Thoughts for the new year about women, business models, and Ikigai

Ikigai as a business model? It is to me. Recently, I participated in a thought-provoking conversation with three women. We explored the topic of entrepreneurship and business development by women. How can we develop a business model that more intentionally integrates values, purpose, and profit than the traditional profit-oriented, bottom-line model? I shared what I consider my business model for my 27-year-old facilitation business: the Ikigai concept. As 2022 starts, it’s a good time to revisit it and think about my goals and activities. Thanks to Leigh Ann Rodgers, Adrienne Garland, and Alexandra Suchman for an inspiring discussion.

How do I use the Ikigai concept to develop my facilitation business?

Do what you love,

Do what you are good at,

Do what the world needs,

And do what you can be paid for.

These four statements are based on Ikigai, a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”. For 27 years, I have used the Ikigai concept to guide my facilitation business. I filter requests for my services through these four statements.

The Ikigai concept [pronounced ee-key-guy] encapsulates the reasons that I am a facilitator – my passion, mission, vocation, and profession. Based on various websites, Ikigai is often used to indicate what gives value in one’s life, what you live for, and what makes your life worthwhile. At the end of this blog, I have listed a few websites that explain the Ikigai origin, philosophy, relevance, and application.

By en:User:Nimbosa derived from works in the PUBLIC DOMAIN by Dennis Bodor (SVG) and Emmy van Deurzen (JPG) –, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ikigai, while not a typical business model, guides my thinking about what work I will do and how I do it. By answering the BIG questions related to my values, interests, and competencies, I can more easily write a business plan. When I am asked to provide a service (e.g. facilitation, consulting, writing, research, training, engagement), I ask myself the following questions based on the Ikigai concept.

  • That which you love: Passion (strong emotion) – I love helping individuals in a group hold powerful and productive conversations and develop beneficial decisions. This is my “Why”; namely, that I believe that people make better decisions, work and act together more effectively when they talk constructively together. Do I love the idea of this service, this situation, this topic, this group, this organization? How does it fit with my foremost passion for facilitating conversations?
  • That which the world needs: Mission (an important assignment, purpose; strongly felt aim, ambition or calling) – I believe that people all over the world benefit from being willing and capable of conversing together to benefit themselves, their group, their organization, their community, their country, and their world. By working with this client, how would I help to better the organization, the community, the world? How does my work with an organization or group lead to productive conversations and beneficial decisions?
  • That which you are good at: Vocation (a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation) – I am proficient in sharing facilitation skills and inviting individuals in groups to use them purposely. What competencies and behaviours are most needed? How am I the right person for this work?
  • That which you can be paid for: Profession (a paid occupation, career, line of work; especially one that involves prolonged training and formal qualification) – I have been very fortunate to enjoy a financially sound business by offering what I love and am good at to help individuals, groups and the world gain what is needed. Can I be paid for this work? What payment reflects my services and meets the client’s financial situation?

Enjoy the following websites about Ikigai. And I look forward to you contacting me to explore business models, Ikigai, and facilitation.

Websites about the ikigai concept:

Thoughts for the new year about women, business models, and Ikigai
Tagged on:                                 

One thought on “Thoughts for the new year about women, business models, and Ikigai

  • January 28, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Barb – I’m so grateful that you introduced me to this model. It is so simple and so perfect. And, I can see that you do have all of these in your business. That is inspiring!

Comments are closed.