Soul’s Joe Gardner: Ikigai, Purpose…and all that Jazz?

Sometimes when we feel passion for something in life, we can misunderstand our purpose.

But when we misunderstand our purpose, we risk misunderstanding our own lives.

This is what happens to Soul’s Joe Gardner, a 46-year-old middle school band teacher and piano player.

Even though he’s a jovial, larger-than-life character, Joe is unfulfilled. He developed a passion for music as a child when his father first took him to a jazz club. That’s when he decided that he would become a jazz performer.

The problem is that Joe has never been able to get his big break. Despite his belief that he was born to play professionally, it’s never happened. But he believes his opportunity will still come.

In the meantime, Joe’s love for jazz has caused him to miss out on life. He doesn’t have friends. He lives alone and immerses himself in music.

His passion has caused him to become self-centred. His mindset is so narrow, and his views so isolated, that he doesn’t bring value to anyone around him — not even the children he teaches.

Joe’s ikigai is not his passion

What is Joe’s mission? What does the world need from him? Joe is excellent at playing jazz. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of it and he loves it.

However, for jazz music to be his ikigai, it also has to be part of his mission, his vocation and his profession. While he may be a music teacher, he doesn’t know what the world around him needs. He never engages with that question.

Remember, your ikigai calls you; it is bigger than you; and it also allows you to achieve big things. Only when Joe starts to ask how he can be of service to other people, will he truly discover his ikigai.

This is why when 22’s soul enters Joe’s body, and he starts to listen to people, he sees magic things happen in his life.

Teaching the teacher

Joe requires a coach who will support him when it comes to the wheel of life — the balance between career, finances, his social life, his physicality, his family, and his mental and emotional well-being.

If I were his coach, I’d talk to him about the difference between his North Star and his daily movements. The North Star is also known as the impossible goal. It guides you and gives your direction. But your daily movements, your micro-actions, are what bring you closer to happiness.

Understand your purpose

These days, there is a lot of social pressure to find a purpose. As we search for ours, we should try not to let it create stress, but to drive us towards what really serves us.

When our purpose is aligned with who we are, and what we can give to others, that is when we find flow.

I believe in a collective intelligence in everything we do. Sharing is key to making our society grow. It’s also the key to self-growth. At the end of the day, we are all potential leaders and we have the capacity to inspire others. It’s vital that we use it.

Your call

Which character from popular fiction do you think could benefit from coaching?

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