Kaizen….what does this Japanese philosophy mean for you and me?

Allison Nazarian Entrepreneurs

A couple Fridays ago, I took two hours off and sat in a quiet corner at my local Barnes & Noble.

I grabbed about four books and managed to go through each of them (enough to get what I needed to get) in the course of my stay in that big comfy chair there.

(By the way, there were about three others in my corner who were fast asleep in their chairs. Like full-on-snoring-fast asleep. I envied them their deep slumber, though I also thought it was kind of weird that they were fast asleep in public in a bookstore.)

So anyway, one of the books I grabbed was entitled One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robery Maurer.

You can read the Wikipedia definition of Kaizen here. Basically, this is a principle or an approach that is all about the small steps. It is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuously, as in daily, improving in all areas of one’s life, from the workplace to home and everywhere else. It is meant for everyone, whether a top CEO or a mom (or someone like me who is both!).

We all know that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and that is really what Kaizen is all about. We’re all (at least I know I am) seeking greatness and, if you subscribe to these principles, the most effective path to this greatness is through the smallest efforts and in small, focused, steady increments.

The Kaizen principle or approach is all about putting energy into small powerful things rather than big, all-over-the-place efforts.

It’s a pretty inspirational, at least for me, approach because I tend to set so many goals for myself that I manage to overwhelm myself and not focus on the most important tasks or steps of any given project or venture.

Instead, I, like so many others, put effort into “the path of least resistance” and end up putting a lot of time and energy into something that may get done on paper, but is less likely to get me further along on the path I am trying to travel.

Really, this can be applied to any aspect of your life. One example in the book is about exercise. We all know exercise is something that needs to be done regularly to achieve any sort of significant or lasting result.

For some, just getting on that treadmill 30 minutes each day is overwhelming. It just may not happen for whatever reason. But what about standing on that treadmill for one minute a day? Doable? Totally!

This is where it starts. I am working toward the goal of a 90% product- and instruction-based business (we can talk about the remaining 10% another time!). I try to take big steps and guess what? Sometimes, I don’t get the “big” results I seek. This book has convinced me to continue thinking big but to change my movements to smaller ones that work.

I’ll let you know how it goes!