Vocation: Get Paid to Give the World What It Needs

Vocation: Get Paid to Give the World What It Needs

So far we have discussed three elements within the concept of Ikigai: what you are good at, what you love, and what the world needs. This time around, let’s take a look into the intersection of what you can be paid for and what the world needs: vocation.

What does the word vocation mean to you? For me, the word vocation conjures thoughts of long-term professional choices—in some ways, a career. If you take the time to look up the word you may find a definition like this:


  1. A summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action; especially a divine call to the religious life
  2. An entry into the priesthood or a religious order
  3. The work in which a person is employed : occupation
  4. The persons engaged in a particular occupation
  5. The special function of an individual or group

So, in some respects, my definition is not far off. In past posts I have mentioned the balance that must exist in order to realize one’s Ikigai. Just like the last two, this is part of the balance. Think of the balance here as less of a two-ended scale and more of a gyroscope. There are layers here that all play off of each other to keep your Ikigai stable and standing.

How, then, does one find a vocation that meets the definition sought by Ikigai—something you can be paid for that the world really and truly needs? Again, it is a case by case situation. The world needs lots of things, and many of them are subtle. I want to reiterate that as grand as the phrase “what the world needs” sounds, it only has to be as grand as you desire to make it. Some people have the gumption to do something on a large scale, while many others only have the ability and desire to do small, specific things. How we do those things long term is the key when it comes to the vocation element.

A quick story about my thoughts on vocation. Lately I have been spending time and effort to simplify my life. I’ve done away with all sorts of not only excess possessions, but also excess actions. Each week I have been paying attention to the things I like in my day to day life and job and each week I learn something small. Things about myself, mostly, that I feel are getting me closer to a vocation that I truly want to do. Oddly enough, signs continue to point me in the direction of the coaching and consulting that I am building Protagonist to provide. For example, I really enjoy working with people to solve problems. Speculating and making informed suggestions is something I enjoy and can provide as a service.

Long story short, finding your Ikigai is not an overnight deal. It is very much a long-term investment and certainly one that will pay huge dividends. How would you go about finding your Ikigai? What methods would you employ? How close do you think you are?

Posted by Curious in Reflections, 0 comments