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The Alchemy of Leadership Blog

Ikigai: a reason for being

purpose mental health week

The well-being of an organisation and the well-being of its workers are inextricably linked.

Human capital management is now seen by many, including the investor community, as an indicator of an organisation’s long-term prospects. It is no surprise therefore that mental health in the workplace is now considered a top priority for almost 60% of the UK’s CEOs.*

However, there is a naivety among many, who believe that throwing in some free lunchtime yoga classes, or sprinkling fruit bowls around the office is going to make everyone feel happier. Well yes, in most cases, the fruit bowls and yoga classes will be well-received. But we need to think bigger. Think about the ‘why’, before the ‘what’.

Having a sense of purpose on an organisational level helps to cultivate a collaborative culture. Having a sense of personal purpose gives motivation and inspires action. It also reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Japanese describe ‘the reason for being’ as Ikigai. The simple framework offers an opportunity to balance your values and intrinsic motivators, with your skills and extrinsic motivators.



That which you love
Simple. How do you enjoy spending your time? If you lived in a world where money was no object, what would you spend your time doing?

That which the world needs
The world needs your help. Is there a cause that you believe in? If so, how can you support it?

That which you can be paid for
What service can you offer to add real value to others? Find something that you are great at and enjoy, and that the world needs.

That which you are good at
Do more of what you’re good at. You can learn and develop almost any skill, although you will also naturally gravitate towards certain things that you enjoy, and have discovered a need for.

This week, spend some time reflecting on your purpose and learn to take ownership of your future.

If you'd like to explore this subject further, we recommend Defining You by Fiona Murden, Chartered Psychologist.






*Reference: 2018 annual report, ‘Employee Wellbeing Research 2018’ from Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA) in association with Punter Southall Health & Protection

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