Oftentimes I think about who I am as an interior design professional, and I stand amazed at the many opportunities I’ve enjoyed as a creative. There’s the old saying about doing what you love and not working a day in your life, but there’s also this quote I found recently:

“The man who loves walking will walk further than the man who loves the destination.” —Unknown

With each project, I am fueled primarily by several things: the challenges set before me, doing my job impressively well, and creating a well-designed room or space. But because I love what I do, I feel like I gain so much more out of the entire experience–each and every time. Here are just a few of those things.

Embracing the Journey

I think about the quote above and picture two people literally walking down a path. The person most concerned with the destination may be focused on specific things. He may be concerned with directions or landmarks to help him determine how much further he has to go. Or, he may be considering how long it has taken him. Maybe he’s considering what needs to happen when he gets where he’s going. That person may miss many things the lover of walking takes notice of, like the vibrant colors of the foliage, the different sensations felt walking on grass versus concrete, or the soothing sensation of cool breezes that massage the neck.

I can definitely say I am one who would love walking, proverbially speaking. When it comes to home and interior design, there’s so much more for me with a project than the finished presentation. There’s something invigorating about visualizing something from nothing and working through multiple stages to bring that vision to fruition. With each step and element, I give more of who I am. I learn something new about who I can be. That kind of insight will always be priceless.

Push, Stretch, Grow

One of the by-products of appreciating the process versus the end result in the interior design industry is recognizing my own personal and professional growth. I think that happens because I am able to focus on the why’s and how’s of things that get done, and not just that they got done.

Growth is inevitable because I get to focus on what I learned that I didn’t know initially. I discover what I could have done differently, etc. Those notions allow me to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Stretching myself always produces strength in the form of self-empowerment. In one of my biggest projects to date, I pushed myself farther than I ever have, in more ways than one. I managed a larger team, and I was responsible for handling a higher-than-normal volume of materials for the interior of the space. While I’m super excited about how the project turned out, I’m grateful for all I experienced that catapulted my creativity, drive, knowledge, and confidence.

Lessons Learned in Interior Design

Most people go to work every day with the sole purpose of working towards a goal. I can honestly say appreciating the process, the journey, is the primary reason why I’ve enjoyed such success in interior design. It’s why being an interior designer sincerely makes me happy and brings me joy. While I will always fight for the end product to be what the client wants, “success” for me isn’t just in successfully finishing homes and spaces. There’s such satisfaction in all the things I learn along the way. I even appreciate the temporary frustrations from things that didn’t work out. I glean what I can, build professional relationships, take lessons learned to the next project, and have better experiences with each venture.

Whatever you love doing, whether it’s your professional occupation or hobby, raising children, etc., I challenge you to fall in love with the process of doing that thing and not just the end goal. Your outcome is almost always guaranteed to be magnificent—and much sweeter. Even if things don’t work out as you planned in the end, there are so many gems, lessons and valuable takeaways during the process that will make everything worth it.

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