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Your what!?! Foreign words that are not translatable into English, or any of the other languages I attempt, I find really interesting. Throughout winter, the Scandinavian word ‘hygge’, for cozy and warm, is a good one to embrace. And in the seven years since we started The Howes Group, the Japanese word Ikigai has lived on my office whiteboard.

It is pronounced, eee-kay-guy and comes from two words, iki which means life and gai which means worth. Together they mean ‘life’s worth’. Here is a good recent TEDTalk which gives some context to the origins of the word and its meaning.

Ikigai lives at the intersection of passion and purpose. Broken into four quadrants it asks:

  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need?
  • What can you be rewarded for?
  • What do you love to do?

As a passionate site selection advocate, my Ikigai has evolved, but never strayed far from my core: 

  • helping animals of all shapes and sizes as a kid;
  • working with the elderly for ten years as I put myself through college and university;
  • sitting on the Salvation Army’s community board of directors to ensure homeless Canadians’ needs are addressed;
  • to ensuring our clients have fair and balanced conditions to make their Ikigai come to life.

There isn’t a single person in this industry who is good at what they do who isn’t passionate. This passion can be stronger some days than others. However, at the beginning of a new year, we are ready to sign on again (and again) because it is simply the reason we get up each day.    

Timely yours,

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