Monday, January 11th, 2016

new year : new choices #Architalks

Every month a group of international architects and designers converge on the internet to write about a single topic and publish from their own individual point of view. This is Architalks.


I started this blog post with a very different theme and even title. But the more I thought about it the more I felt it necessary to start over and head a different direction. This past year was a whirlwind for me and my family both personally and professionally. Late in 2014 I went out on my own completely as the leader of my own firm. I had several signed contracts and some prospects for the future, but mostly I was flying without a safety net. I was terrified and exhilarated all at once. And stayed that way most of the year. The year ended much better than I ever could have hoped and this year may turn out to be, if not as good, even better. As I looked forward to this year and this blog post I had to look back at the last year and ask “what do I want to be different?”. The short answer is “ME”. I want to be different. I want to be better. And I want to be more successful as a person. Not just as an architect, but also as a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a friend.

Like many things in life goals are easy to create and write down on a list. It’s the “get it done” part that has most of us stumped. So what’s the key here? What is the one simple thing I need to do to be a better me? The answer, surprisingly, is simple and incredibly complicated. Again, just like life. The answer is:

In order to be a better me, the best me I can be, I need to make better choices.

Choices define us as individuals. Even as children our lives are defined by the choices we make. If our parents did a decent job raising us there were just enough bad choices peppered in with the good to build some character and teach us valuable life lessons. Once we leave the nest all those choices, and consequences are entirely up to us. This past year was full of choices, some good and some not so much. But each one was mine and they have brought me here to this moment, this blog post and this new and exciting year spread out in front of me.

Big dreams require a lot of small choices.

Rather than setting myself up for failure with a list full of grandiose goals that I know in the back of my mind I will never accomplish within the limited boundaries of a single calendar year, I am endeavoring instead to make small choices that will have a larger and more cumulative effect on my life. Some of those are:

Spend time acting for others instead of myself, today.
Put my money where my mouth is, today.
Work smarter, not harder, today.
Pray, today.
Give thanks for life’s blessings, today.

Today. Probably one of the most powerful and motivating words I’ve never considered before. Today suggests an immediacy, a palpable recognition of time slipping away. If your deadline is today  then you will spend your time much more wisely and in such a focused way that the only option becomes success over your challenges and struggles. Today is also much easier to deal with than this year. Case in point, I spent the better part of December trying to write this blog post and never got farther than the first paragraph. Yet today I sat down at my desk, first thing, determined to write and post today, and not it is barely 30 minutes later and my first goal, my first challenge, of the day is complete.

Now, put aside your own to-do list and read these other brilliant architects participating in this month’s Architalks Blogcast.

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
New Year, New Community on Business of Architecture

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
New Year, New CAD

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
New Year, New Adventures

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
new race new year new start

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect (@EntreArchitect)
New Year. New Budget.

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
New Year, New Goals

Collier Ward – One More Story (@BuildingContent)
New Year, New Business

Nicholas Renard – dig Architecture (@dig-arch)
New Year, A New Hope

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design (@modarchitect)
New Year, New Gear

Cindy Black – Rick & Cindy Black Architects (*)
New Year, New Casita

Eric T. Faulkner – Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
New Year, New Underwear

Rosa Sheng – Equity by Design (@EquityxDesign)
New Year, New Era

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
“new year, new _____”

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC (@MeghanaIRA)
New Year, New Plan

Amy Kalar – ArchiMom (@AmyKalar)
New Year, New Adventures

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
New Year, New Life!

Stephen Ramos – BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
New Year, New Home

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
New Year, New·ly Adult Architect

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
new year, new [engagement]

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
New Year, New Business

Brinn Miracle – Architangent (@simplybrinn)
New Year, New Perspective

Emily Grandstaff-Rice – Emily Grandstaff-Rice AIA (@egraia)
The New New

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
New Year New Reality

Anthony Richardson – That Architecture Student (@anth_rich)
New Year New Desk

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
New Year, New Appreciation

Greg Croft – Sage Leaf Group (@croft_gregory)
New Year, New Goals

Jeffrey A Pelletier – Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
New Year New Office

Aaron Bowman – Product & Process (@PP_Podcast)
New Year, More Change

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
New Year, New Office Space

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
New Year, New Reflection

Rusty Long – Rusty Long, Architect (@rustylong)
New Year, New Direction