are or where you can go. Just know that following your ikigai is a choice. You either go for it or you don’t. It is a commitment and often takes time.
But, time is a good thing. Indeed it is all any of us really have.
So, don’t waste it. Get started now!