We might already have what we really want in life
There are a handful of young architects and designers working at architecture firms all over the world who are constantly striving for more opportunities. They have a belief that the harder they work, the more responsibility they’ll have on every new project that comes into the office. With eyes wide open and an eagerness to grow, these individuals are always asking themselves, “what’s my next big goal and how am I going to achieve it?”
Do you fit into this group of people? If so, you’ve probably experienced what I’ve been experiencing over the past few months.
The constant search for more
Ever since I passed my last Architecture Registration Examination (ARE), I’ve found myself constantly searching for my next big goal to achieve. At first, I thought my next goal would be rising up at the architecture firm where I’m employed and working towards becoming a partner. I also thought about investing in real estate and flipping houses to rent and produce some passive income. Unlike many people who are stuck without any ideas, I had so many ideas constantly floating in my mind.
To say the least, I reached a point in my life where one path split into 10.
There were just so many ideas that I wanted to pursue and I was ready to invest in each one. Luckily, I ran each idea by my girlfriend and as I heard each one coming out of my mouth, my gut told me that it was one that I shouldn’t pursue. I realized I didn’t have a long term goal that these ideas would support.
Searching for my long term goal
So I took a few months to search for my next career goal in hopes that I would continue to grow and work towards fulfilling it. During this time, I continued listening to all of the fantastic podcasts that I’ve been following and I took on a few extracurricular activities.
To be honest, I felt lost.
There was a part of me that knew if I accepted where I was in my life, I’d be able to work at the same firm for the next decade. I’d wake up every day, go through the same morning routines, head down to the office, get out of the office, head back home where I’d spend time with my girlfriend, eat dinner, go to sleep, wake up and repeat the entire cycle again.
With that being said, I know that there are many people out there who would kill for, are working towards, or already have that particular lifestyle. However, there’s a part of me that feels as if I was born to do more and to continue striving to achieve bigger and riskier goals.
So I searched deep in my heart and narrowed down my many career paths into two. The first was to continue working at the firm where I’m currently employed for the next few decades in hopes of becoming a partner, or to continue working for half a decade at the firm where I’m employed so that I can learn the essential skills for running a practice and eventually start an architecture and design office of my own.
Realizing that I’ve already been working towards my career goal
Once I narrowed down my paths into these two, my heart immediately gravitated towards the second option of eventually owning my own practice and giving it a shot. However, I know that there’s still so much to learn and I’m working at a great firm where I’ll have the opportunity to take on more responsibility and learn by doing.
With this goal in mind, I thought about everything that I’ve been doing from the moment I obtained my architecture license to now and I realized that I’ve taken major steps towards my goal of owning and running an architecture firm. Here are 3 of the major ones:
1. Organizing and hosting the “Planning a Practice” conference in Buffalo, NY.
For this one day conference I brought together an architect who started his architecture firm 3 years ago, two attorneys, two accountants, and a strategic marketing and branding professional to present about the best practices for starting, maintaining, and growing an architecture firm. Check out almost 40 tips for starting your architecture firm here.
2. Listening to multiple entrepreneur centered podcasts
After discovering podcasts a year ago, I’ve been constantly listening to over 5 episodes everyday while I’m working in the office. I’ve come across many podcasts that are hosted by motivational speakers, designers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs that share so much information through memorable interviews or stories. A few to note are 1. The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, 2. Design Matters by Debbie Millman, 3. Tony Robbin's Podcast, 4. #Ask Garyvee by Gary Vaynerchuk, 5. Business of Architecture by Enoch Sears, 6. Tim Ferriss' Podcast, and 7. Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn.
3. Talking to my friends who are entrepreneurs or business owners
Once I knew that I’m eventually going to start an architecture firm, I’ve been meeting with some of my friends who have either taken this leap as architects, or with friends who own a business that’s not in the field of architecture. From all of my discussions, I’ve been learning so much about some of the struggles I’ll face, but also a lot about the freedom and fun that comes with having your own business.
Focusing on my long term goal through my short term initiatives
The biggest thing that I realized was that I’ve always been working towards my goal of starting an architecture practice. In fact, the project that I’m working on for my friend, project 5x30 – Restaurant and Apartments, is a real project with so many fantastic design ideas. I’ve brought this project into the architecture firm where I’m employed and I’ve been working hard on making this project a reality with my friend.
So I stopped searching for “what I was born to do” and decided to spend my time focusing on what I have to do in order to fulfill my biggest goal; starting an architecture firm.