First Attempt At a Blog

Date

As I sit in my seat for CLT then to BOS, my mind is spinning. Lots of thoughts come and go. Thoughts ranging from which of the three intern resumes speak to me most, how am I going to execute this engagement proposal next week, with the resources available, what is the optimal way to train over the next 72 to 96 hours. Yep, I have quite a few things going on at this moment. It’s been fun, challenging and offers me a chance to reflect on current actions and things I’m allocating my energy to. Why am I writing this? 

Through my journey I’ve learned a lot! Vague statement. But, oh so true! Writing will help me bring those values to life and offer to my community. 

So today I will solely focus on one thing ‘Kaizen’! 📈


What is Kaizen?

In layman’s terms, Kaizen is the Japanese Term for Continuous Incremental Improvement. Kaizen was adopted by the Japanese during the popular and ‘best-in-class’ Toyota manufacturing process. Ever heard ‘German Engineering?’ Yeah, Toyota Manufacturing was once identified as the best in class for its manufacturing processes. 

Kaizen was the foundation to their supreme manufacturing culture. 

Super cool IMO. 

In order to improve one must understand their current state/ baseline. Kaizen offers an abundant amount of tools, a few of my favorite ‘5 Why’s and the PDCA (Plan Do Check Adjust)


Why is Kaizen a way of life for me?

Kaizen is within me for several reasons. First off… I specialized in one thing. I did the best I could day in and day out. I like to say, I played the game with honor and respect. Along that journey, the unforgiving game of football left me with 7 big surgeries. I’ll save that story for another time. But during that time, those surgeries taught me about myself. 

The reality is, I built a monster. 6’4 245 lbs 9% body fat 4.6 40… all of the tangibles and even better mental capacity and FBI (Football IQ). So yeah…. So I arrive to the destination of optimizing my physical  and mental… then BOOM! Surgery… 

Don’t worry, this happened not once… not twice… blah blah blah….. yep. 7 times! 

So when I say this journey has taught me a lot and Kaizen is within me, it’s because I lived it before I was aware. 

From finding the optimal balance of school, treatment, film and being a leader, I had to do a lot of PDCA! 

Imagine what I did or say after getting injured? If you guessed, ‘Damn it’ youre right. But if you guessed ‘5 Why’s’ you’re extra right! I wanted to not only heal. I wanted to get to the bottom of it… Hey Curt, seems you tore your ACL because of lack of stability and strength in your right leg… “Understood, why?” Because of a lack of focus on the small muscle that support the major muscles.  “Understood, why?” You get the drift. In my previous profession making the same mistake multiple times was suicide. Ask the questions until you understand.

When I transitioned from the game I love, I felt like a freshman again, unsure and unaware. In order to have a chance of finding ‘success’, I knew I had to apply the disciplines learned from my previous career to WHATEVER was in front of me. No matter what I had to commit to improvement. Today has to be better than yesterday. When I went after my Real Estate License I sat in the front of the class every day, I spoke to the professor every morning. When I earned my PADI Freediving Certification I listened intently, and applied the techniques, leading me to earn a static breath hold for 4 minutes. Naw, I was not afraid. (Wink) 

I learned there is honor in vulnerability. There is power in hard work when paired with curiosity. Current state is never the final state. Operational Question: What happens when you solve the bottleneck? (Improve the time on the slowest operation?) YEP, you get another bottleneck… The journey is forever. That’s the beauty. It’s not perfection. It’s not to completion. Its to doing the absolute best with the information and resources that we have in this moment. THEN we go back and assess our performance. We approach it with limited emotion, searching for the lessons and value. We live a life of gratitude but not complacency.


How does one start embracing a Kaizen Way of Life?

In order to embrace a way of kaizen, I believe one must do the following:

  • Make no excuses for your current position. The reality is people will listen to you complain, and some will even add fuel to your excuses… But no one actually gives a shit. The status remains the same. Your position remains the same. 
  • Realize that this current state is not the final state. 
  • Channel the ‘excuse – energy’ to production. 
  • Define and document the desired destination. What are your goals? Where are you aiming to go? 
  • Do something that makes you uncomfortable.. Something that will force you to grow. 
  • During this process, do not be in a hurry to call your life line. 
  • Stress can be good 🙂 (I know society wants to live “Stress-Free”. Welcome eu-stress and take this as a chance to evolve.
  • Practice gratitude. This means settling in and appreciating your life, your current state, your well-being. The reality is, it could always be worse. 
  • Take 10 min and do nothing! let the mind wonder… Heighten your awareness on the adventure your mind goes on.
  • MEET PEOPLE! Sit with someone new. The next time you ask someone ‘How are you doing’, do it with intention… Stop, eye contact. And throw in a smile if you’re feeling extra gracious. 
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Don’t Quit. Rest. Recover. Give yourself Grace. But this journey is forever. If you ever wake up and feel as if ‘AHHH I GOT IT!’ That’s dangerous, as there is no final state.    

What is one thing ‘Kaizen’ has shown me? 

Living a Kaizen Lifestyle is contagious… for the right reasons. 

1. It will attract like minded people or individuals that want to improve. It will act as roach spray does to pest, for people that do not want to improve or fear accountability

2. It will improve your accountability within and externally. Your ability to ask the critical questions will improve. Your ability to see through bull shit will improve even better.

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