Pull what is valuable, do not wait for it

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Once you have understood the importance of self-empowerment, the next Lean Self principle will be just a natural consequence for you. Self empowerment also means that you actively go out and pull value. You may need to pull “at yourself” or ask others. Passively waiting until you get what you want is not a good choice. This is the fourth principle:

What do I mean with “pull”, in contrast to “push”? This is the translation of the “pull principle” from Lean Management to Lean Self. In Lean Management, the pull principle means that the client’s requests are the start of every production, goods and deliverables are only built on demand (this is a very crude simplification, but for our purposes it suffices).

In Lean Self you are your own customer. Do not expect somebody else to give you something you want or need without being asked. Pulling means also that you need to find just the right effort to create your value, only working as much as really required. Pushing, on the other hand, means that you put too much energy into work. You pull when something is required, not earlier. This reduces the amount of work done needlessly. You will understand this in more detail after the discussion of waste types and waste reduction, which will come in some later posts.

Learning for an exam is a good example. In school or at a university, you may have seen both at work, may have used both. One can either learn continuously throughout the year, or one can have a good time and then make a final sprint before an exam. People who wait for the last minute with learning usually have a lot to do in short time. That leads to a spike in activity and to total exhaustion after the exam. Continuous learning, on the other hand, is a moderate effort. You have the advantage that you still could make a learning sprint, should the necessity come up.

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