The Kaizen Way: One Small Step Can Change Your Life
by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.
book is applicable to many topics including starting over. The Kaizen Way is
about accomplishing our goals one small step at a time. Kaizen
is a Japanese word, whose essence is captured in the phrase, “A journey
of a thousand miles must begin with the first step.”—Lao Tzu. It
simply means taking small, manageable steps toward your goal.
Dr. Maurer speaks about how kaizen and innovation are the two major
strategies people use to create change. "Where innovation demands
shocking and radical reform, all kaizen asks is that you take small,
comfortable steps toward improvement.” Some people are more prone by
their nature to act with the broad strokes of innovation but in my
experience, sometimes when I stop something “cold turkey” or I vow to
begin something religiously, I will do so for a short while and then,
gradually drift back toward my old habits.
Dr. Maurer suggests kaizen when those habits we are attempting to
change are extremely stubborn and/or when you have a degree of fear
about making the necessary change. Taking small, baby steps is the way
we “tiptoe past our fear,” Dr. Maurer asserts.
This is what I believe makes kaizen the perfect approach for starting
over. Our old habit of spending time with our loved one, thinking about
him or her, loving him or her is a habit that is extremely stubborn to
change. It’s hard to just quit a person “cold turkey,” especially when
it wasn’t our idea in the first place. And often there is a great
degree of fear about starting over—fear of loneliness, fear of pity
from others, fear of harsh judgments from others, fear of rejection
from someone new, fear of never finding anyone, fear of intimacy with a
new partner, fear of letting go of the original relationship, fear of
realizing our “love” wasn’t what we imagined it to be, fear of being
hurt again and a host of other possible fears.
The best way to begin is just to begin. Ask yourself some kaizen
questions. What’s one small thing you can do to smile today? What’s
something you can do for five minutes every day where you will think of
something other than your lost loved one? What’s one small thing I you
can do to feel better about yourself today? If you weren’t afraid of
failing, what would you be doing? If you knew for a certainty that you
I would be meeting your “perfect” mate next month, what would you be
doing differently today? What’s one thing you like about being single
again? If you were guaranteed not to fail, what’s one small thing you
would be doing differently? What’s one small step you could take toward
moving on with your life? What is one small thing that’s special about
Another suggestion by Dr. Maurer is to create a mind sculpture. Mind
sculpting is a lot like visualization but with an added strong
emotional component. So, you would be imagining and visualizing a
happy, fulfilled life either by yourself or with a new partner. Make
sure when you are watching your “mental movie” that you are also
experiencing each of your senses along with a strong, positive
emotional component. Fill in the answer to what are you seeing? What do
you taste, smell and hear? What do you touch or feel on your skin? And
how are you feeling emotionally?
It may seem that small steps would only yield minuscule results,
however, as Dr. Maurer explains one small step will lead to another and
then to another until your fear response has been bypassed and then
rapid change can occur. One day, you will look around and realize you
have accomplished your goal and didn’t even realize it. There are other
techniques in this book: solve small problems, bestow small rewards and
identify small moments. I recommend it as a book that can give you
ideas for accomplishing goals that have been alluding you.
And if you find yourself trying to get over someone and start again,
why not try some coaching? Coaching can help you to stay on track and
focused on your ultimate success.
Click here to order The Kaizen Way.