busy woman at A DESK

Instant Expert

Like most professions, mine has advances and “new” things come along every once in a while.  I try to keep up; I do fairly well, but I don’t think there have been ground-breaking discoveries in my profession in quite a while.

When IKEA first came out, I was working in the design business in Calgary at a pretty high-end firm. IKEA flat-packs were almost laughed off the stage. A few years ago, one of the rooms in the biggest and best designer showcase in the U.S.  included a lot of IKEA.

Instant expert = get rich quick?

But with advances comes the ‘get rich quick’ schemes.  Not just in my field, either, — ‘Learn to be a six-figure life coach by spending a bunch of money here’. ‘Learn to be a gem identifier and make thousands of dollars a month, all for 6.99’. ‘Learn to be a __you-fill-in-the-blanks __ MASTER’ in one weekend.’

The actions say it all

Today I listened to a one-hour webinar from a designer trying to sell me a ‘Learn Everything You Need to Know to Be An Interior Designer for 97.00’ course.  I wanted to hear what she had to say. She has 17 years of experience in the business and says flat out she didn’t have any formal training.

Which would explain, I suppose, her lack of knowledge that there are different colors of white. She seemed genuinely surprised that the ivory-colored matt on some of her art looked dirty against the white walls of the rental she had moved into.   She referred to colors as shades ( they are not, there is a shade of a color, but color is not shade) and said that she often tests wall color by painting several colors on the wall. (This is just miserable information, your eyes see a combination of the colors when you do this.) Which is just so sad.

So, when does it happen?

You and I both know that realistically you can’t become an expert, master, wizard, top-flight facilitator, authority, pundit, hot-shot, virtuoso, or oracle without a lot of work. I’ve heard that 10,000 hours of play and practice is what it takes for a musician to get close to proficiency.

It takes time, but it’s worth it. For my client and me.

A few years ago I sold my drapery hemming machine because I preferred doing the work by hand. It took about four times longer, but, for me, there is something relaxing, almost meditative, in the repetitive act of stitching a hem.  I didn’t learn the skill in a weekend. It took years to get as fast as I am, with stitches that barely show on either side. And it’s actually better than the hemmer.

I can look at a color and tell you why it’s not working. I can look at your room and tell you what small changes you can make to have it better serve you. I can advise you on what window coverings will best suit your needs and fit your budget. I think I have my 10,000 hours in.

So, my point? If you want instant results, expect the quality that comes with instant.

Remember instant rice?

If you really want to learn a new craft, profession, or skill, take some time and start at step one. Get yourself a teacher.

If you want to learn how to choose window coverings, and it’s NOT a quick course, have a look at this page:


Written by