Ahhh…It’s February and LOVE is in the air! Earlier this month we talked about COLLABORATION as part of our INTERIOR DESIGN PRODUCTIVITY TOOLBOX series. We discussed how an industry like interior design and construction depends on the professional RELATIONSHIPS cultivated with colleagues, brands, suppliers, specialists, contractors and core teams to provide the highest quality, consistency and value possible to every client on every project.
This week, however, our focus is LOVE, and what better time to speak about love than during the MONTH of love.
There are many academic and strategic particulars that go into leading a team and building a successful business, but certainly one of the most important tools, (and one that I find creates the most valuable impact), is LOVE.
Like most creative artists, being “tapped in” to our deeply intimate selves is natural, and our work is inevitably an extension of that pure intimacy, passion and love. BUT, when cultivated professionally in business, and with the proper channels and boundaries in place, it can be quite powerful and beautiful.
Stepping into EVERY new project or professional interaction with love is our strategic key to longevity, personal contentment, profit, and joy.
Here are just a few ways we LET THE LOVE FLOW in our business.
INTERIOR DESIGN PRODUCTIVITY TOOLBOX
SERVICE + GIVING
You may not know this, but our business model has been designed to allow us to provide unique pro-bono design work to organizations that can benefit from our consulting and design services which ultimately allows us to serve those in need. We call these blessings, Heart Projects. Providing our design knowledge to organizations that can benefit from these services is something we feel deeply committed to.
We’ve had the great pleasure of providing our design, consulting, and project management services to some VERY wonderful organizations such as Step Up On Second, PATH, Chrysalis, Jenesse Center, and Ronald MacDonald House Los Angeles, to name a few.
ALL GIVING IS GOOD GIVING
Although large “heart projects” can take time and commitment, (which you may not have to provide), it is also wonderful when, as a team, we can participate together in volunteer types of services and activities. One of our favorite organizations is Operation Gratitude. This is a very popular and fun team activity, where we, (along with hundreds of excited volunteers), pack thousands of Christmas care packages for troops overseas that include sweets, handmade stuffed animals, hand-written thank you cards, and hygiene products. It’s a pretty amazing and rewarding team experience that we look forward to every year!
ADDING SERVICE TO YOUR BUSINESS MODEL
Adding “service” and team building activities and opportunities is as easy as deciding to do so! Large non-profit organizations, typically, are well structured, which makes it easy to “plug in” your time. If you have time, they’ll find a way for you to serve.
GET THE GIVING GOING
- Select one or two charities that you connect with and do your research into their business model. Find out if their organization is LEGAL and if they have the correct paperwork in order. Make sure that they are transparent and that they have all the right protection in place for your on-site participation. Checking things like licensing, insurance, and disbursement of collected funds are important and must be confirmed for your safety and clarity.
- Determine their requirements and expectations prior to making your commitment to volunteer.
- Research their wish lists and volunteer opportunities to determine HOW and WHEN you can serve.
- Formally schedule AHEAD of time, regular team activities; Perhaps one day per month; or perhaps your team would even contribute one Saturday a month or every quarter.
- Make it a tradition; weekly, monthly, or yearly.
For designers in particular, look for recreational centers, shelters, or homes that could us a refresh of appliances, paint, decorating, or landscaping. It’s the simplest of changes that can take an environment from toxic, to healthy and beautiful; and with data driven information, your expertise could be invaluable. We encourage you to find a cause that speaks to your heart, and give!
LOVE + LEADERSHIP
We’ve most likely all heard the phrase “lead with love”. At Four Point, we absolutely believe in approaching every professional situation and relationship with an attitude of love; and in a business such as ours, where relationships are everything, a willingness to connect is a must. It is critical that we apply the tools and skills that will inspire and promote the highest level of results; trust, compassion, empathy, kindness, and patience; and ALL of these tools come from LOVE.
Although our professional relationships can be very “intimate”, I don’t think I need to state that we’re not talking about ROMANTIC love here, but professional behaviors that come from love.
LOVE AND SERVICE VS PRIDE AND EGO
From time-to-time professional relationships can prove to be frustrating, and in those times, it’s natural to feel stressed, tense, and impatient. Responding from a mindset of love and SERVICE, is a tool we use to guide our responses.
STRESS TIP | MAINTAIN FOCUS ON SERVICE
It takes a bit of practice, but it actually works. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Am I acting in LOVE and SERVICE, or acting in PRIDE and EGO?” It may seem obvious, and sure, easier said than done at times, but it’s a useful and quick technique that can often reset a derailed moment and prove more powerful that you think.
Remember also that rest, wellness, and joy, FUELS love. For me, my fuel is sleep, family, writing and sketching. Taking time to nurture personal wellness is the most important act of LOVE there is. When I take care of myself, I make room for love to flow; to my team, to my family and loved ones, and to all my professional relationships.
LOVE + THE KINDNESS ATTITUDE
Love is everywhere. It exists in random acts of kindness, donating to those in need, or it lives within a smile shared. Understanding that love is not confined SOLELY to those whom you may have a close intimate relationship with, will make it possible for you and your team to incorporate love and extraordinary acts of kindness into your business flow.
Almost every new client feels nervous at first. The unknown can be daunting; and the idea of renovation, disruption, spending money, and trusting new people can be overwhelming. These are common and EMOTIONAL fears. By placing LOVE at the center of all our communication, and by communicating with EMPATHY, we can provide understanding, reassurance, and diffuse further frustration that is typically manifested by fear.
Make kindness a priority in your business, and encourage your staff and others to do the same. However, let’s take it one step further; consider a formal clause in your contract for kindness. Our contract clearly outlines the expectations of everyone’s behavior; both the Client’s and ours. It is based firmly in kindness and mutual respect. It outlines, IN DETAIL, our boundaries and expectations. Before we start any new project, we all must understand these boundaries, and agree on our rules of engagement. THAT’S how important it is.
LOVE + PARTNERSHIP
It’s no secret that Cliff and I are a husband-wife team; and the foundation for a successful partnership is mutual respect, admiration, trust, and communication. For us, at the core of these, is love. Like any relationship, we’ve had to learn HOW to optimize communication with each other. Even though there is a constant level of COMFORT that we share, there is also a level of intentional professionalism that we honor.
Does love make you vulnerable? Sure.
Does love deactivate your power or make you weak? On the contrary, love makes you MORE powerful in business. Love is an unexpected super-power in business.
We hope you will take a moment to review just how much LOVE is in YOUR interior design productivity toolbox! Make LOVE a standard resource in your business and business culture.
EXPLORE MORE INSPIRATION
Add THESE resources to YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS PRODUCTIVITY TOOLBOX:
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Thanks for stopping by today, and we’ll see you next time.
Until that time, be well, be safe, and be kind.