There have been game changers multiple times throughout history—the horseless buggy, powered flight, the assembly line, the computer and a slew of others. All of these innovations have changed the landscape of our lives. We have evolved or adapted to these innovations without conscious thought. That is how evolution happens. Some innovations come by revolution, which require conscious effort to adapt to and or change from the status quo to the new environment.

One of the problems that we as a species struggle with is comfort. Comfort  is the prettier sister of complacency. We settle into our comfort zones when we fool ourselves into thinking that the environment has ceased to change. We blind ourselves to the changes that are happening around us and if we do not pay attention, we will soon find that we are no longer suited  to thrive or even survive in the current environment. If you are blinded by complacency, you will not see the changed environment until the rug has been pulled out from under your feet.

How do you know if you’ve become “too comfortable?” Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time you challenged the status quo?
  2. How long has it been since you have refined your business’ best practices/processes?
  3. Are you current with the latest industry buzz?
  4. How old is your current technology?
  5. How often do you focus on the day-to-day vs stepping back to focus on the bigger picture?

This has happened to many a business owner where everything was good. The business had been growing, but then, seemingly overnight, the business began to flounder and the business ended up failing. We have all heard stories like this.

It is a failure to adapt; a failure to see what the environment is doing around us and not choosing to adapt before evolution kills off our business. The evolutionary process is violent, in nature and in business.

Perhaps the issue is that we get so caught up in the minutiae of the day to day operation of the business that we cannot pull back and see the “big picture”. This is where the saying “drowning in the details” comes from. It’s not a joke; it is figurative, but accurate.

You must make it a priority to take a step back and see what the environment is doing around you, then you must take the time to analyze what adaptation you must adopt to navigate the new environment.


Even major corporations can fall prey to misdirection. When the Apple iMac first came out, Steve Jobs was insistent that the computer have an elegant slot drive like the high end Sony music players. While these drives were indeed beautiful, the slot drives were not as common and were the last to receive mainstream capabilities like CD burning. CD burning was at an all time high at the turn of the century. But opposed to playing catchup, Apple assessed all possibilities and was able to leapfrog their competitors by developing itunes. Apple was able to step back, see a problem, and become the industry leader within a few short years.

If you feel that you cannot afford the time to analyze and critically approach your business’ evolution, then you certainly will not thrive—you may not even survive. Take time to learn what your industry is doing. That does not mean that you are constantly changing focus and direction, but you are able to have a game plan of where to make key pivots.

If you wish to thrive and grow, you must  be a proactive adaptor and not be afraid of evolution. Look. Think. Project. Act. Evolve. Thrive. Repeat.

Where is your business in the evolutionary sequence? What are some of your “comfort zone ruts” and what do you do to avoid them?

Accomplish More. Spend Less.

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