question mark on chalk board
22 Sep, 2023

When Mission Is Not Enough: An IKIGAI Perspective

Photo by Valentina Conde on Unsplash

Exploring the tender consideration of mission not being enough can be a really intimate inquiry. Sometimes facing this inquiry is met with expectations of what should be enough as well as the parts of our identity that are attached to the mission. Mission is really more fluid and not meant to be stuck or immovable. Applying IKIGAI as a practice to this intimate mission inquiry can create spaciousness to explore “not enoughness” with radical tenderness.

In over 20 years of practicing the art, science, and soulfulness of facilitation, one of the most fulfilling types of facilitation has been purpose enrollment. Purpose enrollment allows people to create authentic connections and relationship threads between individual and group contributions to a purpose that connects stakeholder communities and even ecosystems. Even at this level of awareness and practice, Purpose Peeps may find themselves quietly asking, “What if the mission is not enough,” often from a place of mental, physical, and/or spiritual burnout. Many have provided perspectives to explore quiet-quitting as a response. In this Wondering and Wandering exploration, I find myself curious about the liminal space before the response and wonder out loud what is happening within our inner landscapes.

IKIGAI offers a practice to unlock this question (quest I own). An IKIGAI practice integrates the inner and outer perspectives of a life of realized hope into view. It asks its practitioners to stay with the inquiry of and dance between our heart-centered why, our core brilliance, and what the world beyond us is really asking of them, and being sustained through the practice.

IKIGAI graphic with four evenly porportioned connected circles representing your heart centered why, your brilliance, what the world is asking of you and your purpose currency with the word IKIGAI in the center of the circles.
Modified IKIGAI Graphic By Anaïs Bock (SBP, 2018)

IKIGAI as a practice unlocks mission as the combination of your heart-centered why (individual, group, planet, organization, society) and what the world is asking of you (individual, group, organization, planet society). IKIGAI as a practice was gifted to the world by the Okinawan people who were the population of the longest-living people on the planet with high vitality and quality of life. The practice of IKI (life) and GAI (realized hope and expectations) was centered on the values and lifestyle of these purpose peeps.

From an IKIGAI practice perspective, there are several possibilities that offer a lens into the inquiry of mission not being enough. One possibility is that the heart-centered why and/or how it relates to its connection to what is needed has shifted. Another possibility is that the IKIGAI practice is out of balance in the areas of a purpose peep’s core stability — core brilliance and sustainability.

Heart-Centered Why

The heart-centered why is such a juicy and embodied consideration. Purpose peeps, who deeply understand energy, tell us that the heart of the matter is the true yes or no energetic center. If the answer to a quest from the heart is not a strong yes, then its realization will not happen. With so much happening that touches the heart, checking into what your heart is really connected to healing through love is an ongoing journey.

Key To Unlock Your Heart-Centered Why: Sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know. When we take inspired action and point our activated heart in a direction, we deepen our understanding of the heart of the matter.

Your heart-centered why evolves. There may be many people, places, and situations that you pour your love into. Your heart-centered why may deepen and expand. With so many new considerations entering into our frame of reference that provide new context and understanding, your heart may be guided in new areas calling for your love, attention, and reimagining.

What The World Is Asking of You

Perhaps we were all initiated in learning to pivot with what the world is asking of us during the pandemic. We all shifted our focus from what we wanted to express in the world to what was really needed. This learning showed up intimately in our households and communities and at scale in the world.

From the perspective of IKIGAI, this question of what the world is asking of you is an external quest beyond ourselves. This quest is like a magnet to the hope you carry that is the combination of your heart-centered why and your core brilliance. Connecting with what is being asked of you is a way your seeds of hope become realized.

Heart Centered Response

If something is shifted in your understanding of the heart of the matter and/or what is truly needed at the moment, mission is asking to shift or pivot. This can be really difficult if you personally recognize this shift and you are connected to an organization (an ecosystem of purpose peeps with a shared goal) that does not recognize the shift. It can also be difficult if the organization recognizes the shift and you are resisting the shift. Sometimes the resistance can be attached to your identity, who you perceive yourself to be, and your sense of belonging with the status quo.

Key To Unlock Mission: Give space to mission to evolve in you and beyond you. You will grow to understand the hope you carry and its different expressions over time. Trust your IKIGAI practice to build a case for change for you and others to respond to.

Attention To Your Core Brilliance and Stability

Looking at the IKIGAI graphic, mission appears on the right side of the diagram that does not include currency (your sustainability package) and core brilliance. These aspects of IKIGAI practice reflect your inner spark and its reflection back to you as sustainable currency. The inner perspective partner of mission is passion, the source of the hope you carry. A juicy question to check in with is whether passion ignited. One way to think of the hope you carry in a culture that focuses on immediacy is that hope is the sum of your invisible handprints that you leave moment-by-moment.

Your core brilliance is your inner spark. Sparks need attention and kindling. Sometimes mission-oriented peeps pour so much into the mission beyond themselves that the core brilliance loses attention or focus. A juicy question to explore is what charges your spark? Who are your spark moment peeps that fan the flames of your spark?

Your core brilliance is the quality you bring to all you are and everything you do. It requires nurturing and expression. Your core brilliance is a part of your inner landscape. When you spend time nurturing it, it becomes a part of your stability package giving you benefits that sustain you. Interestingly, it may take practicing the purpose rep of deconditioning to nurture your spark. This is most true if you have been conditioned to downplay your inner spark because it does not align with the expectations of others. I believe the realized expectations of the GAI of IKIGAI are the potentiality of the unique imaginal cells that we all carry.

According to The Myth of Normal (2023), co-authored by Dr. Gabor and Daniel Mate, one of the biggest sufferings one can experience is a lack of belonging to oneself. Checking into your IKIGAI practice to ensure your IKI, your life, is connected to your spark of brilliance, is one way to return to your agency, your truth, and part of your core stability.

When you stoke the flame of your inner spark, you produce a hormone called oxytocin or the love hormone, which is a part of your currency benefits package. Oxytocin is produced by your sense of belonging not just to a mission beyond yourself, but also to a sense of belonging to the truth of who you are.

Your IKIGAI sustainability or purpose currency begins by knowing that there is a return on your IKIGAI practice. That return can be monetary and it is also the sum of well-being and health benefits that avail themselves through living a life of realized hope and authentic expectations. These benefits include longer life, enhanced quality of relationships with other purpose peeps, decreased stress (production of cortisol), decreased inflammation, and increased resilience and grit, among others (HBR, 2023) (Science of Purpose, 2023).

What your IKIGAI practice does not do is to solve for toxic people and environments. Chronic toxicity leads to chronic traumatic stress syndrome which includes many negative health impacts including an overabundance of cortisol, the stress hormone. No matter how strong the mission enrollment is, if there is a large, unexplored gap between mission aspirations and the current environment that is also toxic, it may not be a match for your hope to be realized. Grieve that realization. Staying in these environments may cause your inner spark and core stability to dwindle dangerously low.

Keys To Your Currency: We all get to write the check for change we commit our lifeforce energy to. We all get to add up the direct and indirect costs of change and determine if we have the capacity to invest in financing change mentally, physically and spiritually at this time. Balancing this checkbook bridges courageousness and self care. Face the challenges fully. If environments are too toxic and your heart-centered why remains a strong yes, actively intend to find your peeps who are also facing the challenges and combine your core stabilities and hope to innovate awareness-based systems change as a grounded tribe and engage life teaching you the purpose reps that expand your capacity.

Active Coping & Longer Term Change
While watching an episode of Live To 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, when Dan visited a community of centenarians, one contributing factor to their quality of life was the practice of active coping. In a community of shepherds and protectors, the centenarians were actively coping, solving the moment-by-moment opportunities to cope with present and shorter-term stressors. Dr. Mithu Storoni, author of Stress-Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and Body — and Be More Resilient Every Day asserts that in most of our environments through the internet and social media, we are flooded with worldwide and local problems that are not immediately solvable. One way to be with this complexity awareness (identified as an inner development goal to be with longer-term change whose gardens we till and whose fruit may be eated by future generations) is to face it and also actively cope and bring your awareness to shorter-term problems you can solve. According to Dr. Storoni, active coping is a very important part of mental health, cognitive longevity, and stress resilience. In the consulting world, we call active coping tending to low-hanging fruit knowing it is a part of the garden. In my grandmother’s vernacular, she would say, “Baby, sometimes the trash just needs to be taken out. Take out the trash and see what’s around the corner.”

My wish for us is that we embody practices that invite us to increase our awareness of places that no longer fit and also offer space to connect with what’s next. Practice the reps and inner development goals that support and fuel your courage to face the unknown and former familiar with care, radical tenderness, and compassion.

Consider joining an upcoming weekend retreat to explore, When Mission Is Not Enough, in a small online group of peeps across industries and roles who recognize the call to this adventure. Check out one of the info sessions here.


Buettner, D. (2023) Living to 100: The Secrets of Blue Zones. Netflix Limited Series

Maté, G., & Maté, D. (2022). The myth of normal: trauma, illness, & healing in a toxic culture. Avery.

Science of Purpose (2023) Available online at

Yemiscigil, A., Yilmaz, M. & Lee, M. (2023) How to find your purpose. Harvard Business Review.

Dena Wiggins (she/her/hers) is an author, innovator, and MBA-informed purpose doula. She wholeheartedly believes that purpose is the birthright of humanity referring to humanity as Purpose Peeps. Dena’s sweet spot of service is to transform survival stuckness into thriving lives and places of purpose. This shift is vital to healing systemic oppression and exclusion that is the antithesis of thriving purpose. She is the creator of Unlock The Keys App, Unlock The Keys To Your Success & Turn Them Into Results® Personal and Organization Strategy, and A Life of Purpose®. Dena is a Certified Purpose Coach, Master Soulful Facilitator, Coach of Gene Keys, Human Design, IKIGAI, Kinesiologist, and Circle Host through TED Circles, Lean In, and Feel Real platforms. She bridges the art, science, and soul of results that matter. Learn more at

15 Sep, 2023

Are You Working Out With Life?

Hey Purpose Peep!

Are you working out with life, or does it feel as though life is working you out? The difference between the two may seem like a play on words, and yet it is a big deal because the stories we tell ourselves and our perception manifest experiences and create our realities.

When I expressed a sincere ask, an intention, to move with life instead of having what I call “rearview mirror” wisdom, something happened. It was not what I expected. It felt as though life responded by turning up the speed of life events that broke down the perception that I could control or manage this speed.

Think about being on a treadmill that is increasing in speed. Either you pick up your pace and be with the speed, or you will recognize the gap, usually by abruptly recognizing the difference, sometimes on your a**. But with the treadmill, you or someone else can turn down the speed so you can catch up. I discovered through many tries at “turning down the speed” that there was something else that wanted to be revealed, a different way to be with the situation.

One of my favorite purpose peeps and I have a metaphor for this. Imagine being in the “sea of change” with lots of waves, wild currents, and this feeling of being tossed about. You can fight the experience and try all of the swimming techniques you’ve garnered over the years, you know, totally wear yourself out doing all the things. The sea of change is about to overtake you, you start gulping water and feeling all the unknown creatures of change touching your body and amping up a fear response, when an intelligence connects with you. You turn on your back and float. You realize being as a new possibility, being with this unknown pattern that the sea of change knows and is trying to show you. When you look up, you see spaciousness, and possibility returns with the sea of change. Possibility and the sea of change are the contractions needed to birth something new.

Through my experience of floating on my back and trusting the speeding turn-up of events, life birthed a realization and a curiosity. I realized how I am responding to life is not working. Because I feel connected to what I am witnessing and the importance of understanding it from multiple perspectives, the curiosity of how to be present to the experience without trying to control what I do not yet understand opened. One possibility that emerged are reps, a new workout regime that life as the ultimate purpose coach is teaching. The thing is, life does not announce its program. It does not inform you of the format, the formwork, or the promise. Life shows up without an appointment, and sometimes we recognize the appointment. Life was answering my sincere ask with the reps so that I could cultivate the capacity to be with life instead of recognizing life lessons in the rearview mirror.

I believe we are having different experiences learning our way through the reps to be with the high volume of change we are experiencing as the world in change. I worked for a consultancy that specialized in transformational change. One of the identifiers of transformational change is the number of people directly impacted by the change. Purpose Peeps, with a world in change, there is an intersectionality of change that is impacting all life on the planet. How else would you describe humanity evolving and the way our planet is communicating the need for a different way of being with her?

Some of the Purpose Reps that allow me to build the capacity to be with a world in change (both within me and beyond me) are: conditioning (recognizing the many ways we are influenced from birth and before birth through epigenetics), deconditioning (the reckoning with conditioning to determine what stays, what gets composted, and what gets reimagined), life as a purpose partner (trusting that life is for me and us and knows something about how to restore us), awe (being with the vastness and mystery of the sea of change and trusting that there is something new and/or to be remembered that wants to presence, understand, and embody), and gratitude (thankful to be a part of restoration and healing that spans seven generations back, right now, and seven generations forward).

Purpose Reps are expanding and making themselves known through repetition. Notice repetition that you may be resisting and check in to see if it could be Purpose Reps in disguise, practices that are really important to your evolution.

Purpose Reps live in all of the courses that are in the Unlock YOUR keys App. They seem to integrate better as enablers in action rather the an idea. The Purpose Reps come alive and unleash their alchemy in us when they are woven into a practice we are committing our life force energy to.

When life is getting your attention in ways that you will recognize, I invite you to practice a purposeful pause in the liminal space between the world in change and the possibilities that it is alerting you to. You will be supported. There are Purpose Reps for you to practice and learn, enabling you to understand yourself better and unlock your core stability as you embrace the hope that resides within and flows through you.

Dena Wiggins, MBA is the founder of Success By Planning, LLC and co-lead of Soul To Soul Spaces. Dena pours her life force energy into ways of being for the purpose clarity, expression, and contributions of all (whom she intentionally calls Purpose Peeps). She believes the compassion of possibility is achieved through realized purpose, heartivism, and the acknowledgement and ending of harms to ourselves, each other and our planet. Learn more about her books, programs, coaching, and newly-released app, Unlock Your Keys featuring Purpose Reps, enablers and capacity builders for sustainable change at

The Wonderings/Wanderings Series are snippets to invite the curious soul forward in times that are calling her out to play.

12 Sep, 2023

Event + Response = Initiation To Unimaginal Outcomes

Author, Jack Canfield, shares one of my favorite sayings, Event + Response = Outcome in his book, Success Principles. Oh the many adventures integrating the principle that although we may not be in control of life’s events, we can control our response and therefore the realized outcome. As a Generator energetic type, this principle holds a resonant charge for over 50% of Purpose Peeps on the planet — we are sparked in response to something (that is a wandering/wondering for another day).

What if there is a new invitation emerging? With the huge menu of change we face daily — individually and collectively — what if Event + Response is leading to spillage — journeys to new, unimaginable outcomes?

Author, philosopher and fellow wanderer, Bayo Akomolafe, invites us to consider that the event + response = spillage, otherworld, cracks to explore new ways of being, new stories, and messy curiosities. After particpating in We Will Dance With Mountains Into The Cracks programs and the indescribable experience of Three Black Men last weekend, I wander/wonder out loud if recent really challenging events are initiations into new cracks of curiosity.

In 2020, fellow Purpose Peep, Jovian Zayne, initiated me into the wonder of being with the possibility that this is a time of reckoning. Because this initiation was associated with the notion of time, I accepted the initiation as time-specific, meaning there is a finite beginning and end. Throughout three years of being with this time of reckoning, I have come to realize the time of reckoning is TBD! Woosah, what a big lesson!

Reckoning does not wish to be tamed or put in a nice, neat box and tied with a bow of completion. And, the more I am with reckoning, it reveals its layers. Reckoning has become more of a practice, a strengthening of sorts to be with the time of disruptive initiations to consider new voices and multiple, complex centered perspectives. I hear Resmaa Menekem’s initiation into contextualization as a practice of our time, giving context to the decontextualized and unexplored within and with each other.

Another initiation and ongoing strengthening practice is accepting life as a purpose partner and coach. This practice allows a deepening trust that the new considerations, conditioning-recognition and deconditioning as pathways to authenticity are for me as if I have a custom curricula aligned with helping me to discern who I choose to be and what is mine to do (as offered by Meg Wheatley in the first and second editions of her book, Who Do We Choose To Be?: Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity).

Now, it seems what is up for reimagining (as nothing is a sacred cow in reckoning as a practice) is the composting of my revered Event + Response = Outcome to Event + Response = Initiation. Event + Response = Initiation is the invitation from life and the For You Tribe Of Resources to expand the frame of reference, comfort zone, and the conditioned expert-systems in our mainframe, carefully curated for our safety, protection and survival. And, there is no initiation manual or neon sign that signals initiation, instead often it is a faint whisper of a nudge or subtle something that tugs at the senses.

In recent lecture/explorations of Orland Bishop, he invites us to consider that major life events, especially challenging ones, are actually initiations. These events could be initiations or rites of passage into higher-conscious understandings that are pathways for evolving consciousness that becomes available in how we respond to the stimuli. Orland adds to Meg’s juicy questions mentioned above, “how do we need to be to be with what is happening?” Within the response is spaciousness to connect with the quality of what is being cultivated through us at this moment.

What if now is the time to for safety, protection and survival to widen as if it were birthing our next, and making room for our wilding, spilling over into new considerations that burst open new, unimagined, unchecked, newly seen fields of possibility, liminal spaces that we are being initiated into through unimaginable life events?

Dena Wiggins, MBA is the founder of Success By Planning, LLC and co-lead of Soul To Soul Spaces. Dena pours her life force energy into ways of being for the purpose clarity, expression, and contributions of all (whom she intentionally calls Purpose Peeps). She believes the compassion of possibility is achieved through realized purpose, heartivism, and the acknowledgement and ending of harms to ourselves, each other and our planet. Learn more about her books, programs, coaching, and newly-released app, Unlock Your Keys featuring Purpose Reps, enablers and capacity builders for sustainable change at

The Wonderings/Wanderings Series are snippets to invite the curious soul forward in times that are calling her out to play.

28 Mar, 2023

Announcing The Release of the Unlock Your Keys App

Longing for an authentic way to connect/reconnect/remember your unique blueprint and live out loud that knowing everyday, in all ways?


That is the intention of the experiences within the newly released Unlock Your Keys App! We strive to make these insights accessible to all through experiential adventures with takeaways that stick. Based on three key principles:

=> When you unlock you, you take that version of you everywhere you go

=> When you unlock your keys, all of your senses are on board with this knowing, which increases the liklihood that this awareness becomess sustainable as it lives in and through YOU

=> For awareness to have stickiness, we need to engage them in intentional practice

Initially we have three programs, that embody our core values of accessibility, agency, awareness, and authentic action. These include:

  • Unlock The Inner Development Goals While Doing Your Purpose Reps – A free 26 week program focusing on the Inner Development Goals (IDGs) created to support the inner changes and resiliency required to write the check for sustainable change, namely the SDGs outlined by the UN
  • 21 Day Bootcamp – An accessible-fee-based 21 day program to orient you to the Purpose Reps required to stick with the nuances of change in an unprescidented time of change (self, planet and with others) as well as a taste of different types of unlocking experiences. Liberate your path to purpose journey with an understanding of what types of unlocking pathways work for YOU!
  • Unlocking With Human Design & Gene Keys – A membership program that unlocks new content every week to support your understanding and practice of awarnesses surrounding your energetic blueprint and path to purpose journey through the perspectives of two powerful transmissions – Human Design and Gene Keys – two powerful conditioning and deconditioning agents that support the soulful sense-making of being a one-of-a-kind human on the planet at such a pivotal time!
  • *Upcoming* Unlocking Your Business While Doing Your Purpose Reps

Unique features of the Unlock Your Keys App invite a unique community experience outside of the limitations and shadow side of social media as well as tracking your Purpose Reps! What we pay attention to grows. Let’s intentionally cultivate the muscles that strengthen the sustainability of change that matters.

The Unlock Your Keys App is available through Apple, Google and a desktop appliction.

The Unlock Your Keys App is a product of Success By Planning, LLC creators of A Life o Purpose® and Unlock The Keys To Your Success & Turn Them Into Results® products and services. Founded in 2003, Success By Planning, LLC is a woman-owned, small business that specializes integrative tools, frameworks and products to unlock the awareness, agency, and liberation of purpose peeps to live purposefully and be a part of change that matters. Success By Planning, LLC provides experiences and environments that are inclusive perspective zones. Learn more at or email us at

6 Oct, 2020

EP 21 Of The #Sparked Life Podcast: Following Your Inner Star With Joyce Weru

Purpose Peeps,

We often hear phrases and buzz words that sound amazing and yet we may have limited knowledge of what it really means to experience or embody what sparked us in the words or between the words.  We hear words like resilience, nimbleness, pivoting, the ambiguity that easily lose power and potency without the stories of the experiences of unlocking the meaning and the journey that gives the words high placement as we co-create and write our life stories.

Unlocking Principle: We travel to understand the words that spark us and touch our soul.

When I met Joyce, within our first conversation, I knew she journeyed these words and life experiences–they became a part of who she is! I knew immediately that she had a sparked life perspective worth sharing.  Joyce has an aura of authenticity and “loving what she is doing” that takes her on many courageous risk experiences that show up throughout her life, including her work life.  Did you catch that sparked life placement?

How do you start a coaching practice at the beginning of a pandemic? How do you balance being a solopreneur and a single mom who is homeschooling during a pandemic? How do you wear many leadership hats within your community of peers and not burn out but burn up and spread out through a flame of intention? Listen and find out!

Joyce is the Founder of Rise Above Coaching, an executive and leadership coaching firm based in Washington, DC that works with international NGO’s and Associations.  Joyce has coached people from all levels of the workforce and cultural backgrounds, from senior executives to entry-level professionals. Being born and raised in Kenya and moving to the US, her story tells a real journey of resilience and following your inner star no matter how scary that journey appears. Her energy and warmth are liberating. Joyce serves on the Board of Directors for the District of Columbia Society for Human Resource Management (DC SHRM). She partners with Metro DC International Coaching Federation and leads their Racial Equity Community of Practice.  Joyce holds a master’s degree in human resources management and a master’s in business administration from the University of Maryland University College. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources® (SPHR). Joyce has also received the designation of Certified Executive Leadership Coach by Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. Joyce is also a founding member of the Lean In Sparked Women of Purpose Circle.  Learn more about Joyce at listen to her CEO interviews here.

Dena Wiggins (she/her) is a Best-Selling Transformational Author and MBA informed Purpose Doula. She wholeheartedly believes that purpose is the birthright of humanity and intentionally refers to all of humanity as Purpose Peeps.  Dena’s sweet spot of service is to transform the many ways of living survival as a lifestyle into the many ways of living thriving lives of purpose.  This shift is vital to members of BIPOC communities who have experienced systemic oppression as well as doing our individual and collective parts to the end intentional oppression that is the antithesis of thriving lives of purpose.  Her style is to be a voice of shared experience meeting clients where they are on their sacred path to purpose journeys with empowering frameworks reflective of her lived experiences, Divine guidance, and learnings in–spirituality, facilitation, purpose, and strategy–all working in service of clients delivering their purposeful expression into the world.  Learn more and grow in connection at