We all have a comfort zone, a place or rather a mental state in which we feel secure, comfortable and confident. It may be a particular style of work that we have mastered and/or are known for or it may be a specific working environment in which we feel at ease.
A classic example of this is the guy who can work almost without thought in the shop but completely falls apart is he is asked to work in the field as an installer. Suddenly a normally competent person becomes an inept bumbler.
We tend to want to remain in our comfort zones. And most of the time, we are able to do so with no real problems. There is enough work of the type we are comfortable with that we can take a pass on jobs that might take us into uncertain territory.
Of course, there are many whose comfort zone is just the opposite. They love the challenges of new processes and thrive on the need to invent on the fly. But they still have a comfort zone. Put one of these guys in a shop with the task of making a hundred cabinet doors and they will probably crash as hard as the guy who does this every day if you took him out of the shop and asked him to figure out how to get a big cabinet through a small door.
The problem with comfort zones is that they tend to become very restrictive when times get tight. Suddenly, everyone is feeling the pinch, jobs are not so easy to come by and shops may not have the luxury of cherry picking the ones they are comfortable with. It becomes necessary for us to move out of our comfort zones. It also becomes more necessary to innovate and innovating from the comfort zone is close to impossible.
Breaking out of the comfort zone is not easy but it can be done. Next time, some tips on exactly how to do this.