Updated: Apr 15, 2021
Welcome back to week three of Design Create Inspire. I want to begin by saying thank you to everyone who is joining me on this journey. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to begin this blog and podcast and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
This week I am talking about something that is very important to me, especially as a young, female designer and aspiring architect, the topic of limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are a set of belief systems that you tell yourself, an outlook that you were raised with, or a viewpoint that society deems as correct. Essentially, this is a group of different ideas that have been ingrained in your brain to become a belief.
I am going to guide you through the ten beliefs that have consistently occurred in my life. These are statements that have been said to me directly or I have had to work to break through.
1. Your ideal clients are old, rich professionals.
Although I am talking from an architecture perspective, I believe this limiting belief applies to many industries. This belief essentially states that the only individuals who want to invest in themselves, their homes, or their lives has to be someone old and rich.
This is entirely untrue. There is an abundance of young people purchasing homes every day, paying a real estate agent a fee that is often very close to the fee of an architect, yet there is no limiting belief that you must be a certain age to hire a realtor.
Rather than allowing this limiting belief to inhibit me, I decide to focus on my ideal client. For me, this is someone who is excited to work with a design professional and values what we do, one who is not afraid to take risks, think outside the box, and enjoy the journey of building their dream home.
An ideal client is different for every designer, but for me I want to work with individuals who understand that hiring an architect is not only an investment in their home (aesthetic, equity, etc.), but in their everyday happiness as well.
2. You shouldn’t appeal to a younger audience or your peers.
To begin with, I can appeal to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, location, etc.
Secondly, this directly relates to the first limiting belief. Who is to say a younger audience and peers are not my ideal audience? Let’s take Kylie Jenner as an example. She is a 23 year old self-made billionaire who has created a makeup empire. This belief states that I would not appeal to Kylie Jenner because I am older than her, despite me having interest in designing for her.
I am happy to work with a young client who is interested in design, a couple who is starting a family, or a single woman who wants to design her dream space. Rather than creating an ideal client based on age, race, gender, location, etc., I focus on the conversations I have with clients and whether or not they value what an architect can do for them and their home.
3. If you are trendy, you will not be a high paid architect.
As a designer, two of my biggest inspirations, Bjarke Ingles and Kelly Wearstler, are outwardly trendy and that is part of why I admire them so much. They think outside the box, do what they want, yet continue to be extremely successful.
Bjarke has been criticized for his age over and over, as he started his company in his 30’s, yet he is the one whose work is filling the New York skyline.
Kelly wears Doc Martens, rocks cutoff shorts, and proudly sports a neon jacket on her million dollar construction site. Because she chooses to express herself in her clothes and does so with confidence, this does not mean she is incapable of being successful, rather the opposite.
Just like Bjarke and Kelly, I choose to express myself in my own way. I have hidden my nose ring and tattoos but have started to realize that the clients that want to work with me will hire me, whether or not they like those attributes.
Moral of the story: Do you.
4. Architects aren’t successful until after 50.
I have been told this for years. In school, I was told that most great architects do not start producing their best work until after 50. While there are some situations where this is true, it is certainly possible to produce exceptional work before 50, Bjarke Ingles being a perfect example.
I have held onto this limiting belief, as experience comes with age, but there is extreme value in a young mind. If a potential client is threatened by my age and discredits my work due to “inexperience”, then they are not meant to be a client.
5. Don’t tell them how old you are, they won’t hire you.
Age is just a number. I have been an old soul since as long as I could remember, always wanting to be an adult to gain respect from society. I was 24 when I got my business license, had my first large two story remodel at 25, and was constantly worried that my clients would find out my age and discredit my work.
I am confident that some of my best work has been in my 20’s, where I felt my creativity reach a higher level.
Everyone’s path is different and the experience they have gained along the way is more valuable than the age of the designer. Confidence is key.
6. If you have fun with your business you are not taking it seriously.
Absolutely not. I have been told that I have too much fun with my business and I was truly shocked when this was said to me. It is so important to love what you are doing, where you are choosing to invest your time and energy. If you do not enjoy that, have fun with what you are doing, you will be unhappy with the path that you have chosen in your life.
7. If you do not have a man on your team you will lose clients.
As a woman who is proud of what I have built for myself, it saddens me to think that this has been said to me by someone who believes in me, making me furious when I heard it. I instantly defended myself and felt sad that this was an outlook someone I cared about had.
Being a young woman in architecture in 2020 certainly presents obstacles, especially on job sites. I am often expected to be the owner of the house, rather than the designer of the project. It is no surprise that we live in a man’s world, but this belief system pushes me to work harder.
If a potential client cannot respect that I am a self-made woman with a strong business, without a male partner, I do not want them as a client.
8. Do not drive a nice car, it will give off the wrong message.
I grew up reading the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. The idea of this book states that if you have expensive things it does not mean you are rich, rather you are sending off the wrong message and will instantly be poor.
As I have grown older I have come to completely disagree with this outlook. If you are an architect, doctor, businessman/woman, entrepreneur, etc. who has worked for success in your life, you are entitled to buy yourself a nice car if you choose to do so.
Whatever car I choose to drive should not have an influence on how I perform as a designer.
9. Save all your money, invest, and only hire someone who you can bill out for.
This is a money belief that I do not believe totally serves your purpose. Oftentimes you need help for your business to grow, and that means bringing someone on your team to delegate tasks to. Bringing someone onto your team allows you to focus your time on what excites you, such as sketching, new projects, and most importantly, self-care, while allowing you to take on more work, thus giving yourself the opportunity to make more money.
Last but not least...
10. People are already doing it and the market is saturated.
This is a limiting belief that people have been hearing since we were children. I believe that naturally we gravitate towards what interests us.
When you decide you want to do something, do it. Who cares if someone has a similar interest to you? Knowledge is valuable and everyone has a different way to deliver their message.
While I may be a designer along with many others, no two designers will take on a project the same.
Find your niche, trust your intuition, be confident, and invest your energy into it.
Don't forget to listen to this week's podcast episode where I dive even deeper into Limiting Beliefs. Subscribe, rate, and review wherever you listen to podcasts so you can get all the latest episodes!
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