Experiencing a major life transition? How about the discomfort of the unknown?
According to Lori Webster, owner of life- and lifestyle-design businesses, if you’ve answered yes to these questions, you may be poised for transformation on an epic scale. And I mean epic.
Consider, as Webster does, that a single change can set off a chain reaction, amplifying the effects of any action you take now. Forget whether or not you’ve chosen this transition. Focus on what you will do with your newfound momentum.
I spoke with Webster to learn how she harnessed the power of transition, and how you can too. The first thing that struck me was the sheer audacity of her professional pivot. She began her creative career in time-honored fashion, lending her talents to advertising agencies and boutique design firms. Then she began to climb, quite literally ascending to a high-rise office (one with the kind of panoramic city view that screams American dream) at a Fortune 500 company where she held key roles in marketing and communications.
But Webster wanted more out of life.
To find fulfillment, she had to give up the position and the prestige she had worked for two decades to attain. Her first move was to go back to square one — joining a tech start-up as its inaugural employee. Then she made forays into the world of freelancing and consulting before landing on a business designed around her priorities, namely her family and her well-being. As the proprietor of Life Design With Purpose, LLC, and Belle Vue, an interiors firm, Webster helps clients bring their personal and professional lives, including their spaces, into alignment with their deepest values and loftiest dreams.
As Webster can attest, when you heed your inner voice, you can expect to raise a few eyebrows — and your quality of life. Read on for Webster’s insights into the well-designed life and check out her podcast, Being With Purpose. Her advice may flaunt the dictates of convention, but leave it to a designer to find a better way.
Beth Doane: What was the catalyst for you to break away from your corporate background?
Lori Webster: Leaving the corporate environment in 2017 was just one step, albeit a big one, in my journey. After decades of working hard to get somewhere, I began to feel tired and uninspired and questioned, “Is this all there is?” I was seeking personal and professional growth in a different way than I had known, and the internal nudge was something I couldn’t deny.
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and wondered if that path would offer the stimulation my curious mind craved. The thought of a little more freedom and renewed responsibility energized me to take the leap. What I didn’t know at the time was that the experience wasn’t just about a job change, it would bring me closer to myself and who I was becoming. My path has led me to start a business that’s in alignment with my values and provides some flexibility to balance other parts of my life.
The longings we have inside are not to be ignored. What I longed for most was to have time in the morning to see my daughter off to school and welcome her home from school, before she left home to spread her own wings, like I experienced with my older son. I realized that time was slipping through my fingers. When I shifted my life to be home, I created space for myself and my family.
As I’m reflecting on this, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” plays in the background. How perfect the timing; the lyrics echo, “There’s still time to change the road you’re on.” It’s never too late to reinvent an aspect of your life, to learn something new as you follow your inner guidance and intentionally Design A Life That Lights You Up.™
Doane: How has practicing wellness helped you in your personal life?
Webster: My life is full of variety. I work from home, so it’s a bit easier to incorporate self-care into my everyday routine. Having daily practices — even if it’s just five minutes of quiet time in the morning before things get moving and a walk outside any time that day — has helped me balance my energy. And being around animals is very grounding.
On days where I can fit in more, I do. And the combined habits that offer something for my body, mind and spirit support overall well-being. I prepare healthy meals from ingredients I grow in my garden and my personal life is woven into the mix of work. It’s more fluid. I am productive and have the flexibility I need at this time in my life.
Doane: What has been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome and what did you learn that you most wish others would know?
Webster: Stepping into the unknown with my career felt like moving the nose of a ship. It affected all areas in my life. I had to get comfortable following not only my logic, but also my intuition. It required some patience, self-compassion and not getting overly attached to a certain outcome. Change gets harder when we resist our inner guidance.
I would invite others to follow their path of self-expression versus following a system or way our culture measures success. Experiment, even if it’s just with a hobby. Lean into what brings you some joy. Dare to align with what is authentic for you. If you discover it’s not for you, pivot. Yes, it may require some sacrifices as you follow your soul’s guidance, but if listened to, that can lead to improved happiness and well-being.
Doane: What are three coaching tips and/or wellness tips that you swear by?
- Start your day with gratitude.
Find at least one thing to be grateful for every morning and make a practice of it. You’ll begin to notice a shift. You don’t need to start big. Begin by noticing the sunshine, hearing the birds or enjoying a cup of coffee. Have gratitude for not only what’s working in our lives, but even the things that are challenging, for the challenges make us stronger, more resilient, more aware. This practice sets the tone of the day and packs a punch of optimism.
- Be your own best friend and take a higher perspective.
Remember to be kind to yourself. If you tend to be hard on yourself, notice your self-talk and any limited or negative thinking, then begin to shift it to something soothing and gentle. Over time, that practice will help you notice any patterns of thinking that you have the ability to change.
If you’re in the throes of something challenging, ask yourself what the situation is teaching you. Breathe and go with the flow of life — accepting, letting go and being in the present moment, until you gain clarity on any next steps.
- Simplify life.
Be in nature: unplug from technology and the news and go for a walk in the fresh air.
Spend your free time doing simple things you enjoy.
Notice the energy in and around you. Do you surround yourself with people who lift your energy up or drain you? If your life and space feel cluttered and overwhelming, what do you need to fix, eliminate, give away and beautify? Simplifying our lives and surroundings to focus on what’s most important to us helps to keep the mind healthy.
Doane: What is your favorite quote?
Webster: There are so many meaningful quotes I love, so I will mention a quote and a poem that hit home for me.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Brené Brown
“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
you must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
or, you will be taught how to fly” – Patrick Overton