Don’t worry, I’m not questioning whether it is worth carrying on now that the country is potentially being lead off a cliff by BoJo and his Bullingdon friends! Instead I am focussing on possibly the most common question I have asked in my coaching career. In a whole range of situations, it is worth stopping and asking ourselves why we are here.
When you are holding an internal staff meeting, ask yourself what is it meant to achieve – what is its point?
When you are meeting a client or prospect, ask yourself what you want out of it – what is the point of talking to them today?
When you are ploughing through emails, updating your work social media or getting bogged down in administrative trivia, ask yourself what the purpose of each activity is – what is its point?
When you are poring over spreadsheets, generating voluminous management reports and over-analysing the data, ask yourself what value it is adding to the business – what’s the point of doing it?
When you are watching Love Island or box sets of Killing Eve, ask yourself whether it is taking you towards your life goals. What’s the point of those hours on the sofa?
If you don’t know your life goals, how will you know the point of anything?
One of my business friends, Hayley Monks, is inspiring in many ways but especially so on this topic. She has had a very successful career in the utility sector, managing big teams and bigger budgets. When we talk about business meetings, what to do in certain conversations or how to move a project forward her first question is always along the lines of “what’s the point?”. I am sure it is one of the factors in her success and impact.
Another business friend recently discussed with me the Japanese concept of Ikigai. This is a Venn diagram of four circles representing the following:
- What you love doing
- What you are good at
- What the world needs
- What you can get paid for
The philosophy of Ikigai is that if you can find something where these four interests overlap, you will have found Ikigai (which roughly translates as “reason for living”). There is some research which suggests that this leads to longer life. As business owners, we should be looking for business ideas that achieve this, and we should, where possible, be looking for team members who can find Ikigai in their roles and careers in our businesses.
If we are going to do that, we are going to have to understand the answers to those four key questions: what do we love; what are we good at; what does the world need and what can we get paid for (profitably). If we truly know the answers, then we will have discovered what the point is.
And if we know what the point is, we will know how internal meetings, client interactions, email traffic, projects, spreadsheets and our leisure time all lead us towards it.
Then we just do the things that have a point, and don’t do the ones that don’t. Simples.
So, where does Ikigai lie for you, and what’s your point?