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The GROWING THROUGH IT Podcast

027: Purpose as a Verb, Not a Noun with Sam Ushio, Chief Ikigai Officer at Connect3x

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Ikigai is a 1,000-year-old Japanese concept interpreted as “your reason for being” or purpose.

Finding purpose in life can feel intimidating, as if you had to look all over for one grand reason for being. But what if it’s much simpler than that? According to guest Sam Ushio, ikigai starts with understanding your values.

Sam Ushio is the Chief Ikigai Officer at Connect3x, a people platform that embeds well-being into the rhythm of business. Sam fuses a powerful blend of Ikigai philosophy, strengths-based psychology, and change management to lead Connect3x’s mission to “capitalize the Human experience.”    

In our conversation, Sam shares his journey into entrepreneurship after he realized he was compromising personal growth for financial growth. He explains the Japanese concept of Ikigai and how it’s different than the Western version you’ll find with a Google search. Sam then describes how he approaches Ikigai and how you can get started exploring purpose for yourself.

Key Highlights:
  • Ikigai is a 1,000-year-old Japanese concept that has no direct English translation but is interpreted as “your reason for being” or purpose.
  • His grandparents were keepers of a Japanese shrine and made many sacrifices for the community where the shrine was located.
  • If you Google Ikigai, you’ll see a four circle Venn diagram that’s the (bastardized) Western version of Ikigai.
  • Ikigai starts with a foundation of values, articulating your values, and aligning actions with your values (the code you want to live by). Within that code, how do you use your talents and strengths to improve humanity?
  • Ikigai is not only a quest for self-actualization but it’s also about improving others and society as a whole.
  • Get started with values discovery and have checkpoints to evaluate them.
Links Mentioned:

Carhenge – Alliance, Nebraska

https://connect3x.com/

https://ikigailab.co/

Sam’s LinkedIn

Full Bio:

Sam Ushio is the Chief Ikigai Officer at Connect3x, a people platform that embeds well-being into the rhythm of business. Sam fuses a powerful blend of Ikigai philosophy, strengths-based psychology, and change management to lead Connect3x’s mission to “capitalize the Human experience.”

Previously, Sam was Director of Practice Management at Russell Investments, where he led a nationwide team that coached and consulted ~1,000 financial advisors annually. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, and InvestmentNews. Sam earned an MBA from Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and holds a Bachelor of Science from University of Nebraska in Marketing and Finance with an emphasis in psychology. He is also a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach.

Sam is also the founder of Ikigai Lab, a Purpose Incubator that delivers insights, experiences and solutions rooted in the Japanese concept of Ikigai. On his quest to evolve the definition of “growth”, Sam blends the old school ancient wisdom tradition of ikigai with new school research in positive psychology. He is dedicated to purpose-driven solutions for stakeholder-focused organizations and visionary leaders, including total well-being, strengths-based culture, human-centered design, emotional intelligence, systems thinking, and life/career transitions.

An energetic, compassionate leader, Sam is committed to understanding an individual’s journey and finding a bridge to relate. A popular speaker on the concept of Ikigai, Sam also develops Ikigai curriculum and hosts the Ikigai Stories podcast. Sam serves on the advisory board of the Clifton Strengths Institute at the University of Nebraska and enjoys an active lifestyle with his wife and three children.