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In my professional life I am surrounded by people, athletes, with a clear and well-defined talent. Inborn talent in some cases, and discovered and stimulated at a young age in others; in both cases we are faced with a talent that has been the track and the goal on which to build and organize a life path. The athletes I have been working with for years now set themselves goals related to their talent and consequently plan and carry out specific activities around their talent. 

Starting from this premise, it is not surprising that at some point I – always in contact with athletes linked to this mode, would have found in them a stimulus and above all a parameter, I would have used them as a yardstick to measure myself and I would have, therefore, asked myself some questions: 

  • Do we all have a talent or only some? 
  • Do I have a talent?  
  • If so, what is it? 
  • And why didn’t I ask myself this question before? 

As I have already written in two books (Devo perché posso – I Must Because I Can -and The Ornitorianna’s Guidebook), I was not a child with a clear idea of who or what I was supposed to become. Like so many children, I went from wanting to do the job of one of my parents, to wanting to become a veterinarian, then a hostess, and then something else.

Very late in my life journey I discovered that my communication aptitude could be put to use in the service of something, such as public relations.

The call for me was not so vivid, so clear, rather I did, did, did, and then I came to my landing place. And this landing place slowly I expanded it and furnished it and I still continue to do so today 😉

But what is the landing place?

It is what the Japanese call

IKIGAI 生き甲斐 a word composed of 

ICHI 生き= life

GAI 甲斐 = worth the effort

It’s what a coach and a psychologist call the Purpose:

the reason each of us is here on earth, the purpose for which I am here, what makes me get up smoothly in the morning.

Our talents – whether recognized or not – end up within these concepts, simply because those talents, which we can also call abilities and aptitudes, are the tools we activate and put at the service of our ikigai, our purpose in life. 

The ikigai can take the form of a vocation, a mission, a profession, a passion and depending on this it can have to do with what we know how to do, what we love, what the world needs, what someone is willing to pay to have what we have/do. 

How do we recognize our landing place?

When we get to it we feel that we are okay. We feel good doing what we do, we enter into a kind of trance, we enter into the so-called flow, where space and time cancel out, we are concentrated, we don’t feel any worries, only the present counts, we don’t even realize the hours that pass, we can be concentrated and effective, the only thing we perceive is the well-being and joy in that doing. 

At that point we have recognized our ikigai, and the question moves to another level and become:

Building the landing place means first answering these questions, after which gearing up to lay the foundation and pull up the structure.

  • What do I do with it now? 
  • Do I keep it as a passion?
  • Do I turn it into a profession?

Is it worth it? If it amounts to what gives meaning to life, we already have the answer. It’s what generates happiness in everyday life, but the extra step of awareness is that accomplice to that happiness, ikigai in the end seems to be the only elixir of eternal youth discovered to date … and can be activated.

So let’s get on with it!