Last week, I introduced the Japanese concept of Ikigai, as a tool that can be used in developing a Second Act, or an ‘encore career’ in midlife or for retirement. Ikigai is the intersection of four circles that represent critical areas in life.
Ikigai and your ‘encore career’
Think of Ikigai as a ‘sweet spot’ that defines that ideal occupation which fulfills your mission, vocation, profession, and passion. I recommend that you revisit my previous blog article The Japanese Concept of Ikigai and your Second Act and have the illustration of the four circles handy.
The term ‘encore career’ was defined by author Marc Freedman as the central topic in his book Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. An encore career is any occupation in the second half of life that provides, in addition to continued income, greater personal meaning and contribution to humanity.
Now you can see how this fits nicely with the concept of Ikigai and the idea of having a second act in life.
What are you good at?
In this post I briefly explore the circle that you are probably most familiar with: What you are good at (the green circle in the Ikigai diagram). Here’s a simplified version of the Ikigai diagram highlighting this circle:
You are probably thinking of your lifelong career, and that is understandable. This is usually what you are more comfortable with. But what if the time has come for you to leave this behind? Maybe you were ‘forced’ to retire from your full-time job and your chances of employment are now slim?
I challenge you to think beyond your career. Instead, try to focus on your Skills, Talents, Gifts, and Knowledge. These could simply be what you have always and naturally been good at. Maybe up to this point you pursued various hobbies, but you never had the time to dedicate more to them. You were always “too busy” with work and family. Or, during different stages in your primary career you were always good at secondary or ‘soft’ skills that complemented your performance.
Can you list at least 10 of these skills, talents, or gifts? These are some examples:
- Communication skills (writing, blogging, public speaking)
- Mentoring and training others (an obvious encore career in teaching)
- Handling tools and equipment
- Leadership skills (multiple opportunities here…)
- Artistic abilities including music, drawing, painting, pottery, etc
- Athletic abilities (think sports coaching…)
- Multiple language skills (think translator/interpreter)
- Are you the one who always fixes things at home? (think handyman..)
- Did you always have a ‘green thumb’ – gardening and growing your own food?
Do you have deep knowledge or insight on any topic (other than your primary career)?
The possibilities are endless. And some of you may have already come up not only with a list, but also with a solid idea and plan on how to make money by bringing one of these talents or skills into practice. If your goal is to simply have a Plan B for making a living then you are probably all set and Ikigai is not for you. Keep in mind however, that unless you are able to monetize these skills, all you have is a hobby. And even if you can make millions you might still be unfulfilled.
But if you are looking for personal fulfillment beyond having financial security, then you need to wait until we explore the other three circles and their interactions with one another and eventually finding the ‘sweet spot’ of Ikigai.
In the meantime, do continue to explore your possibilities. Once you have a list, then try to organize it in order of priority.
But wait. How would you prioritize it?
In Peace and Prosperity,