My amazing friend Laura asked me to write a guest post for a women’s entrepreneurship blog Women With Moxie. Once I accepted I then proceeded to panic just a wee bit wondering what advice I might possibly have to give you all. Then it came to me: spend more time on Pinterest. Enjoy!
Everything I needed to know about my dream job I learned from some style blog
If you don’t spend a chunk of your day on design blogs, HGTV, or obsessing on Pinterest, you are missing out on some good stuff. It turns out that their advice on the perfect balance of a room or the appropriate size of an armchair—is handily applied to something more heavy-duty: your work. Here is some universal wisdom I’ve learned about designing your own career.
It’s the best ethic you have in your arsenal. No one is going to hand you your dream job on a silver platter, because chances are your dream job doesn’t exist yet. You have to craft it. Roll up your sleeves, gather your raw materials, put on your safety goggles, and buckle down to create something just a little bit above your skill level and outside your comfort zone. Because nothing you truly love comes “readymade.”
We all deal with problems of scale – (it’s not just a problem for sofas anymore, ladies). While we assume that the rapid growth of a business equals success, (as when I launched an editorial services company back in 2006) it is sometimes more difficult than having no growth at all. Ask yourself: what is the size of the thing I want to do and how will that fit into the room of my life? Will I have to take the door off its hinges?
It’s fake. It’s all in your head. There is an abundance of opportunity waiting to greet you. Have you trolled Craigslist lately for “vintage bar cart?” The issue isn’t lack of supply, but rather the overabundance of choices and possibilities. Our brains don’t know what to do with all the chaos, so we sometimes default to our old jealousy narrative about begrudges others their “finds” (e.g., “If she gets her dream job, then that’s one less dream job available for me.”) Wrong.
It takes a while to consciously recognize what you like (e.g., I pretty much hate polka dots and toile). Apply this to your work-self and make time to reflect on your own work preferences, habits, proclivities, what you can expect of yourself. Recently while coaching one of my employees about missing deadlines — we uncovered that she was massively overbooking herself (and feeling like a slacker for not getting it all done at once!) But all she really needed was to temper her strong work ethic with the proper amount of down-time for herself in order to create her best work product.
Be selective. Be thoughtful. You can only have so many knick knacks. Do you really want this vase as part of your tableau? So too with your menu of services and your network of clients. A colleague once told me that if I spread myself too thin, my own gifts could be diluted. The solution to this is to continue to choose wisely: network with everyone you can, but invest deeply in those with whom you identify a spark and want to build a long-term relationship with, be it a company, a client, or a coworker.
Purpose is the most important thing of all. In the interiors world, it means every object having a real job to do. In your work, it means having clarity around each thing you put your energy into, each task, each job, and each relationship. When I lead a team, host an event, or organize a meeting – I make the purpose explicit both to myself and to the people I am inviting into the room. Everything deserves meaning.