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Have You Lost Your Ikigai?

Do you have a purpose in your life? A strong and compelling reason for being alive? The Japanese use the word Ikigai, and Charles Poliquin refers to it as the word which summarizes the reason why you get out of bed in the morning. He suggests you should ask yourself the questions ‘why not you’, and ‘why not now’.

I love this.

Truthfully, I hadn’t really thought about it exactly like this until reading Charles’ article just now, but I suppose you could say that it is my Ikigai which drove me to take (very sudden) leave from 11 years of building a Personal Training business. I made this abrupt decision about 4 weeks ago, and had already wound things up 2 weeks after that.

Why?

Well – why not?

And (as Charles says) why not now? It’s not that I don’t enjoy PT – I do. I certainly get a kick out of walking with those clients who are genuinely driven to do what it takes and transform their bodies. So no, it’s not that I don’t want to be doing PT. It’s just that what I do want – what I’ve dreamt about for years – is to be a communicator on a much larger level.

For a few years now I’ve been working on my writing (hence the birth of Body Incredible!), and I’ve been telling people I want to be a writer. I remember quite vividly the point at which I genuinely felt I could proclaim myself to BE a writer – within a matter of a month 2 or 3 quite amazing opportunities came my way, and it happened at the same time that I released my book.

This, I felt, was it.

why do we delay living our dreams?

Since then I often feel as though I’ve been battling to release the real me.

I spend time each week being creative, both in my personal writing and on a more structured or business orientated level, but I also get frustrated at not having the time to complete things as fast as I’d like or sometimes even as well as I think I could. Feeling as though I’m constantly tearing myself away from that sense of ‘flow’ that one gets when fully engaged in a passionate endeavour. And spending odd minutes here and there trying to jam more writing or study about writing and blogging or discussion of writing and blogging into my already too-busy life.

Plus, of course, trying not to do that on my at home days, because my other quite important Ikigai is to be an attentive and focused mother, and to feel fully engaged in my daughter’s constantly changing personality and needs. To me, the two tie in together. The more I can ‘freelance’ my life, the more flexibility I can have to be the woman and the mother I dream of being.

So throughout all of this I kept telling myself that ‘soon’ I’d get there. That if I just did this or that or the other thing I’d be able to completely be a writer, be able to let myself get caught up in my personal flow day in and day out. Perhaps even make a living for myself out of it, and create a worthy reputation as a writer and speaker.

have you ever had one of those life-changing moments?

And then it hit me.

I was having a massage at the time, trying to relax as I frantically ran through all the different ways I could or should re-structure my schedule in order to fit in everything I wanted needed to achieve in 2011.

And suddenly everything just fell away and it hit me – why not me? Why couldn’t I be a writer? And why not now? If I keep waiting for all the steps to be in place; for everything to feel right and ready then when will it ever happen for me?

Will it ever?

Running a personal training business is fun, and it’s rewarding, but even at a part-time level (post birth), it’s super demanding. And the problem with a successful business is that it demands attention at set times. Times that can coincide with me at the tip of a creative peak (generally perched on a cafe bar stool somewhere in Melbourne in between appointments). The other problem with a successful business is that it makes you money. This is generally a good thing – unless it stops you fully following your dreams. I mean, writing a blog – or writing and communicating in general – certainly can make you money, but I’m not quite at that level yet; not where I could live off it. All the more reason to wait until I am, right?

Maybe.

Or maybe all the more reason to feel the fear and do it anyway, to take the plunge – follow my Ikigai – and see where I end up.

I think it’s going to be a fun ride.

So tell me – what’s your Ikigai? Have you thought about it? And are doing what it takes to be that person who you know you can be; the one full of passion and purpose?

PS: the rumours are true

There’s been murmuring afoot (okay, so I started it) about a new blog that I’m about to launch, just for women. The truth is that this is the ‘core’ of my Ikigai. For sometime now I’ve known that my deeper purpose is to engage with and coach women who are driven, determined, and simply demand more out of life. My new blog is within smelling distance, and it is SOLELY for those kind of girls. Maybe you’re one of them.

If so, stay tuned.

I am beyond excited about what I’m about to release, and I am quite quite positive that as a Body Incredible woman you’re going to just love how I’ve taken the Body Incredible philosophy and made it something more specific, more exciting, more engaging, more of a community, just more in general. Creating this new community and being active in it is, quite simply, my raison d’etre. And I can’t tell you how thrilling it is that I’m finally making it reality!

pps: who is kat loterzo, anyway?

If you clicked through on Charles Poliquin’s article on Igigai you may have seen a mention to Kat Loterzo. That’s me. I think it’s getting kind of confusing for those of you who follow me on Facebook as well as on this blog. I’ve built my name up as Kat Eden, and that’s still who I go by professionally. But since eloping in the Nevada dessert (not quite in Vegas) last September, my real name is actually now Kat Loterzo. So that’s what you’ll see on any Facebook related stuff! I’m still not sure what the long term plan is with my ‘professional’ name.

Okay, that’s enough from me now. Before you go though, don’t forget to ask yourself:

  1. Why not me?
  2. And why not now?

(Thankyou Charles!)

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