Introduction to Kaizen: 5 Part Series

Part 1: “Take Small Actions”

I stumbled upon the Kaizen approach when I read this wonderful book, “One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaizen Way” by Dr. Robert Maurer, PhD. The book is a little jewel that in the most clear, concise way outlines a very simple but powerful approach towards making transformational changes in one’s life. It’s based on making very small shifts in both consciousness and behavior. These small shifts can slip under the stress patrol function of the amygdala’s fight/flight gauge. The amygdala being the portion of the brain, which alerts the nervous system to approaching stress.

I see the amygdala as the character, Robot, in “Lost in Space,” signaling the endocrine system, “Warning, warning, danger approaching,” and triggering us humans to shift into survival mode. Brilliant in the face of the charging buffalo, not so helpful, when the task at hand is: the book you want to write, or the desk that needs to be organized, or some other piece of the Completion Initiative (CI), you are taking on.

So using the “Take Small Actions,” piece this week, I suggest you look at where you are with your Completion Initiative. I’m offering you a challenge, to look for small actions you can take everyday to move towards your CI.

For me, this week, in line with my “Accessing my Inner Vixen” initiative, I will be looking at taking some small actions, which I know can wield, over time, long-lasting results. Actions, like at night, taking 5 minutes to check e-mail on my Droid, rather than my computer. This way I can dodge the effects of being bathed in the melatonin suppressing blue light that is emitted from my laptop, as melatonin level drops have been demonstrated to diminish the depth and duration of sleep. I’m also carefully examining the activities in my life that feed me (reading, learning, sharing what I’ve learned, writing, spending time with people who I love and who inspire me, dancing, long baths, long country walks, de-cluttering, the list goes on…) This non food, nourishment “feeds me” in a way that leaves me more inclined to go to food for physical hunger rather than emotional or spiritual emptiness. When I say small actions, I really mean small.

So my question to you this week is, “What small actions can or will you take?” to move you along, toward your Completion Initiative. In the next four weeks, I will address each of the other four Kaizen principles:

•       Ask small questions
•       Think small thoughts
•       Bestow small rewards
•       Identify small moments

This process really works. I’ve witnessed the effects not only in my own life, but in the work I do with my clients, colleagues, family and friends. The shifts that result from integrating these principles, either consciously or unconsciously, are powerful.

Have a great week. I look forward to hearing from you.