Safe Vs Comfortable: Where Are You Now?

If you’re comfortable in your business – with how things are travelling – then you might be in a very dangerous place.

While you’re comfortable doing things much the same way as you have been, the world is changing.

I spotted this tweet by Mark Bouris recently and it reminded me of something Seth Godin wrote in the Icarus Deception way back in 2012.

The fence holding us back is no longer there, but we still feel comfortable with the old boundaries. Now that a revolution has hit, now that the economy is upside down and the rules have changed, we have to confront an obvious truth:

The safety zone has changed, but your comfort zone has not. Those places that felt safe—the corner office, the famous college, the secure job—aren’t. You’re holding back, betting on a return to normal, but in the new normal, your resistance to change is no longer helpful.

Godin, Seth. The Icarus Deception (p. 3). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Yes – that was written back in 2012. How relevant is this in 2020?

Don’t be caught asleep at the wheel

Transcription

If you were to think about where you are in your business, in your industry right now, would you say that you’re comfortable? Or would safe be a better word to describe where you are?

These two positions are actually quite different. I saw this post on instagram by Mark Bouris the other day, and that reminded me of that.

In it, he says: “If you keep picking the easy option, don’t make excuses for why you’re not going anywhere. You don’t go anywhere new on the path you know is easy.” Now, there’s quite a lot of truth to that.

So let’s explore that today.

G’day! I’m Jason Foss. Now that Instagram post reminded me a lot of a Seth Godin book called the Icarus Deception.

And in that, he talks about the relationship between your comfort zone and your safe zone. So I might just read a couple of key paragraphs from that book now: “the fence holding us back is no longer there, but we still feel comfortable with the old boundaries, now that a revolution has hit, now that the economy is upside down and the rules have changed, we have to confront an obvious truth: the safety zone has changed, but your comfort zone has not. Those places that felt safe, the corner office, the famous college, the secure job, aren’t.”

“You’re holding back betting on a return to normal, but in the new normal, your resistance to change is no longer helpful.”

Funny, this book was written eight years ago in 2012, but how relevant is that? Still in 2020! So moving on:

“It’s simple, they’re still a safety zone. But it’s not in a place that feels comfortable to you. And over the page: moving to a new safety zone is a little like learning to swim.

It’s clearly better to have the ability to survive and even have fun in the water. But for a long time, it’s not comfortable.”

And we can see by the diagrams here: Once upon a time, the comfort zone was inside the safety zone. But for many industries and many businesses, the comfort zone is now moving away from the safety zone.

And there’s been plenty of examples of this, too. If you think about the music industry, if you think about Kodak, if you think about Blockbuster Video. Think about the taxi industry. All these guys were comfortable doing what they were doing.

Chugging along. Business as usual, but the safety zone had moved away from them and they weren’t quick enough to move. Whether it be largely brought along by the internet.

But there could be various circumstances – being comfortable and being safe were not the same thing – they are quite different, and as a result, they’ve suffered.

It’s hard to believe that the Icarus Deception was written eight years ago. You know, it was have been true back then. But in 2020 how true is it?

So maybe you’re busy. Maybe you’re not. But if you’re just chugging along in your business, doing pretty much the same thing you’ve always done: eyes up.

Don’t get caught asleep at the wheel if the safety zone has moved away from the comfort zone. So here’s a question to ask yourself: in your industry.

Where is the safety zone moving to?

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