As we approach the second month of 2021, I am feeling extremely grateful that I am amongst those who have made it thus far. What a memorable year 2020 has been for many of us across the world.

I have been asked on various occasions by friends and colleagues to share what has kept me going thus far. The one consistent answer I share with people is that I have a rich inner life.

What do I mean by this? To me a rich inner life is a life that is in pursuit of deep joy and a desire to contribute positively to human progress. My purpose has kept me going for the longest time, even in moments of pain and discouragement, I still try again.

This is because I have found my IKIGAI! Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “reason for being” . Ikigai (pronounced “eye-ka-guy”) is about balancing the spiritual with the practical.

It is the intersection of your passions and talents converging with the things that the world needs and is willing to pay for.

In the simplest language, I like to think of it as the ultimate sweet spot of:

  • What you are GOOD at?
  • What you LOVE?
  • What the world NEEDS?
  • What you can get PAID FOR?

Adapted from:

The IKIGAI concept has taught me the power of repurposing my purpose. I have spoken to a lot of young professionals and yes there is a growing narrative that some people don’t experience fulfilment in their jobs and in their lives in general.

I remember in the early years of my career feeling a sense of suffocation in corporate. I had a picture in mind of my ideal role, ideal organisation, ideal salary in alignment with my purpose. But I was not finding these “ideals” that I was aspiring for. I remember having a conversation with myself about, what was the core of my purpose. I found that the core of my purpose is cemented on how I serve my Creator and help people flourish through communication. I then asked myself, ‘what if I injected this into my job and the personal projects I was doing?’ I had discovered that I could re-purpose my purpose and it liberated my corporate and life experience. By this I mean, I realised that I could intersect the things that were meaningful and essential to my purpose into my work.

Pen The Vision and my Change Management consulting are vehicles I use to express my Ikigai. I want to liberate your life experience by encouraging you to go on a reflective journey to truly find your Ikigai and find expression for it in your life.


Pen The Vision | Bongeka Mhlongo | 2021 January


Check out our Purpose Class titled “Purpose is a friend of Thinkers!”