kai·zen [ ki' zen] noun

Definition:  philosophy of ongoing improvement: a Japanese business philosophy advocating the need for continuous improvement in somebody's personal and professional life
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Back to Basics

Progress towards my health and fitness goals has stagnated the last couple of months.  I am reminded of the quote "Don't be disappointed in the results you are not getting from the work you are not doing."   So what have I been not doing?  Reviewing my stats revealed a couple of big possible causes:  sleep and hydration.   While I have been searching far and wide for the latest holy grail biohack I ignored the basics.  Getting that handled immediately.  Curious to see if progress resumes shortly thereafter.  


Rising Above the Negativity

Every day we are bombarded by media images that can negatively impact our mood. From the horrible human suffering caused by natural disasters to continuing job layoffs, or even a run of bad weather, it is difficult to avoid feeling  overwhelmed by the onslaught of negative news.   Some people advocate shutting out the news media entirely and refusing to ingest negative information.  This solution is appealing for its simplicity but  comes at the expense of being out of touch and ill-informed.

The best approach is to train yourself to take in the information but not let it affect your personal outlook on life.  I am not advocating becoming an unfeeling robot.  Empathy is a natural human emotion.  Some even say that empathy is what makes us human.  With that said, you can empathize with the plight of your neighbor without becoming clouded by fear of impending doom.

It is not easy to learn to compartmentalize but it is a skill that can be learned and incorporated in your everyday life.  Try this simple exercise next time you hear some a news story that might bring you down. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is there anything I can do right now to affect the situation depicted in the news story?  If not,
  2. What thoughts can I focus on right now that will move me towards my goals?; and
  3. Is there anything longer term you can do to affect positive change in another’s life?

 In this way you maintain your humanity but are not paralyzed by the ups and downs of the news cycle.



The Art of the Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is your response when someone casually asks, "What kind of work do you do?" and you give them a brief answer in roughly the time span of an elevator ride. You can have an elevator pitch for job search, marketing your business, or pretty much any other situation where you need to get your message out.

The goal is to cause some kind of further action on the part of the listener. Ideally, an opportunity to further discuss your pitch. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs are not prepared when the opportunity arises be it at a wedding reception, alumni lunch or even a chance encounter with a potential investor.

The ideal elevator pitch should be approximately 30 seconds and certainly no longer than 60 seconds. Don't explain your entire business plan. There just isn't time. You need to provide a hook to engage the listener. The first thing out of your mouth should explain the problem you solve. Remember you are not selling the drill, you are selling the hole. Once you have set the hook you can elaborate a little further.

You should constantly refine and practice your elevator pitch but make sure the preparation doesn't smother your enthusiasm for you business or product. Finally, practice in front of a mirror. Tape yourself and let others critique your pitch. It can be a humbling experience but the sting is more than made up for by increased business.


Expand What You Believe is Possible

"A possibility was born the day you were born and it will live as long as you live." ~ Marcus Solero


It is difficult to pursue any level of success if we are not clear and specific about what we believe is possible for ourselves. Our beliefs have tremendous power over us, and over the quality of our entire lives. They dictate how happy and successful we are (or not), the nature of our relationships, what type of home we live in, and even what kind of car we drive. They direct every single facet of our lives, and all of our decisions. Limiting beliefs do just that: limit what we believe is possible. Limiting beliefs keep you stuck. They are a huge obstacle to your success. But they are simply beliefs. You can change any belief you hold. Start by challenging your limiting beliefs. If you still believe they are true, modify them by adding the word "yet." Then create a plan for improving yourself. The key is to change your thought process and thereby your belief about a particular situation. When you open your mind to new possibilities for your situation, what seemed like a dismal circumstance can instantly transform into endless opportunity. Go out there today and start thinking what is possible!!


Exercise Your Brain

Try using your mouse with your other hand for a day. This will stimulate the neural connections between the right and left hemispheres on your brain. The result? A larger number of nerve fibers connecting your left and right brain hemispheres (this is scientifically proven).