Had an utterly fantastico successful meeting with our Boston client. So much so, that we pretty much wrapped up all of our planning before noon, had lunch, checked out two showrooms and she said to us - I'm good, I think I'll head to the airport and catch an earlier flight.
Luck? Rushed choices? Hell to the (k)no(w) - how is more like it. Experience, talent for appraising a client's wants/needs and delivering on them. Yes, it helps to have a savvy client who communicates wonderfully and makes decisions well - decisively but let there be no mistake, none of this happened by accident. Creating the right kind of environment for efficient and bang on collaboration - it's what sets the pros apart from the rest.
Whilst reflecting on all of this, I went all Canadian and thought - well that's a bit over the top tooting of one's horn but then it struck me - why on earth would I apologize for that? Is it a product of my conditioning as a girl? Should I apologize or be made to feel bad because I am talented? I looked back into my years as a teacher and other women teachers would routinely say things like: "I hate you, you are so bloody artistic and talented - it makes me sick." Now I know that this was spoken in jest but you know what they say... Many a Truth is Spoken In Jest...
So it got me to thinking... what would my 40 year old self - let's be clear, I'm not 40 yet August 24th is the date and until then I'm enjoying every last ounce of 39 - say to my 22 year old self? What advice would I impart?
1. Don't use your body as a weapon. Respect & honour it and others will do the same. AND HOW.
2. Never apologize for your talents. Work to your strengths & always know your audience.
3. When collaborating or working in teams, find partners/collaborators who compliment your skill set.
4. If you are going to be a designer, talent is not enough. Hone your business skills & develop a thick skin. Design is not just about what you like it's about creating an environment for someone else. It's hard work, determination and more than just picking out pretty things. At times you will be a professional punching bag. You're doing something right when that happens. It gets better and easier over time.
5. Never apologize for being in business to make money & by that Not just earn a living, but to make money.
6. Most people will do nothing. Don't be like most people. (Brad Lamb - Big City Broker)
7. BMW would never pick a fight with Hyundai. (Borrowed from a smart friend)
8. You've got a big mouth make sure you can back it up. Some people won't like what you have to say, but don't let that discourage you from saying it.
9. Think with your pocket book. (My best friend taught me that)
10. Hold out and wait for the right guy. He's worth the wait and you won't have to compromise who you are and who you are becoming.
11. Have a baby. You sure do make 'em great (though the morning sickness will suck and last for 7 months all day - still worth it though).
12. You will jump and the net DOES appear.
13. Get a great accountant.
14. NEVER go into business with a friend if you want to keep them as a friend. (it's fine to become friends over time)
15. Pay your taxes (all of them and there are a lot!), get good insurance & join the Chamber of Commerce & get a good benefits package.
16. Be grateful every day that you get to follow your passion.
17. Education - you can not be a designer without an education. What that may entail will differ but a great design is not merely born from talent. Be smart and always keep learning and growing.
18. Be open to change. Change is good.
19. Buy Apple Stock.
20. Vessels sinks/Beige & Espresso Knock Down Furniture are the devil's work. (that one is for Brandon!)