- with Karly & Chloé

What Does Ikigai Mean?

Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy of finding and establishing meaning in life. It involves a process of cultivating your inner potential, being authentic with yourself in your relationships, work and creative processes, and approaching life with a strong sense of self and purpose.

This multidimensional and positive perspective on daily living and well-being helps us build self-awareness, gain clarity of direction, and to experience life with joy and vibrancy.

What Does Ikigai Mean?

Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy on well-being. It involves a process of cultivating your inner potential, being authentic with yourself in your relationships, work and creative processes, and approaching life with a strong sense of self and purpose.

This multidimensional and positive perspective on daily living helps us build self-awareness, gain clarity of direction, and to experience life with joy and vibrancy.

Have you seen the ikigai Venn diagram below? 

What if we told you this

is NOT ikigai?

This “ikigai” Venn diagram was popularized in the West by Marc Winn and was derived from what is known as the purpose Venn diagram created by author and astrologer, Andrés Zuzunaga.

  • Even though this Western diagram can be helpful in personal development, the Japanese concept of finding one’s ikigai is much more than these four simple circles.
  • Your ikigai doesn’t necessarily involve work, making money, or what the world needs. As you pursue your ikigai, these may be benefits, but they are not the goals.
  • Ikigai is as multidimensional as life itself and the spectrum of life’s diversity cannot be put into a Venn diagram.

What is ikigai then?

Iki-Gai:   

The word ikigai is made up of the verb Ikiru and the suffix gai.
Ikiru means to live and gai means value or worth.
Combined, the word ikigai broadly means "
the value of living".

Ikigai is often described as the reason we get up in the morning, and it shares some similarities with the French concept of raison d’être.

We don’t claim there is only one vision of the ikigai concept 


What we offer at Vibrant is certified ikigai and NLP coaching using an ikigai methodology developed and approved by Nick Kemp of Ikigai Tribe and Dr. Akihiro Hasegawa, Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at Tokyo Eiwa University and one of Japan’s leading researchers on ikigai.

Our unique ikigai coaching approach allows you to easily grasp the multidimensional aspects of the philosophy and apply them to your life, bringing greater clarity to yourself and the world around you.

Ikigai is not a magic bullet - nothing is when it comes to personal development

Ikigai is however an honest and authentic way to look at ourselves. It gives us tools to understand the complexity of our lives and to pursue the big and small things that give us purpose and meaning.

Having a strong sense of ikigai allows us to feel the joy, weather the challenges gracefully, and pursue that which we identify as important. It fills the basic needs of our lives.

The spectrum of ikigai

Our use of the term ikigai, and the way we share this philosophy with our clients, is done through a respectful cultural framework that understands the complexity and nuance of ikigai and allows for the variety of expressions within it. In the context of different periods in Japanese society, scholars have discussed the various interpretations of what ikigai is and how we feel it in our lives.

Ikigai is a contemplated term even in Japan. It is expressed in various ways across Japanese society, and no ONE definition or approach is agreed upon. Some believe ikigai to be an individualistic pursuit. Others are more concerned about one’s relationships and the larger group. Some believe it is about a greater life purpose, others about the little things.

Research has also been conducted to see how people outside of Japan feel and pursue ikigai, highlighting the accessibility of ikigai not only within the Japanese cultural context, but also as something much more grounded in our common humanity.

Work with us and we will share the key elements of the ikigai philosophy with you so you can begin to feel more motivation, meaning and joy in your expat life.

Book your free discovery call today and see how we can help you live your best expat life!