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How To Find Your Ikigai And Do The Work You Love With Katrin Mantay

31Jan2020
How To Find Your Ikigai And Do The Work You Love With Katrin Mantay

Would you like to learn how to find your Ikigai, learn what is your passion and do the work you love? Katrin Mantay explains how Ikigai coaching can help.

Are you a successful mid-career professional experiencing a strange emptiness despite being successful? Would you like to learn how to find your talent and passion? How to find purpose in life?

If you’ve never taken the time to ask yourself, “What is my passion? What am I passionate about? What is my true purpose in life?,” Ikigai coaching can help you figure out the answers.

What is Ikigai? A Japanese word, Ikigai (pronunciation) meaning is “a reason for being.” It’s about finding a reason to live and figuring out what gets you out of bed in the morning when you’re living your best life.

Katrin Mantay is an Executive & Career Coach at Evolve Quest. Her passion is to help as many people as possible to wake up feeling excited to go to work.

As part of her career coaching tools, Katrin Mantay uses Ikigai coaching to help you find your Ikigai so you can find your purpose and passion and create the life and work you love.

In this interview, we discuss changes in the world of work, the challenges of remote work, what Millenials want, the limiting beliefs that hold us back from finding our passion, and how to find your passion in life with Ikigai coaching.

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Katrin Mantay On How To Find Your Ikigai And Do The Work You Love

Priya Florence Shah:

Today I’m talking to Katrin Mantay. She’s an Executive and Career Coach at Evolve Quest. Her passion is to help as many people as possible to wake up feeling excited to go to work. Prior to coaching, Katrin had a highly successful career as an investment banking and private equity recruiter.

During a 12-plus year career, she has interviewed more than 5000 job applicants completed hundreds of successful searches for the investment industry and guided many individuals from young professionals to senior executives to successful career changes.

That’s very impressive, Katrin. So, tell me a little bit about how the industry is changing because there are a lot of changes coming to the world as a whole. So what are the changes that you’ve been noticing?

Katrin Mantay:

Yeah, well, first of all, thank you for having me here for you. Getting to be on your podcast. You, yourself, have very an impressive career and the path to becoming your own entrepreneur. So, congratulations on that. I know how good that feels.

You know, what I see in the work market…. at the moment, the trend that I’m noticing is that the workplace is changing and becoming more flexible than ever before. Yes, this may be the first point that I will mention.

And companies with the old school ideas and management, who want people to be fixed in the offices working, everyone has their own desk or their own office space, this is perhaps going to be something of the past going forward.

Because many modern companies are, first of all, they’re reducing cost by removing that need for everyone to be in the office every single day and hiring those expensive premises, the centre of large cities. And so they are becoming less and less competitive.

They’re keeping these investments going year after year after year, while the competitors are reducing this cost and finding ways and implementing technologies that help the team to be effective.

Have people work more flexibly, have a bit more freedom, but at the same time, stay effective and deliver the kind of services or products of high quality that they set out to deliver. So I think becoming more flexible is for sure, like one of the largest trends.

And I can’t tell you who wrote those statistics, but in many news articles to read that by 2025, half of the US workforce working remotely was freelancers. Yeah. Shocking statistics. We don’t have that much time.

Priya Florence Shah:

Remote work and the gig economy are going to be huge, right? That’s absolutely huge.

Katrin Mantay:

Yeah. And the second thing is that I’m noticing is that as the as people are becoming more and more skilled in what they do, and there are more and more highly educated, highly experienced people in the market, it is becoming less and less effective to be doing the jobs that you hate.

Because of so much competition, you know, if you hate playing music and there are thousands of people who are highly talented, but not only that they love, they’re in the flow when they’re performing.

It’s really hard to compete. I work with people in finance. So if you work as a banker, and you absolutely hate your job, Oh my god, there are so many very bright graduate graduates from the top universities around the world who want these jobs and would do what it takes for these jobs.

And so they really love doing it. It’s very hard to stay ahead of the pack. If you know some of my clients, they have ideas to start their own business working, doing something creative, for example, and they push themselves into jobs in finance and suffer as a result sometimes and, complain about competition.

There’s a percentage of people in finance, who love what they do, who are feeling they’re in the right place or in the flow while they’re doing the work. So it’s very encouraging to see, from my experience, it’s about 15 to 20% of people that I speak to, they actually feel this is their life’s work, that’s what they want to do. In the future,

Priya Florence Shah:

That’s what you help people do, right? Get into the flow and enjoy their work.

Katrin Mantay:

So, find out when are they in the flow? Like, what’s the flow? What do they really enjoy doing? And I mean, not just enjoy doing because that could be you know, this could be a hobby, but something they can also get paid for. And whereas this crossover is a very interesting switch, the sweet spot which some people call fulfilment.

find your purpose test

Priya Florence Shah:

True, true. That’s true, and it’s like in India, especially, it’s very hard for many people to find that fulfilment because we have traditional roles and the parents could only think, doctor or engineer, you know?

I’m sure you must have heard of traditional Indian parents who are like that. But today, things are changing. And I think things are opening up, people are changing their minds, though not fast enough. But they still believe in certain traditional roles, so what do you have to say to people like that?

Katrin Mantay:

Oh, such a great question. And I’m actually originally from Russia. So I moved to London when I was 18. And what you just mentioned about this expectation to just follow a certain career path is very much pronounced in my hometown.

For one because there is a lack of opportunities to do things that, I, for example, would enjoy doing. And also there is an expectation that you may pursue the kind of the career tradition of your family or something that is lucrative in the town where you are, in the country where you are.

So it’s no wonder my parents, and actually a lot of people in my hometown, there was a huge demand for people who study finance to go into studying finance, economics, and that’s what actually my first degree is.

But what I found very interesting is that it’s very easy to get caught up in this mindset for longer than we need. Because it’s fine, we know our parents want really the best for us, right?

They’re not like really trying to get us into this career that we may not like because they want to hurt us. Most of the time it’s because they foresee that this is what will keep us earning, well-employed.

But what I realized is that once we are employed and we’ve done this profession that we were kind of expected by our parents or society to follow. Once we are financially successful, independent. We really stop and think about, “Ah, okay, so I’ve done this long enough.”

Some people are super happy, their parents are doctors, they become doctors. Great. And they’re really happy doing that. Some people never stop to check in with themselves like, am I actually happy doing this?

Do I feel energized from doing what I’m doing? Do I experience the state of flow? Or am I just biding my time from one paycheck to the next? Suffering, going in for eight to 20 hours a day, 18 hours a day… those hours of suffering every day.

And I think this is an alarm bell is that actually, “Hello, you need to stop and check-in with yourself. Like, what are you doing professionally?”

And, and a lot of the time, when you’re in mid-career, you may have the financial success and the resources. People who have that, they don’t realize that they can make a different choice, they can now change direction.

And it doesn’t have to be a U-turn, you know? I was a doctor and I’m an actor. It could be something like I was a doctor and I’m a wellness coach. You know, I was a doctor, and now I’m a massage therapist or something.

So it doesn’t have to be completely unrelated to whatever wealth of experience that you already have, you can absolutely build on that. The question is that moving towards space where you feel like you’re tapping on what you know, but also doing more of what you really enjoy doing, more passionate about, professionally.

Priya Florence Shah:

And today, there are so many options, you know, there’s so much more choice than the than our parents and our grandparents had. And there are so many careers that we can take up, right?

Katrin Mantay:

That happened to me as well. I just got into recruitment, executive search, and I loved it to begin with. And I do this for years and years and years, until about 10 years later.

My friend was like, “Oh, so now you have you know, money in the bank. You’ve got a British passport now. I guess you can do whatever you want. You can take a year off you could go start acting.” I really wanted to try it. Experiment. And I also didn’t have a family.

So this was like a good time. But, even being a coach, which I wasn’t at the time, I didn’t even think of stopping and going, “Actually, I don’t have those shackles on me. I can choose. It always involves a degree of risk. Right? But nonetheless, it’s worth it for the journey.

Priya Florence Shah:

Right. It makes me think of that old thing about the elephant, you know? You should tell it.

Katrin Mantay:

Well, it’s something about how to train the elephants. Yeah. Is it a full performance? I think in the circus? How when they’re little they put shackles on them.

Priya Florence Shah:

Yeah, the shackles are rope. They put the shackles on them. And then when they grow up, they don’t know it’s a rope. They put a rope on them because they don’t know they can break the rope.

You know, it’s the mental shackles that we have on ourselves because we are into a career path and we never think that we can break that shackle and go into something else.

So you just have that little rope holding us in. And, as you said, you had all the freedom in the world, but you didn’t exercise it.

Katrin Mantay:

Absolutely, yeah, that is such a great image. And also for anyone listening to the podcast, I would love just to quickly stop and inquire to themselves. Know where they’re taking on artificial limitations. What’s possible for them to do, right?

They might not be the baby elephants anymore. Maybe this huge, magnificent, strong creature that is capable of creating a lot of happiness and fulfilment for themselves and people around them.

Priya Florence Shah:

Yes, true. And the thing is, we have to start seeing ourselves that way.

Katrin Mantay:

Absolutely it starts with us, you know, seeing this in ourselves and finding the confidence to do something about it.

how to find my passion quiz

Priya Florence Shah:

I think that, in India, we really need that, especially when it comes to Indian women. A lot of them go into the traditional thing, into doing something, and then they never think that they can do something else and or they’re just unhappy.

They’re either unhappy in our traditional path or they want to do something else and nobody allows them to do it. There’s a lot of “allowing” in India, you know, the family will “allow” you to do this, the husband will “allow” you to do that.

And we have that mindset, so you have to realize that you don’t need someone to “allow” you. You have to choose it for yourself. I mean, you have the choice.

Katrin Mantay:

I mean, I haven’t lived in the culture, so I can’t fully probably comprehend, know the benefits of having the outside authority or the family, the husbands to allow you to do things.

But also, you know, I’ve experienced both. Like the oppressed women who are not kind of expected to do more stuff at home, look after the kids, you know? Versus develop themselves and do what they want to proceed.

And also the western approach where women are completely independent. And I mean, not everyone, obviously, but for sure there isn’t this expectation. People are just considered for what they want for themselves, not just what other people think is best for them.

So I wonder for some of the business of your podcast, where is this balance? For work within the culture, but at the same time, no one can allow you anything.

Only you can allow yourself to be controlled or to move towards fulfilment. And it doesn’t have to be drastic, but it will require some difficult conversations.

Priya Florence Shah:

Yes, that’s true. Another thing I wanted to ask you was about young people today. Everyone’s complaining about millennials and they don’t want to do what they want them to do.

What are your findings, because you’re really in the job market so you engage with them all the time. But what do you think about this? You know, the people complaining about them all the time and all? Is it that they’re just looking for fulfilment compared to the previous generation? Is that it?

Katrin Mantay:

Yeah, well, first, I don’t work with as many millennials just because of my recruitment experience. I’ve been more in touch with middle management and senior executives, right?

But I am myself an elder millennial. I was born towards the end of this generation. And I have a flexible work style. So I lived in London for 12 years. And for the past three years, I’ve been travelling the world, developing my coaching practice, building this business.

And now I’m earning the same amount I used to earn working for a large company in London, which is exhilarating is just that it’s happening, but it’s a huge encouragement that it is possible.

So that’s what millennials tend to do. They insist on doing things kind of their way, which can be taken to the extreme where they kind of fall out of being able to function in this economy. And yet again, I think it’s a question of the balance.

I think it’s just for me personally, it’s wonderful to be able to spend half of the year, as I do in Thailand, working from here. I’m not on holiday, I’m a wicked too, but then I’m working.

It is wonderful for mothers with children to be able to work from the home office. So they can check out one of their kids every now and then. Is it is wonderful to save time from travelling to work every day? You know, I hear especially in India, the traffic is a complete nightmare, but also there is a lot of kind of online economy there, too.

So on one hand, I think they are just kind of like this elephant. They’re like, okay, so parents struggle just to have a job and just being fluid. And Millennials are like, “Oh, I wonder what’s possible next.”

So why stop the progress? Here’s my question on one hand and forget that we are those beautiful, magnificent elephants and maybe there is more possible for us.

On the other hand, it can be taken too far. I’ve seen that. And I’ve also had periods in my career when I was not effective. Where the company I was working for, who allowed me to work remotely, and I would have been taken as a difficult millennial to work with. So I’m happy to have found some sort of balance.

Priya Florence Shah:

So, do you have any recommendations? I mean, how did you come back from that? How do you work effectively, remotely?

Katrin Mantay:

I think it helped the fact that I worked in the corporate environment for 12 years. You know, just working hard and Russia is just like my whole childhood, is just non-stop school – ballet – homework, school – ballet – homework.

So it helps, I think, especially in the beginning to have some sort of experience in maybe a more regional structure, just so that you get used to be effective in the later career.

Because I have seen people who are at University, they don’t want to work for anyone whatsoever. And yet it’s taking them a really long time to really scale their business because I haven’t had any role models and mentors.

So I believe the first five to seven years it’s pretty helpful for someone to work for a successful organization. They can learn to be more like them, from them.

And what else is, I think, doing the job you really love. Because when I was doing the job that I was not so interested in and doing it remotely, I was not as effective.

Yeah, and I switch to coaching and I love personal growth. And instigating it and others and growing myself. It’s so exciting if I don’t have calls I feel like disorientated. I’m not coaching.

So all the admin just comes in naturally, of course, I love my business. So I want to do my taxes for the business to continue existing, right? What actually didn’t work this week. So everything kind of just falls more into place when you find your passion. It’s so fundamental.

Priya Florence Shah:

And you’re so much happier, you know, more fulfilled, and everything just flows. I kind of got into my writing career and then get got into digital marketing and all, pretty early in the day.

So I found it. I mean, I kind of found my niche pretty early. So I was very happy with that. But of course, another thing is that you have to keep up with the changes in your industry, you know.

Just because you work at home doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to lose touch with what is happening in the industry and with other people. It’s easy to lose touch when you work remotely.

So I think that takes a massive amount of self-discipline, and also the desire to keep learning, the desire to be constantly learning about your industry and things like that, you know?

But today, it’s easier to learn because you have online courses and you have online education, so it’s not so hard to keep up with that.

So Katrin, can you give us some pointers on how people can find fulfilment today? I’m curious.

Ikigai Quotes
Find more Ikigai quotes in Hector Garcia Puigcerver’s Ikigai book on Amazon

Katrin Mantay:

Great question. And it’s a useful exercise to do for everyone listening. Because you may find out you’re in your most fulfilling career to date, or you may find out that there is something else out there that’s even more inspiring, and more fun for you to do.

So, I’ve been exploring a different kind of concepts of finding this fulfilment. And more recently, I’ve come across this Japanese concept called Ikigai, when applied to a career. It was originally applied to Korean work, but this is how it’s presented now.

Ikigai actually means fulfilment. So if we use this for career fulfilment, Four Elements need to be present in your work life, we need to have to be in that state of Ikigai fulfilment.

So one of them, you need to be doing something that you’re good at. So I tried acting, didn’t work. So for me, I wasn’t that good at it. So I had to let it go. But find some of the elements of acting that I was enjoying. Then mix it up with a few other things. One thing is to make a list of things that you’re good at.

Number one, and this could be you could ask your colleagues, you could ask your family, your friends could actually do a survey. What do they see in you? What strengths do they see in you?

If you have performance reviews, you know, oftentimes the theme would repeat itself. You’re good with people, are you good at creating products or customer support or something else.

Number two is what you love. So, again, you can make a list of things you love, and they can be related to your profession, or they can be just a hobby. So I’m in love with yoga and cycling, and being with people, personal development. So you just you make a second list of the things that you love.

The third point is what is the impact that you would love to have? So they call it what the world needs and usually this will make your business, for one it will bring the heart to your business.

So you’re actually satisfying a need out there. You’re not just, you know, setting up the ecommerce of the product that everyone’s is trading anyway, and it’s just not really helping the world, people around you in some way.

Identify an actual need in the world. It can be in your community, you know, maybe that it’s too far to walk to the retail shop to get something that people need every day.

You know, it could be you see too many people in your industry being unfulfilled like what I saw. So, that’s what I saw in the world. So this is step number three, you see what the world needs?

And the last one, the fourth one is, what can you get paid for? You can make the fourth column things you can get paid for. And you can include some stuff from the past, maybe things you got paid for as a student, doing odd jobs.

Or things that you could get paid for through your work, through different stages of your career. Or the things that maybe you kind of do on the side as a creative project and maybe didn’t get paid too much for it, but still goes on.

And so you could do this with a friend or obviously very helpful to have a coach to have you go through these four areas, and creatively brainstorm them. Right? So where are the crossovers? And what could they be worth in the job market?

Where is the business, if it’s a product, the service you want to create? So in the external world out there, what is it called? Is it personal development courses? Design manager, programmer for an environmental website? There are so many things and ideas that come to mind.

The point is that you make a list of a list of things that would be in line with your ego, with your fulfilment, that incorporates those elements of things you’re good at, things that you love, what you see the world around you needs and also what we can get paid for.

And so once you got there – and this may take some experimenting – because once you have the list, I recommend my clients to go for the top three and test them out.

Just go talk to people, get a side hustle doing that, see if that’s the thing or not. And as you go along, you get feedback. And we love feedback because you’re getting closer and closer to this Ikigai.

Priya Florence Shah:

And find your niche. I think in entrepreneurial terms, we call it finding your niche. But then that has to have all these elements of Ikigai, you know, like getting paid for what people need.

So yes, your passion and what you’re good at. So that’s a really good insight because I think it gives us a plan to follow so that we can get started on that and I’ve seen these diagrams of Ikigai.

So I think maybe I’ll put one put a link to one of those in the description. So if people want to come to you for career coaching, do you only talk to financial professionals or also other domains?

ikigai
Image Source

Katrin Mantay:

So that’s where when I started my business, that was my network, so I went to know those type of professionals. And currently, about half of my clients are in the finance space, where they’re the FinTech, finance startups.

I coach senior executives like CEOs, founders of those companies, and also middle management, and also people just kind of recommend me to others and I also have a YouTube channel and people end up watching it from all sorts of places around the world.

I never expected to have clients from so many countries in the world from where I live. So my calendar is quite crazy and people who find me through my social media. People get recommended to come from all sorts of walks of life, industry from the government sector from consumer retail, many different sectors.

And so it’s almost like half this focus is on finance and other half is just this surprising box of chocolates. I just don’t know what’s gonna come over there. I’m quite successful with working with people in this kind of mi- career crisis.

People who have been successful in the industry or in the company that you’re working for, quite a few of my clients, that will call you The Best Employee of the Year in the company, given tickets to fly to retreats and other countries and being treated.

And yet, on the inside, they feel like there’s emptiness. They feel that they’re not happy day-to-day, but they just don’t know what to do next. And by this time, they’re almost like in some kind of golden cage, it’s very difficult to let go of the comfort of the salary and the structure.

And yet when they do, it’s just fascinating to see with the capital of creating, because you know, when you’re the star employee of the whole large multinational company, imagine what’s possible when you’re running your own business, or you’re in the industry you really love. You just get that much more energy and inspiration and you’re that much more successful.

Priya Florence Shah:

So you help people make that transition, right?

Katrin Mantay:

Yes, exactly. Figure out what they want. Wrap their heads around it, and then go and create those changes.

Priya Florence Shah:

That’s amazing. So I hope I’m going to put your link in the description and I hope people can sign up on your website because I know there are lots of people who need to. And watch your YouTube channels.

Katrin Mantay:

Yeah, a lot of the best ideas I’ve come across for coaching I’ve shared in my videos on YouTube, so please do subscribe and follow the journey. I’m also learning new things every day.

Priya Florence Shah:

Great and enjoy your time in Thailand. I hope you have a wonderful, not vacation, work-cation or whatever it is.

Author bio:

Priya Florence Shah is the publisher of Naaree.com. Sign up for her Free Job Interview Email course for secret interview strategies and learn how to leverage LinkedIn for career and business success with a Free eBook on How To Create a Killer LinkedIn Profile.

Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate or sponsored links. For more information, read our disclosure.

Find Your Ikigai Purpose

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