Living longer ( and better ) might just be about finding ‘purpose’
My 10 plus years in the advertising and communications industry took me across 2 international networks and into co-founding a start up boutique agency- which soon became one of the most notable players in the local advertising industry. I had the opportunity to travel internationally on work and training, was elected to the Board of Directors of the industry’s professional body and had the opportunity of working with some great brands and companies, both local and multinational, to do some award winning work.
But something was missing…. and I didn’t really know what it was.
Almost 7 years ago, I received a very interesting invitation. It was to meet up with the founders of a new start up environmental consulting company - a small unheard of social enterprise attempting to create a change in the corporate culture and convince industries to adopt a greener more sustainable path. The meeting was arranged through a mutual contact, and over dinner and coffee I was introduced to a new realm of corporate governance - Corporate Environmental Responsibility. To my surprise, and despite my negligible knowledge in the area, I was offered a chance to take on a leadership role in the fledgling outfit - to put the skills, knowledge and practices acquired over the previous dozen years of work and study into helping solve a growing crisis - global warming and environmental degradation.
It was here that I finally found a greater purpose in my limited time on this planet. Make a difference to current corporate practices, that will help bring about a greener and cleaner tomorrow.
Just over 6 years later, I lead a team of successful environmental consultants with a string of world class success stories across multiple countries behind them. I have been requested to speak at global forums in five different countries as an ‘expert’ on corporate mitigation of climate change… and best of all I don’t struggle to get myself out of bed every morning.
And then quite by chance I happened onto a concept that so very accurately articulated the process I had been through: IKIGAI
While there is no direct English translation, Ikigai is thought to combine the Japanese words ikiru, meaning “to live”, and kai, meaning “the realization of what one hopes for”. Together these definitions create the concept of “a reason to live” or the idea of having a purpose in life. ( Source : World Economic Forum )
Seemingly the way to arriving at this state of being is seeking and finding answers to the following questions.
• What do you love?
• What are you good at?
• What does the world need from you?
• What can you get paid for?
While ‘Profession’ and ‘Passion’ resonated well with my previous jobs as a corporate lawyer turned advertising executive, the vital missing 4th circle - that of “What the World needs from you” - was added into mix the day I donned the mantel as the head of The Carbon Consulting Company.
Today our small group of dedicated team members have facilitated the reduction of over 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases, have worked with over 75 diverse corporate entities to improve their environmental metrics, have planted over 15,000 trees in internationally registered and managed forestry projects, and have been responsible for numerous regional and global success stories in the sphere of corporate environmental responsibility. So perhaps … this is what the pathway to Ikigai feels like.
But as with most things , its the journey and not the destination that counts.