Elly Hirano

Planting the Seeds of Action

By: Elly Hirano, MetLife Japan

To you, the reader,

Have you ever heard of IKIGAI?

It's a beautiful Japanese concept that signifies finding one's purpose, a reason for living. For me, it has been about working towards a sustainable future and making a positive impact on the environment. When I say “environment”, I mean both nature and my surroundings, including the work environment. I've come to realize that I can make a difference in both by taking small actions, like planting seeds and cultivating land.

Work is an integral part of our lives, consuming a substantial amount of our time. That's why transforming our work environment into a place of joy is essential to happiness. After all, happiness is the essence of life, something that every creature on Earth deserves. I've always been a passionate volunteer and environmentalist, but up until recently I did not share that side of myself with my colleagues.

Everything changed when MetLife made sustainability a top priority. I reached out to my colleagues leading this effort to express my eagerness to get involved. As a result, I joined the Sustainability Workstream as a MetLife EcoChallenge promoter. The EcoChallenge is a global event encouraging participants to take eco-friendly actions and compete for points. Interacting with the participants opened my eyes to the many colleagues who shared the same passion for sustainability.

Inspired by this realization, I decided to cultivate our workplace further by creating the “Green Team,” a volunteer group dedicated to raising awareness and promoting sustainable living, in our Japan business in 2021. Leading and nurturing the Green Team has proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve learned how to tend to a diverse team, nurturing them with inspiration and motivation. With each step we take, our learning and experience grows, and our unity strengthens. Rolling out a multitude of events and initiatives from zero waste to sustainable spot mapping have led to quite an impact. I’m deeply proud of our growth and the impact we continue to make and that we have won internal recognition awards as well. Looking back, I am immensely grateful for taking that leap of faith a few years ago and starting the group.

My story is a testament to the power of changing your work environment by following through your passion. It all starts with finding and engaging the right support and promoting your interests. All it takes is a small action, like planting a seed. How you nurture it and make your workplace a meaningful and thriving environment is up to you.

Why not take actions for a better environment?



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