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What to Do With Comfortable Inaction


What to Do With Comfortable Inaction

Recently, I coached several folks through situations where they were comfortable or complacent with their current status quo and were “frozen” with respect to what to do to break out of what is often referred to as “comfortable inaction”.

Since comfortable inaction can be damaging to those who “choose” to practice it, I thought I would share what I previously wrote about the topic back in 2013. So as Yogi Berra so famously said, “It’s Déjà Vu all over again.”

Most people who suffer from comfortable inaction (and make no mistake, they suffer from it) don’t know it or the short term and long term effects it is having on them. Comfortable inaction occurs when your unhappiness or discomfort about a particular issue has not quite reached the point where you feel the need to do something.

Unfortunately, many of us adapt and find ways around these issues until they get worse and then we decide to act – usually too late – after we have incurred a loss of time, money, personal or team productivity, energy and possibly credibility (for being seen as a person of inaction). Make no mistake: there is always a cost or loss for comfortable inaction.


Comfortable inaction (especially by people in leadership positions) can be a significant threat to an organization’s operations and growth. When work doesn’t get done, and when problems go unattended, an organization suffers. They could see decreases in revenues as well as increases in expenses, loss of market share, and a myriad of other challenges—all created by comfortable inaction. No problem really ever gets solved when it’s ignored and doesn’t get the attention and action it deserves. Comfortable inaction just makes problems bigger and more complicated.

So, do you sit on the sidelines and suffer through challenges longer than you need to? Success is never measured by how much suffering you can endure.

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