In order to become a better architect, sometimes one needs to not focus on being an architect. Since 1994, I’ve been employed at various architecture firms in Maryland and North Carolina. I’ve been involved with and witnessed countless perspectives of the profession. In 2009 I decided to go out on my own, with a little help of course from being laid off. Since then, I’ve been focused on starting/running my own firm- website, business cards, clients, blog *hold your laughter*, taxes, contracts, projects, fees, oh my! It’s been a stressful yet rewarding few years. While work has been slow, I’ve had work and it’s been a great experience. I love being in charge of my projects and the direction of the firm. I can’t predict the exact future for my firm and that’s part of the thrill of creating your own destiny. I introduced myself as an architect who works for himself and has his own firm. Simple and true.
However, life has a way of reaching out and blindsiding you with an epiphany- a sucker punch of reality to the gut. While it would be great for my firm to be highly successful and be known for the buildings I have designed and been a part of, I have loftier goals. I want to be known for being a great husband, a great dad, a great brother, a great son… well just a great person. Not that I’m a bad person, but I’ll admit I need some ‘refinement’. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll find areas worthy of improvement as well. It’s often said that people and the connections we make with them are what truly makes a lived life- I’m slowly seeing that for truth. When my dad passed away in 1998 I was amazed by the vast number of people who attend his funeral. I doubt I knew 20% of the attendees. They attended because my dad was a great man and made connections with people on a personal level. Nothing more nothing less. I’d like to strive for that as well.
Architecture is indeed a great profession and being an architect is extremely rewarding. However, there are things that are more important. Does this mean I’m giving up being an architect? No, not at all. I’m still running my firm, I’m still marketing, I’m still taking on projects- I’m still a practicing Architect. However, it does mean my focus has shifted. My new introduction is as a stay-at-home dad who happens to be an architect and works from home. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m still a working architect with his own firm- I’m just re-focusing with a differing perspective.
I’m no longer an architect trying to run a firm and survive. I’m a man trying to run his life and thrive- who happens to be an architect. With this perspective shift, I believe myself, my clients, my projects, and my firm will greatly benefit.