about a month or two ago, i was speaking with a client when she said, “you know, darci, i hired you for your design aesthetic but also because you’re in your 50s.” well, you can imagine i was slightly taken aback, but after digging deeper, i realized the truth behind her statement: she felt aligned with my current life stage. and to be honest, i feel empowered by it, too.

despite my newfound struggle to see in dimly lit spaces, the experience and wisdom i have gained over the last several decades have irrevocably shaped me. in both life and business, i have more confidence and know-how than ever before. of course, i can’t speak to how i will feel at 60, but for now, i am proud to be an experienced interior designer with a chic and sophisticated aesthetic that is far from fuddy-duddy.

i have also grown in transparency, clarity, and humility throughout the years. clients, like the one who inspired this article, have expressed appreciation for my honesty and my experience. because, as you’ll see below, i really do have the experience.

this month, i’m sharing a candid look at what i’ve learned in two decades of design and how being 50 is as stylish and sophisticated as our interiors…

the growth of my overly optimistic 30s

mistakes are bound to arise in life. while it isn’t always fun, it is a necessary part of the learning and growing process. like many people in their thirties, i pretended to know much more than i actually did. i was beyond the careless years of life, so clearly i must have understood everything there is to know about running a successful design firm, right? wrong.

i made several of the classic mistakes young business owners make, like undercharging for our services, quoting very ambitious timelines (i was overly optimistic in those days), and telling clients what they wanted to hear. now, i not only have a realistic grasp of the timeline and investment required for large-scale renovations, i have no fear telling it to clients straight. i’ve come to live by the old adage that honesty is the best policy. clarity benefits everyone involved.

personal (and painful) lessons in priorities

in my 30s and early 40s, dhny was continuing to thrive, but frankly, i was not. after seasons of overworking myself, trying to run my design firm solo, and prioritizing all the wrong things in life, i can confidently say that i now understand my limitations — and that has made all the difference.

now, i enter each project with a clear mind and an incredible team of trusted partners that help me navigate those oh-so-important details that result in unsurpassed success. i have rest built into our calendar year, and it has brought more joy, creativity, and balance to my life, and our projects, than i was ever able to achieve in my earlier days. call it another gift of time and experience.

seeking outside counsel & community

in addition to becoming more attuned to my personal needs, i have learned to openly admit that, despite my experience and confidence, i don’t always have all the answers. and frankly, it is impossible for any of us to know everything. this is why we seek outside counsel when needed.

by my 50s, i had started working with various business coaches, joined an exclusive mastermind group (which i highly recommend!), and invested more in myself than in any years prior. this practice continues today and has single-handedly yielded some of the best results, including a sense of community for me, growth for our firm, and more comprehensive services for our clients.

embracing a more impactful form of leadership

in my 30s and 40s, like many entrepreneurs, i felt an overwhelming pressure to do everything myself. i thought that clients would balk at having other team members involved in their renovations, but i’ve discovered that reality is quite the opposite. our clients are equally accomplished in their fields and understand, as i have come to understand as well, that leadership can only thrive amidst delegation.

in my 50s, i have accepted that i cannot be the creative visionary and focus on prioritizing clients when i am buried in the details. instead, we now have team members who are experts at those details, freeing me up to be the leader i have always known i could be. in case i needed proof, the result has shown in the increased quality of our projects and in our client relationships, many of which have extended into long-term friendships.

if you’re reading this, i’m willing to bet that you have learned some lessons yourself over the years. chances are, you may even be in your 50s or beyond, too. either way, i welcome you and hope this transparent look at my career is insightful, relatable, or even inspiring.

and if you just so happen to be seeking an experienced professional to handle your interior design project with ease and grace — and perhaps looking to enjoy a glass of bubbly with a new friend along the way — let’s connect.

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