We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you build it, they will come,” but how many times has that not been your reality? Same.
In business, motherhood, life in general, we will all at some point face a moment of forced humility, where our seemingly great idea completely flops.
It can be as simple as investing in THE thing you believe will finally keep your toddler happy for more than 5 minutes, only to find him right back to playing with the door stop… Or it may be as big as a product you believe everyone will love — something you have poured your heart, soul, and finances into — only to hear crickets on the day of your launch.
It happens to the best of us. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. In fact, if you’ve cared enough to get where you are, you’re likely headed in the right direction.
Over the past 4 years as a creative entrepreneur, I have had my fair share of product/idea flops (and too many failed toddler “solutions” to count,) and have picked myself up, time and time again… why?
Because sometimes we hit the nail on the head.
This phenomenon is what the Japanese like to call ikigai.
Ikigai is essentially the convergence of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for… it is the epitome of “the sweet spot” in business (and life in general,) and if you are a creative entrepreneur like me, it’s likely this definition brings language to ideas that have been swimming around in your head for a long time. I know it did for me.
So what are these “4 Keys To Lasting Success” I’m talking about? Well, it’s basically the ikigai (why ruin a good thing?) I’m simply going to change the 4 pillars of this concept to pose a question to help us see how this practically impacts our lives.
1) What do you love?
What is the first thing on your mind when you wake up (besides coffee,) and the last thing you think about before you go to bed? Have you ever thought “If only I could do *insert your passion here* and make money for it…?” Keep whatever that thing is in mind, and let’s continue…
2) What are you good at?
If you are self-aware (and that’s a big “if” these days… haha) you should already know what you are good at, and what falls in the “not so much” category. Does this line up with the thing you love? If so, hooray! If not, go back to step 1 and repeat until step 1 and step 2 are in harmony.
3) What does the world need?
This one is a little tricky. How do we really know what the world needs? It’s hard to say, but a different way we could phrase this is “does the world need it?” or perhaps “will this make the world better, somehow?” If so, you’re inching closer and closer to your ikigai.
4) What can you be paid for?
Now this is probably the most difficult step of all. You may absolutely LOVE what you do, and you might even be REALLY good at it… and perhaps you’ve even found a way that this passion of yours can benefit the world… but how do you actually make money doing that thing? THAT, my friends, is the big question that unfortunately, I cannot answer for you (cue the let down…)
I know, I know… But the reality is, even having the keys to something will not open the door unless you do your part, and it is only yours to do.
If you’re feeling stuck in your business or professional life, and need something to change, I challenge you to start here! Ask yourself these questions, and see where it leads. I think we can all agree it’s a worthwhile pursuit.
(And if you’d like your own copy of the ikigai graphic shown above, you can download it for free here.)