Setting The Direction For Our Lives

Basic Business Cents
Setting the Direction for Our Lives

There are two similar models to find your proper niche, one for your business and one for your personal life. The “Hedgehog Concept” developed by Jim Collins and described in detail in his book, Good to Great, is a useful tool to use to make sure you stay focused on what is important in your business.

Three questions the organization must research deeply as depicted in this chart. If the employees are not deeply passionate about what they are doing, the quality and quantity of their work will not be very good. The next question is what can you be the best in the world at means that “pretty good” is not good enough. You need to find a niche at which you are very good, even the best in the world. This talent needs to be defined and discovered; if not in the organization it must be obtained. The third question is what drives your economic engine. If you cannot make enough money from this pursuit to fund costs and a reasonable profit, then the niche needs to be further refined. The spot in the middle is ideal position to satisfy these three needs. This concept is often used as a check and balance on the organization’s strategic plan to see if the three questions are satisfied.

The Japanese have a concept for personal guidance, which they call “Ikigai”. The term ikigai is composed of two Chinese characters, iki which means life and gai which means what one hopes for in life. Everyone, according to the Japanese has an ikigai but it takes a deep self-examination to discover it in order to bring satisfaction and meaning to life.

That Which You Love

That Which The World Needs


That Which You Can Get Paid for


Ikigai Passion

That Which You Are Good At


The overlap area which you love and that which you are good at is defined as your passion in life. The overlap of what you love and what the world needs is your mission in life. The overlap of what the world needs and what you can get paid for is your vocation. And, the area of overlap between that which you are good at and that which you can get paid for is your profession.

The area in which all four circles overlap, Ikigai, is the secret to enjoy life. A lot of soul searching, thought, education, training, and maneuvering may be necessary to find your niche in life but the rewards of happiness and self-satisfaction make it very worthwhile.

The two models are very similar; maybe repetition will drive the point home. It is a tragedy in life if we don’t find the right direction in which we find a need in the world that matches what we are good at, we love doing it, and we get paid a reasonable income for doing it.