If you’re building something that makes you feel empty on the inside.
If you’re creating something that only makes money and doesn’t value the very team and community you’re trying to help.
If you feel lost on what meaningful thing to make in this busy, complex world.
Here are three signs you’ll become a thriving, meaningful creator without selling your soul.
1. Create with Ikigai in Mind
Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese concept that combines the terms iki, meaning “alive” or “life,” and gai, meaning “benefit” or “worth.” Japanese psychologist Michiko Kumano (2017) has said that ikigai is a state of wellbeing that arises from devotion to activities one enjoys, which also brings a sense of fulfillment.*
When you’re consciously building something of meaningful value that the world needs, the net effect of doing something you’re good at and love doing should make the world a little better off. Creating something meaningful happens as a byproduct of doing the internal work on yourself to build something out of authenticity.
Being a modern conscious ikigai builder in a jaded, money-first, power-second, status-third entrepreneurial world is kind of like going to a therapist— it forces you to confront your ego and the demons and ghosts and dysfunctional self-limiting beliefs that cause you and the world suffering in the first place.
Only worrying about money for the sake of it is like buying a gas truck to follow you around on a fun road trip to Glacier Park. You go on the road trip because you want to enjoy the journey and see the sights. Don’t worry about the gas truck behind you. The point is to make enough money to experience the journey, not make gas the biggest concern.
Money exchanges hands relative to the perceived value you create. And if you’re coming from a place of unconscious conditioning and enculturation, money will follow you around like a gas truck, even if you don’t want it to.
Before you create something for the sake of money and little internal value to yourself or the world around you, try your hand at building something with the intersection of ikigai in mind.