What do you want to do with your one precious life? I decided long ago I wanted to be a world traveller and I made deliberate choices – creating a PortfolioLife© within my LifesPlan© guided by Ikigai. I admit, I have been very very lucky in life.
Portfolio life is a term coined by the business guru Charles Handy in his book The Age of Unreason in 1989. Mr Handy explained the concept as “a portfolio of activities – some we do for money, some for interest, some for pleasure, some for a cause… the different bits fit together to form a balanced whole greater than the parts”. Handy’s theory is that you should generate and balance 5 types of “work” in your life:
- secure, regular income, e.g., retainers or part-time employment
- irregular fee work , e.g., writing or speaking engagements
- interest work, i.e., developing new ideas and talents
- pleasure work , e.g., family, sports, shopping, traveling
- cause work – social issues and active citizenship – making a difference.
Professor Charles Handy explained his Portfolio Life concept: ‘What I am trying to do is evolve a lifestyle for myself. I looked into my concerns and activities, and one thing I did was to resign my full-time, tenured professorship. I created what I call ‘a portfolio life’, setting aside 100 days a year for making money, 100 days for writing, 50 days for what I consider good works, and 100 days for spending time with my wife.”
This can become a finely-tuned tool for managing income generation and investment of time.
I have my own theory about that too. I call it a Lifespan Plan – LifesPlan© and I think we all can/should grow through 5 life phases where our time and energy are most used:
- Childhood and youth – when we are young and we are learning as much as we can.
- Young adulthood – when we are very busy building a career, a family, a community
- Advanced middle age – when we have expertise and are earning a lot of money
- Elder age – when we can and must share our expertise as a volunteer
- Resting age – when we finally settle in one place to grow things for the future
I find myself in Elder age and I am deeply committed to volunteering my knowledge and skills in Higher Education and learning systems wherever they are needed. I am also thinking about the many places I might like to settle to raise lavender and goats in my Resting age. This is a tool for reconciling how I interface with the world and ageism and dreams for the future.
Without knowing it, then, I have always ascribed to Ikigai.
Ikigai is a Japanese term used to explain the Japanese secret to a long and happy life where millions of people have ikigai (pronounced Ick-ee-guy)— a reason to jump out of bed each morning. It looks like this.
My passion is travel with endless learning, and I realize it is Ikigai that brought me to writing, photography, blogging and non-stop adventure as an education futurist and passionate elder. This tool helps me say no to things I don’t really want to do and yes to great opportunities.
When I am now faced with a decision, I check to see that what I choose fits exactly with my LifeSplan and my PortfolioLife and my Ikigai for peace of mind!!