Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy of continuous growth and improvement of working practices and personal efficiency. Wether it be excelling at work, changing career paths all together or getting to the next level in your workouts; kaizen urges you to push through your existing comfort zone to find true happiness and be the best you.

We spent a lot of time this week in Fitness Fire classes talking about getting out of your physical and emotional comfort zone and pushing through. I believe that some of the best personal growth can come from pushing through your comfort zones. If you think about it, it begins at birth. A baby is safe, warm, and content in its' mother's womb but at a certain point, it is time for it to join the unfamiliar world. Each step of growth for a baby is forcing it to leave it's comfort zone. The baby's first days out of the womb, crawl, step, etc. Each sign of growth is a step out of its' existing, familiar comfort zone and into the strange unknown. For the baby, pushing through leads to more independence and the formation of their own unique personalities.

The same principles hold true in ones' adult life. New, fresh experiences are vital to enrich ones' life. Personal growth stems from new challenges that lead you to new life experiences. It is easier to remain static and not push forward; fear of change and the unknown are huge factors.  Fear is your body's natural way of letting you know your comfort zone is being compromised. One should be aware and respectful of the feeling of fear but do not let it hold you back. Fear is not a comfortable feeling and usually we avoid it at all costs. Remember we would all be (twenty,thirty, forty,etc) fifty-somethings living in our mother's womb if facing fears were not necessary.

Every time we face our fear and push through our comfort zone, growth happens! Growth is not supposed to come easily. Again, think of the tiny baby taking all its' firsts. Or another example would be any business owner that has taken a risk; for their business to grow they must constantly move forward and be comfortable with change to keep up with the industry. Successful businessman and author Robert Cushing stated, "The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can."

Something to keep in mind is once we've pushed through one comfort zone into the new zone, over time the new zone can become yet another comfort zone. It is important in life to continually challenge oneself with new goals and experiences; this allows for personal growth which sanctions ones' best life possible. It may seem trivial but when you are sweating, out of breath, and feeling uncomfortable during a workout and you make the decision to continue and push yourself by going even faster or picking a heavier weight or just finishing all the way through, you are practicing kaizen. I urge you to take that feeling of empowerment and succes and continue to grow!