Have you ever jumped right into a project all keen and enthusiastic only to get totally overwhelmed and feel like you hit a brick wall?
Yeah, me too.
It happens to people all the time. Everything starts off great but then they get confused and stuck – and don’t know how to get to the finish line.
The problem is almost always that they weren’t clear about what they wanted.
We like to skip ahead
Most people start planning a project from the middle. They start researching options, collecting ideas and looking for answers questions too soon.
They inadvertently skip over imagining the result that will make them feel best.
They begin with an idea of what they want – and then just get going. Unfortunately, that idea is something vague like ‘renovate the kitchen’ or ‘make my home office a functional place to work.’
That’s not enough.
Before you start making plans or wondering about what to buy, you need to know what you want really want.
Oftentimes what we think we want isn’t actually what we want
Recently, while planning a large school fundraiser, I realized that the group was beginning from the wrong place. People were focused on how much money it would raise, how to get people involved and what we needed to do.
But having done this before, I knew that there is always a way (you just have to find it) and that the amount of money raised wasn’t actually the right measure of success.
You see, the previous year we raised our goal amount but felt totally deflated at the end.
We hadn’t asked what would make us feel good. So this time, I asked different questions. And we planned by focusing on results that will make us feel good.
Start with how you want to feel when the project is done
Designing your own space starts with asking how you want to feel in the space when it’s done.
Most people miss this. They think it’s about how the space looks or what it has in it.
But what you put in a space is not what’s most important.
I know that probably seems like design blasphemy, but it’s true. Your home is meant to facilitate your life. And life isn’t about stuff.
Life is about doing what brings you joy and feeling like what you’re doing matters.
So take a moment right now and think of a room you would like to be different … and imagine how you want it to feel. Then imagine what you would be doing in there – how does that feel?
When you start here, planning and designing a space becomes so much easier.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t pre-settle
When you’re starting a project, you need to connect with what will make it worth it for you – what you really want.
I actually encourage people to dream big and tell me what they most want for the space. I usually have to push to get them to tell me this because they have already decided they can’t get what they want.
They try to stick with what they think they can afford or what they think will work. And it makes me crazy.
I love it when people tell me what they most want but are afraid they can’t have – it’s my catnip.
True, we can’t magic money out of thin air – but when you focus on how you want to feel in the space, it’s a lot easier to get what your heart really wants. Because your heart doesn’t want a designer sofa. It wants … what? What does your heart really want in this space?
Because without that, any amount of money is too much. If the room doesn’t feel right at the end of the day, it was too expensive … no matter how cheap it was.
So be honest about what you want.
Because there’s a million ways to do something
And that’s what I love about my work – and possibly what makes other people run for the hills.
I love collecting ideas, seeing possibilities, trying things out. It’s fun.
But it’s fun because I’m not looking for the right answer. I’m just rounding up the possibilities.
If you let yourself ask questions and look for options – without needing an answer or a decision right away – you’re more likely to enjoy the process and not get stuck.
Resist the siren’s call to make a decision right away, to find the just right piece.
Instead, see if you can fill a page with ideas for how you could get that feeling. Look at what other people have done that you like.
Sure, you may ultimately need help deciding – but then again, you might not. It might be that all you need is someone to help you take your ideas and put them together into a plan that you can carry out.
And that’s okay. That’s why there are people like me around.
When you start with how you most want to feel in a space – without any pre-settling – it makes it so much easier to get it. You don’t end up pursuing an idea that leaves you flat in the end. Instead, you can have fun collecting ideas and looking at options.
Most people get stuck and overwhelmed not because they don’t have specific knowledge about designing spaces but because they haven’t played around enough with what they want – and how they might get it.
Now it’s your turn
Where do you usually get stuck on a project? Do you allow yourself enough time to play around with possibilities?
Do you have a clear picture of how you want to feel at the end of a current project, house-related or not? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Stuck on a project – or ready to start one?
I’m interviewing women just like you about where they feel stuck creating a beautiful + functional home so I can develop my business to support and guide you in the best way possible. In exchange for answering my questions – I’m offering a complimentary Design Vision Consultation. Click here for more info or email me to say you’re in.