As we focus our thoughts on the ABC’s of Financial Freedom and reach the Letter “I”, the obvious article would seem to be related to something like Insurance, Investments, Interest rates, or the like. Right?
Nope! Instead, I decided to write about a Japanese concept: Ikigai (ee-kee-guy), which means roughly “to live the life worth living, or the reason for being.” Essentially this word represents the concept of purpose. As we have explored simple changes like breaking up with your Barista, cleaning up your credit, or enjoying a trip to the grocery store, the thought struck me – What is simpler than living with purpose every day?
Since ikigai is about balance and finding joy and fulfillment in your daily life, I find it particularly necessary to include in this series. All things that bring happiness are not necessarily financial. How many people do you know that have their finances in order but their lives are a disaster? How many have tons of money in the bank, but they hate their job, hate their life partners, complain all the time, and do not seem to have a purposeful meaning to their life?
Money will never be the sole root of happiness, but if you decide “living the life worth living” includes financial peace, what steps are you taking to attain that purpose? Relieving the anxiety of debt by slowly working toward paying it off is just one of many ways to make your way toward this concept of “ikigai.”
When the simple joys in your life are not met, it is easy for the rest to fall apart. Ikigai is about living with your purpose, finding peace in daily task, enjoying the smell of your coffee (made at home) while appreciating a sunrise. Things like watering your flowers, while listening to the birds sing or saying good morning with a big smile to the grocery store clerk, or simply saying thank you and have a good day on the phone to every one you speak with, can center your well-being.
For me, I would have never thought I would have found a passion in the collection industry. But as in all things, it comes down to perspective. My joy has been found through helping consumers resolve debt issues and by helping clients recover monies so they can keep helping others (like their patients or staff); but my passion has been through employing folks and working hard to make their work-life happy. Our company recently received the Inside ARM award for BEST PLACE TO WORK in Collections! That was a proud moment for me because it confirmed that my heart is in the right place.
Yes, finances matter. And living life with simple joys can help those finances. Knowing why you wake up in the morning and centering your focus on working to live and not living to work definitely matters! Ikigai – for me is living with intent and working to be content. Have you found your inner Ikigai?