Tuesday, August 13, 2013
THE FOREST IS TOO OVERWHELMING: A LEAN SIGMA CONCEPT
Good day and I hope you are having a great week. I was studying some Lean Sigma concepts the other day as part of my expanding education and I came to a lesson called “Scoping a Project”. In essence the challenge for any problem solving project in the real world is to define and breakdown the problem to a manageable piece that can be tackled. Most of the time projects seem to have a focus like “Solve World Hunger Issue”. They are just too broad to tackle in any meaningful way. These type of global topics wastes resources, energy, and leads to disappointments which leads to giving up or declaring the problem impossible to solve.
Success in any area of your life is usually the same. It is just too broad to tackle all at once. I have read both Wallace D. Wattles, and Jack Canfield state this in different ways and I am paraphrasing here: “Success is taking small successful steps over and over every day. Smalls successes done each and every day will get you to your goals.” The challenge is that the majority of us cannot define the small steps, or more to the point we cannot recognize what we think we want to overcome is just too broad a challenge that needs to be broken down into smaller pieces.
Take disciplining my little ones for example. To deal with this concept all at once posed a major challenge for me. I made both myself and my kids miserable when I tried to overcome the global “be a good kid” challenge. No one was gaining anything from the experience. I had to break down the issue to things that at first encompassed keeping them out of danger. Next came the things that were important to their health. We were fortunate that the basics manners and associations with others they just picked up from mimicking the actions of my wife and me. At each stage the hardest part was to let others things just be resolved by ” what felt good to ME”. For example when I was working on timely sleeping habits, I had to allow some snaking if it would be the peaceful resolution to keeping on track with sleeping ritual. This went against every fiber of my parenting thoughts and instincts. From the perspective of The Law of Attraction though it makes perfect sense. I have to be feeling good to attract positive incidences to me. If I start a conflict when I am concentrating on a behavior, that only will attract more negative conflict to me and hinders my child’s progress. It is so much easier to say and write this than to practice and to this day I have to keep on reminding myself that my emotional alarm system is there to help me. I went through a time, as I am sure many parents have, where I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I kept on asking myself and the Universe “how am I attracting all this negativity in my kids behavior?”. I knew for certain that I had been blessed with two very well behaved and well-adjusted kids. I was tackling something that was just too broad for, and here is the key, MY COMFORT ZONE AT THE TIME. Perhaps if other stressors were not present at the time, I could have remained positive while dealing with multiple areas of disciplining my kids. What matters is your feelings are telling you that you are chewing more than you can handle NOW. Perhaps after an exercise session or a walk around the block you can manage more.
If you see repeated setbacks, try to see if you can break down the path to your goal into smaller pieces that you can succeed in with less difficulty. Listen to your feelings until the steps feel good. The size of the steps are in a large part dependent on how strong your WHY is? Maybe it is time to rewrite all the positive feelings and positive reasons that you want this goal again on paper. There is allot of power in this exercise.
So the moral of the story is to scope your goals into little pieces that are actionable. As the old saying goes, “The way to eat an elephant is one bit at a time”. Do not try to eat the whole elephant. With practice you will get good at this. I caution you though it is not easy to see it if you are not familiar with the concept. More important if you have not practice it by taking actionable steps. We are so used to seeing the whole project or challenge. Sometimes looking at the forest is just too overwhelming.