Using Ikigai to Find Your Life’s Purpose with Kelly Morita

This week I sat down with Kelly Morita, a Simply Business Academy graduate and an American Ikigai mindset and transition coach living in the beautiful country of Japan. She’s lived in Japan for almost nine years of her life and has dedicated her time to inspiring others to live life on purpose, discover their path, and master themselves.

Incorporating Ikigai into everything you do is essential to growing a business, taking on new challenges, transitioning to a new city or country, and so much more. So, Kelly’s mission is now to help others find fulfilment, abundance, and passion in their lives for as long as they live.

If you did like this episode be sure to screenshot and share on Instagram and of course tag me + Kelly, @erinmayhenry and @kellymoritasan.

It’s never too late to explore, never too late to try new things. There are people who find their purpose or their Ikigai, at every stage of life.


Although she hasn’t always been familiar with Ikigai, Kelly was introduced and became fascinated by Japanese culture at a very young age. So, when she took a Japanese class in school, her fascination only grew. 

By the time she was 17 she had visited Japan and had set her heart on returning and teaching there.

“I was so determined, deep down inside, because my passion was to go to Japan and to teach, I knew early on what I wanted to do with my life.”

She followed that passion, she followed her calling. But, more importantly, she didn’t take no for an answer.

We’re always going to be told no by someone. We’re going to be told that we can’t do things or that it’s not safe, but if you have this innate knowing that you’re supposed to do something, you have to find a way to make it happen.

Now, she encourages others to explore things that they’re curious about and try new things, take classes, read a new book. I don’t know something that’s going to spark some kind of, you never know if you don’t try. 

“It’s never too late to explore, never too late to try new things. There are people who find their purpose or their Ikigai, at every stage of life.”


A lot of people struggle with not taking action or trying something new out of fear that if they do, it’s going to be the wrong step, it’s going to be the wrong path. 

What’s important to realize is that there is no wrong path. Everything that you take and everything that you do in your life is going to lead you ultimately to that one thing that fulfills you. 

There is no wrong path. There’s only detours. 

Discovering what you don’t want, is necessary for you to know more about yourself and to learn more about what you want.

It’s about being honest with yourself and how you feel.

So many people are so afraid to try things or they’re so afraid to start a business launched the podcast. Cause what if I don’t like it? Well, what if you don’t like it? You know, it’s not the end of the world.


Ikigai, is ultimately that journey to becoming your honest self. It’s not necessarily about becoming your best self. It’s becoming your honest self. 

You have to be honest with your feelings and your emotions, which oftentimes people hold back because of outside influences.

When you’re bored with something or when you’re not enjoying something, then you have to kind of really listen to your inner voice. What is it about this thing that’s making you feel like it’s not enough?

“I don’t hate teaching. I just hate working under somebody else. Like I want to have my own school. I want to teach other people. I want to inspire other people. And that word inspired just kept coming up over and over again.”

It’s in the giving space to your intuition to actually have that voice that you’ll discover where your path really lies. If you are feeling unfulfilled, may that looks like boredom or like a lack of creativity or the feeling of “fine”. All of those emotions are your intuition trying to guide you towards something. But most people ignore them for their entire lives.

It’s all about embracing uncertainty and all about embracing impermanence because when you really understand that life is not lasting and that things don’t last forever, then it’s easy for you to take that step forward.

When you embrace impermanence in life and you know that you have this one life and you just want to make things happen, it’s easier for you to take the step because the consequences of not doing the thing are scarier.

If you don’t do the thing that you want to do and then see yourself in the future, not fulfilled and not happy. That’s scarier than quitting a job. 

We need to normalize the fact that we’re human and that these emotions are real.

What ikigai teaches us is that you need to coexist with your emotions. So it’s not about pushing them away. It’s the fact that you need to become human and just work with your emotions. Be there, sit there with your emotions, be aware of them. That’s real, it’s normal. It’s okay. And just work through it. 

It is essentially the thing that gets you up in the morning.


Iki means life and then gai means purpose. It’s that thing that you live for. It’s what your life is all about. It’s not just your career. 

A lot of times people think that Ikigai is all about career. That’s the problem with the westernized diagram that’s floating around right now. It’s not that it’s wrong, but it doesn’t focus on the right things. 

In the westernized version of the Ikigai diagram you’ll explore:

  1. What you love.

  2. What you’re good at.

  3. What the world needs.

  4. What you can get paid for. 

And when people see what you can get paid for, they think, “Oh, this is all about finding my job, my dream job, my career”. And that is not what Ikigai is all about. 

It’s all about becoming your honest self and learning to cope with your emotions and learning about your values. It’s about taking risks and breaking through your fears. It’s a lot of things actually, but it has nothing to do with your job.


Tim Tamashiro (author of How to Ikigai) talks about your half Ikigai. Which highlights the importance of the focus being put on the top two circles, what you love and what you’re good at. Because when you focus on the thing that you love and the thing that you’re good at, then the job and the money and all of that stuff follows naturally. 

It’s for anybody, it’s for everybody, everybody has an Ikigai. And the one thing he talks about in that book is your Ikigai name, you have a name for your Ikigai and your Ikigai name starts with, “to”. To in
spire, to empower, to create, to nurture beautiful….

Your Ikigai is what you put into every aspect of your life, your spirituality, your relationships, your job, yourself, your self development…every aspect. You put your Ikigai into everything that you do.


Your root Ikigai is your main, your big picture Ikigai. And then you have these little seed Ikigais. You gather all these little Ikigais, little skills to grow something much bigger. 

Your Ikigai is never a fixed thing. Your ego is never going to be a fixed thing. Your purpose is never fixed. But once you realize your purpose, it’s easier for you to connect with people and to connect in your business and to build relationships. And you just know what you want. It becomes a really inspiring journey. 

If you don’t let go of the things that don’t fulfill you, then you can never live a very happy long life. And everybody wants to live a long life.

The purpose of Ikigai is just to live a long, healthy life, to see the world evolve and change and just grow with it. It’s such a beautiful concept and a beautiful thing because who wants to live their life, stressed out all the time and feeling judged and not going for the things that they want to do.

It’s very important to really believe that things are going to work out for the best and to try new things and to keep doing things out of your comfort zone. You can’t know what you do want until you know what you don’t want. That’s just the law of polarity. Right? 

You have to have the power to say, no, this is not what I want. Yes. This is what I want. And the thing that you can do to practice is to go outside to the world point. 

You can’t just think what you want. You have to actually go for it and try it.


There’s a man named Shama Merita and in the 20th century he studied and developed a therapy focused on having people coexist with their emotions, their fears, and their anxieties, without trying to justify it or understand it. 

He teaches about how we have complete control over our actions. We don’t have control over our emotions. So what we want to do is bring those emotions with us, bring that fear, bring that anxiety and understand that those emotions will disappear and that anxiety will naturally go away. The more you work towards your goals, the more that anxiety and that fear goes away.


People need to admit to themselves and be honest with themselves about what they’re thinking and their emotions, because that’s the struggle that people are having, they’re not being honest with themselves, with their emotions. 

So when you’re thinking “I want to put this video online”, but feel like you can’t. Ask yourself, what is the reason why? If you’re not honest with yourself on why you’re feeling that way, then you’re never going to start the journey. 

You have to be honest with yourself, what’s holding you back from actually trying? From pushing yourself forward?

Start with your half Ikigai. So the thing that you love and the thing that you’re good. Really make a list of those two things, along with a list of the things that you’re curious about. 

Dig deep. Nobody’s going to see this list. Nobody’s going to see the things that you admit to yourself. If you write it down on paper, you journal about it.

Really sit with yourself and be honest with your feelings and what you’re going through and what you love and what you don’t love. And start to think of those things in the perspective of what you want and not what other people want. Be okay with admitting and being honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. It’s okay to not be okay.

Just figuring out where that stems from and asking yourself the question. Why are you feeling this way? Until you get to the root of the problem. 

It’s so important that we live for ourselves and not for other people. And people forget that all the time. Don’t ignore the things that you’ve done, whether it was a regret or an accomplishment, all of those things were necessary for you to get where you are today. And that’s what Ikigai teaches.

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