Breaking Points & Turning Points Novena

 Is It Me?  Crazymaking in the Creative Workplace Are you underperforming, or just being undermined?  As  architects, we define ourselves through our profession.  For us, it’s not just a career, it’s a vocation.  An attack on our job performance therefore becomes an attack on the way we define our core being.  Since our work involves evolution of ideas through criticism, are you being resistive when you feel that the criticism doesn’t ring true?

Boom! And the Aftermath What do you do when the bottom falls out of your world?  When things in your personal life have sent you into an emotional tailspin?  You have to move on and keep functioning, but it’s not likely that your current state of mind will equip you for your high stress, creative job. We are often so demanding of ourselves that we don’t give our psyche the time and space it needs to recover.

What's Disrupting You? What’s your excuse?  We all have one, “I could do more if...” We blame our busy schedule; stress, the fact that we needed to do a load of laundry, on why we aren’t making time to be our creative best.  The trouble with seeing your job, energy level, or other commitments as roadblocks is that these things are just never going to go away.  If you stay stuck in this thought process, you will never achieve your goals, never advance your career.  So, if we have to accept a certain amount of life to get in our way as a constant, how do we contain all those time and energy demands so that they don’t drain us?

Halos and Horns: How being Bad makes us Good Designers  For architects, every day is Judgement Day.  We constantly measure our work and ourselves against everyone else, endlessly critiquing, even sometimes feeling threatened by others’ success. We style ourselves after our heroes and forget to be introspective enough to build our own true, original identity. How many personal armageddons have arisen from pure ego and a desire to “make it” getting in the way of true happiness and success?

Be Your Own Stage Mom  Ah, the stage mom, militantly advocating for her child’s success. While we might feel the poor kid being pushed into the spotlight is a bit of a train wreck, admit it, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone that enthusiastically putting you on center stage and showcasing your talents, fighting tooth and nail to get you noticed? Well, go look in the mirror.  You are your very own self-promotion machine.

Livin' Large Life is what happens to you while you are busy making plans.  No matter how much you think you know, how hard you have worked towards a specific outcome, there is often a curveball.  That’s a bad thing only if you lock focus on how you didn’t get what you thought you wanted, aka the conventionally defined career.  Convention, being the gross generalization that it is, mostly proves inadequate to achieving fulfillment.

The Possibility of Transformation  As architects we have to believe in the ability of things to be transformed. An empty parcel of land becomes a building, an old building gets a new lease on life, an interior space is remodeled for a whole new use.  What we do is centered around seeing possibilities in existing circumstances and bringing about a change that goes beyond what our clients can imagine.  Tell us something is impossible, and we view it as a challenge to find a solution.  This is an amazing talent.  Too bad we don’t see it that way.  It’s time to start designing your career and bringing to bear all of the same creative skills you would to a creaky old building on a difficult site.  Be your own next project.

Because Someone Had To: The Flawed Thinking of Being a Trouper  How many times have you found yourself faced with a problem for which you were ill-trained, understaffed and poorly equipped and just muddled through and made up a way? Woe to anyone who dare criticize the final product, means, or method, so proud are you to have accomplished the task.  If you feel like an innovator in situations such as these, you’d be right, but only in a can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees kind of way.

Obstacle or Opportunity? Way up there on my list of thoroughly annoying turns of phrase is the application of the word “challenging” as a euphemism for everything from the truly problematic to the downright irritating.  It is my belief that people who use this term are tying to force themselves to be relentlessly positive in the face of a negative situation.  In other words, they don’t know the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity.