The “HOW” of Comfort Zone Shake-Up

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How do you train to change?

If the “WHY” of Comfort Zone Shake-Up is based on the personal growth filter applied to change, which I express as “I would like to learn, improve, and grow constantly,” the “HOW” of Comfort Zone Shake-Up represents my attempt to answer the following question:

“What is the best way to grow and improve the quality of our life?”

I thought about the opportunity to insert the adjective “best” before the word “way,” and, as you have seen, I chose to keep it as the “best way” to grow and improve the quality of our life. By saying “best,” my aim is to reinforce the message rather than evoke arrogant presumption. I use “best” here with a more relative than absolute meaning. A more accurate question that each of us could ask is:

“What is the best way for me to grow and improve the quality of my life?”

I do not propose magic recipes and I do not have a valid solution for everyone. I have a point of view: our individuality represents the starting point of our metaphorical journey to discover ourselves, and our personal way of giving value and meaning to our lives. From what you find on this site, take only what you feel applies to you—that’s okay!

My “HOW” is the Shake Up of the traditional Comfort Zone concept

Comfort Zone Shake-Up is the metaphor I have chosen to talk about the journey to discover ourselves and our ability to react to change. Deconstructing the concept will help us get to the “how.” We start with the Shake-Up part.

1. Shake-Up

It was in late-afternoon-Friday traffic on the way back from work between New Jersey and New York, and as usual, I was talking and talking with my colleague and friend Roman about my Comfort Zone project.

It is from that brainstorming, and from his point of view as an American millennial, that the Shake-Up was born. When he said this word, I sensed what he meant, but I was not completely sure about its exact meaning. The first image I visualized was of a milkshake—pink, giant and creamy—probably one of the most obvious symbols of America for non-Americans. Let’s not forget that I grew up watching “Grease,” “Footloose,” and “Happy Days.”

Shake-Up in English means “a radical reorganization.” Some synonyms of Shake-Up in line with what you will find on this site are “innovation, transformation, change, reshaping, renovation, improvement.” In this project, Shake-Up is obviously not associated with a milkshake—here it means to restructure, reorganize, renew, change, innovate, transform, redesign, improve, and increase.

I know it is super ambitious, but ideally, we can shake up our lives, our professions, our habits, our various comfort zones, and everything we want to associate with our world.

And while the Americans who read these lines shake their heads wondering if it is right that I have a green card, I tell you that it was also my inaccurate translation of Shake-Up that contributed to my choice of the name Comfort Zone Shake-Up for this project.

In order to obtain a good milkshake, a series of ingredients must pass through a fundamental phase of “shaking!” And the most important ingredient in this case is us.

After having cleared up the meaning of Shake-Up, all that remains is to talk about our Comfort Zone—or Comfort Zones, because we have many more than one.

2. Comfort Zone

Lately, I’m obsessed with this. The world around us—due to and thanks to technology—is changing our lives at a speed and with a scale never seen before, and I hear more and more talk about the Comfort Zone.

Per Wikipedia, the Comfort Zone is “a mental condition in which a person feels a sense of familiarity, feels comfortable and in control of the situation, without experiencing any form of stress and anxiety.”

If you try to type in “Comfort Zone” on Google, you will find—in addition to a brand of creams—a whole series of articles, quotations, videos, and images evoking dream destinations, parachutes, and memorable feats. They’re all very interesting and—I would say “but”—they are almost unanimously focused on the concept of being either inside or outside the Comfort Zone. I bet you have seen this sentence:

“Life begins at the end of the Comfort Zone.”

(“La vita inizia al di fuori della Comfort Zone.”)

associated with more or less evocative images like these:

Va bene. This is fine, as we say in Italy.

There are times when we need pure inspiration without having to think too much about paying the bills. We need to dream. There are moments in our lives when we need to feel invincible to conquer something completely outside of our comfort zones. There are times when we are ready to throw ourselves into something! So let’s go.

It was exactly like this for me when in 2005 I left my beloved village to move to Milan or later when I decided to move to New York.

But there are also moments—most of them, if you think about it—in which life, real life, normal life, everyday life, simply flows. And it does so very often without asking for permission. It does it anyway, almost without us realizing it, when we are focused on the goal to be reached or distracted as only we can be from this search.

Here I am, fascinated by the idea of concentrating on right here: on everyday life, with its routines, its problems, and its satisfactions. I am fascinated by the idea of giving value to every minute, every hour, every day, learning, improving, growing, and expanding our Comfort Zones.

After all, every week arrives with its Monday to be tackled, and—with rare exceptions—we do not expect a parachute launch. It’s “just” another new week.

The “HOW” of Comfort Zone Shake-Up

I promised you that by deconstructing the concept we would arrive at the “HOW” of Comfort Zone Shake-Up, and here we are.

I think it’s time to do a bit of “Shake-Up” and to restructure the traditional Comfort Zone concept. I think it’s time to do some shaking up in our everyday lives.

That’s why I talk about the Comfort Zone Shake-Up instead of the traditional idea of “leaving” or “getting out of” our Comfort Zones. I think it’s time to talk about EXPANDING our Comfort Zones. It is time to start believing—really believing—that it depends on us. It’s time to start doing it every day starting with the little things, the things we often take for granted. It is time to start from a different point of view:

“Life begins INSIDE the Comfort Zone.”)

(“La vita inizia DENTRO la Zona di Comfort.”)

How Do You Train To Change?

By expanding our Comfort Zones. By creating a Shake-Up. That is, restructuring, reorganizing, renewing, changing, innovating, transforming, redesigning, improving, or enhancing some aspect of your life. Choose the connotation you like best for the context that interests you most. Ready?

Come on, you haven’t noticed it, but we’ve already started.

Back to the Golden Circle framework, we started with the “WHY” behind Comfort Zone Shake-Up and we moved to the “HOW.”

What’s next? The “WHAT” of course! Stay tuned!

Photo: Nousha Salimi

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