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Why Just-in-Time Just Makes Sense


As Toyota execs and my graduate students concluded so many years ago, hanging on to a just-in-case worldview in abundant environments is plain bad business. And as I've seen in countless coaching scenarios since, switching to a just-in-time mind-set ("Everything good is readily available") restores health and balance to our lives.

The great news is that just one mental shift—focusing on the abundance of your environment—switches your psychological settings so that your life automatically improves in many areas you may think are unrelated. This is essentially a leap from fear to faith; it's not religious faith but the simple belief that we'll probably be able to get what we need when we need it. When the issues above are considered through abundance-based, just-in-time thinking, it's a whole different ball game:

Food Fulfillment
I've never been a weight loss coach; my focus is on helping people go from fear and suffering to relaxation and happiness. So I was baffled when many of my clients told me, "I'm finally losing weight—and I'm not even trying." This intrigued me so much that I spent years researching and writing a book about it [The Four-Day Win]. After reading thousands of studies and interviewing dozens of experts, I'm convinced that the thought "Everything good is readily available" kicks the body out of its panicky, fat-storing mode and into a state that helps it shed excess fat. 

Stuff Sufficiency
Dianne is 50-ish and newly divorced. Part of our coaching work helped her develop just-in-time confidence about money (which allowed her to leave the financial security of her emotionally dead marriage). During our final session, she said, "Something weird is happening. All of a sudden, I'm tidy. I've always been a stuff person, but now I don't add clutter. It's a wonderful, spacious feeling." Dianne didn't achieve this by forcing herself to clean up. She simply developed the confidence of a just-in-time manager, and her behavior changed almost on its own.

Mellow Money Management
"I got really panicky when the economy went south," says Jackie, one of my fellow coaches. "All my business dried up, and I was really scared. But I hate feeling scared, and I'm a coach, so one day I coached myself back to trusting life. I felt better immediately, but what's strange is that clients started coming out of the woodwork. I had to start a waiting list."

This, as any Toyota alum will tell you, is what happens to people who have enough confidence to run a just-in-time operation. I can't quite explain this; it often seems nothing short of miraculous. Perhaps this is why the authors of the Bible included the story of the wandering Israelites who were given manna from heaven, but only permitted to gather enough to supply their needs until the next manna-festation. Whether you take it literally or metaphorically, this tale was considered important enough to become holy writ. Why? I believe it's to counteract the just-in-case anxiety that makes billionaires keep hoarding more money. The Israelite story-keepers wanted to remind readers that, miraculous as it seems, just-in-time confidence keeps supply lines clear and prosperity flowing. 

Lasting Love
I've done my share of just-in-case controlling when it comes to love (I'd like to apologize to anyone who once wandered into my danger zone). Happily, I've learned that setting people free, not trying to control them, ensures a lifetime supply of love.

Here's the closest thing I know to a genuine love spell: "I'll always love you, and I really don't care what you do." This is not a promise to stay in a relationship with someone whose behavior is destructive. It's a simple statement that you aren't dependent on the other person's choices. That means you can respond to someone as he or she really is, instead of trying to force a fallible person to be infallible. Knowing that love (like all good things) is readily available, we don't need to control any individual. And oh, how people love being loved without a care.

Next: Making the Switch

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