Maybe you’re in a rut.

Perhaps your life, even if generally good, doesn’t give you the satisfaction you desire. Or maybe the loss of a job or some other event has forced your hand and it’s time for a transition, like it or not.

The trick in such circumstances is to make sure your next act gives you the fulfillment you’re looking for, says Debbe Daley, author of the new book Interior Motives: Designing a Career with Passion.

Finding out what you love to do and then having the courage to make changes isn’t always easy, but with the right plan and attitude you can transform a passion into something profitable, she says.

Daley, an award-winning interior designer, says her success comes from not being afraid to make transitions in life, both personally and professionally.

“When I started out in the corporate world, I thought that achieving success there was exactly what I wanted,” she says. “I took some satisfaction in my achievements, but my creativity was not tapped or activated by those jobs.”

How to change that? Daley found the answer by looking back at her childhood when she loved to play house––and took it to a level of detail most children didn’t. Others seeking a different career or lifestyle may also find inspiration in something they enjoyed in childhood, she says. Perhaps they loved gardening, caring for pets, exploring nature, or playing guitar. Or maybe a passion didn’t develop until later in life, yet came on strong when it arrived.

Looking back––either at the distant or the recent past––is a good first step for discovering what drives you. But too often, Daley says, people don’t allow themselves to follow those passions even after they find them.

Not All Advice is Equal

Daley has other advice for making transitions, including this reminder: not all advice is good advice. She recalls that when she was a newly divorced single mother, people wanted to suggest what the right path was for her and her daughter. Too much of that advice seemed negative, “burdened by assumptions about our limitations,” Daley says.

“Those people may have been trying to protect us from harm or even help us succeed,” she says, “but I didn’t appreciate the dour pessimism of their recommendations.”

She decided her own feelings were more important.

“I needed to make a life that was right for me,” Daley says, “and so others’ opinions and advice would have to be set aside when they weren’t contributing toward that goal.”

Don’t Let Cost Become An Obstacle

People often believe they can’t change their lives or career trajectories because they are unable to afford to go back to college or to get other specialty training. Or they don’t see how they can afford to quit their current job for one that pays less but might be more satisfying.

“Focusing on the monetary costs of the change we want to make is one of the most convincing ways that we set up obstacles for ourselves,” Daley says.

But the expensive path doesn’t have to be the only path. Consider alternative ways that could get you to where you want to go.

“The important thing is committing to taking the journey,” she says. “I promise you, some version of what you’d like to do can be done. You don’t necessarily need special schooling or a big savings account.”

People can earn money doing anything, Daley says, but what’s better is to earn money doing something you love.

“The point is not the money making,” she says. “The point is being happy with what you are doing with your time and where you’re putting your energy.”

About Debbe Daley

Debbe Daley (, author of Interior Motives: Designing a Career with Passion, is an award-winning interior designer with more than 35 years’ experience. She started her career as a self-taught designer making custom window treatments. Today, she provides interior design services for new and existing homes, and is also an interior design educator and a professional speaker. Daley is an associate member of the American Society of Interior Designers, a member of the Interior Design Society, and holds a seat on the National Board of Directors for the Interior Design Society.

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