What if? What if you decided to do something so radical, so unlike yourself, so risky that it absolutely changed everything? In the best way possible? What if you stopped asking yourself “what if” and you just stepped out in a bold move to chase that wild dream? What if your PURPOSE, that stunning beauty-of-a-thing you were CREATED FOR was just around the corner?
Sometimes we’re so caught up in the day-to-day. The chores right in front of us. The STUFF that bogs us down and keeps us from dreaming. I’m challenging you to take a peek around the corner with me. Just a 2-second glance. Because there it is. Are you going after it? Or would you rather stay back? In your safe routine?
I’m certainly no expert, but I get this question a lot. So I’ve been thinking about it lately. It’s been on my heart to share with you. Because maybe YOU are in this place right now. You don’t LOVE your current job. It doesn’t feel like what you were MADE to do. Well, before you take a leap of faith, here are 5 things I wish I’d known before I decided to follow my dreams.
(Here I am on my first day of design school. What an exciting day. I wanna tell that girl to BUCKLE UP! Whoa, she does not even know what’s ahead.)
1.That little voice inside? Listen. But make sure you’re listening to the RIGHT voice.
We all have it. That voice inside that’s telling us what we love. What we’re good at. What makes us crazy happy. Yes! Please listen to THAT voice! That’s the ONE! Trouble is, there’s also another thing we hear. The doubts. The “you’re not good enoughs.” The “who do you think you are?” Sometimes this voice is so loud (or we LET it be so loud), it drowns out the good voice. Stop that. When I decided to follow my heart, my passion, I figured it would be ALL “good voice in my head” time. Does that make sense? I thought that just because I was going to “school” for design, that would squash any doubts, and I would magically be an expert, totally confident in myself. Huh. How cute. I was so naive. It’s an EVERY DAY DECISION to block out that voice. To remember who I am in Christ, and that He has a plan for my life. That following this dream, this fun adventure that God created me for, is right where I’m supposed to be.
2.Following your dream is exciting and fulfilling.
If someone would have told me a couple years ago I would be doing this as a CAREER someday, I would have laughed. No, no, no, silly. I decorate and design for myself. No one else. What if they don’t like it? What if I don’t really have ANY talent at all? Getting over those types of questions has been so exciting. I have found I rely SO MUCH on the Lord in everything I do…especially in my work. My prayer from the beginning has been that as God opens doors, I’ll walk through them. It’s absolutely thrilling to pursue a dream. When things all start making sense, and you look at your past experiences, failures, jobs that didn’t work out, and you see that He was shaping you for THIS. That everything you learned along the way was for a purpose. This purpose.
3. Following your dream is terrifying and humbling.
Oh ya. Stepping out…it ain’t easy. Getting over yourself and all your reasons it will never work, all the questions and doubts and fears. And then once you get into the thick of it, you make mistakes. You feel dumb. You start comparing yourself to others in your field and you feel like you don’t belong. Guess what? EVERYONE DOES THAT. Even the best of the best…the one you have on a pedestal in your mind? She questions herself. She makes mistakes. She feels like she doesn’t measure up sometimes. It’s all part of it, sister. Sure, it’s scary. Sure, you feel like an idiot sometimes. You can wallow in that for awhile (I am a professional wallower), and then hopefully you have someone in your life who will tell you to stop having a pity party, and just GO OUT AND BE AWESOME. No? Ok, then I’m telling you. Stop having a pity party and just GO OUT AND BE AWESOME.
(Here I am with my hubby on my “graduation day” from design school…He is my greatest support and the one that kicks me out of my pity party on a regular basis 😉 ).
4. Being “new” to anything is not easy. Or fun. Be transparent about it! It removes the fear.
WHYYYYYYYY do we do this? We’re fearful that we won’t be able to meet expectations. So we immediately turn to worry. We drum up all kinds of things about what others must be thinking or saying about us, and how we’re so inadequate. So we just need to go eat worms. Ugh. Being new is WORK. It can be difficult when every situation you come across is a completely new frontier and you have to wade your way through it (that explains my reoccurring dream about running under water). Guess what? I’ve found that being honest is the best policy. “Oh, it’s my first time here. Can you show me where such and such is?” “Oh, that’s not my area of expertise, I focus more on this part of the process.” FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS…we can’t be ALL things to ALL people. That was never the purpose.
(Graduation day! Here I am with my beautiful and ultra-inspiring teacher, Jan Springer.)
5. Doing what you feel like God CREATED you to do is the MOST beautiful thing.
You might be sick of hearing it by now. But it’s so true. People who are fulfilling their life’s calling almost glow. They exude a joy about what they’re doing. I’ve always admired this in others, and longed for it in my own life. So consider this today. What is it that you ENJOY like nothing else? Maybe it’s something you do “just for fun” but it brings happiness to the people in your life? What does that look like for you? Does it translate into a job of some kind or a way you can volunteer your talents? Start dreaming a little! Write it down. What would be your wildest goal? The ultimate thing you could imagine? BUCKLE UP. I’ve found that I couldn’t even have dreamt any of this. As I’ve learned to rely on the Lord for literally EVERYTHING, and He’s drawn me so much closer to Him, He continues to surprise me. You want THIS little farm girl to do WHAT? Ok. As long as you’ve got me? I’m in.
THINKING ABOUT A CAREER IN DESIGN FOR YOURSELF?
If decorating and design just happens to be your passion as well, this is for you. I hear from people all the time that are wondering how to turn their love of design/decor into a job. How do you make the transition? How do you find clients? What do you charge? Do you have to go to school?
I’m not an expert. But I can tell you about my experience. And hopefully that can be an encouragement to you!
I’ve always had an interest in design/decorating. We moved fairly often as a young married couple, and I always enjoyed decorating each home, and using our things in new ways at each stop along the way. That lead into decorating for church events, doing work for friends and family (mostly for free), and eventually I sold repurposed furniture/accessories at a cute local shop. That became old, because I was a busy young mother after all, and design got tabled for a bit. Eventually I went back to work part time in the school system for some “fun money.” Meanwhile, my creativity dwindled. I no longer felt “in touch” with what was happening in design. My personal style has always leaned “country” or “farmhouse”, but I felt like maybe I was out of it? I didn’t see a lot of it around and figured, as usual, I was clueless. Then in 2014 we decided to build a house. Once I tapped into that side of my brain, the creativity flowed. LIKE CRAZY. I couldn’t sleep at night, there were so many ideas. My hubby asked when I was going to quit my job and do what I really wanted to do, and that was it. I quit. I did? Did I just do that? What the heck? I don’t do stuff like that. WHO ARE YOU JANNA ALLBRITTON????
Now here’s the part you need to know. After looking into design programs in the area, I enrolled in Heritage School of Interior Design in Portland, Oregon (see their website here). It. Was. Everything. A lot of people said “Why do you need to go to school? You can do it without that!” For me, it was all about confidence. How to run a business. How to source items for my clients. And so much more. On the design side, my teacher once said, “You already know the music. I’m just teaching you the lyrics.” YES!!!! That was exactly the truth. If you love design, you already have a great eye. You already have a feel for what works. The program at Heritage just taught me the words that go with it, and gave me the tools I needed to make it a career. The most exciting new thing at Heritage is their introduction of an on-line program. If you’re across the country, but you want to benefit from a GREAT program, please take a look at their website. You can read about the online program here, and please tell them I sent you!
Ok. Get your paper out. Nooooo….you need a bigger piece than that. Start writing down your dreams. What are your priorities? How do you want to use your talents to be a world-changer? Now give it all to HIM. And BUCKLE UP for an amazing ride.