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  • Sarah Douglas

IKIGAI: Live Your Purpose - 2018 Olympic Lab


As Canadians and sports fans, we watch the Olympics from a young age and we always feel a certain level of pride. Proud of these remarkable athletes that have the maple leaf on their back; proud of their hard work and determination in getting to where they are; proud of the Olympic medal they have just won. There we are, standing up in the stands or in front of the TV, cheering on a Canadian athlete. We look up to these athletes that are setting world records; to the ones who may have had an imperfect journey; to the ones to put their heart and soul into their sport; to the ones who are overwhelmed with emotion as they step on the podium. Now picture being in a room with some of these incredible athletes.


I received an invitation from the Canadian Olympic Committee to attend the 2018 Olympic Lab in Montreal. There I was, surrounded by Canadian athletes, coaches, staff and high-performance directors from across various sports and provinces. Athletes that I had cheered for at the Olympics were right in front of me at my table. For the next two days, we heard from some incredible speakers and athletes, learned about the Olympic Games experience, what Japan will bring, and our IKIGAI.

The word IKIGAI is a Japanese term for 'a reason for being'. Living according to our IKIGAI shows us that having a higher purpose in life, beyond our athletic goals, helps us through adversity. The question that came up a lot is: "why do you wake up each morning?” For some there may be an easy answer. Others may have to go through a process of discovering their values, what excites them about their sport and what contributions will they make on their (life-long) Olympic journey. Once we have the answer, we then refine our contributions and impact.

"When you know your why, your what becomes impactful"

We heard from athletes who were faced with adversity and the lessons they learnt and how knowing their purpose helped them stay resilient. There were so many incredible stories and athletes and I was overwhelmed with emotion and inspiration in a short period of time. Stories from Diana Nyad and Daniel Igali were very moving, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to hear them.

Apart from learning about our purpose and what wakes you up in the morning, we also learnt about mindfulness, the Olympic experience and what Japan will bring. Throughout the 2 days, we learned more on mindfulness and what it is, how we use it and how we can incorporate it more into our daily routine and competition. Then there was specific Olympic Games information. We learnt about the complexity of accreditations, the Olympic village and the heat factor of a Japanese summer.

Tom Ramshaw (Finn) and I

Thank you to the Olympic Committee for an incredible 2 days and inviting me as an Olympic hopeful. I look forward to using my IKIGAI as I strive towards the 2020 Olympics in the sport of Sailing.

Stay Tuned.