Make Kaizen A Daily Routine

KaizenKaizen is a Japanese word that is formed from two characters – “kai” and “zen.” It translates literally to mean “good change” or, we might say, “improvement,” or “a change for the better”.

When you make Kaizen a part of your daily routine, you are taking steps toward steady improvement in all areas of your life.

Successful companies in Japan, like Toyota, a popular automobile manufacturer, use the principle of kaizen to emphasize steady and innovative improvement.

The principles of kaizen are simple. The challenge is to take the long term view of a daily, continuous and steady path to improvement with an overriding willingness to change. The same can be said about our personal lives.

A willingness to change and constantly on the lookout for ways to improve moves us closer toward making lasting change.  Whether we embrace the principles of kaizen or something else, the quest for self-improvement and the opportunity to change how we view our environment and ourselves is always worth pursuing.

Striving to continually improve is not the same as striving for unrealistic perfection.  You may never fit into that size six killer outfit you covet or earn a spot on the Hollywood red carpet. But, what you can do instead of lamenting your lot, is begin to make a change for the better by focusing on becoming healthier and more fit a little at a time.

Here are some ways to incorporate the kaizen principles into your daily life:

Home Kaizen – Is there something in your home that needs changing or an uplift? Maybe now is not the time to spring for a complete kitchen remodel. Instead,  you can start practicing kaizen by implementing a change for the better (e.g., painting, color accessorizing or keeping countertops free from clutter). By putting the principle of kaizen to work in your kitchen, you will have a more appealing space until such time as you can make a lasting change. You can also apply the kaizen principles to any other room in your home that you feel needs improvement.

Relationship Kaizen

  • Making communication a priority is key to a successful relationship. Make sure you listen and express your feelings even if it feels uncomfortable.
  • Schedule regular quality, non-interrupted time with your partner
  • Tell your partner often how much you appreciate having him or her in your life.
  • Work daily to improve and reinforce your relationship.
  • Do a 10-15 minute “check in” at the end of each day to reconnect.

Personal Kaizen:

  • Show random act of kindness to those close to you often.
  • Express appreciation – write down at least 5 things you are grateful for every day.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. If you’re stuck in unfulfilling routines and comfort zones, stretch yourself to try new things. Take a yoga class, travel, rearrange your surroundings, get rid of clutter, volunteer or mentor a child.
  • At the end of your day, take 15 minutes to unwind and relax so you can enjoy quality time with those you care about.
  • Do at least one thing every day that you enjoy.
  • Do at least one kind deed each day.

Work Kaizen

Is your office constantly in disarray? Using the principle of kaizen, begin to look around to see how you can begin to improve your surroundings to create a more appealing and creative space.

  • Rearrange the furniture to create a better workflow
  • Keep a small vase of fresh flowers on your desk to inspire you to complete that project you’ve been reluctant to start.
  • Clear your workspace of unnecessary clutter.
  • Surround yourself with your favorite colors, quotes or inspirational words for a sense of calm and a reminder to stay positive.

If you build the concept of kaizen into all areas your daily life, before you know it, you will be less prone to procrastination, self-sabotage, overwhelm and you will have made a lasting change for the better.

I would love it if you would leave a comment about how you apply the principle of kaizen into your daily life.

For more tips and insights like these, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace, and Celebrate the Real You.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Jellybean Facts

jellybeans

What’s our fascination with jellybeans?

Is it because they are colorful, super sweet and readily available for a quick sugar pick me up?

Or is there something more to our attraction to jellybeans?

Here are some interesting facts about jellybeans for you to ponder:

• Jelly Beans were first introduced to the Easter scene in the 1930’s patterned after the popular Mid-eastern confection known as Turkish Delight. This was a popular egg shaped candy in America and sold primarily in glass jars that sat atop counters in stores all over the country.

• Jellybeans became linked to the popular Easter Bunny after the Civil war as a forerunner to Easter. Eggs were considered a symbol of new life during the spring season and the two seemed perfectly matched. Consequently, Jellybeans stuck as one of the classic Easter candies. Currently, 16 billion jellybeans are made for the Easter holiday with “red” being the most popular color.

More Interesting Jellybean Facts

• Most of us use, or are at least familiar with, Google’s Android operating system called Jelly Bean. Google’s Jelly Bean is a module that is widely available to lots of applications—as though it might be grabbed out of a jar in handfuls when needed. In fact, the Android logo, shaped like a large jellybean jar, is also part of the Android lawn statues on the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

• Ronald Reagan, the 40th US president, had such a fondness for jellybeans that he had three and a half tons of red, white, and blue Jelly Belly jellybeans shipped to Washington, DC for the 1981 Inaugural festivities.

• One of the space shuttles even took up a bunch of jellybeans for the shuttle crew to snack on.

• The term jelly beaning is American corporate slang for small talk with a client, getting to know them on initial meeting, before trying to make a sale, close a deal etc.

• Every year, there are more bizarre jellybean flavors introduced than the year before. For example, the Jelly Belly Company has such flavors as ”toothpaste” which supposedly is similar to gum.

• The notion that jellybeans, in the shape of an egg, are symbolic of new life or rebirth does not go unnoticed. Spring is said to be a time of new beginnings, a shedding of the dull colors of winter and a bursting forth of vibrant and lively hues.

• Considering the example of jelly beans as given by Google – grab a handful out of the jar when needed – I think we could use the jelly bean metaphor for those times when we need a little lift. For example: Reach your hand into a jar of jellybeans and take what you need to feel alive and energized. You can just play with them. Count how many colors are in the jar; count how many jellybeans are in the jar. You may just find yourself more relaxed and less stressed.

• To get over hurt and anger, try what I call the jelly-toss. Reach deep and grab a big handful of jellybeans. From the handful, pick a color that represents your strongest feeling. Toss that color in the trash until you have exhausted that particular color. Pick another color and do the same until all the jellybeans are gone. Now, didn’t that make you feel better? And it didn’t add one calorie to your diet.

• In a dilemma – can’t decide between two similar choices? With this method, you simply select the first jellybean color that catches your eye. Select the next color that attracts your attention. Assign a choice to each color jellybean selected. Count each of the colors and the one with the higher tally is the one you go with. Of course, this is not the best way to make a major life decision. But for decisions such as “should I wear the blue shirt or the red shirt”, this is easy peasy…

• Keep a jar for jellybeans with a small scooper on your desk for visitors as a conversation starter. Ask their favorite color and let them tell you why.

Whether you celebrate Easter or not you may have indulged in this popular treat at some time or another and wondered how jellybeans came to be so popular. Now you know…

If you have other tips or interesting facts about jellybeans, please share them with us in the comment section. I would love to hear from you.

To stay up to date with the latest insights, self-care tips and more, I invite you to join our self-care circle.

What Picture Are You Painting?

What Picture Are You Painting

What picture are you painting in your mind about yourself?

Anytime we paint a picture in our mind that’s not authentic or represent who we really are, it leaves an indelible imprint.  It’s an image that we constantly try to emulate, assimilate and redefine based on someone else’s picture.

Recently I attended a paint party.  Paint parties are popping up all over the United States.  They are sometimes held in restaurants, bars and private homes.  Wherever they are held, the atmosphere is jovial and there is always plenty to eat and drink.  The whole idea of a paint party is to have fun while a professional artist guides novices (like me) in creating our own unique work of art.

Like anything we try that’s new, I was apprehensive and didn’t know quite what to expect at a paint party. In other words, I almost let fear keep me from a fun experience.

As the room filled and everyone took their place in front of an already set up easel with an attached canvass to start our masterpiece, the artist announces confidently, “our project today is a sunflower”.  As she distributes the various size paint brushes, paper plates to hold and mix the paint, I’m feeling less and less confident.  When the instructor passes out the aprons, I assume this is so we don’t go home looking like we’ve been in a paint fight with a 5-year old.

Of course, the instructor had her sunflower prominently displayed so we all could see what a real sunflower looks like. And, like most of the large group of women (and a couple of men) in the room, I tried my darnedest to follow her instructions and imitate her painting of a sunflower. And for a moment, I thought I might be successful until I noticed my masterpiece had taken on a life of its own.  While the instructor’s sunflower was dead center on the canvass with vibrant colors and perfectly formed leaves, my sunflower looked much like the Italian Leaning Tower of Pisa, known worldwide for is unintended tilt.  My leaves were a little misshapen and drooped casually along the side of the sunflower.  What I intended to be a bright yellow had somehow morphed into a drab yellowish/orange color.

Unlike the instructor, I don’t have years (or even minutes) of painting experience. Nor do I have a natural talent for painting or even a plausible knowledge about mixing paint. Nevertheless, here I am ready to paint my masterpiece!

I’m keenly aware of my strengths and my limitations.  Painting is not one of my strengths.

So, why in the world did I sign up for a painting class when the only thing I’ve ever painted was a wall?

It wasn’t about creating a masterpiece worthy of hanging in the Smithsonian. It was about:

  • pushing through the fear of “getting it right” to experience something new and exciting
  • acceptance (being okay with who I am and what I can do)
  • breaking free of self imposed limitations (e,g,, “I can’t paint”...)
  • letting go of negative self talk (“it won’t be good enough” – good enough for whom? -see acceptance above)
  • another chance to get closer to living fearlessly.

Here is what I took away from that painting class –

I don’t have to create like anyone else and I don’t have to be or do anything like anyone else.  I only need to show up as authentically, unabashedly ME!

When I showed up with my fear, judgment and self-doubt pushed aside and let go of what I thought the other people in the class would think of my feeble attempt at painting, I created my own unique sunflower (tilted and off-color). My painting may never win me an award or hang in a museum but I got something much more valuable than recognition.

I got self-satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I experienced yet another opportunity to show up as my authentic, creative, divine self without judgment or self-doubt. And, I had fun doing it.

Now, you can’t put that on canvass!

Is the picture you have in your mind representative of who you really are?

What picture are you painting?

Please take a moment to share comments about your unique picture.

And for more ways to suspend fear, self-doubt and criticism, you may want to read my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

 

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Who do you think you are?

canstockphoto1212266Who do you think you are is a refrain that fear whispers in my ear regularly.

The only purpose for fear landing on my shoulder, whispering my ear, “who do you think you are” is to stop me dead in my tracks, so I won’t take the next step toward realizing a dream or doing something that will bring me joy.

You may not even realize fear has you in its clutches until you are gripped with immobility, indecisiveness and self-doubt.  By then you’ve put aside your dreams, your aspirations and lack the energy to move forward.

In other words, you’re the passenger not the pilot in your own vehicle.

How do you silence “fear talk” when she whispers in your ear,  “who do you think you are”?

You silence her the same as you would any other pest.

1) First, you flick her off your shoulder like the annoying pest she is so she no longer has access to your ear.

2)  Tell her that she’s not the boss of you and go away. Like most bullies when you stand up to fear, she will run the other way or at least leave you alone and walk fast towards her next victim.

Once you prevent fear from accessing your ear, swatted her from your shoulder and sent on her way, you no longer have an excuse to stay stuck. Now you are free to pursue your dreams and show up in the world as the fearless, authentic woman you really are.

So what are you waiting for?

Get fear off your shoulder and start living the life you deserve and want.

For more tips and insights like these, check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

Easy Tip to Block Negativity

Stop NegativityHow can I stop negativity coming at me from other people? is a question I hear a lot.  Most of the time what is really being said is “I’m not negative, other people are”…It’s much more comfortable to blame others that it is to take responsibility for our personal thoughts, actions and responses.

While you certainly can’t control negativity in speech or behavior from other people, keep in mind you are in control of your own thoughts, feelings, behaviors and responses.  When you start to recognize that you control what you think, your behaviors and responses to situations, people and events will shift dramatically. When a negative statement is made in your presence, first, you want to take 2-3 really deep breaths before your respond or react. This will give you time to reframe the negativity into something more positive and at the same time maintain your positive attitude.

If you’re trying to change, manipulate or control what someone else is thinking or doing, you’re neglecting what you’re thinking or doing

Here’s an easy tip to block negativity whenever you experience a negative emotion from words or actions:

Make a circle on both hands with your index finger and thumb, similar to the “okay” sign. You can easily do this with your hands down to your sides, behind your back or in your pockets.  And while the person is spewing negativity, you are closing off the negative energy with your thumb and index finger and keeping it from entering your mindset.

Try it the next time someone is negative around you or use it when you recognize you are being negative. It really works!

You can find more on negativity and other self help tips in my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You

Woman in the Mirror

Woman in the Mirror
The Woman in the Mirror poem appears in several versions.  While each is a little different, I have to give credit to those authors who have claimed ownership, including some “unknown authors”. The poem is also very similar to the message in the late Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the Mirror” where he says:

“If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change”

I found this version of the Woman in the Mirror hiding out in my quotes folder and want to share it with you.

The Woman In The Mirror: Author Unknown

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you Queen for a day.

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
and see what that woman has to say.

It isn’t your father or mother or spouse
Whose judgment upon you must pass

The person whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people might think you’re a straight-shootin’ chum,
and call you a wonderful gal.

But the woman in the glass says you’re only a bum,
if you can’t look her straight in the eye.

She’s the person to please, never mind all the rest, she’s with you right up till the end.

You’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test if the gal in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
and get pats on the back as you pass.

But your final reward will be heartache and tears if you’ve cheated the woman in the glass.

Hmmm…something to think about.

The poem reminds me of how we so often place more emphasis on what others think about us than the fact that it’s more important to be able to look in the mirror and like what YOU see.

The person whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass

Please share your thoughts about this poem or one of your favorites in the comment section.

And, for more information about loving the woman in the mirror, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

I’m Back From My Fear Trip

Plane Landing

I’m Back From My Fear Trip!

You’re probably wondering what’s a “fear trip”?

A fear trip is one of those trips that mires you in inertia, keeps you from moving forward and creates an atmosphere of doubt and deception.  It’s like being stuck in your own personal time warp and you have the key but can’t open the lock.

A funny thing about fear – you can go along thinking you’ve conquered it and bam! It rears its ugly head when you least expect it.

I thought I was long over the fear of sharing my writing or speaking in a public forum.

So, what happened?

I won’t bore you with all the details but family, illnesses, “anything that gets-in-the-way-of-writing mishaps” and other related incidents kept me off course for months.

In reality, after such a long absence, fear stealthy moved in while I was busy doing other things.

Have you ever let that happen to you?

I’ve overcome other fears before. I put my first blog post out there in 2009, wrote numerous posts since then, published a book, and spoken to many groups. So, why have I allowed fear to keep me from writing for so long?

The truth is, the longer I stayed away, the wider the opening for fear to sneak in and give me room to create a story that I had no evidence to support.

My story was that I would write and no one would be there to read what I wrote and that you would have moved on to read someone else’s blog. That was my story and I stuck to it!

How could I possibly know that?  Can I peek over your shoulder and see what’s on your computer screen?

Remember, FEAR is “False Expectations Appearing Real” and like  most fears – mine were rooted in false expectations without any proof to support my story.

Once I got brutally honest about the real reason I neglected my blog for so long, I was able to dismiss the false “story” I created.

Fear can make a person see something that is not there, or hear something that is not said – Iyanla Vanzant

Does writing this post mean I’ve overcome the fear that no one will ever read my blog posts?

I don’t know…

I do know that one of the ways to overcome fear is to do the thing you fear.

I also know that, at this moment, I’m not fearful. I am taking a risk that you haven’t abandoned me and will let me know you read this by leaving a comment.

Just say hello, I’m still here.

Until next time …(yes, there will be a next time).

FF7763830E129CE0F0FCC3E95F18805A