Years before I even started my design business, Cultivate Interiors, I knew my “why” behind designing interior spaces. I may not have been able to write it in a sentence, but in my soul, I knew that I had a gift to design spaces that make you feel something. I could create homes that were beautiful to look at, yes, but I could also make them welcoming - a place you wanted to linger a little longer.
As soon as I began to dream of using my gift professionally though, my heart opened up to the doubts that came with it. Subtle little lies started creeping up like weeds.
“I’d just be promoting unnecessary consumerism.” “I can’t make a living doing this.”
“I should just leave this to people who have a design degree.”
Sigh. On and on these lies went, and I believed each one of them so sincerely.
It wasn’t until the day my husband had a sit-down no-nonsense talk with me that I realized how backwards my thinking was. Looking dead in my eyes, he made me list out all of those lie-weeds and proceeded to rip them out one by one.
I started to see the truth - I was the only one keeping myself from taking the next step God wanted for me.
There was no imaginary interior design panel waiting to tell me I was unqualified, no potential client waiting to laugh in my face. It was just me, scared to share my gift for fear of failing.
he very next day after he encouraged me, I started on my dream.
[My first ever paid client project - a living room on the lake]
It took a long while to start getting clients and opportunities, and I won’t say I never had another doubt, but it gave me such an appreciation for this business. On the other side of fear stood so much opportunity: being able to pray for people I would have never met, creating special rooms for new babies coming into this world, and living with a lot more joy and growth than I thought I could experience. I mean, writing blog entries for Erin & Ben? What?! I would have never even known that was possible had I not pushed past my irrational doubts.
Even though it was incredibly frustrating, I am thankful for that time in my life. It helped me to focus on creating home for a client rather than creating something that impresses my industry peers.
If I was going to take the leap, I had to fight the urge to blend in so it was less scary to put myself out there.
Strangely enough, I now get clients who call and want to work with me because they don’t want the house that looks like their friend’s. They want to feel like they are at home, not in a showroom for today’s trends.
That time in my life also taught me to do what I love in my own home and not worry if it has mass appeal. The greatest compliment in the world to me is when a friend lingers or curls up on the couch like it’s their own home, and I think creating a space that feels personal and unique encourages that.
I now know that the beauty in a meaningful home inspires and lingers with people long after they leave.
That little truth has now grown in my heart and replaced all of those pesky doubts. My gift has a purpose. My home has a purpose. Your gift and home have purpose. As scary as it is, beyond the leap of pursuing your God-given gift waits an incredible amount of good.
Just say yes, and watch it bloom.
Hey there! I’m Briana Strickland. I live and run my design business, Cultivate Interiors, on the outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina.
Let’s see...my husband Madison and I have two cats and are learning the trials that living in a fixer-upper will put you through. I am helplessly drawn to nature, tattered pieces that could tell a story, and bringing beautiful, purposeful life into homes.
If you head over to my blog , Instagram, or Pinterest, you can hang out with me while I share client projects, our own home progress, and what inspires me. See you there!