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IKIGAI: Can it help your small business?

Have you heard of Ikigai? I was reading something recently and thought let’s see how we can apply this to small business. It’s really about helping you and applying it’s principles to your small business.

What is Ikigai?

Ikigai goes beyond just finding your dream job, although that can certainly be part of it. It’s a broader concept from Japanese culture that translates to “reason for being” or “a reason to get up in the morning.”

In essence, Ikigai represents the intersection of four essential elements in life: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. 

Four Pillars of Ikigai

Traditionally, Ikigai is shown as a Venn diagram with four overlapping circles

  • What you love (passion)
  • What you’re good at (mission)
  • What the world needs (vocation)
  • What you can be paid for (profession)

The Sweet Spot: The intersection of all four circles is your Ikigai – the place where your passions, skills, purpose, and livelihood converge.

rawmarrow diagram of IKIGAI

It is a holistic approach to finding purpose and fulfilment, encompassing not only professional aspirations but also personal passions and contributions to society. By embracing Ikigai, individuals strive to find balance and harmony in their lives aligning their values, skills, interests, and ambitions. It encourages self-reflection and introspection, urging individuals to explore their inner desires, strengths, and values. Beyond the pursuit of a fulfilling career, Ikigai encompasses everyday activities that bring joy and meaning. It emphasises the importance of engaging in activities that ignite passion and bring a sense of fulfilment and contentment.

rawmarrow ikigai hobbies

From practicing hobbies and spending time with loved ones to pursuing personal growth and making a positive impact on others’ lives – Ikigai encompasses all aspects of an individual’s existence. It serves as a guiding principle for living a purpose-driven life emphasising the value of finding meaning in each moment and cherishing the interconnectedness between personal fulfillment, professional success, social contribution, and overall well-being. Ikigai serves as a reminder that true happiness lies not only in external achievements but also in cultivating a deep sense of purpose within ourselves. By aligning our actions with our passions, talents, values, and societal needs, we can unlock our true potential and find lasting satisfaction in all aspects of life.

Ikigai for small business rawmarrow

Finding your Ikigai isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a continuous process of exploration and growth as your interests and skills evolve.

How do we apply this to small business?

Ikigai for Small Business Owners: Find Your Purpose and Fuel Your Small Business

Running a small business is an exciting rollercoaster. You get to be your own boss, pursue your passions, and hopefully, make a positive impact on the world. But there are also challenges. The long hours, the uncertainty, and the pressure to succeed can leave you feeling burnt out or questioning your direction.

This is where Ikigai, a Japanese concept for finding your “reason for being,” can be a powerful tool for small business owners. It’s not just about making money; it’s about aligning your work with your core values and creating a business that feels fulfilling. Usually we talk about all of this in terms of your WHY

Ikigai just another way to think about these things but it’s more complete.

Some questions to help your small business

What energises you in your business? Is it the creative process? Building relationships with customers? Solving complex problems?

What are your unique skills and strengths? How can you leverage them to create a valuable product or service?

What problems are you passionate about solving? How can your business make a positive impact on your community or industry?

Who is your ideal customer? What are their needs and how can your business address them in a way that stands out?

Benefits of Ikigai for Small Businesses.

By aligning your business with your Ikigai, you can:

  • Boost motivation and focus: When you’re working towards a purpose that matters to you, you’ll have a natural drive to succeed.
  • Make better decisions: Ikigai can help you stay grounded in your core values, leading to more ethical and sustainable business practices.
  • Attract and retain talent: Employees who share your passion and purpose are more likely to be engaged and productive.
  • Build a strong brand: A business with a clear purpose resonates with customers who share your values.

Ikigai is more than just a trendy concept; it’s a powerful philosophy that can help you create a thriving small business that fills you with joy and makes a meaningful contribution to the world. So, take some time to reflect on your Ikigai and let it help guide you.

Ikigai books

Some Ikigai Books

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life – Héctor García and Francesc Miralles.

Ikigai: Giving Every Day Meaning and Joy – Yukari Mitsuhashi

Ikigai for Leaders and Organisations – Frank Brueck

Awakening your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day– Ken Mogi

How to Ikigai: Lessons for Finding Happiness and Living Your Life’s Purpose – Tim Tamashiro

Ikigai You Tube

Ken Mogi World

Tim Tamashiro

Emily Bidle