Importance of Ikigai in Challenging Times

During the time of Covid, Jennifer Shinkai shares how ikigai helped her through this trying time by building an online community.

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Being part of a community provides a feeling of ikigai

Jennifer: That's what I found the hardest with all lockdowns in COVID; was that all of that looking forward to stuff was sort of taken away from me. It obviously wasn't taken away from me, but I felt like it was no longer there. 

And those, you know, I talked earlier, like the annual trip to the UK, obviously, that was off, and when would it be on. And just events and the cycle of life had been put on hold. And it really took me quite a long time.

In fact, I'm not really sure I ever quite processed it. Because then sort of the cycle of life kind of came back in. But it really knocked me for quite a while. I made a replacement because I made this online community, which had a meeting every Monday and every Friday, because I had to put in some structure. Because there was no work. 

For a while there was like online work wasn't hadn't kind of come up, no one knew, everybody just cancelled. We don't know what the economy is going to do. So you know, recruitment training, they're always the first to go as investments. Right?

That's where the first freeze comes. So it's always, yeah. So just for me, building that community was a thing, which gave a different layer to my ikigai. Because I thought that I could only feel these things when I was in the room with people.

Nick: COVID's been really interesting. And it has become a case study for several ikigai papers on the impacts of COVID on people's ikigai. And, yes, Zoom has been this interesting experience, from everyone, I guess, this idea of zoom fatigue, where people are spending way too much time on Zoom.

But to us, I guess, having this experience of building communities, I pretty much built the Ikigai Tribe because of COVID. Because COVID happened, I lost my previous business essentially, once COVID happened.

And I thought, what am I going to do? And I put my focus on the Ikigai Tribe and yeah, connecting to all these different people all over the world and doing my podcast. And that's become a source of ikigai.

So it's interesting how you pointed out, for you as a coach, to see people on the verge of growing or changing and how that goes back to one of the statements of the ikigai-9 psychometric tool that you feel you're making a contribution to someone, or having an impact on someone. 

There is this crucial social element attached to the role in ikigai that seems really important to you, as I guess, a coach or a mentor. And the COVID thing has offered us a different approach, I guess, on how to do that.

And we can do that online and feel these meaningful relationships. I've only met one person in person from my community. Everyone else is, I haven't met yet. And yet, we've shared tears together, laughter, we feel really connected. 

So it's interesting how the world can change so rapidly in two years, and it offers these new sources of ikigai.