Speaking for Ourselves

Leaving my comfort zone: Alexandre's story

Leaving my comfort zone: Alexandre's story

Marta Arena

 Migrant Voice - Leaving my comfort zone: Alexandre's story

Alexandre Gondim is an artist and a life coach. But he’s not just that. It’s easy to identify others by their profession, or name, or who they represent in a certain situation. If we focus on his profession, Alexandre is an artist. Someone who has been helped with their life issues may see Alexandre as a life coach. Others may see him as a migrant.

Well, Alexandre is all these things – and much more. He is a man with an innate curiosity and need for answers – and a man who has dedicated a big portion of his life to art. Since his youth, art was Alexandre’s way to express himself. At one point he decided to leave his city Salvador to move to Sao Paolo, becoming the director of the company he had been working for. He was “climbing the mountain” of his career, he tells me.

But, although he was reaching the top, he soon decided to go back home and dedicate himself to art again. Alexandre was feeling confused, facing a life crisis. He recalls how his mind was like “a table full of pieces of Lego” that he had to reorganise to make some order in his life.

“Art was a way to take my emotions out, to express myself,” he says. “I was reborn from the ashes and I decided to paint abstract art to focus my energy in creating something rather than destroying myself.”

In this time of deep confusion, Alexandre made the first and most important of ten canvases, which he called ‘the eye of the phoenix’ to describe the process of rebuilding himself.

After a few years, he moved again, this time to settle in London, where the new company he was working for as a designer offered him a job.

“I fell in love with the city,” he recalls. “I got used to the rhythm of the city.”

London offered plenty of opportunity too. It took “a long while”, he remembers, but in 2016 Alexandre started exhibiting his work on a regular basis and he has since participated in 15 shows, three of them solo. He embraced the new culture in which he found himself, not forgetting his Brazilian roots, but doing his best to integrate.

leaving my comfort zone alexandres story

veloso, by Alexandre Gondim

Alexandre is a man who challenges himself – and a man who has the courage to investigate his own soul and find answers for himself and for others. He has used this to help people find their purpose in life.

“At a certain point of my life I understood that I had answers that not everyone has,” he says. “I have this enquiring nature and I feel there is something else out there that needs to be discovered.”

A turning point was realising the importance of dialogue, particularly with oneself. Alexandre made a decision to stop being so harsh on himself – to “get rid of the dictator who was in him to hire a diplomat instead”, he tells me.

Alexandre is a man who wrote a book in a language that is not his, in a country that is not his homeland, and for people that may not have the same background as his. Alexandre is much more than an artist or a life coach or a migrant. Alexandre is an example: he is a courageous, resourceful man who has spent his life challenging himself, always seeking improvement – not only professionally as an artist or coach, but emotionally and as a person.

He is a man who realises that no change comes without effort. His strength and enthusiasm emerge through his art: colours and brightness in his paintings, passion and enthusiasm in his book.

Alexandre is a man of a thousand facets. He is the perfect example of a person who, although facing difficulties and obstacles, never gives up and recreates himself constantly. His purpose in life is to push people out of their comfort zone, to seek change and betterment. And he sets a good example – both in his art, and in his courage in life.

“Everyone should get out of their comfort zone, which makes us conforming and stops you taking actions to improve yourself,” he says. “Everyone should try to get to the stretch zone, an intermediate zone between the comfort zone and the excellence zone.”

Like Alexandre, we should seek to overcome our mental obstacles and allow our strength and capacities to bloom, shedding ourselves of constricting labels and setting ourselves on a path to that zone of excellence.


Visit Alexandre's website here. Read Alexandre's book here.

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