Friday, July 31, 2015

On Coaching, Mentoring, and Where Life Takes You

Coaching, Mentoring, and Where Life Takes You

Good afternoon Folks, and here is to a Happy Friday!

Starting next week, I will be starting what I hope/plan to be the regular day for my posts – Thursday!  Mainly because I felt like being overly clever as I tried to talk myself into the accountability of it all.  So, Thursday, huh?  Thursday Thoughts….Thursday Talks….Thursday Thirst for Inspiration…etc.

PLUS, and here is my own selfish, brutal honesty – a lot of my colleagues and friends post on Tuesday or Wednesday, and I have a TON of meetings every Wednesday.  And I actually like to read my friends’ posts.  And I already post the ‘#HouseOfTheDay’ posts on Monday.  So, I felt that I would be ‘safer’ or at least more likely to keep up with a schedule if I made it on Thursday.

So, that leaves me thinking about this past week, this past month, etc. and what I’d like to share for today’s thoughts.

First, a follow up on last week’s post – I have continued to read, and re-read Art’s Principles, by Arthur Gensler.  It is a great read, for me at least.  I am enjoying jumping back and forth in the book, and it is fun to read some of Art’s lessons that I think I have also experienced and drawn similar conclusions about; it is equally fun to me to read about a situation that I find to be similar to my experience, to read what Art’s take on it is, and think “WOWThis is why Gensler is such a successful firm.  And that does not seem too hard to incorporate into my own practice…..” It is one benefit of having a coach, or a mentor; and this book certainly does not replace a coach, but it IS a great reference for any practicing architect or upcoming student or young practitioner.  I don’t plan on growing my firm anywhere CLOSE to what Gensler has managed to become, but even though I am hitting ‘middle age’, in the architecture career spectrum, I am still a ‘Young Architect’ – so who knows where life will take me?

That leads me directly into part 2 of what I’m sharing today.  I may not know too many things about where life will take me, but I DO know where I will be in November of this year.  I am proud to announce that I have had a session accepted at the 2015 ArchEx conference in Richmond, Virginia!  

(Richmond City, a cool Richmond Virginia Photo uploaded by: frankeys creation;

I will be presenting a session on "Creating a Small Firm With Virtual Resources," and I will be sharing my own experiences (good and bad) and resources that have helped me (or not).  I would not be able to do this without two great mentors and coaches of my own – Enoch Sears and Mark R. LePage, who have both created virtual academies to help architects grow their businesses.  Check them out at BusinessOfArchitecture (Enoch’s site) and EntreArchitect (Mark’s site).

Thanks for reading, I hope that you have a great weekend, and in the meantime, please head on over to my Facebook page at:

I also have my firm’s page here:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Architecture Matters.....

So, maybe this story will sound familiar to some of you - maybe this has happened to you, or maybe not; maybe a friend or colleague.  But this is the story of what has happened with me lately.

So, you have your own work (whether a sole proprietor, owner, or even a manager or employee in a firm).  Things are going well, then they get better, then they get BUSY, and all of a sudden, things get rocky.  And then, for no apparent reason – just because you start to get overwhelmed by what is going on - you start to get doubts.  You might doubt the direction you are going in, about what you are trying to do, about whether you are doing the right things, or doing those things well, or what you SHOULD be doing.  (I have begun to hate that word, SHOULD, by the way.)  And then things go off the tracks.  In my case, it was having a flare of my chronic diseases, and then not paying attention to the critical things, and then feeling like it would be too difficult to ‘stay the course’.  So I started cutting things out from my daily/weekly routine.  Like writing. And sketching.  And I miss those – they were a way of being creative without needing to expend a lot of effort or creative juices, and they are fun, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing those things.

Now that it has been a few months, I am finding my feet again.  I am remembering (or reminding myself) that I started this effort in order to share – could be inspiration, could be lessons learned, could be just what is going on.  I have missed writing and posting (although the facebook page here: ).  And, to be honest (with you and with myself), I never promised it would be GOOD. (just kidding, I hope).

So here’s to a renewed effort, and I have two things to share today.

First, the AIA here in Raleigh launched a new marketing campaign - the Architecture Matters postcard campaign.  It was a good reminder to me of one of the things I hope to address through my own practice, and by extension, this blog.  

Second, what I am reading.  This also happens to be a source of inspiration.  I have two books on my table.  OK, I actually have way more than that.  But here are the two that are keeping me busy the most.  

The first book is Art’s Principles, by Arthur Gensler (yes, that Gensler).  I am loving this book.  I am thinking that EVERY architect or firm owner who has practiced as long as Mr. Gensler should write a book like this.  Great stories, great quotations, fun pictures, and a lot of great advice, all in a compact little volume.  I encourage you to buy it, borrow it, share it, etc.  The book has short chapters, it is easy to jump around, it is easy to digest, you can read just one at a time and think about it, or you can read more.  It has been a real treat to read it.

The second book is The Forever Home by Kevin Harris.  I saw this book first promoted through the AIA CRAN (Custom Residential Architect Network), and managed to snag a download of the first chapter from the author.  I thought it was great.  The writing is accessible and straightforward, and I like Mr. Harris’ attitude towards the architect’s role.  I just got the hard copy yesterday, and I am looking forward to reading more.  Similar to Art’s Principles, I am finding The Forever Home to be engaging, easy to flip through and read small parts of, and I imagine diving deeper into.  It has sidebars, sketches, lessons learned from Mr. Harris’ practice and experience. 

If you’d like to learn from some great practitioners, I think that these two books are a great way to start.

I am looking forward to getting back on a regular posting schedule, and I hope that you all have a good weekend.