Ikigai is a Japanese term that means “a reason for being”. The concept is all about finding your source of value or the things that make your life worthwhile. When reading up about Ikigai, the concept made me think a lot about how to incorporate your values and purpose into your approach to leadership. For me, it comes down to always being a work in progress and constantly trying to get better and better as time goes by.
If you look at a great bottle of wine, do you ever think about the process that went into creating it? That incredible bottle of wine didn’t just magically appear. Long before that bottle of wine made its way into your fridge, there were farmers planting vines and harvesting grapes. There was crushing and fermenting, ageing and bottling. Leadership is the same. It takes a lot of time and effort to create a great leader. If you don’t spend enough time nurturing your skills, learning and growing as a leader, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be any good at it.
And let’s not forget that once you have your final product – in this case, we’re talking about a fantastic leader or an awesome bottle of wine – your experience is far from over. Imagine if you leave that perfect bottle of wine in the baking hot sun for a few weeks before you decide to drink it. Or you drink the entire bottle in one giant gulp. In both these scenarios, the outcome is likely to be quite unsavoury. For me, great wine is best when it’s enjoyed in the right setting, with the right people.
We all know that some bottles of wine get better with age but as some leaders get older, they become complacent. They decide that they’ve achieve all their goals and have nothing left to learn. Essentially, they lose their purpose. This is a mistake. If you don’t keep working on yourself, striving towards your values and watching what’s happening in your industry you won’t keep seeing results.
I regularly write about leadership on the Nebula blog. If you’d like to have these insights, and other interesting blog posts about all things digital transformation, delivered straight to your inbox simply subscribe to our monthly newsletter below.