ABOUT

About Me

I am a coach - "The Ikigai Coach. I am also a coach trainer, public speaker, consultant, and author of IKIGAI-KAN: Feel a Life Worth Living. I am the founder and head coach of Ikigai Tribe, a small community of educators, psychologists, coaches, and trainers who serve their personal communities using the ikigai concept. 

If you are looking for a subject matter expert on the ikigai concept then I am your coach. I can help you seperate fact from fiction and offer you, your team and your audience an authentic perspective on the life changing concept of ikigai.

Services

  • Public speaking
  • Coaching
  • Coaching training
  • Workshops
  • Webinars

I have had a love affair with Japan ever since I first visited the country at the age of five. Some 40 years later, my relationship with Japan has never been more intimate. The older I get the more I seem to discover how unique, beautiful, and wise the culture and people of Japan are.

It was in 1998 when I returned to Japan to teach English that I was introduced to the most amazing word when a co-worker asked me what my “ikigai” was. I hadn’t heard the word before and was astounded to discover that the Japanese language had a single word to encapsulate one’s reason for living.

Twenty plus years later, after stumbling upon the westernised “Ikigai Venn Diagram” it became my personal mission to correct the misunderstood perception of ikigai and share with the world what ikigai means to the Japanese.

A LITTLE HISTORY:

A week-long trip to Tokyo in 1977 at the age of five left a lasting impression on me that would eventually see me return to Japan eighteen years later in 1995. I was one of four students from my college to be awarded a one-year traineeship to Tokyo to study cooking and restaurant management with one of Japan's largest restaurant. I fell in love with Japan (again) and ended up living there for 10 years.

 I worked at an izakaya – a lively bar-style restaurant, similar to a tapas bar, that serves various dishes and snacks. The word is made up of the three characters 居酒屋 i-zaka-ya, which translate to ‘stay-alcohol-restaurant’. My kind of place.

STUMBLING UPON IKIGAI

It was April 1998 when I was introduced to the word ikigai – a word that has enriched my life and made it worth living. I had returned to Tokyo to teach English at an Eikaiwa school, a commercial English conversation school.

On my first day of work, while I was walking to a café on my lunch break, a Japanese co-worker asked me what my ikigai was. Unfamiliar with the word, I asked for its definition. My co-worker’s explanation filled me with excitement and left me intrigued. I couldn’t believe the Japanese language had a single word that encapsulated ‘What makes our life worth living; the reasons we battle on through life’.

The following day, keen to learn more about ikigai from my Japanese co-worker, I was disappointed to learn that she had been transferred to another school. More immediate matters got in the way that day, the word ikigai quickly went into hibernation somewhere in the recesses of my brain, and my life moved on.

Twenty years later, I encountered the word again in the centre of a Venn diagram on a blog post. While I found this Venn diagram inspiring, I was confused; something wasn’t right. In my 10 years of living in Japan, and in my 25 years of studying the Japanese language, I had never seen any Japanese word defined with a diagram or framework. Seeing ikigai defined with a Venn diagram was very… ‘unJapanese’. I passed it off as a Western interpretation and chose to ignore it.

Weeks later, I then started seeing the word ikigai and this Venn diagram more and more on the web. It was almost as if my reticular activating system had been switched on. Ikigai was everywhere: on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Google’s algorithm seemed intent on reminding me about ikigai.

I found the word as the subject of blog posts and TED Talks all sharing this Venn diagram interpretation of ikigai. Every time I saw the diagram online, an inner voice told me that I should look into how it had come into being; my intuition was saying that it was way off the mark. Though I was compelled, I once again ignored my intuition and left the task for someone more qualified than I.

A year or so later, shocked to discover the Venn diagram as the ikigai concept on the World Health Organisation website, my inner voice finally convinced me that I should do something about it. I guess my true self had won me over and made me realise that Japan had given me so much, that this was an opportunity to give back to Japan and also share with the world what ikigai really meant to the Japanese people.

The only problem was that I, myself, didn’t understand what ikigai meant, other than it wasn’t a Venn diagram and had a deeper and broader meaning than how it was perceived in the West. So began my journey to uncover the mystery behind the Venn diagram and the truth about ikigai.

FINDING MYSELF IN JAPAN:

I discovered my entrepreneurial spirit in Japan and built my own English conversation school in my local town and then created my first information product, a language program for Japanese learners of English. This lead to over twenty years of starting and running various online business, everything web deign and SEO to consulting, eventually leading me back to Japanese culture with my ikigai coach certification business and community, Ikigai Tribe.

MY EIKAIWA SCHOOL

MY LANGUAGE PRODUCT

IKIGAI TRIBE

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