Finding Value and Purpose at Work – Highlight the Ikigai concept

by | Oct 26, 2023

Ikigai: Finding Your Worth

“What’s your specialty?”

Clinicians are asked this question more times than can be counted throughout their careers—for good reason. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) lists more than 135 medical specialties and subspecialties available for graduating physicians to pursue, and each one requires a residency of between three and eight years.

Doctor specialties exist for each field of medicine to serve the needs of a particular realm of care. But how does any doctor find a medical specialty? You may already be interested in a specific field and are willing to devote the time it takes to pursue it.

But you may get burned out with no time for family and friends, no time for the things that please you, and no time for yourself.

We’ve all heard the phrase “find your passion,” but instead, healthcare professionals, whether beginning their careers or considering a career change, may want to find their Ikigai.

Ikigai: Finding Your Worth

Ikigai is a Japanese philosophy about finding purpose and meaning in life. Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a word that combines “iki” (life) and “gai” (value or worth) and represents the reason for being or the essence of one’s existence. It is about finding balance and meaning by aligning your passions, talents, contributions, and financial stability. It’s a guiding principle for personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

A Simple Concept

Ikigai It is often depicted as a Venn diagram with four overlapping circles, each representing one of the following elements:

  1. What you love: Your passions and interests
  2. What you’re good at: Your skills, talents, and expertise
  3. What the world needs: The demand for your abilities and contributions
  4. What you can be paid for: The intersection of your skills and economic viability

Your Ikigai is at the intersection of these four elements. It’s the sweet spot where you are doing something you love that you’re good at, that the world needs, and that you can be rewarded for.

Next, consider where two of the large circles overlap. Your passion is the intersection of what you love and what you’re good at. What you are good at and can be paid for is your Profession.

But where Passion and Profession overlap is an area that reveals the drawbacks. You may have satisfaction but a feeling of uselessness. You are not fulfilled. And you may want to quit the healthcare field. Only when all four of the large circles intersect will you find fulfillment.

Applying Ikigai to Your Career

Ikigai can be particularly valuable for young residents and individuals entering the medical field trying to decide on their specialization. Here’s how it can be applied.

Self-Reflection: What are your deep passions and interests? What motivates you in the medical field? What patient population do you wish to serve? What do you find most exciting and satisfying?

Identify Your Strengths and Skills: What are you outstanding at? What areas of medicine do you excel in? What procedures or patient interactions do they find most natural and enjoyable?

Understanding Market Demand: Is there a need for your desired specialty? Is it in demand regionally, nationally, or globally? What areas of medicine have a shortage of practitioners?

Considering Financial Factors: While it’s crucial to follow one’s passion, it’s also essential to consider the potential income and lifestyle (as well as the debt) associated with a chosen specialization.

Find Overlaps: Create your personal Ikigai Venn diagram, mapping your passions, skills, market demand, and financial considerations. This visual representation can help identify areas of overlap.

Seek a Mentor: Consider seeking guidance from experienced mentors who can provide valuable insights to help you align your career choices with their Ikigai.

Continue Reflection: Your Ikigai may evolve, and it’s essential to periodically reassess your career path to ensure it continues to align with your values and aspirations.

The Pursuit of Personal Fulfillment

Ultimately, the key to a gratifying medical specialization is finding one that brings a fulfilling career with personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose. Applying the principles of Ikigai allows you to make more informed choices in all areas of your life.

Still Unsure? We’re Here to Help

Selecting a medical specialty and finding employment in that field can be daunting. Adfinitas Health can answer your questions and help you find a lifelong career. Just send an email: [email protected].