Finding my Ikigai

Ever since I came across this post on the Japanese concept of Ikigai, I couldn’t stop asking what my Ikigai is. I think one’s Ikigai could change over time. I think I have found what my Ikigai is.

Please continue reading if you would like to know what it is. (Warning: this post is all about my Ikigai and that’s about it)

Finding my ikigai

What do I love?

I love to delve deeper into technology, evaluate how technology solves a particular problem/ set of problems and how it enables business outcomes. I like to write about technology, and possibly advise others on the same. I love analyzing the position, role, and impact of technologies: evaluation of the suitability of a particular technology to solving a certain problem, comparison of similar tools/ platforms, tracking/ forecasting evolution of a particular technology, and how it ultimately it impacts business outcomes. I also love to the research and writing aspect of analysis — any quality analysis requires a good amount of both skills. It is to be noted that neither writing nor research alone will get me paid enough.

There are certain things I am passionate about, particularly doing ethical business and improving Diversity & Inclusion. These are not skills or tasks, but what I consider as my guiding principles. No matter what my role or my employer is, they will continue to guide me.

What am I good at?

I’ve acquired various skills throughout my experience that I can say confidently that I am good at. There is a good amount of overlap between what I am good at (writing, analysis, research, building POCs, enabling customers, strategy) and what I love doing; I think I got lucky here. There are certain things I am good at, but I wouldn’t say I love doing (for example, being a cloud consultant or solution architect, which typically requires doing same things over and over)

What does the world need?

I would like to limit the scope of ‘world’ here to my potential clients — product vendors, enterprises, SMBs, and service providers.

Vendors typically need help with their product strategy and messaging. Users (enterprises or SMBs) need help with their transformations, insights into what is out there, and guidance in making the right choice.

There is more to what my potential clients need — prototypes, demos, sample applications, building solutions, etc (end users), customer retention, customer success, sales engineering, etc (service providers/ vendors).

What can I get paid for?

Turns out that I can potentially get paid for a lot of things that my to-be clients need

Advisory: market insights, product strategy, technology insights, compete
Analysis: technology evaluations, comparisons, technology recommendations
Services: software development, QA (although I got to admit, I am not great at both), product management, building POCs and solutions, customer success, training, consultancy

So, what is my Ikigai?

Looking at all of the above, it is clear to me that my Ikigai is being an analyst /advisor. When I ponder further, these two roles are essentially that of Influencers — they influence technology choices and purchasing decisions of buyers; they influence product/ service offering of vendors; in turn, they influence how this industry evolves.

And that is my Ikigai.