Interior designers are beauty makers. We are hand-holders and problem-solvers for our clients. Our clients want to make a change in their spaces that invites them, and the people who enter their spaces, to their highest and best selves. (Hence my company’s tagline: #comehometoyourSelf)
In order to do this work, we must provide the ground. With our knowledge, skills, and grace, we empower our clients towards living more beauty-filled and fulfilling lives.
While this industry may appear to be all breathtaking moments, behind the scenes it takes guts and grit; bravery and brawn; sore feet, messy messes, neglected personal obligations, and countless sleepless nights.
Most of us in this industry work our asses off. We hustle. A lot.
For example, in one week I installed not one, but two projects complete with four carloads of flowers, art and accessories for client holiday parties, followed by a construction walk-through over the weekend for a new project followed by transitioning from work boots to heels for those two client parties, running errands for my own family, and writing the first draft of this article.
Did I also take time for a green smoothie? A workout? Meditation? Yes. And that is how I get it all done. Extreme self-care.
On those days when nothing is being delivered on time, when nothing comes in the right color or size, when the item is delivered broken, or not at all, while my contractors are standing around, wondering what to do next, we interior designers are called upon to be our best selves, we need to reach inward and tap our courage.
Courage enough to deliver bad news in a way that provides the perfect balance of taking responsibility for getting it fixed, mixed with empathy for my expectant client who can’t understand why I didn’t choose the perfect vendor to deliver their perfect piece of furniture in perfect timing.
As a business owner, I learned that I had to master the art of refraining from making excuses; plus the art of being willing to swallow my ego (a huge undertaking for someone with a big ego like mine!) when I am blamed for something that is out of my control. Because, whatever the cause, the result is not the client’s problem. It’s mine.
I have learned that I can “make” the process more effortless by practicing “The Art of Allowing.”
The Art of Allowing means not being too attached or controlling about my perspective but instead being open to allowing other perspectives and the force of the universe to wield creativity through me — if I step out of the way of my own thinking and my attachment to the outcome.
That is the sweet spot where magic happens. Addiction to certainty is the kiss of death.
When I “allow” things and people to be as they are, I appreciate the good, I see clearly what I can change, I allow the solutions to fall into place, and I allow the things that I can’t change to be as they are. This is not easy. It takes practice.
I have learned that self-care, spiritual practices, integrity, hard work, and taking responsibility where appropriate is the winning strategy, rather than being defensive or failing to follow through.
I have learned that keeping the focus on serving the client, taking care of them without punishing myself, and making it right in the end is what builds a solid, profitable, and pleasurable business.
These lessons are gems that give me tools for my life.
In becoming a designer and a business owner, I found out who I am, what I’m made of. I have learned how to be gracious, loving, and thoughtful towards myself AND my clients. For this journey, for the clients, for all of it, I am eternally grateful. It’s been hard, and messy, beautiful, transformative, filled with moments of wonder and grace, and completely worth it.
A version of this article appeared in the Piedmont Post
A longer in-depth version of this article is posted on www.divinehustler.com
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