Last post for 2019: The year I found my Ikigai

Today, as the sun is setting for the last time in this decade on the other side of the Bosphorus, I am reflecting on 2019 and what it meant to me and who / what I am grateful for.

The sun sets in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve 2019 for the final time in this decade.

It is quite convenient for me that we celebrate New Year’s here in Turkey much like Germans would celebrate Christmas, including lavishly decorated trees, presents, good food and visiting family – just a week later. Because this year I spent Christmas with my „other family“, my work-friends. Since there are no Christmas holidays in Turkey, this year‘s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing day lay right in the middle of a work week and as a Company we conducted our Cycle Meeting to close the business year 2019 and kick-start 2020.

At the meeting one of our colleagues from the field reminded me of the Japanese concept of Ikigai. In short, Ikigai means “reason for being” – the intersection of doing what you’re good at, what you earn your living from, what you love, and making a meaningful contribution to the world. In other words, in a Venn-Diagram Ikigai is the centermost intersection of your profession (what you’re good at and do for a living), your passion (what you’re good at and you love), your calling (what you do for a living and makes an impact) and your mission (what you love and what makes an impact). I have written about Ikigai in an earlier post.

Looking back at 2019, I realize that I can truly say it was the year I feel to have reached a state of Ikigai for myself in my work and life here in Turkey and I am deeply grateful for it.

As Ethics & Compliance Officer in my company, I earn my living. But it’s not only my job, but really my profession where I can bring together my past experience from school, university and my professional career in internal audit and risk management; and it is my vocation in so far as I feel a calling to work on these topics where ethical values meet human behavior; and I am doing it with my full passion and a feeling of being on a mission: I am deeply curious to discover and understand how national and organizational culture as well as cognitive biases and heuristics affect people’s decision-making and behavior – and thus impact ethics, risk management and compliance in organizations. And I feel a passion to share these insights and inspire others through our internal network of Ethics, Risk and Compliance professionals within my company, through my blog, by teaching aspiring Ethics & Compliance professionals in Turkey as a faculty member at the TEiD Akademi, through my engagement in the management board of the Ethics and Reputation Society (TEiD). I sincerely hope that through my work I am contributing to the development of my profession and to creating a more ethical, transparent (and compliant) environment (not limited to business) in Turkey and beyond. But if I have this year inspired only one person to do the right thing when they were faced with an ethical dilemma, I have accomplished something.

I have been sharing the books and articles I’ve read, the audiobooks and podcasts I’ve listened to in my 2019 reading list and will continue sharing what is interesting and inspiring me throughout 2020.

Throughout this past year, I have derived a lot of inspiration and positive energy from many people; here’s a non-exhaustive list of people who have impacted me in 2019: Vas Narasimhan and his vision of unbossed, curious, inspired and self-aware culture and leadership, Richard Saynor, Klaus Moosmayer’s vision of One integrated ERC function, Adam Grant, James Clear, Alexei Sidorenko and his RAW2019 (looking forward to RAW2020), Christian Hunt from Human Risk, Guido Palazzo, Katharina Weghmann, Michael Bunting, David Vose, Ben Pickup, Altan Demirdere and my colleagues in our country leadership team, Oğuzhan Sarı and Evşen Alan Nekarman my fellow Ethics & Compliance Samurai-Masters and our team of Ethics & Compliance Samurai, Çağatay Çelik (because for me to be a good business partner, I need a business counterpart who is ready to partner with me), Natascha Wiedmer and all members of the PBDM Think Tank, my colleagues in the TEiD Management Board, Jocelyn Binet, Jeremy Berger, Raquel Zambrano, Utku Oğuz and Nükhet Gözberk … and last but not least my dear wife Burcu and our wonderful kids. Thank you all for having truly enriched my life in 2019.

And also a big thank you to the readers of my blog; every single Like on LinkedIn and WordPress – apart from being a dopamine release triggering “candy” of social media – is a source of motivation for me and every reshare and comment is an inspiration.

In summary, in 2019 I have published 20 posts which were read in 3.120 views by 2.013 visitors on WordPress. My mini-series on Culture, Compliance & Turkey alone accounts for 1.337 views and I promise to continue writing on the topic in 2020.

I would like to engage even more with you in 2020 and beyond, so please, like or reshare my posts if they resonate with you and if you would be so kind, leave me a comment or start a discussion, so I can better get to know you and learn how I can better add value for you through my writing.

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