005. Meet Them Where They Are
LEX LEE: Genius, Billionaire, Philanthropist, Playboy, Designer, Acupuncture Advocate. And I’m here to talk to you today about an acupuncture studio I designed in El Segundo for Tara Diaz Wellness. Actually, no I’m not. I’m going to show you the end result via photos, but I’m going to tell you something that Tara shared with me during one of my treatments post-design.
A little context: I sought Tara out for healing work related to my reproductive health. Turns out, letting someone poke you all over with tiny needles is very bonding. We became friends, and then she became my design client.
Picture it: Sicily, 1912. Just kidding. El Segundo, early 2018 (ok, so NOT THAT LONG AGO, but a lot has changed for me in the last year). My feet were soaking prior to being punctured. I vented to Tara about a particular client who had me spend all this time getting estimates on paint, cabinetry, marble, fabrication, and furniture....only to turn them all down and opt for cheap substitutes. I told Tara "why pay for a designer, if you want them to specify garbage in their home?". I was being dramatic, jaded, and frankly an unprofessional little biotch. And this is what she said....
"You have to meet them where they are".
"WTF does that mean, Tara?"
"When I first opened my practice, I used to get so frustrated when clients would come to me with their health issues....I would treat them, suggest herbs and ways to improve their diet and exercise. They would come back having done none of my suggestions and complaining about their existing ailments." For the uninitiated: Acupuncture treatments are not usually one and done, they can be weekly (like me), or weekly but have an ending period of about 3 months.
I make things look good. I’m not a brain surgeon.
I could list all the ways that good design can improve one’s mental health—but I won’t.
"I had to learn to meet them where they are and so do you". In my design practice, this means getting a better gauge of my client's limitations before I start suggesting they tear down their home and start from the ground up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Sure, it is part of my job to suggest things that my client’s may overlook—but it’s not my home. Once I accepted this tiny little mind shift, compassion started to steer the ship and my listening skills greatly improved.
If you’re in the service industry, that ego has got to be checked. I could list all the ways that good design can improve one’s mental health—but I won’t. I’m a designer; I make things look good. I’m not a brain surgeon. But I would look p cute in scrubs.
So what are the ways that you’re letting your ego take control? Go ahead and tell me…YOUR EGO WOULD HATE IT!!!
All photos by Julia Sperling.