Outside the comfort zone…innovation

“Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone”~Neale Donald Walsch.  This quote recently caused me to ponder where exactly my professional comfort zone boundaries are, and what would happen if I ventured out beyond those limits.  More importantly, if I’m outside my “space of comfort”, what could I accomplish versus staying inside the “safe zone.”  Is outside the comfort zone the place where creativity, ideas and true innovation are born?

We don’t have to look far to find a long list of success stories and examples of people who ventured out of perceived comfort zones; Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Christopher Columbus, The Wright Brothers, etc.  These people and countless others didn’t jump off the deep end, take blind risks or ridiculous gambles just for the sake of being different.  They made calculated decisions knowing that failure, ridicule and continuous adjustments were part of the process to create their vision.  But the common thread among successful entrepreneurs is their passionate belief of possible, when others just see impossible.

In the funeral industry, moving beyond the predictable routines that we are accustomed is not exactly commonplace…basically we are generally slow to change, much less accept and adopt something new.  I saw a definition of innovate;improve something with a new idea or procedure; or produce a product using a new and better way.”  So, with this definition in mind, what is innovative in our industry?  I am blessed to be in position to travel, meet and be exposed to some really interesting funeral professionals.  Some are licensed funeral directors and some are not, but the commonality is they all have a vision of making our industry better.

So in the next few weeks through this blog I would like to share some of the people, products and ideas that I think are fantastic.  Most interestingly, none were showcased or even had a booth at the recent NFDA Convention in Austin.  However in my opinion, we’ll be seeing more of them in the near future…these are people with passion who stepped out of their comfort zone to innovate (see the definition above) in the funeral industry.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Mike Squires, CFSP, Funeral Director and Editor of Southern Calls (www.southerncalls.com), a new funeral industry magazine.  The editorial content of Southern Calls embraces the rich heritage of funeral service in the South featuring compelling stories and striking pictorial content of the region’s People, Places and Passions. What makes Southern Calls more unique beyond the beautiful photos, well written stories, and the obvious well-developed publication, is passion. Mike’s passion for our profession bleeds through each page and in colorful display for the world to see.  Southern Calls is innovative, a Garden & Gun for the funeral industry…visit their website, take a look, and get a copy.  You’ll be glad you did.

Southern Calls

  1. There is much truth in what you are saying. I recently decided that it was time for me to take my first step beyond my normal comfort zone. A growing need seemed to constantly present itself to me. A need to regularly address just the basic information of the cemetery side of our industry. People have a huge curiosity to know what should become standard knowledge early in our lives. It rarely is the case. Realizing this universal void I have gathered some of the facts and created a handy reference guide. Having stepped beyond my comfort zone is now showing me a growth at many levels, that may have never happened. Keeping your passion to make things better as just an inactive thought or hidden idea goes no where. It merely bounces around and around your normal comfort zone.


  2. Jeff Harbeson said:

    Great to hear from you and thanks for responding. I believe that we are at out best when we look for the opportunities presented before us and then seek how to move from vision to execution. Lets stay in touch and please me know how I may assist you in your endeavors…



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