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Find Your Ikigai

Earlier this year, my co-workers and I flew out to Los Angeles to attend a 4-day conference addressing ways to support fathers and families. During our time on the West Coast, we participated in an Advanced Fatherhood Practitioners course for those of us working with fathers across the country.

The course, by far, exceeded my expectations. In this session, we discussed engaging fathers and families in ways that are culturally sensitive. We discussed incorporating mindfulness into individual sessions with fathers. The course teachers provide a good amount of information into a few days, which spilled over into several months of post-class work to fulfill the required needs for the accreditation.

One concept that stood out to me, from the class, is the idea of ikigai. It’s a Japanese word that, literally, means “value of being alive” according to my research. In the class, we learned it as “that thing for which you wake up”. The assignment given to us required reflecting on this very concept.

I had to ask myself “what gets me out of the bed every morning?” It’s that thing that brings me joy or produces life in me. I don’t dread getting it done. It’s that thing that I can get lost in for hours at a a time. Hopefully, you’re getting the idea of what the word means.

It’s not something to put off, continuously, It’s not something that you easily pass over in life.. The more you put it off, the more you fill unfulfilled in your life. It’s there calling your name.

Some times, silently! Other times, loud enough to make you feel the pressure to get up and do something about it.

When you start or discover it, you won’t stop until it’s complete.

What is that thing for you?

For me, it’s what I’m doing at this very moment. It comes naturally. I don’t have to stress about making it happen. I sit down and press keys on the laptop to complete an article or talk into a microphone to finish a podcast. Then, I’m done. If my ikigai wasn’t happening in the form of writing or speaking, it’s visible in how I express life. At the end of the day, the thing that I wake up for is making a positive impact in the lives of those entrusted to me.

It’s my wife, my children, my family, and countless others experiencing a man, who chooses to operate from a place of love. Without expressing and receiving love, it’s hard to find value in life. During this pandemic, people are struggling with their purpose in life. If that’s you, trust that it’s waiting for unearthing. If you haven’t quite found your ikigai, take time to get alone for a moment of silence.

In your silence, reflect on your life. What are your passions, skills, and interests? I promise you that if you’re still and quiet enough, you’ll find the switch. Once you do, my prayers is that you never turn it off!

What’s Really Going On?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself this question “what’s, really, going on?” More often than not, I find myself affording perception the opportunity to become reality. When in all actuality, reality is perception until the lens changes.

I like words. They possess the capacity to provide richness and depth to a conversation. However, chaos and division might ensue when word choice and usage lead to misunderstandings. My goal is create a clear picture. In order to have the same lens, we’ll use Merriam-Webster as a point of reference for perception and reality

Perception often breathes life into our reality based on our attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. These are our points of reference for approaching our lives. In this instance, I included Dictionary.com in the second set of words.

Why?

Variance exists between how these organizations define these words; even though, they are the same. I have no idea why. Nor, will I take the time to find out. The lenses lead to their selection.

Back to attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Although these three are truth for us in many instances, it doesn’t mean that they are truth for others. Case in point. Stop signs are red; unless, an individual with color blindness is the one looking at it. The stop sign is no longer red from that person’s perception; even though, the reality is stop signs are red. But, only to sighted individuals.

Let’s take a closer look. Shall we?

If my reality is based on my perception and your reality is based on your perception, that sounds like a recipe for disaster in a world where we believe that our reality is the absolute truth. I’m sure you’ll have seen this play out time and time again in this virtual world. Take for instance, social media algorithms place a tint over our lenses. Now a commonly viewed situation is causing chaos in an individual’s reality without disturbing the harmony of another. The next thing you know, Facebook drama and Twitter wars abound. Instead of viewing the world through someone else’s lens, there’s a tendency to dig in our heels to not yield space or fortify our walls to avoid a collapse.

In doing so, seeking first to understand then to be understood (as suggested in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is left null and void. Imagine a society of people, who seek to understand and who challenge their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences.

Can you see it as clearly as I see it through my lens?

I hope so.

It’s a peaceful place that’s bright enough for all of us to rock our lenses.

2020 Man In Me Virtual Summit

If you’ll recall from a previous article, I co-founded the Mastering Manhood Conference with two of my buddies, through the Man in Me. As we were in early in preparation for planning the conference, the pandemic hit. With the uncertainty of 2020, we reluctantly decided to cancel what would have been our 4th Annual Mastering Manhood Conference.

With that decision to wait until 2021, there were numerous request to have an event. In this pandemic; despite Zoom fatigue, people are in need of connection. Our Founder and President, Isaac Rowe embarked on pulling off the organizations first summit. On Saturday, August 15th, The Man Me Virtual Summit consisted of two tracks running simultaneously for our participants to engage in personal and professional development.

Here are the recordings of the event:

Hosted by Joshua Banks
– Opening Remarks: Isaac Rowe
-Session 1A: Time 10:1011:10 Crissy Butts – “Creating a Fun Happy Cave with your Kids”
-Session 2A: Time 11:1512:15 Leah Leone, J.D. – “Successful Co-Parenting is for Grown Folks”
-Session 3A: Time 12:201:35 2020 & Man! (Panel) Bavu Blakes – Moderator Teddy Jones – Panelist Brandon Woodson – Panelist Ceasar F. Barajas – Panelist Darryl Thomas Jr. – Panelist
-BONUS Session 4A & 4B: Time 1:402:15 “Work Life – Balance: Building Business & Community with the Family” Amber Rowe Isaac Rowe
Hosted by Alonzo Blankenship
– Opening Remarks: Isaac Rowe
-Session 1B: Time 10:1011:10 Mayor Larry Wallace PhD – “Courageous Leadership”
-Session 2B: Time 11:1512:15 Corey Jones – “How Childhood Trauma Affects Manhood”
-Session 3B: Time 12:201:35 Morgan Susan Taylor, MA – “The Sex Talk Café Live!”
-BONUS Session 4A & 4B: Time 1:402:15 “Work – Life – Balance: Building Business & Community with the Family” Amber Rowe Isaac Rowe

If we had allowed the pandemic to dictate life for us, this event never makes it off of the ground. The purpose and passion for serving the community is and was the driving force for making it happen for the men and women, who attended this incredible event. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Question: What things have you started or produced during the pandemic?

Finding Your Purpose

This morning, I participated in Bible study with a group of men from a local church. I wasn’t sure of the topic for the day. But, I was eager for the fellowship. When I found out that the focus for the time would be on purpose, I was pleased. Attending the meeting, I feel was a confirmation of sorts for me. Let me explain my reasoning.

This week, I took on a coaching client to help him walk through my 13-week course to discover his purpose. At the end of this course, he will have a written manifesto for his life purpose. The focus (in short) is to help him become the change agent, that he desires to be in his life. We’ll dig into things like childhood, belief systems, talents, personality, and skills. He’ll have to comb through various aspects of his identity to discover, uncover, and re-discovery…HIMSELF! His introspection will become medicine for healing whatever has disconnected him from his purpose.

It will be a huge undertaking, and it won’t be an easy journey. However, the journey will be worth it when he’s completed it. We owe it to ourselves to ask the hard questions. We owe it to our relationships to be honest and open with our answers. We owe it to ourselves to connect with the Most High, who placed the purpose inside of us. We were created with purpose and for a purpose. All of the deep digging will be useless without connecting to the source of our existence.

If you find yourself drifting through life, ask for wisdom from on high. Your prayers will point you to the answers for working through the recesses of your heart. We are naive to think, that we can figure it out on our own.

A Conversation with my Dad

About 4 years ago, I came across interview questions for someone you love on Brendon Bruchard’s Facebook page. I thought it was a great idea at the time, and I decided to save the post. Fast forward to this weekend, I took the opportunity to put action behind the desire to interview my father on the “A Father Heard” podcast. If you’d like to listen to Family Life: A Conversation with my Dad, here you go! This episode was the third of four in the series; in which, I sit down with members of my family.

All to often, we put things off with the hopes of getting back to it. That’s a great recipe for not completing the task. I’m very grateful, that my dad is still living. I’m appreciative for a great relationship with him. If it wasn’t for his dedication and labor of love to create a healthy relationship for his children, this conversation would have been very different. Perhaps, it would have never happened.

How many people do you know of that have strained relationships with their family members? There are far to many that I know of in my personal and professional life. As a parent, we have a great deal of responsibility for cultivating a safe and loving environment for our family. If we’ve done or job to the best of our abilities, our children will want to come home as adults to have a conversation about life.