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Design Your Life

Author: Naomi Mamiye

This Is Not How My Life Is Supposed To Turn Out

My imagined fairytale future jolted to an end when at the age of 10 my mother got sick with cancer. A mole on her back that she hadn’t noticed grew bigger and bigger, and slowly spread underneath her skin. Two years later I found myself with a stepmother that wanted to start a new life with my father without old “baggage”. I was sent to live with one set of grandparents, then another only for them all too to succumb to cancer. I wasted my teenage years crying to Air Supply songs, wishing a man would come whisk me away and save me. Because I wanted a family of my own, I got married young to someone that was not the right fit. I made my mistakes being young and out of desperation. I didn’t have parents to guide me or have my back. Years later, because of my foolishness I found myself divorced no one to lean on or help.

When I designed my own house twenty years back, people took pictures and asked why I did not do this professionally. I never thought about it because my children were still young. Now I had the chance to use my God given creativity to support myself. My ex-husband laughed that I will never make money off my “arts and crafts”, but I did not let that deter me. I did my first few jobs free of charge to show what I was capable of. One restaurant I designed called his friend who had just bought a rehab center in Florida asking if he needed a designer to update the facility. A person is put in the right place, at the right time, meeting the certain person for a reason. I believe there is no such thing as chance. Today, I am considered a leader in this field with over 80 healthcare projects alone. I travel across the United States designing hospitals, rehab centers, assisted living centers, drug rehab centers and corporate offices. I have a constant flow of large-scale projects. I have never once advertised or looked for work. I taught myself building codes and as experienced as I am in this field, I am constantly asking questions to installers, why they are doing things a certain way, trying to learn more.

When I catch myself singing Cher’s “If I could turn back time”, and I change it quickly to Elton Johns “I’m still standing”. I have come to learn that the only way to get by, in this trip called life is to march forward on. I remind myself again and again that there is no point in analyzing the past, nothing can be fixed or changed. Even mulling over yesterday is unproductive. To dodge getting down, you must put on those horse blinders and look ahead. All these years I could have complained life’s not fair, I have no parents to go to for a shabat or holiday meal or anyone to even call before a holiday. I can whine I had nobody to lend a hand with the kids when they were young or help me financially. But none of my neighbors or friends know any of this. I realized that just like parent, if you show you’re grateful for what you have, God gives you more.

Becoming A Success

Many people want to start a business, and either are too scared to make a change or give up too fast. They are comfortable with their weekly paycheck, why shake up their quiet, simple lives. Others mistakenly think the path to success if a straight one and panic at every bump. Elon Musk once mentioned the road is more like a zig zag. The key is to learn from the mistakes, pick yourself up and keep at it. Thomas Edison made 1,000 attempts at the light bulb until he got it right. Don’t let anyone discourage you from your vision. People will tell you you’re too old to start a business, too young, there are already too many of “those” you aren’t educated enough…. When you work for someone else, there is a cap on how much you can grow.

Many of the younger generation don’t understand yet that you must make sacrifices to get to the top. That means missing birthdays sometimes and having the family leave on vacation without you. As you rise, you become an inspiration to the people around you. I myself got to where I am when the “you might know this person” appeared on my Facebook. It was someone from high school with a professional picture and a list of all his accomplishments. I was in awe and thought “I can do this too!”. To this day, he has no idea the ripple affect he caused. I mentor and help start out other people wanting to become interior designers. It is this act of kindness that I singularly attribute my own success to. I get constant calls for advice, from girls wanting to watch me work. I give my time freely to each and every one of them. I set them up with starter samples and connect them to company reps, helping them build their own businesses. A true leader does not maintain followers, he produces more leaders.


When a project falls through, a door gets slammed in your face, know and believe its because there is something better out there for you. This job or opportunity was meant for someone else. I remind myself that Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, a company he created only to be hired back years later. Maybe its just not the right time. Steven Spielberg got rejected from USC film school 3 times only to get an honorary degree from them years later. When Steve Harvey told his teacher he will be on tv one day she laughed because he had a stutter. Today he has 6 different shows running. Don’t let rejection pull you down. Know what you want and see yourself there.

As A Woman

Many young girls, as myself, thought I would have a man who adores me, that would take care of me well the rest of my life. As I matured, I realized there are successful men who go broke, husbands who get unwell, marriages that don’t work out, and unexpected tragedies. A woman should always have a skill to fall back on or to help in hard times. There is no greater feeling than making your own money. Knowing you can support yourself gives a great sense of freedom. As a spouse we also know today that Henry Ford, through everyone’s taunts, would not have built his first car without his wife’s encouragement. Author Stephen King’s wife pulled his first book out of the trash when it got rejected by 30 publishers, only to send it to another and finally have Carrie accepted.

Dream On

Going to design hospitals, rehab centers and assisted living centers across the US you find many lonely people trying to talk to you. The recurring words across the states are regrets. I should have gone to law school, I should have started that bakery, I should have opened that distillery I always dreamt of, I should have built that factory…... You don’t need cash to start a business, as many believe. You can use your given talents to make a living. There are programmers, electricians, personal trainers, plumbers, makeup artists, all living well. So, if you’re considering a new venture listen to your heart. Not that scared little voice in your head giving you doubts. You will never feel ready. Don’t be like Ernest in Nebraska disappointed in himself. Take that risk and show them all. Give yourself that push and propel yourself to greatness!

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