Passion Meets Profession: Ikigai Wisdom for Caregivers

In your life’s journey, seek out that combination of what you love to do and what the world needs. Paramahansa Yogananda

January is a challenging month for most – for some, we are struggling to come up for air and simply breathe, while others have hit the ground running, frantically trying to get ahead of the pack. We have survived the month of December where the focus was entirely on giving, remembering everyone and trying to have the perfect festive season – but stretching ourselves financially, and allowing our boundaries to be breeched has been exhausting and driven most of us to breaking point. 

So how do we contemplate and detach for just a moment to find a balance between the accepting nurturing energy of yin and the action-orientated energy of yang so that we can take a breath before the next barrage of advice in an attempt to deal with thoughts laced with distractions and mindless confusion?

If like me, you believed that an inevitable turning point was in sight and that events had peaked to initiate a new career path, then like me, you will be truly astounded by how this industry continues to draw you in and you start to realize that maybe you are not quite done yet! Or perhaps you are living the definition of insanity and…

Continue doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Whatever comes up for you we need to consider that if the path remains the same for now it’s up to us to find a balance between what we love, what we are good at, what the world needs and what we can be paid for. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that addresses these four elements of life and the intersection is the convergence of passion, vocation, mission and profession. Originating from the Japanese words “iki” (life) and “gai” (value or worth), persisting in activities that do not align with one’s Ikigai can be considered a form of self-imposed stagnation.

Today, it is widely used as a framework for personal development and career planning, guiding individuals to consider the way to a more satisfying existence. In the care industry, applying the principles of Ikigai may involve looking at our profession through a different lens especially if a work change is not an immediate option.

So, to achieve fulfilment and purpose, we need to reflect on our strengths, societal needs, and economic opportunities. We need to acknowledge that our purpose becomes clear when we consistently choose in favour of our passions

And this is what I did…

I know that I am being paid for my services so that box is easily ticked. I know the world needs more unconditional love and that I have a choice to turn in that direction and lead by example – which I do, I know that I am genuinely good at meeting the needs of my clients because of my dedication to ongoing personal development. But what in the care industry do I actually love?

I know that care work embodies an altruistic essence and as humans, we possess an innate inclination to help others. But I am struggling to see that as a powerful motivator. I do appreciate that there are elements of the care world that resonate with my passion – healing touch being one of them and the ability to uplift, validate and restore the dignity of the elderly through meaningful conversation, is another – so can these side hustles become the main event? Can my passion pay the bills? Am I ready to turn things around? Maybe it’s time to ramp things up and maybe you too, can…

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. Rumi



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