From Japan to Ancient Greece via Surrey

3 min readFeb 1


Our podcast guest this week, David CM Carter, has been in the mentoring, coaching and private equity world for 45 years. During that time, he has been widely regarded as one of the world’s leading CEO mentors. He has also recently been asked to join an All-Party Parliamentary Group to look at the future of employability. Yet he believes the work he is doing at Entelechy Academy will be his greatest legacy.

One of the most important things he learned in his 45 years at the top of his game is the importance of finding your ikigai. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being” or “a sense of purpose” and is the title of a brilliant 2017 book by Héctor García. It is the intersection of:

  • what you are good at
  • what you love
  • what the world needs
  • and what you can be paid for.

Finding your ikigai is crucial for reaching entelechy, a term coined by Aristotle, which refers to the realisation of one’s full potential. Aristotle said,

“The end or goal of man is an activity of the soul in accordance with reason or virtue.”


In other words, reaching entelechy is about living a life that is in line with your values and using your unique strengths and talents to make a positive impact on the world. Here are 5 techniques to find your ikagai to reach entelechy.

#1: Reflect on your values and passions.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Make a list of your values, such as honesty, loyalty, and compassion.

Step 2: Make a list of your passions, such as music, cooking, and photography.

Step 3: Reflect on how your values and passions align with the needs of the world.

This simple template allows you to achieve a greater understanding of your ikigai.

#2: Identify your strengths and skills

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Make a list of your strengths, such as creativity, communication, and problem-solving.

Step 2: Make a list of your skills, such as programming, design, and writing.

Step 3: Reflect on how your strengths and skills align with your values and passions.

Quick note: Don’t compare yourself to others. That’s a mistake. These steps work better when you focus on your own unique abilities.

#3: Identify opportunities for growth and development

Here’s how it works:

Avoid being complacent

Seek out opportunities for growth and development instead

If you avoid complacency and seek out opportunities for growth, you’ll unlock your full potential.

Easy, right?

#4: Surround yourself with supportive people

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Seek out people who share your values and passions

Step 2: Surround yourself with people who have different strengths and skills than you

Step 3: Find mentors and role models who can guide and inspire you

Do these 3 things, and you’ll be able to achieve your goals more easily.

#5: Take action

Here’s how it works:

Tip 1: Identify small steps you can take to move towards your ikigai

Tip 2: Take risks and be open to new opportunities

Tip 3: Remember that finding your ikigai is a journey and allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.

That’s it! By following these techniques, you can find your ikigai and reach entelechy, living a life that is full, realised and happy.

Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog