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HOW I BECAME AN INTERIOR DESIGNER (& why awful jobs can be good for you): PART II

I’m finally detailing my journey to becoming an Interior Designer through the careers I’ve attempted and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Click here to read Part I of How I Became an Interior Designer

DaykaRobinson2014

LESSON #4: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGHTS

Here was the problem with Real Estate–I didn’t like to hard sell people on anything. Buying a home is a big investment and my thought was if you want it, you should buy it. You should NOT buy a home, however, because I talked you into doing so. I didn’t like having to call people up and pester them about whether they or their friends wanted to buy/sell their homes in 7 days–it actually made me uncomfortable, partly because there was too much small talk involved (I don’t really do small talk). I tend to be a pretty decisive person, so working with clients who were incredibly indecisive didn’t feel empowering….it just felt like an energy suck. It was Divine Guidance that those I-know-what-I-want-and-I’m-ready-to-buy-right-now clients never came to me–I didn’t sell a single house during those months at my real estate brokerage & in hindsight I’m thankful that I didn’t. If I had, it definitely would’ve encouraged me to “try harder” to make that job work instead of moving towards something better. One of my strengths was my confidence & passion about the things I believed in but I found that I was neither confident nor passionate about selling real estate. So instead of trying to strengthen one of my “weaknesses”…I moved in the direction of my strengths.

LESSON #5: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT’S ALL AROUND YOU

Which brought me back to my house. By now, renovations on my 1984 fixer upper were in full swing. Prior to moving in I’d repainted the interior (which was originally pink!), removed all of the old carpet and updated the entire first floor with bamboo flooring to get the place in livable shape. Having purchased a house with SO many projects to complete I religiously read design & renovation magazines to get inspiration for my projects and devoured them like wildfire. Even though money was tight, working on my house became a mini obsession.

Late one night I stumbled across a blog and…it essentially changed my life. It was 2009 and I’d never seen a blog before (didn’t even know what one was!), but I stayed up all night reading page after page of decorating & lifestyle posts. And then I clicked on a link and found another person sharing about her life & DIY projects and I.was.hooked. What was this fascinating little online world where people built community by sharing the details of their lives??! After a few weeks of spending countless hours a day reading blogs I started thinking that maybe I could do it, too. I wasn’t sure that anyone would read what I had to say but I still figured, “Why not??”. I reserved a name on blogspot.com (Meditations on Life & Style–which I thought was VERY cool at the time) and on May 28, 2009 I wrote my very first blog post (read it here). When I started blogging I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about…but I kept going anyhow. I took advantage of all the extra space in my new house & went back to refinishing furniture as I had done in my first apartment. One day I decided to start sharing those DIY refinishing projects on my blog and it took off. As my refinishing skills increased I started selling my furniture online (Craigslist, Etsy & later, One Kings Lane) and then readers started emailing me & asking for design help. By November 2010–only 18 months after penning my first blogpost–I officially launched Dayka Robinson Designs and the rest, as they say, is (documented) history.

So as you can see, my path to Interior Design was far from straight. I “tried on a lot of hats” before I found something that fit and during those years I felt a ton of confusion, frustration & despair at my “inability” to find my way. Let me clearly acknowledge this because I don’t think enough of us do: it sucks not having something to pour your heart into especially when that’s the one thing you want most in the world (and I don’t mean someone). So many of us are raised to “just get a respectable job” and when you couple that with the desire to do basic, normal things like live independently, own a car, treat yourself to a nice dinner and pay your bills on time, the pressure to settle for the first job offering a little bit of money is REAL…even though you know you’re gonna suffocate. This road (following your heart) isn’t the easiest road because much of the path is built as you walk it & no two paths look exactly the same. It is, however, the most rewarding by far. And when you have the courage to walk away from jobs (situations/people) that don’t fit & continue seeking out your next true thing, you’ll look back and find that you’ve gained an intangible education that money couldn’t buy. All of those “awful jobs”?? If you keep going you’ll eventually find that they all played in your favor because each one taught you something valuable about yourself or confirmed with all certainty what not to do. And even the perceived “setbacks” are a step forward–this game is a marathon, not a sprint.

In my years of searching I learned that: (1) How I feel about the work I do matters. (2) Working in a supportive environment is important. (3) If it ain’t right, it ain’t right. (4) Play to my strengths and (5) Pay attention to what’s all around me. And you know what? Today these lessons are are as true as they ever were. They served me years ago to help find my way to interior design and now they’re helping me to create an even larger vision–a holistic business that I’m incredibly proud of and excited for. 7 years ago I NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS would’ve predicted I’d be a successful Interior Designer….and yet by Grace, here I am. I say this all of the time but only because I believe it so deeply: whatever is calling you, run towards it as if your life depended on it. Because it does. 

It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you but no one can walk it for you.(Rumi)

Click here to read Part I of my journey

image via Hilary Maloney

22 Comments on HOW I BECAME AN INTERIOR DESIGNER (& why awful jobs can be good for you): PART II

  1. MichelleB
    November 13, 2015 at 7:38 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you Dayka for telling the truth about finding your path. It is very inspiring and motivating to know that the way to the place one is suppose to be may not be the easiest or the straight and narrow.Love your blog!Awesome topic.

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      November 13, 2015 at 2:01 pm (1 year ago)

      Michelle:

      I was talking with a friend Wednesday night and was telling him, all I can do is tell the truth of what I know. There were so many things I was attached to along the way–what my family thought, how others would react, if a certain job made me look dumb–and now I’m at this point and it’s like, “look what you almost gave up on because you were too worried about what others thought–imagine that!”. I would wonder how people were REALLY doing it and what their journey was REALLY like and I didn’t see much transparency along my path. So I’ve decided to be what I wanted back then. 😉

      Thank you for reading & taking the time to leave a comment–I appreciate you!

      D

      Reply
  2. Jennifer Powell
    November 13, 2015 at 10:09 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you Dayka for sharing! The last paragrah and ending quote by Rumi will me printed and placed inside of my journal!

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      November 13, 2015 at 1:53 pm (1 year ago)

      Jennifer:

      Isn’t it fantastic??!! I love that Rumi lived so many centuries ago and yet every.single.thing. he says still resonates today. Reminds me that the only true wisdom is that which can stand the test of time.

      Thanks for reading!
      D

      Reply
  3. Al
    November 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm (1 year ago)

    When I grow up, I’d like to be you..although i suspect that I am much older than you are. I am still struggling to find myself – one day I shall support myself with my creative endeavors.

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      November 13, 2015 at 1:51 pm (1 year ago)

      Althea:

      I saw a funny meme about age this morning and your comment made me think of it! While being me is the only way to be…it has not been without its challenges. And I suspect that you’re a pretty cool person to be, anyhow. 😉
      In Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, “Big Magic” she talks about how we shouldn’t require our creativity to financially support our lifestyles–that there is honor in following our curiosities for the sake of inspiration & curiosity alone. I think of this OFTEN and would say the same thing to you! One day is NOW. Do what is calling you–who cares about what anyone thinks. Do it for you because you love it and it feels you (as I write this to you I’m reminding myself of the same thing). If you love books like I do, I’d definitely recommend you pick up “Big Magic” (Elizabeth also wrote “Eat Pray Love”). You won’t be disappointed.

      Xo,
      Dayka

      Reply
      • Al
        November 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm (1 year ago)

        Thank you – you ROCK!

        Reply
        • DaykaRobinson
          November 22, 2015 at 11:37 pm (1 year ago)

          Aww–thank YOU for your comment!

          Xo,
          D

          Reply
  4. Jessica
    November 13, 2015 at 8:30 pm (1 year ago)

    Thank you for sharing your story and for the inspiration to keep moving forward. I often look through job postings thinking I need to go back to what I know I wasn’t put on earth to do; and each time something or someone, like yourself (your blog), will pop up on FB and remind me to not give up. Thanks for your encouraging words! Continued success to you!

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      November 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm (1 year ago)

      Jessica:

      I think you know how talented I think you are! I believe that we always know what’s right for us. In your case, maybe it’s a mix of both?? Maybe you can do the numbers thing in a different capacity that you were before? I know this road has some challenges but it can be so good, too. I’m always a phone call away if you need me! Thank you for reading & always supporting me!

      Xo,
      D

      Reply
  5. Caroline S.
    November 14, 2015 at 3:20 am (1 year ago)

    Thanks for sharing your story! It helps share about your journey to your readers while giving some advice for those of us in the job hunt world or just currently in a position maybe we aren’t feeling too hot about! I am much like you that I cannot go full throttle and do excellent work when I am not passionate about what I’m doing! Job hunting is hard for me right now because I’m being so selective in what I apply to for that reason.

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      November 15, 2015 at 2:42 pm (1 year ago)

      Caroline:

      So it sounds like job hunting is actually EASIER for you because you know right away when you’re not right for a position. Are you more selective? Yes. But because you’re selective, you’re more apt to find the right fit since you know what you’re looking for. And that’s pretty cool. Celebrate the fact that you’re in a position where you can actually choose. Thank you for reading & commenting! Oh–and are you signed up for my newsletter? If not, please do. What I’m sending out tomorrow to those who have signed will probably resonate with you.

      Xo,
      D

      Reply
  6. Cadetrus
    November 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm (1 year ago)

    Thank you sharing! I felt like I was reading a journal entry I may have written. This post has helped me figure some things out!

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      November 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm (1 year ago)

      Cadetrus:

      Thank you for reading! If this felt like a journal entry, you’d probably crack up if your eyes caught ahold of my real one. 😉

      Xo,
      D

      Reply
  7. Ashley Brooks
    November 16, 2015 at 11:29 am (1 year ago)

    Dayka,

    You know how when you go to church and you feel like the speaker is talking directly to you and no one else is even in the room? That’s the feeling I had while reading your story. First, thank you for being so transparent and honest. I have been a teacher for seven years, and while I find some fulfillment when my students are successful, more times than not, I too have the “Saturday Night Blues”. For the last two years, I have been unsuccessfully planning how I can change careers and go to design school which is my true passion. Actually, thats how I originally found your blog! I remember going alllllll the way back to your first post and just reading and watching your growth and thinking if she can do it, I can too! But still I have not had the faith to jump out and make it happen. I can admit that I have let fear paralyze me from following my dreams. Everywhere I’ve turned lately, there have been signs and motivational quotes telling me to just step, and your blog post was like the final confirmation. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to make it happen, but I’m going to follow your advice and write it down and make something happen this week! Thank you Thank you Thank you for sharing your story, it has really changes my life!

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      November 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm (1 year ago)

      Ashleyn:

      The wonderful thing is, you don’t have to know, you just have to take the first step and like clockwork, the next step will appear! There are so many things I have brewing in my mind/projects I want to launch and I keep reminding myself of the same thing I’m telling you now–“just take one step, don’t worry about the whole road.” So I’m right here with you, sister!

      Thank you for your words and taking the time to comment, this means a lot. When I write things that are really personal to my journey, it feels good to hear that it’s connected with someone somewhere in this world who in some way, may be facing some of the same things. We are all connected!! Wishing you lots of courage for the journey ahead–feel free to email me if I may be of help!

      Xo,
      D

      Reply
      • Ashley Brooks
        November 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm (1 year ago)

        Thank you for the response!!!! “Just take one step!” I will definitely be in contact soon!!!

        Ash

        Reply
  8. Naisha
    January 28, 2016 at 11:17 pm (1 year ago)

    I need to be sleeping but it was placed on my heart to re-read this. Seing your website fuor the first time confirmed so much for me. I remember thinking that you were this magical designer extraordinaire (ummmmm because you are!) and that because you were doing it so could I! The business stuff is scary and hard but I cannot shake it even when I purposefully try to be lazy and act like I don’t care. Fear is a daggone lil stupid gremlin that creeps in and out and just messes you up! Right now I can say that I’m pushing because I NEED to be doing what I love. These posts are saving my life right now. My job (grant) ends in December and I’m scared to death but prepping for full-time Browstone Closets. Dayka!!! Keep inspiring us! I SO appreciate you!

    Reply
    • Naisha
      January 28, 2016 at 11:18 pm (1 year ago)

      Excuse my typos

      Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      February 4, 2016 at 6:48 pm (1 year ago)

      Naisha:

      It means so much to me that you’ve been following me for so long–thank you! Being in business for myself has definitely been one of the scariest and most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had….and I wouldn’t change this life for anything. I love every minute. Enjoy this last year of working for someone else and do all you can to prepare for full-time entrepreneurship. Do what you think you need to do and then move forward knowing that everything you NEED to know will come to you. I promise. Thank you so much for the kind words!

      Xo,
      d

      Reply
  9. Therese Prentice
    August 4, 2016 at 11:11 am (8 months ago)

    OMG OMG!!! As I read about your journey I saw my life reflected in each paragraph!! I needed to read this today because I am embracing Interior Design after years on a different part of my journey being a Holistic Health Practitioner and Energy Healer. Home Goods for years had been my therapy. Creating spaces that feel good helped me through some of the most challenging times in my life. Thank you for sharing your journey because it is giving me life to continue on my journey to fully embrace I am an Interior Designer who is passionately in love with color!! Namaste!!

    Reply
    • DaykaRobinson
      August 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm (8 months ago)

      Therese:

      So glad this inspired you! I’m a big proponent of honoring your journey, wherever you may find yourself along the path. If you know what’s calling you, go do it!! It may not look exactly like what someone else is doing or be in the exact WAY someone else is doing it but it will be about you, following your heart. Find a way to combine them both, if that’s what truly speaks to you–it’s definitely possible!

      xo,
      d

      Reply

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