PAUL HARGREAVES [00:00:06] Hi, I’m Paul Hargreaves, CEO of Cotswold Fair, a fine food wholesaler and just written a book called Forces for Good. The book is about businesses that are not just interested in the financial bottom line. They’re businesses that are also looking out for people and the planet. Some people call this the triple bottom line. And we as many other companies do like this, measure each of those aspects as part of our end of year exercise. Now, that was going to be the totality of the book. But as I was writing it, I discovered something very interesting. I discovered that people running those purpose driven businesses were actually happier, more fulfilled and more at peace with themselves. Doing a little more research into this, I discovered, as is often the case. There is a concept called Iki Gai. Now this is a Japanese concept and it comes from an island called Okinawa. Now Okinawa has more centenarians, that’s people over 100 years old than anywhere else in the world. So could it be that if we’re happier, more fulfilled, less stress, we actually live longer? I think so. Let’s have a bit more of a further look into it. So Iki Gai is about four different aspects of our lives, lets represent those by four different circles.
PAUL HARGREAVES [00:01:41] I’ll just draw the circles first and then explain.
PAUL HARGREAVES [00:01:47] Okay, so four circles. The top circle is what you love. So most people start off their working lives. They get into it, presume, because they love what they do. Some people stay there, some move away. Now, obviously, just doing what you love without earning any money isn’t particularly helpful. So down here, we’ve got what you can be paid for. Okay, so that’s number two. So if you’re doing something you love and what you can be paid for. You will be fulfilled to some degree. More fulfilment comes through being really good at what you’re doing. So what you are good at.
PAUL HARGREAVES [00:02:47] Now, obviously, as time goes on and you get older, more experienced, sometimes you can start here and move more towards being very good at something. Sometimes in later life, people might start up here with what they love and what they’re good at and might end up more down here, more concentrating on just the money and professionals sometimes end up down here accountants, solicitors. They’re very good at what they do. They get well paid. They’re not really in that place of true fulfilment. Other people in my sector, there’s a quite a few of these. They’re passionate food artisans. So they’re doing absolutely passionate about what they’re making, what they’re producing. They’re up here. They’re very good at it, too. There’s not huge amounts of money within the speciality food sector. So whether you’re down here or up here, you’ll have a level of fulfilment. Some people are even here. So they’re they’re in the three parts. They’re doing something they love. They’re very good at it and they’re getting well paid for it. But even here, people are missing out on true fulfilment. So what I discovered as I was writing the book was people can have a great life, but they’re not at their depth truly fulfilled unless they’re doing something else.
PAUL HARGREAVES [00:04:11] And it’s what the world needs.
PAUL HARGREAVES [00:04:16] You see purpose driven businesses. Are not just about feeding ourselves. They’re not just about looking after number one, they’re actually about reaching out to the world and doing something that the world needs too. That is where true fulfilment is. Right in the middle of those four circles, it’s people who are doing something they love. They’re doing something they’re good at. They’re getting paid for it. But they’re also reaching out to the world and doing the world some good as well. That is where true fulfilment and true Iki Gai is. Now, for me, I’ve been in all areas of this diagram. I started out in the charitable sector, so I was definitely doing something the world needed, loved what I was doing. Probably not that great at it to start with. So I was somewhere up here, certainly wasn’t getting paid very well for it. At other points in my life, I started a business. I was started by employing an ex drug addicts and ex alcoholics. I was doing something the world needed, still loved what I was doing. Early days of the business, not really getting well-paid and probably we could have been a lot better at it. So I was over here somewhere. As time went on, we got a lot better about what we were doing as a business. However, we moved away a bit from doing what the world needed. We became too focussed on the financial bottom line and not enough looking outwards to the world. So I ended up over here somewhere. Over the last few years, however, I would truly say, I’m, I’m happier, more fulfilled and have a great sense of being in flow and doing what I meant to be doing. Not saying I’m totally Iki Gai the whole time. Far from it, but I’m definitely closer to the centre of this diagram than I’ve ever been before. So I would encourage you to look at yourselves. Think about where you are on that diagram. Are you still doing something you love? Are you still good at what you do. Have you been dragged into doing stuff you’re not quite so good at? Are you getting paid what you should be for what you do? But most of all, perhaps, are you doing something in your job, in your company? Maybe in your personal life as well? Doing something the world needs. If not, I would encourage you to reassess your life. If you haven’t really got a clue what you should be doing and you know you’re not fulfilled. Maybe write four headings and under those headings. Write down what you really love, what you’re really good at, what the world needs that you can offer, and perhaps you’ll come up with a new change of direction. You might have to stop something. You might have to start something. But I would encourage you if you’re not in that place of true Iki Gai. Try and find it. You’ll be happier and you never know what, you might live longer too.