3 Women Share Why They Embraced Ikigai, The Japanese Philosophy Of Purpose And Fulfilment

Posted: October 21, 2019

Ikigai is all about living life with a purpose and fulfilment. It is the Japanese way to do so. Here are three women who embraced the Ikigai lifestyle

Ikigai, a Japanese word, is about living a life with a purpose and fulfilment. When your life gets filled with joy and contentment, you have achieved Ikigai.

If you are wondering, “What is my Ikigai?” answer these four simple questions:

What do you love doing?

And what are you good at?

What can you get paid for?

And what do you think the world needs?

The answers will be “4P”- passion, prowess, profession and personal mission. Let us imagine each of the 4P to be a circle. The intersection of the 4P will give your Ikigai.

In the book, Ikigai- The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles write, “Our intuition and curiosity are very powerful internal compasses to help us connect with our Ikigai”. Have a growth mindset and be prepared to explore the known and unknown boundaries of your life. 

We hear so many stories of people leaving their high paid jobs and to be writers, painters, travellers, or even social reformers. Did they begin their pursuit of Ikigai? And sometimes you can find Ikigai without quitting your current life.

Here are the stories of some women who have discovered their Ikigai. They have a reason or purpose of getting up from the bed in the morning. And probably in their sleep, they smile with joy.

Gujan Loomba Babbar- owner of Shabari

Gunjan is an entrepreneur who owns a brand Shabari.

Shabari has a range of boxes, trays, coasters and many more gift items made from an amalgamation of fabric and wood. She curates the design, chooses the fabric and personalises the gifts for her customers. Today she designs corporate gift, wedding gifts, and gift boxes for all festivals and celebrations.

Gunjan began her professional journey as ground staff for British Airways. After a tenure of 12 years, she quit her job to give more time to family and kids. Her flair for designing led her to launch a brand of kurti and tops under the name Shabari.

Limeroad, Paytm, Flipkart, and PepperFry were some of the e-commerce sites where you could find the range for Shabari. The journey hasn’t been a bed of roses. Due to personal challenges, she had to shut down the operations temporarily.

In 2017, Gunjan decided to resume her brand and design something different. With leftover fabrics from her previous venture and the support of some skilled craftsmen, Gunjan began her journey again.

She is always filled with ideas to design gifts and make the, personalised. Some of her products include ethnic and quirky trays, coasters, boxes, and wall decors. Her innate desire to make every product a cherished gift brings a smile on the customer’s face.

Name the occasion and Gunjan is ready with a gift. Here is what Gunjan says about her work, “My obsession with innovation helps me make mundane products colourful and exciting”.

The hectic schedule of delivering the product to clients doesn’t exasperate her, instead invigorates her. That’s her Ikigai!

Follow her on Facebook:

Saraswathi Padmanabhan- Owner of Diya Ghar

Saraswathi Padmanabhan is on a mission to change the lives of the children of migrant workers. She, along with her team of teachers at Diya Ghar, provides education and healthy meals for the children of migrant workers.

As a child, Saraswathi had witnessed her parents, doctors by profession, funding education of underprivileged children. The seed of doing something for these kids was planted in her heart then.

After her return from the US, instead of pursuing her career as an auditor, she enrolled in a Montessori Course. After the course, she started Diya Ghar. Currently, Diya Ghar has three centres and is on a mission to enrol 1000 kids into their program.

A mother of 3 children, Saraswathi is empathetic and understands the importance of education in a child’s life. She shares the importance of education with migrant workers and lights a ray of hope for their child’s future.

Saraswathi and her team face multiple challenges. These challenges strengthen her determination to make a difference in the life of the migrant worker children. Her expertise in Montessori, passion for educating migrant worker’s kids and love for these children led her to find her Ikigai!

Know more about Diya Ghar:

Dr Beena Bansal- Door to Care

Dr Beena Bansal was the  Director of Department of Endocrinology, Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon. She renounced the prestigious designation to start her clinic ‘Door to Care.’

A simmering desire that eventually became a reality in 2019. While practising at Medanta, Beena was a superwoman, efficiently managing hectic work schedule, family responsibilities, motherly duties and keeping herself fit. Then, why did she decide to change the perfect life?

In the daily grind of life, Beena developed severe back pain. Being a doctor, she deep-dove into books and research to figure out the reason for her pain. Even after taking sufficient rest, the back pain worsened and was on the verge of becoming chronic.

Beena veered towards positive thinking and mindfulness books; one such book was on Ikigai. The books made her ponder, “What makes me happy?” As she started introspecting, Beena realised that she wanted to build a relationship with her patients beyond just prescribing medicines. Also, for herself, she desired to spend more time at home. These two reasons led her to start Door to Care.

As of today, Dr Beena might not be earning close to her salary at Medanta Hospital. However, she is happy and complacent with her lifestyle. Her quest to move as a coach for diabetic patients keeps her days meaningful and furnishes the energy to pursue her vision.

Follow her on Facebook

Finding your Ikigai

“Another thing you’ll need to be aware of when it comes to pursuing your Ikigai is that it will not always be a bed of roses. ”

-Alan Daron, How to Find a Sense of Purpose in your Life.

These are just everyday three women who have embraced Ikigai, knowingly or unknowingly. They have a personal vision that brings joy in people’s lives. Many of us are still in the process of finding Ikigai.

Avoid being judgmental about your Ikigai. It’s your journey. The joy emanating from this experience will make your other relationship stronger and happier.

Find a quiet corner, pick a writing tool and begin jotting down the answers to find your Ikigai! Maybe you have found it, or you will start the journey.

Picture credits: Pexels

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