Magpie & Ikigai

About me

I have a magpie mind. I am attracted to the new and shiny stuff and am prone to forgetting about the good and solid stuff just because it isn't new and shiny.

A couple of years ago, I was becoming anxious and stressed in my work, and I took a short career break. I sat down at my kitchen table and tried to work out what I actually wanted to do with my career, and I really struggled. In my anxious state, I was thinking more of what I didn't want to do, what I wasn't good at, and losing focus on what I was actually able to bring to a prospective employer or client.

The Ikigai concept

Fast forward half a year, I had become a self-employed coach, and while I still wasn't sure exactly what I wanted, I was more fulfilled and happy in my work. I had also discovered the concept of Ikigai, which asks you to think about the following areas:

  • What do you love?

  • What are you good at?

  • What can you get paid for?

  • What does the world need?

Discovering my Ikigai

So far, so good!

I found that I was simultaneously attracted to and resistant to this concept.

  • It fit my "new and shiny" criteria.

  • I love the simplicity of the approach - only 4 areas to focus on, and the model fills in the gaps between the circles

  • The visual of the overlapping circles really appeals to me (especially as I could use my colour pencils!)


However, when I started to fill in the circles, things got more difficult. I skipped the first point about what I loved, thinking I would go back to it once I'd got everything else in place. I managed to answer what I was good at, and add a little detail to the other boxes, but I could not fathom out what it was that I really loved, and that made me resist the concept.

My inner magpie had me try out so many things, my inner geek made me master the ones I found intriguing and challenging, and then the magpie moved me on to the next thing before I could get bored. I could write poetry, make patchwork quilts, develop commodity strategies for multi-billion-dollar companies, explain and train people to problem solve. I loved doing all of those things at the time I was doing them, but I couldn't honestly say that I would love them forever.

Living with the magpie

One day, I remembered a comment my career coach had made to me. When we were talking about modifying an organisational structure, she warned me that "not everyone is a change junkie like you". Recalling this advice made me realise that I was taking far too literal an approach to discovering my Ikigai.

  • I love discovering shiny and new ideas & concepts.

  • I loved taking time to learn and master these shiny things

  • I especially love sharing the shiny things with others (once I have learnt enough to feel comfortable.

  • I love my inner magpie!


After a slow beginning, I found that using the Ikigai framework helped me understand myself better, and also understand where I could add value and feel I was fulfilling a purpose in life. Coaching people to improve their skills allows me to master and share knowledge, and gives me a focus for my restless mind.


Get in touch with me via the Contact page if you want to discuss Ikigai or finding your purpose in more depth

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