Trusting the Process – How I ended up doing what I’ve always loved

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1997, I graduated from Tuskegee University with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in Tuskegee, Alabama. Excited, about the new opportunities that lie ahead for me in the architecture work world, I was only to be let down by a down architecture hiring freeze. Fortunately, in Tuskegee, one of the few African American architects had also been one of my professors at Tuskegee, and he hired me for a year and a half. What a great job. It was only a 3 person firm, but I learned a lot and in 1998, realized I needed to grow from the small college town, and accepted a job in Jacksonville, Florida at a well known architecture and construction company that designed and built commercial buildings. This was the big times for me! Corporate world… here I am!

For the first few years I absolutely loved architecture, my job, and all of the challenges that came along with it. I started taking my architecture licensing exams in 2000. Many have compared the architectural licensing exams with the Bar exam that lawyers must take. It was a nine part test that I would soon learn would be the death of my spirit, my confidence, and what would make me bitter and cynical toward the architecture profession. Every test had test preparation courses to get ready, books, CD’s online tests, you name it, and it was out there to prepare for the “A.R.E’s”.  I literally dreaded going into my yearly evaluations with my boss, where they would ask me how many tests had I failed and how many had I passed. Every year it was a different number… but it was always a higher number of failing than passing.

After the birth of my daughter in 2005, I had taken the tests for 5 years and was failing miserably. I was being pigeonholed at work, and when I asked for more responsibility on projects, I was nudged to the side and handed red lines, while I watched my male counterparts move pass me with the opportunities that I had initiated. It was time for me to move on, I wasn’t growing, my company wasn’t appreciating me, and when one of my coworkers moved to a competing architecture design firm and he asked me to come… I was right behind him in 2007.

Starting at the new design firm was refreshing and exciting, although very stressful. After two months at the job, my coworker who I had followed was let go due to personal issues, and then started the slow leak of my new job.

Fortunately for me, I am and always will be highly ambitious. What I couldn’t get at work, I would come home and learn on the internet. I’ve always been a home decor, realty, DIY fanatic – in college my friends affectionately called me the “The Black Martha Stewart”, and to this day I idolize Martha and her Omnimedia mogul status – vowing one day I will create a similar presence but in Ronique’s own way. In the summer of 2009 I decided to start a home staging business that was more of a hobby than for profit. While being able to sell my 2 homes successfully on my own, I started Stagetecture to help home owners, but also have a website to hold my inspirations, give advice, and call home for myself and build another world.

By 2010, my work world was unfulfilling; I had passed my LEED Accreditation exam as a divergence from the Architectural Registration exams, and realized I no longer had a drive to become an architect. While I still loved the principles, the profession had made me numb and bitter. My night life of helping friends with their homes, writing my Stagetecture blog, and reading other lifestyle blogs consumed my life, and my architecture job, while helping me financially, was leaving me sleep deprived, and hungry for more of my new ‘work world’ in  my night life.

In the summer of 2010, through social media, I met up with several online architecture and interior blog owners and started freelance writing to get my feet wet. I took it on as a hobby, and then started realizing there was a huge market and I loved the challenge. What began as a small taste on a tiny blog turned into writing for a blog that receives 2 million viewers monthly, catapulted me into worldwide stardom and recognition. The taste turned into a gulp, and I haven’t turned back since.

In September 2010, I was offered a trip by an elite refrigerator and stove manufacturer to tour their facility and meet with other designers and kitchen bloggers – I jumped at the chance. This was my sign for jumping ship and starting my new life! Two weeks prior, I turned in my resignation and told myself that this trip would mark the start of my new entrepreneurial life. While this new life hasn’t always been roses, I wake up at 4am and sit at my computer for 13 hour long days… the money isn’t where I’d like…. But…

…It’s all mine. This process has been well worth it. I powered through each step to see what I DIDN’T want out of my life. Everyday I see people miserable at what they do… my advice, set your sights on what you DO want, and then trust the process, every step is required to get you to the other side… I’m living and breathing, happy proof.

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12 Responses to Trusting the Process – How I ended up doing what I’ve always loved

  1. Sabrina says:

    I love the story and the 10 D’s.

    I use 3 of the D’s on a daily basis to help me trust the process. They are:

    1. Dream – I spend a minimum of 20 minutes daydreaming and visualizing and imagining my dreams each and every day!

    2. Devotion – After leaving (ok…getting fired from my last corporate job) I decided I will only do things I LOVE. I will only make money doing things I love. I will only spend time doing things I love. This love stuff makes devotion, dedication, and determination a piece of cake!

    3. Distribute – On a daily basis I share at least a small piece of my dreams with the RIGHT people. You’ll know the right people when you meet them. You’ll feel their love and support.

  2. stagetecture says:

    Sabrina thank you for the comments! Good for you for already starting your D’s! :) I personally think the Dedication one for me is what has pulled me through daily. I literally eat, sleep, dream and enjoy what I do. To help people everyday accomplish their dream home, get out of a tough DIY jam, or just to inspire.. you have to be dedicated.

    Dedication comes when a dollar tag is not attached… The key is sticking it out, and very few people enjoy sticking it out when they are being told what to do by someone else!

  3. Nothing is as moving or motivating as passion and I feel great just from reading about yours!!

  4. 2nd comment… LOVE the graphics!

  5. Lyndah Malloy-Glover says:

    Thank you for sharing the 10 Ds. The principles that living has taught you resonates with me in profound ways. They have been and remain the light that initiated and fuels my forward movement. In 2008 the economic forecast was the writing on the wall that predicted the demise of AYSSJazz Magazine as it was. The question to myself became, “what now”. And in the stillness of meditation, the answer was,” reinvent you”. Put ABYSS on the back burner. Don’t throw her away, just bring N’Balnce to the forefront, my brainchild. A plan floated to by conscious mind and away I went. I needed a plan and I had to trust my process which was designed with me in mine. And without a plan, I knew I would be planning to fail. Not and option.

    This discourse validates truths shared with me as SPIRIT spoke. It is good to know others where listening too. As for the money, Bone James, famed jazz saxophonists, shared this insight with me in an interview a few years back, “if you do what you are passionate about, the money will come”.

    • Ronique Gibson says:

      Thank you Lyndah!
      Its so interesting to me that when you are going through it, you think “how will I make it without XX”. Then once you look back on it you say, ” If I didn’t push through that – i would have never witnessed this!”

  6. Thank you for sharing the 10Ds.
    I felt an immediate boost of inspiration.
    I will keep on keepin’ on.

  7. Thank you for this instant boost of inspiration.
    I will keep on keepin’ on.

  8. jay says:

    Why do you steal others posts and post on your blogs

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