Written By: Richard F. Libin
A Creature of Habit is defined as a person who “develops (generally inadvertently) a set pattern of doing the same thing(s) during a certain time period of the day, week, etc.”
We are all creatures of habit. Everyone has a routine that keeps us in our comfort zone both in personal and professional lives. We drive the same route to work, park in the same space every day, drink the same coffee, shop at the same grocery store, and buy the same brands.
So, as professionals, the challenge is getting creatures of habits to break out of their comfort zones and choose to work with you, buy from the business you represent, and purchase the product or service you are selling?
Last week I drove from Boston to Canada to Baltimore. I took a secondary road and then transitioned to the highway, relying on my trusty GPS for the best directions. About 20 miles down the highway, I passed a truck. It was the exact same truck I had passed just before exiting the secondary road. The driver apparently had taken a different route, a better route, which cut time and mileage off his trip. As a creature of habit, I had relied on my GPS, as usual, but had not made the best choice. If I only had only known that I could have followed the truck! You better believe that the next time I will check for alternatives! Too often, we confuse guidance with direction. At school, teachers provide information that guide us and influence choices throughout our lives. A GPS system provides guidance – alternatives – that shows how to move from point to point. At work, managers provide training and guidance designed to help us excel. While essential, any information we get – whether from teachers, technology or managers – does not mean it’s the best direction in every situation.
The only way to get most people out of their comfort zones and motivate them to break habits is to get them to change their way of thinking or, as the saying goes, to get them to think and act outside the box, to change their perception. If two people look at the same picture, they will each see it if different ways. One may see the sun breaking through a storm and another may see a storm brewing. While neither perception is wrong, yet typically an individual’s perception rarely changes. As creatures of habit, we follow the same routine every day. We drive the same roads, stop at the same coffee shop, shop at the same stores, and buy the same brands. We live, work and play in the same box, even if it’s not the best choice.
If I had stepped out of my box and thought about alternative routes, I would have arrived earlier. I stayed in my comfort zone, my box, and followed the directions my “guidance” – my GPS – told me to go.
Yet, look what can happen when individuals and companies break out of their comfort zone.
Some people are motivated by the word no and by failure, and are driven to look for a new way to do things. For them, no means go, and fail means sail. All it takes is a different look, a change of perception. It takes you. If you don’t change anything, nothing changes at all. Yet, change brings benefits.
|Comfort Zone||Different Way||Why||Benefit for Business|
|Mop and bucket||iRobot Roomba||Saves time||Revenue|
|Checkout line||Self-checkout||Faster, easier
More customer aggravation
|Lower personnel expenses|
|Specialty stores (grocery, bakery, hardware, etc.)||Warehouse stores||Convenient, lower prices||Higher revenue and sales; lower overhead|
|Electric ovens for all baking and cooking||Microwaves/convection ovens||Convenient, fast, more even cooking||New revenue stream up sell|
|External hard drives for backup storage||Cloud computing||More secure||Recurring revenue|
The difference between people who stay in their comfort zone and those who get out or change is a willingness to take the risk. And, if the risk doesn’t work, to persist, to try again, to make it work. They never quit. Look at examples above. Each of these individuals, regardless of their field of endeavor, was a risk taker. They left their comfort zone repeatedly and accomplished exactly what they envisioned, what often they were told could never be possible.
In sales, the constant question must be, “What are you going to do differently tomorrow that you didn’t do today?” Success comes when YOU thinking out of box. Ask yourself:
Unless you view your situation from different perspectives, think outside the box, and try or invent new ways of doing things, no book or training, or class will ever make a difference. And, if you can’t change your own perspective, you’ll never change anyone or anything else.
Richard F. Libin
Richard F. Libin has written two acclaimed books that help people of all walks…
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