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Business lessons we can learn from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away

spirited away movie poster

Hayao Miyazaki’s animated movie is more than a coming-of-age story. It is rich with business lessons we can learn from Spirited Away.

Spirited Away follows the journey of a young girl named Chihiro who finds herself trapped in the spirit world. After her parents are transformed into pigs, Chihiro must work at the bathhouse for spirits to earn their freedom.

Throughout the film, Chihiro displays remarkable resilience and resourcefulness, adapting to her unfamiliar surroundings, facing her fears, and making new friends. Her determination to rescue her parents and return to the human world drives her actions, showcasing her inner strength and unwavering spirit.

Chihiro’s journey in the spirit world mirrors women's challenges and opportunities while working from home. Like Chihiro adapting to a new environment, women navigating remote work must create a dedicated workspace and establish boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

The isolation Chihiro experiences resonates with the potential loneliness of working from home, highlighting the importance of maintaining social connections and seeking support. Yet, like Chihiro discovering her inner strength and resourcefulness, working from home offers women opportunities for greater flexibility, independence, and the ability to redefine traditional work structures. Both journeys emphasize the importance of resilience, adaptability, and embracing change to thrive in unfamiliar territories.

Spirited away movie image of Chihiro

In this blog post, we will explore the key lessons we can learn from the film, which will offer actionable takeaways for women balancing work and home life.


Embrace the juggle:

Chihiro’s adaptability in the spirit world resonates with the flexibility required of women working from home. Just as Chihiro quickly adjusts to unfamiliar surroundings and unexpected challenges, women working from home must seamlessly navigate between household responsibilities, childcare duties, and professional obligations. Both scenarios demand a willingness to embrace change, improvise solutions, and maintain a positive attitude amidst foreseen circumstances.

Chihiro’s ability to learn new skills and forge connections in a foreign environment mirrors the resourcefulness women employ to create productive workplaces, manage distractions, and cultivate virtual collaborations. Ultimately, both journeys highlight the importance of adaptability and resilience in achieving success and personal growth amidst evolving circumstances.

Successfully managing multiple roles and responsibilities requires a combination of prioritization, effective time management, and clear communication. Start by identifying your most important tasks and allocate dedicated time slots for each,

printable planner

To get that balance between personal and professional commitments, utilize tools like calendars, to-do lists, and project management apps to stay organized and track progress. Set realistic expectations and learn to delegate tasks when possible, sharing responsibilities with family members, colleagues, or hired help. Communicating with loved ones and co-workers is crucial to establishing boundaries.

Remember, self-care is essential in maintaining balance, prioritizing rest, relaxation, and activities that replenish your energy.


Cultivate your network:

Chihiro’s ability to establish connections with different spirits mirrors the importance of building a supportive network in our own lives. Just as Chihiro finds allies in unexpected places, like the gentle spirit Haku and the enigmatic Kamaji, women working from home can benefit from cultivating relationships with colleagues, mentors, friends, and family members. These connections provide a vital support system, offering encouragement, guidance, and opportunities for collaboration.

Like Chihiro, receiving help and advice from her newfound friends, women working from home can rely on their network for emotional support, professional advice, and even practical assistance with childcare or household tasks. By fostering meaningful connections, women can overcome challenges, share knowledge, and ultimately thrive, just as Chihiro does in the spirit world.

Connecting with other women who work from home is easier than ever with the multitude of resources available. Online platforms like LinkedIn groups, Facebook communities, and dedicated forums offer virtual spaces for women to connect. Attend virtual networking events or webinars tailored to remote working, where you can chat and exchange contact details. Consider joining co-working spaces, even virtually, for that community feeling.


Stay true to your passion:

Chihiro’s unwavering determination to rescue her parents and return to the human world parallels the importance of pursuing one’s passions in life. Just as Chihiro faces numerous obstacles and setbacks in the spirit world, pursuing our passions often requires overcoming challenges, self-doubt and societal expectations. However, like Chihiro, who refuses to give up despite the odds, following our passions fuels our resilience and resourcefulness. They provide us with a sense of purpose, ignite our creativity, and thus lead to personal growth. Whether you are starting a new career, launching a new project, or simply making time for hobbies you love, pursuing your passions empowers you to live a more meaningful and authentic life.

Take a moment to reflect on your unique skills and passions. What sets you apart? What activities bring you joy? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box-perhaps your love for organizing could translate into project management, or your artistic flair could enhance your presentations. Explore online courses, workshops or certifications to further develop these skills.


Chihiro and Haku in spirited away

Overcoming self-doubt:

Chihiro’s moments of fear and uncertainty in the spirit world resonate deeply with the challenges of working from home. Just as Chihiro grapples with unfamiliar tasks and daunting situations, women navigating remote work may experience self-doubt, imposter syndrome, or anxieties about balancing their professional and personal lives. The isolation of Chihiro’s journey reflects the potential loneliness and lack of social interaction that can arise from working from home. However, like Chihiro, who discovers her inner strength and resilience in the face of adversity, women can overcome these challenges by building supportive networks.

Overcome imposter syndrome by acknowledging your accomplishments, replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations, and seeking support from others


Create work-life harmony

Chihiro’s journey in Spirited Away is not just about rescuing her parents: It is also a heartfelt journey of self-discovery. She learns to balance her fears with courage, her independence with reliance on others, and her responsibilities with moments of joy and wonder. This mirrors the challenges many women face at work, as they strive to balance their professional roles with personal needs and desires.


Tips for setting boundaries between work and personal life:

  1. 1 Establish a dedicated workspace: If possible, create a separate area for work that is free from distractions and helps you mentally transition into work mode.

  2. Set clear working hours: Define your start and end times for work and stick to them as much as possible. This helps prevent work from bleeding into your time.

  3. Communicate your boundaries: Let your family, friends, and colleagues know your working hours and when you’re available for personal matters.

  4. Take regular breaks: Step away from your work throughout the day to recharge and avoid burnout. Short walks, stretching, or even a few minutes of meditation can help you clear your head and return to your tasks refreshed.

  5. Unplug after work: Turn off work notifications on your phone and computer after your designated work hours to create a mental space for relaxation and personal time.

  6. Schedule personal time: Make sure to schedule activities you enjoy outside of work, whether it’s spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or simply relaxing.


As we have learned, Spirited Away teaches us the importance of resilience, adaptability, and community for women who work from home, By welcoming these qualities, finding balance, and pursuing passions, women can create fulfilling work-from-home experiences.

Embrace your inner Chihiro and tap into your entrepreneurial spirit.



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