Reason for Being

Find your reason for being

By Siobhan Kelly, Principal Consultant at Cpl Office Support

Reason for Being

As we enter this New Year, it’s normal to ask ourselves some big questions. Where are we going professionally and personally? What do we want to take from the old year into the New year and what or who do we want to leave behind? I want to share something that may help you with your career plans for 2020.


Ikigai is a concept created on the island of Okinawa, Japan, to help mere mortals like you and I find our reason for being. The word derives from iki, meaning life and kai, meaning the realisation of hopes and expectations.

Finding our reason for being might seem like a big ask for 2020 but there’s evidence to back it up. The people who live on the island and practise ikigai live some of the longest and healthiest lives found in any community in the world.

Their secret? Finding their ikigai, and as a result maintaining their happiness.

So how do YOU find your Ikigai? Well, it is found at the intersection of these four questions, where passion, mission, vocation, and profession all meet.

Reason for Being

  1. Passion– What do you love?
  2. Mission-What are you good at?
  3. Profession-What can you be paid for now — or what is something that could transform into your future career?
  4. Vocation– What does the world need?

For example-My ikigai could look something like this…

  • Passion – What do you love? – Helping people
  • Mission -What are you good at? – Talking (some say too good), writing, presenting, empathy
  • Profession – What can you be paid for now — or what is something that could transform into your future career? – Recruitment
  • Vocation – What does the world need? –People to fight for the underdog and champions of diversity and inclusion

Finding your meaning is equally important in the corporate world as your personal life.

If elements of ikigai are applied to an employee’s role there is evidence showing higher levels of employee engagement and productivity, while also adding to job satisfaction and loyalty to the company.

To find my professional ikigai, I had to find the right company that would allow me to craft my career into something that worked for every part of me.

In my role at Cpl I get to follow my passion of helping people, I get to write blogs, and present workshops which are all things I’ve shown skill in (my mission.) Through my profession, recruitment, I get to serve my vocation, which is to be a champion of diversity and inclusionCpl allows me to dedicate significant time to work with students with intellectual difficulties, refugees and immigrants, the Travelling community, the long term unemployed etc. 

If your job only serves 2/3 of the pillars mentioned the balance will be off and you won’t feel fulfilled.

Reason for Being

As a side note, it takes time to get this balance right. I didn’t start working on my vocation with Cpl on Day 1, I started with my profession. I delivered on that and then started adding all of the other parts. So be patient with yourself and your employer.

I’ve included a downloadable Ikigai work sheet and you can give it a go, trust me it works. You can use the image below as a guide but if you get stuck or need some help reach out!

Please let us know how you get on!

Siobhan Kelly (Cpl) and Fiona Kelly (Executive PA Forum Director) at the 2019 Forum

You can contact Siobhan for any career advice you need at:

Ph: 01 614 6172  M: 0860254996