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  • Writer's pictureMagali Depras

Have you found your Ikigai?

Time for mid-year reviews

Summer has arrived and we are already half-way through 2024! For many of you in business, it is the time of mid-year reviews where you look at what you or your team members have accomplished in the past six months, compare it with your initial goals, evaluate performance and discuss what will happen next.

I certainly run this exercise on a regular basis and take stock of where I stand versus my plans. What have I accomplished these past 6 months? Did I perform according to my expectations and goals? How do my clients rate my performance? What will be on my agenda in the months ahead? When the new year started, I had a clear set of goals I wanted to achieve:

-            Support companies to articulate their sustainability vision and roadmap

-            Coach leaders in charge of sustainability to help them succeed in their roles

-            Educate the business community and students on sustainability and ESG

Why is this important for me?

To start with, I felt that my experience as a business executive, having led businesses and teams in multiple geographies, combined with a strong connection to sustainability was a unique combination of expertise I could leverage to help others succeed.

Second, I am a true believer that you never stop learning and that education is a way to raise awareness and equip business leaders to understand what sustainability is about, and how they can play a role in transforming organizations.

Last, we still have a lot of work to do to reduce inequalities, to limit global warming, to preserve our planet and its biodiversity. I would like to inspire others to think that sustainability and business are not to be treated in isolation but rather integrated and that long-term viability will come from more sustainable business practices.

Finding your Purpose or Ikigai

Of all the goals I set as the year started, all of them happened. I worked on exciting customer projects, gave lectures to master’s degree students at university, wrote monthly articles on sustainability for one of the leading business newspapers in Quebec, completed a leadership coaching course I had been working on for the past 10 months, to name a few…

Of course I worked hard to achieve my goals. However, I was truly astonished to see how things seemed to flow naturally. And then, I realized it was no coincidence and happened for a reason: I had found my Ikigai! In Quebec, we would probably say: “I am on my X!”

But the concept of Ikigai is way more attractive.

Have you ever heard of this Japanese word: Ikigai? It means “your life purpose”.

In Japanese  “iki” means alive, life and “gai” can be translated by interest, reward or result.

This ancient concept appeared in the 1st century in Japan and was adopted by the residents of Okinawa which is known for being the place in the world where you find the highest number of centenaries. This philosophy belonged to their daily life, such as eating healthy food or practicing a physical activity.

The concept of Ikigai was made popular by a famous Japanese psychologist named Akirhiro Hasegawa, before making its way to the western world and becoming a tool of self-development.

Ikigai is in fact the perfect balance between four elements:

-            What you truly enjoy doing

-            What you have talents for

-            What you do as a living

-            What the world needs

If you have not tried it yet, I encourage you to revisit your values and your purpose and go through these four questions. If your answers happen to be perfectly aligned, you may have found your Ikigai. And if you are not totally sure, your heart will confirm what your mind thinks. I for sure found my way! And remember, Ikigai is not the end-destination but rather a compass. It may change over time.

And when stars align…I just received the news that I had been nominated for the 2024 Global Top 50 Women Leaders in Sustainability Awards organized by SustainabilityX ® Magazine. Nothing less! I would like to thank whoever has or have brought my name forward. This is the most unexpected mark of recognition and I am extremely grateful and honored. Award winners will be revealed mid-October, I shall see what happens then…

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful start in the summer and happy holidays! See you again soon!




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