Posts Tagged ‘confidence’

Tobi TV: 5 Tips for Using Color Confidently

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So many people tell me that they are really scared of color, and that they just don’t know how to use it in their homes.

If that’s you, then I want you to step outside of your neutral comfort zone and learn how to use color confidently! Let’s walk through my farmhouse project – recently featured in Traditional Home – to show you some ideas that will help you embrace color:

Wow – isn’t that a colorful home! Let’s review those tips:

1. Take a risk with a fashionable color like chartreuse! Use it in a hallway, a powder room, or a laundry room if you’re still feeling nervous about going bold.

2. Try a softer tone like aqua to drench a room in a beautiful color. Quieter tones are less intimidating that bold, bright colors.

3. Get your inspiration from nature and use greens, blues, and browns. Those colors are everyone’s favorites, so you can’t go wrong!

4. Don’t forget the kitchen – that room doesn’t HAVE to be all white! You could try a soft blue on just the island or a china hutch.

5. And welcome friends and family with a little color on your front door! It makes a great first impression.

Are you feeling more confident about color now? Tell me what you think in the comments section below!







Why Confidence Is Critical to Business Success

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When I meet with my consulting clients to talk about challenges they’re facing in their businesses, there is one single core issue that’s at the heart of almost any problem and it may not be what you think. It’s not a financial issue. It’s not a time issue. It’s a CONFIDENCE issue.

And that lack of self-confidence keeps people from doing their best work in lieu of doing whatever work comes their way. It keeps them from reaching out to the perfect prospective client or partner to create their dream project or product. And it definitely keeps them from charging what they’re worth for their services. This confidence issue keeps them doing things because they think they “have to” instead of doing the work they want to. It holds them back from their passion and ultimately from success!

After all, how can you “sell yourself” to someone and convince them that you are the perfect person that they need to hire or partner with if you can barely recognize your own skills and specialties? How can you take the risks required to get your business to the next level if you don’t have the confidence to make the first move? And how are you going to ever find joy – with yourself and with your life – if you can’t stop worrying about what others think?

Part of getting into the confidence zone means you have to stop fearing failure. And trust me, we all struggle with this. ALL OF US…even me. It’s something you have to work on every day. I do that through meditation and celebrating my successes. But my most effective way to stay in the confidence zone is journaling, particularly keeping my gratitude journal.

To stay in the confidence zone, you also have to be willing to try new things and to take risks – even small ones. Because you will learn that even when you fall, you always get back up and usually you learned something amazing in the process. And when you try things, you won’t always fail. You will have successes too, and both the successes and the failures will give you more confidence!

Want to get on the confidence train immediately? Write down two things that will get you out of your comfort zone, either personally or professionally and then make a commitment to do those two things right now. Put them on the calendar today and take the first step.

Another big factor in low self confidence is perfectionism. We need to stop thinking we have to be perfect at everything. There is a difference in excellence and perfection. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards. But there has to be a point where we really believe we tried our best and our outcome is not only good enough, but that it’s actually great! That’s not arrogance. It’s important for happiness, joy, and fulfillment. We have to be able to be satisfied with our work. And with ourselves. Too often we won’t try something unless we believe we will do it absolutely perfectly. Well that’s just not going to happen in every situation, so get over that perfectionism and start loving your results. That’s where the good stuff is – all the fun is on the other side of perfection.

Finally, and this is probably the biggest thing you can do, you have to get rid of your negative self talk. Even if you don’t think you have an inner mean girl, check again. I pride myself on being confident and guess what? I have that negative inner voice, too.  You know the one – she’s constantly telling you that you aren’t good enough, that you don’t have what it takes, that you’re not the right weight or size, that you aren’t talented or smart enough, and that you are really not worthy of success. I have to quiet this mean girl inside me often. In fact one of my 2 resolutions for this year is loving myself more. My resolution was precisely in response to that inner critic that tells me I can only be happy when I am perfect.

That kind of thinking is the worst form of self-abuse and you have to commit to stopping it today. I am committing to that, too. I want you to write down three things – right now – that are fabulous about YOU! Then put that up somewhere where you can see it every day as a reminder. Or even better, start every morning by writing 3 new things that you love about yourself. Not loving yourself is too costly. It will keep you from your dreams and your purpose. So ask yourself, are you really willing for YOU to be the person keeping you from your best self?

Does your negative inner voice also whisper to you what others may be thinking of you? It’s a complete waste of time to worry over what others think of you or what they say about you. Often they aren’t even thinking or saying anything about you, they are too busy being a “mean girl” to themselves. Trust me on this one.

And yes I am sure there are a few out there who really do think or say negative things about you. According to Brene Brown in her fabulous book Daring Greatly, those people typically aren’t the ones “in the arena” working hard and taking risks themselves. They are just criticizing from the sidelines, too fearful to put themselves out there the way you are.  Of course I have people out there who may not like me or believe in me. We all do. And if you are leaning into your potential or taking risks to be your best, somebody is going to be intimidated or threatened by it. It may even be a lot of people and it may be people close to you like friends or family members. But my favorite saying for situations like that is that “What people think of me is none of my business!!” They are entitled to their opinions but I keep these negative thoughts at bay.  We have to remember that we are each on our own paths and we can’t let others knock us down or push us off the path or we will never become all we were meant to be!

Instead of hearing those naysayers or worse, your own negative thoughts, focus on your cheerleaders and supporters. Or even better, become your own cheerleader! It’ll help remind you of why you’re so special, unique, and fabulous every day. Because YOU ARE! Now get out there and show the world what you’ve got!








10 Tips for Winning Over that Skeptical Client

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We’ve all been there – we have a great client “on the hook” but they just won’t commit. It can be so frustrating, especially when you’ve practically designed their entire house in your head and you’re ready to jump in! So what’s a creative to do in this situation?

I have 10 tips that will help you move that client right off the fence and into your “current client” category! Try these to hone your art of persuasion:

1. Take it face-to-face. Often in this digital age, we’re talking to clients via email, text, and phone rather than sitting down together for a meeting. We use the excuse that everyone is too busy and that taking care of it all online streamlines everything. But what that also does is keep you from establishing rapport with that potential client, and that’s not good. So if you have a client that’s wavering, have a meeting where you can sit down and just talk!

2. Don’t make it personal. First, don’t let your emotions get in the way. If you’re pushing too hard, some people will naturally back away. I know you’re excited, but don’t let that overwhelm the situation. And on the other side of the coin, don’t get angry or frustrated because they aren’t saying “yes” right away. People can always sense that frustration.


3. Be strong. Okay, let me clarify: I do NOT mean that you should strong arm them! What I mean by this is don’t cave on your pricing structure or bend your own rules and procedures because you’re caught up in the moment of trying to get them to sign your contract. That’s not going to work out for you in the long run.

4. Show your knowledge – and confidence. There is one reason that people are seeking you out – you have knowledge and skills that they don’t. So be sure that you’re showing your confidence in your abilities. That confidence will make them trust you and your ideas.

5. Draw them out. See if you can get to the heart of their hesitation. What do they really want that they aren’t telling you? Do they need more time to decide? Are they feeling overwhelmed? Ask them how they are feeling about what you’ve presented, and tell them that you love feedback.

6. Listen. People can give you feedback, but it’s no good if you don’t actually listen to it. Be sure that you are really hearing what that person has to say and what they really want. Sometimes the very information you need to finish the sale is in what they’re saying – and not saying.


7. Use a little humor. This is always a really stressful time for people. Even if they have a lot of money, it’s hard for some people to commit to giving you thousands of dollars. And then you add to it the fact that it’s about their home, their most intimate spaces, and the emotion goes up 1000%. So try using a little humor to break the tension – but only a little.

8. Be committed. You have to commit to making the sale. What I mean by that is that this can also be emotional for YOU – and a real confidence sapper. So instead of following up with meetings and questions, you may avoid the hard work of getting to the heart of why the person is hesitating. But you have to commit to seeing it through. Go back and look at #2 – it isn’t personal.

9. Show you care. Everyone loves gifts, right? So be sure you’re giving something thoughtful and heartfelt to the potential client. Maybe for a meeting in their home, you could take a set of books for their child, or a basket of dog toys for their pet. Show that this is the type of fantastic client experience that they will have through the whole process with you.

10. Prove that it’s smart decision for them. This is really the big one. You want to show them how you will save them time, money, and headaches – and you’ll produce their dream home for them, too! Give them the facts and figures they may need to see why going with you is a smart idea. And of course, don’t let it just be about your fees because you never win when you play that game. It has to be about your expertise, your knowledge, and your contacts that will save them money in the long run – not a savings on your fees.

So what do you think of these tips? Do you think you can use them to get that ideal client into your pipeline? Let me know in the comments section below!








Saturday’s Secret Sauce: Building Others Up, Not Tearing Them Down

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Life isn’t easy. And we humans have a way of making life even harder than it has to be sometimes. I am a big believer in the late Dr. Wayne Dyer’s philosophy of taking 100% responsibility for where we are in our lives at any given moment, even if where we are isn’t where we want to be. And even if the reason we are there is because we haven’t made the smartest choices or we haven’t had the courage to go after our dreams. This idea is all about not blaming others for where we are and taking responsibility so we can move beyond that place and into our purpose.


But just for a minute I think we need to talk about what else may be holding us back (particularly for women) as we dare greatly to be our best. And that’s all the armchair critics that no matter how hard we try, are always waiting in the wings at any and every opportunity to tear us down. This mean and hurtful behavior is becoming epidemic these days, and that is so unfortunate. It has become increasingly worse thanks to blogs and social media. I guess it’s the bad that comes with the good of technology today. 

One of my new favorite quotes (new to me but not new) is so familiar to me these days because of my obsession with and admiration for the work of Dr. Brene Brown on shame and vulnerability. Brene sets the tone for her research, work, and writing with this famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  –Teddy Roosevelt


We are all being vulnerable when we put ourselves out there every day and dare to chase our dreams, find our passions and live our purpose. We are being brave and daring greatly when we start businesses, do creative work, write blogs or books, document our lives on Instagram and social media and anything else that we do publicly that requires us to show up in the world in order to grow our incomes, go after our goals and dreams, and support our families.


But it is those critics that are not even “in the arena getting marred by dust and sweat and blood” that thanks to social media can criticize with ease. They can leave negative comments, pick apart our work and creativity, and in some instances even attack, demean and abuse others, from the comfort of their arm-chairs or while hiding behind their computers and electronics.

And although logically I can comprehend that these critics are miserable, or mean, or jealous or any other number of things that make them want the world and anyone brave enough to put themselves out there, to be as unhappy as the critic, I just really don’t understand it. My mind can’t get around it. And my heart feels bad for those being criticized. But feels almost worse for the critics because I can’t even imagine how truly miserable they must be to want to tear others down in this way. Does it really make them feel better to leave a rude comment? My guess is no, or at least not for very long.


Why do we as humans feel like we have the right to be critics of everything and everyone in the world around us? And even when we think it, what gives us the right to express it, leave a negative comment, or tear down others work and creativity? Well one might say that maybe that’s what people are asking for, or that they are opening themselves up to it when they use a public forum like a blog to express their ideas, thoughts and work. And maybe this is true. But there is a difference in a critique and criticism. There is a difference in disagreeing and being mean or rude or abusive. One can disagree without being unkind. We all have the right to not love someone’s work or even their behavior, but still not attack them personally.


And yes both genders are guilty of these behaviors but as a woman, I find that women can be some of the most critical, especially of other women. Call me Pollyanna, but I want to live in a world where women champion women. I remember how girls acted in middle school and my daughter is currently in middle school and the ways girls can be mean is so much worse than 30 years ago when I was her age. We didn’t have cell phones and social media to bully each other with back then. But it’s not just relegated to middle school. I see the same rude and bullying behaviors from adults.


If you are a designer or have visited any of the shelter magazine social media sites, you have witnessed dozens or even hundreds of people tearing apart the rooms and projects of designers on a daily basis. When I read these rude comments about my own work, I typically laugh it off or ignore it. But when I see people criticize the truly great work of my friends and my design idols, I realize that the critics likely have not been exposed to sophisticated design work or art and don’t even understand it, so their comments are ignorant or at the least short sighted. But there in lies the problem. If we don’t understand something or we are afraid of it, human nature can be to criticize it. But why not appreciate it, or try to learn about it? Isn’t this this same age old problem that has divided races and religions and political parties? In a year where the criticizing, demeaning and ridiculous insults in the presidential election are at an all time high, I think you know what I mean. Our own insecurities keep us from being open-minded about art or creativity and also about much bigger social issues.


I consider myself lucky and I feel loved and supported so often. I have many, many more people being kind and leaving supportive comments or reaching out to me by email or even in person in support of my work and my writing and my product designs. The compliments are far more numerous than those tearing me down. But even so, the occasional rude comments can sting. And I see and hear of many others in my own industry and in other industries that are struggling under the weight of the criticism they are receiving. It is so sad how many brave souls have stopped striving towards their dreams because of a few mean comments expressed by others whose opinions really shouldn’t matter. And worse yet, what a shame that so many people are afraid to even try because their fear of what others will say or think holds them back.

I work to teach my daughter that “What others think of us is none of our business”. But in her new book Rising Strong, Brene Brown says that totally not caring what others think of you isn’t a good thing either. It can make you apathetic about your life and work or worse, can cause you to relax your morals or not have integrity. She says you should have a small circle of people who really count to you and those are the only people in your life whose opinions should really matter. And she says that all the names of those important people in your life should fit on ONE Post-it note. I love this idea! So if the critics names aren’t on my Post-it note then I give myself permission to ignore their comments, to let it go.


Thankfully I had a great example for how to treat others from my mom who definitely taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything. But what she stressed to me even more was that everyone isn’t just like you and that doesn’t make you better or worse than them. Everyone has the right to be themselves and you don’t have to like it, but it’s not your place to tear them down. She taught me to love other people and learn to appreciate our differences. And she taught me that hating someone else is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Hate will kill you while the other person lives on often even unscathed.


So yes it may be Pollyanna, but I want to live in a world where people love people. I want to celebrate other people’s successes as well as my own. I want to live in a world where women champion women. Where creatives, and entrepreneurs, and others daring greatly are celebrated even when not understood. I want to raise my daughter in a world where people are applauded just for getting in the ring, even if you don’t think their art or work or craft is great or beautiful or meaningful, but because they were brave enough to even try, which is far more than the armchair critics are doing. And even if the critic is in the arena too, I would caution them to not tear others down because like these critics,  I believe that Karma will also be waiting in the wings and there will be a moment when they too will fall or be criticized and it doesn’t feel good.


Building each other up, now THAT is some real secret sauce. And my hope is that it will be become much less of a secret.

Sending you love and the courage to put yourself out there, to get in the arena even if you are afraid. I encourage you to find beauty in our differences and to celebrate all those brave souls putting themselves out in the world even if you don’t agree with them. Supporting each other is the only way to REALLY make our world a better place.

Happy Saturday, friends! xo,

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