An Ikigai Story

Anna had a passion for books and food. She combined these and set up a café by a beach in Goa. It was a unique and cozy place where patrons could order food and spend time reading books from her collection. It was a favourite with locals and tourists alike. The entire place was personally decorated by her and reflected her personality.

During lean hours, Anna could always be seen immersed in a book in her favourite corner of the café. Running the café gave her a sense of contentment and achievement at the same time. She could do what she loved the most and it provided for a comfortable life.

As the word got around, some people started seeing potential in the business model. A bunch of consultants approached her with expansion proposals and some bankers dropped in to offer lucrative funding offers. Each one packaged a super growth story in their sales pitch. Anna’s peaceful life was disrupted with having to figure the best options to grow her café business. As she met more and more people, she was filled with self-doubt and apprehension. Suddenly she started feeling she was not doing enough, she was not successful enough, if she didn’t multiply her café business into a chain she would be a failure. The frenzy of meeting consultants, investors, potential partners, etc consumed her.

After one such hectic day, she longed to sit in her favourite corner. As she sipped her coffee and took some time to reflect, she realised that she was now trying to achieve someone else’s dream. The growth story, the multiplied turnover was all great – but it was not what she set out to accomplish when she started her cafe.

How would you finish this story?

Should Anna ride the great growth story and strive to expand her business?

At what stage will she then find the same sense of contentment that she enjoyed earlier?

Is it ok to not want super growth?

Your opinion is a reflection of your world-view and definition of happiness. There is no right or wrong answer – as long as it fulfils your sense of purpose and gives you a reason to jump out of bed each morning!

Life is about finding your Ikigai.

6 thoughts on “An Ikigai Story”

  1. Wonderful story Khyati. I feel Anna should go back to what she was doing earlier. Many times we step out unstable foot onto a journey that might seem as if it leads to success. But in this case I feel success cannot be calculated upon numbers everytime. In a small setting she has time and enjoys entertaining her visitors personally and that matters a lot. The moment she thinks of going big, the connection is lost. So the small, cosy, and comfortable connect is important.

  2. Lovely story ….a great problem to ponder about.
    If Anna does not expand someone else will cash on this great idea and Anna might regret later . She will also loose her exclusivity. But she does not want to lose her peace and get caught up in the hustle bustle….best would be to sell the business but not entirely. She should retain her stake and her store. She will earn money but yet not loose her sleep and plus she would be able to continue to do what she loves to do

  3. She should go for expansion of her business. By these she can generate more employment, can buy more books for customers and provide them vast choices. By expanding business she can spread immense strength of of knowlege by way of literatures. There is a proverb in Hindi ज्ञान को बांटने से बढ़ता है। I believe, contentment is relative term.

  4. At a friend’s house, I was introduced to two ladies who ran a lovely ‘different’ cafe. A niche concept, the establishment was not very well known. I asked them why they were not doing more to promote and expand their business, which obviously had potential. They replied that they were happy with what they had!

  5. There will always be someone who has a better and bigger idea than the one you had. How the picture to grow that idea is upto there vision and goals. She should stick to the one she has which she made real. Running someone else’s dream with your original one always leads to mental conflict and at the end you realise you have lost your own .

  6. Lovely story, Khyati! Very relatable too. Mine is a similar story and I have been thinking about my next steps.
    Well, I am planning to collaborate for my Home Made Products venture, consider co-branding and this would also give employment to a couple of people.
    I think, it’s a catch 22 situation of enjoying what we do and running the risk of someone else using our ideas and maybe doing even better than us.
    It is not FOMO, it is more about being innovative in what we do that I think is important, especially in Anna’s case – her business idea is nothing really unique, what’s unique is her passion for what she does. And that ensures excellent customer service and happy customers. It would be good if she could collaborate with a few similar service providers and provide a unique combo of services to her customers. That way she can focus in what she enjoys and get other things done by a collaborator.

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