Your Inner Julia Sugarbaker

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My favorite tv shows growing up were: Golden Girls and Designing Women.

(Did anyone else catch the back to back reruns on a daily basis?)

On the Golden Girls front:
I’m almost positive that Blanche Devereaux’s bedroom inspired a generation of designers to embrace bold wallpaper.

On the Designing Women front:
Julia Sugarbaker is the inspiration that any young designer, decorator, architect needs for finding the bold confidence that is necessary in this industry.

In case you don’t know, Designing Women was a sitcom in the 80s/90s about 4 women working as interior decorators in Atlanta. I’ll be honest the designs of these women are pretty forgettable. I remember their office, but the designs weren’t at all what the show was about. It was definitely more about them as strong southern women.

Julia Sugarbaker aka the Terminator (played by Dixie Carter) was the head of their firm and was a force to be reckoned with. Here’s one of her more famous speeches when she’s defending her sister. She wasn’t about to let anyone put her sister down.

So what does Julia Sugarbaker have to do with design now, besides being the head of a fictitious firm 30+ years ago?

Well I like to think of her as the persona we need to adopt when the industry gets us down.

The design and construction industry is hard.

  • There are strong personalities present in almost every project.
  • The realities of time and budget are always rearing their ugly heads.
  • Sometimes it feels like you’re exploding with ideas that never get realised, and then sometimes you feel dry and empty just when you’re desperate for a great idea to impress a great client.
  • It feels like the number of things to keep track of grows by about five things every minute.

AND…

  • It seems like you have to fight technology just to illustrate your ideas and creativity

So with all that, I’ll be honest it can feel overwhelming and defeating sometimes leaving you doubting yourself and your place in the industry.

The best way I know how to squash this doubt and defeat?

Tap into you inner Julia Sugarbaker.

Even when you don’t truly believe it, embody the poise and calm with the fire and boldness of Ms. Julia Sugarbaker. Even when you just pretend… that confidence and passion will seep in and help you get to the other side of this feeling of overwhelm and out-of-place.

Now you know, I specialise on the tech side of design, and I’m a firm believer that anyone can learn those programmes with right core skills and workflows in place.

But…

I know from personal experience and from helping hundreds of students, that sometimes the biggest hurdle is the mental one. The challenge of believing and knowing that yeah you’re overwhelmed and struggling right now, but you’re going to be ok and you can show all of these programs just who’s boss.

Can you imagine Julia Sugarbaker putting her head down on her keyboard ready to give up?

Can you imagine her desperate to throw her computer out the window?

Can you imagine her just avoiding it all together and never learning?

Nope. She’s a confronter. She’s a go getter, and something as silly as CAD could never beat her.

So the next time you’re feeling like your fading and shrinking a bit, tap into your inner Julia Sugarbaker. Prepare a Julia Sugarbaker put down speech in your head and let that nagging feeling of doubt and overwhelm know just what you think of it.

That you’re capable and confident, and you don’t have time for anything but getting to work and making your own progress.

You’ve got this.

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