11 Feb

A Full-Circle Tangents Blog on Ikigai, Great Futures and Volunteerism

I hope you are feeling the way I am, right now. 2021 is full of promise and I’m excited to have so many opportunities in front of me to be in service to others in so many powerful ways. About 4 years ago I left non-profit employment with the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii. Boys & Girls Club is the best mission I have ever supported with my time and money. Their tagline “Great Futures Start Here” is fulfilled every day in their Clubhouses.  But after 15 or so years doing non-profit work I wanted out and also wanted to make my side-hustle into my career.  The side-hustle, Focus on the 40, is now more than my career it is my calling.

Tangent: The Japanese concept called “ikigai” translates loosely to “reason for being” and at the core is alignment between passion, expertise and what the world needs.  My work with Focus on the 40©  is certainly aligned and my life has purpose and for that I’m immensely grateful. I’ve created alignment between my passion of public speaking and my deeply engrained desire to serve others. The results are powerful for my clients and in return a powerful opportunity to see my service directly benefitting others.   

Focus on the 40 programs delve into how we align our strengths for meaning to live happier.

The ikigai concept also recognizes “what the world needs” is not always something offering meaningful compensation. And that’s ok. Finding volunteer opportunities that fit our passions can contribute to our reason for living. I do not believe suffering and volunteerism should overlap. I’ve been there and I’m not really interested in suffering for no-compensation even in service and especially if I’m in a place where I don’t want to suffer for pay. What the world needs isn’t for you to suffer. The opportunities are limitless.

Full-Circle: Over the last couple of years I honed in on doing my Focus on the 40 programs with youth through presentations and workshops for youth service organizations in an attempt to recapture some of the of joy of working for Boys & Girls Club. It felt so good to come full-circle with youth service in a new capacity even if the depth wasn’t there as it was with full-time employment. Getting to know Clubhouse kids was heart-filling.

So what did 2021 serve up to me to allow me to be of greater service to youth? In January, I was so honored to be asked to join the Board of Directors for Boys & Girls Club of Bend. I’ll be supporting their fundraising efforts and slowly nudging my way into the Clubhouses to meet the kids served by this great mission. Ikigai = oh mai! So cheesy, but I had to.

If you want to explore you own opportunities to find service aligned with your passions and talents try out this simple ikigai worksheet and explore how your volunteerism can fulfill your reason for being.

Anthony Poponi is a Corporate Trainer, Coach, Motivational Speaker and author of “Focus on the 40” specializing in improving team dynamics, communication and productivity for teams and individuals. His work is based on the research in the fields neuroplasticity, positive psychology, and leadership to focus on a flourishing life.

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