Who are you trying to please? Or maybe I should ask... For what audience are you performing? These are questions I’ve been asking myself lately - and I challenge you to ask these questions of yourself: Are you trying to please or perform for your friends? your family? your co-workers? your boss? your clients? your “friends” on Facebook or Instagram? your ideal social circle? the culture in general? What audience determines your choices? your decisions? your purchases? your involvement? your posts on social media? your overall direction in life? In other words, for what or for whom are you living?
We all fall victim to outside influences... it’s part of living this life on earth. Some influences are good and some are bad, some influences are helpful and some are hurtful, some influences are life-giving and some suck the life right out of us. What influences are impacting you?
I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting and self-editing lately. I’ve been reading books, searching God’s Word, seeking professional guidance, and listening to people around me. I’ve realized that for a long time (as long as I can remember), I’ve been trying to please someone or perform for some audience - whether it be my family, my friends, my teachers or school, my church members or church, my clients, my professional connections, my social media audience, or just the culture in general. And to be honest, I’m tired... I’m tired of pushing myself to meet unattainable expectations of people or audiences that will never allow me to feel fully satisfied. Everyone has an opinion about what you should be doing, what status you should be achieving, or who you should be trying to become. But what really matters?
As a designer and business owner, I’ve always tried to find the best way to serve my clients - and I truly desire for them to be pleased with the products or services I offer. But lately I’ve gotten off-track, and I’ve had to eat a lot of humble pie. I’ve had to apologize more than I’ve been able to please my clients. Why? Because I started listening to the wrong voices - the voices that told me that success is achieved by working a lot, pushing really far, and taking on as many projects as possible. I saw images on social media that made me crave taking on “more” so I could produce pretty pictures like the ones I saw and admired. I didn’t feel like I measured up to other interior designers, and I wasn’t offering all the full-service bells & whistles that I thought the design industry required of me if I wanted to be considered a “real” designer. So I dove in head-first without thinking, and I started offering too many services - more than I could handle by myself (with an occasional handy-man for installations). I did some projects really well, but I’ve failed at some too - not neccessarily from the design standpoint but more in the communication and time-line departments. All of my striving for “more” has left me feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, empty and extremely frustrated with myself.
So what am I doing about it? I’m (slowly) getting back to the basics, I’m learning to accept my limited capacity at this stage in my life, I’m making some significant edits - both personally and professionally, and I’m trying to listen to the only voice that really matters - an Audience of One - our heavenly Father. I recently read Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, which I highly recommend if you struggle with busy-ness or trying to achieve “more.” The book left me yearning for a simpler and more intentional way of life. While I won’t go into all the personal edits I’m trying to make, I do want to catch you up to speed on the changes I’m making in my business:
I’ve already edited and updated my website with the home design services I’m currently offering. At this time, I’m only providing consultation services and room design plans - both locally and virtually. I will no longer offer shopping and installation services, and I cannot take on any long-term projects like large-scale renovations and new construction. I recently met with a client who was in need of some decorating and design direction - she was willing and able to shop for and install the items herself, but she needed specific recommendations and measurements. I was able to assist her efficiently and in a very timely manner which left her feeling very satisfied and left me feeling energized and helpful. That consultation was a gift from above - it was the wake-up call I needed to realize what I’m capable of doing well and that I need to focus only on that - especially during this sweet stage of my life with an almost 3-year-old daughter and a baby boy due in November!
This shift in my business will leave me with less pretty pictures to post on social media and add to my portfolio, but I’m okay with that - knowing that in the end, I’ll have time for more of what really matters - time with my Father, time with my family, and time to do what I am capable of doing well - both in my business and personal life. And that’s why I’m choosing to perform for my most important Audience of One.