007 - Finding my Ikigai as a Product Designer
Hey friends! 👋🏻
Have you heard of the Japanese concept of "ikigai"? It's a word that's difficult to translate directly into English, but it essentially means "the reason for being" or "the thing that gets you up in the morning." While the traditional Japanese philosophy emphasizes finding bliss, the western interpretation of ikigai has been utilized as a means of discovering one's dream career. I recently started reading "Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life" by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia. In the beginning of the book, there is a Venn diagram that looks a little something like this:
The four circles include – what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs. Your ikigai resides at the intersection of these 4 components. When I saw this for the first time, I started to wonder if I had found my ikigai or purpose in life. After giving it some more thought this week, I feel that I have or at least I'm pretty close.
As a product designer – I'm doing what I love, I'm getting paid for it and I'd like to think that I'm pretty decent at it too. At Meta, I'm currently designing experiences that help businesses and consumers connect and interact seamlessly over messaging. Is it something the world needs? I guess that depends on how you define needs. Can a business still operate without business messaging? Yeah, most likely. But we sure are helping to facilitate these conversations between consumers and businesses. So I'll let you be the judge of whether or not it's something the world needs.
As I start to adopt this mindset of ikigai, I hope to continue working on projects that I'm passionate about, that have a real impact on people's lives, and that have challenged me to become a better designer. I encourage anyone who is feeling unfulfilled or stuck in their career to take some time to reflect on their own ikigai. By finding your own unique intersection of passion, skill, impact, and financial sustainability, you can pave the way for a more meaningful and satisfying career.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!
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