blog, by cristina lanz azcarate
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Bye bye 2014

As another year comes to an end, I look back to assess what I have been choosing to spend time doing in this, my 40th in planet earth and I notice that ,significantly, I have managed to get out of the autopilot mode and move forward with projects that are important to me personally and the industry I care about.

Work wise, 2014 will be the year in which our own studio (atelier EURA) completed the development of our first property, co-curated an art exhibition, prepared our first two feasibility studies and reviewed purchase documentation for a potential new client. Not bad.

As far as my day job is concern, and misquoting Ghandi…it will be the year when I created the change I needed to see. After years feeling that my skills were not being utilised i confronted reality.

There were two triggers : Firstly the renewal of paperwork that may have taken up to a year to process . Secondly a promotion offer that felt to have arrived as a way to put an end to my on going list of ideas to improve the office rather than as acknowledgement of my achievements.

( I should probably mention at this stage that 2014 was also the year in which I found a mentor with business running experience who has encouraged me to action my ideas rather than only formulate them.)

In case you wonder, I did not take that promotion but offered an alternative instead. I created a brand new role for myself that made use of both my strengths as an experienced architect and the skills I had acquired through volunteering. The area,  a niche area that neither partners nor associates were specifically tapping into: Practice Development.

Top tip: You will not always be given the promotion you deserve ,however, you can create many opportunities by really looking and understanding what skills you have that can contribute to the wider work environment.

(The lesson to be learnt from this is that if you stop to look around and find what others don’t see as an opportunity, you will also find the freedom to develop projects and the scope to grow. I can say from experience that promotions don’t always offer this)

Now, let me tell you that I would not have been able to take the step i took without the experience I have gained through my work in the volunteering sector. Among others I have:

… been able to help people secure jobs by sharing my experience.
… developed projects that would never have been possible outside the volunteering sector.
… met amazing people doing very important work and learnt a lot in the process.
… visited parliament for the launch of a paper I contributed to
… spoken at an industry conference
… written pieces for various publications

I need you (the reader) to understand that you too should find something you care about and give your time to it because the rewards are plentiful and most of all, the satisfaction will bring joy to your life.

Finally, at the personal level, through the illness of my ageing parents, I am beginning to gain an insight to my own mortality. Not as a negative /sad part of life but in a very efficient tool to keep me motivated and seize opportunities that may knock at my door.

The year ahead will , as always, come without noticing, and with a serious operation within the family scheduled for the 2nd, I don’t know where it will take me, but I plan to face it head on and full of positivity as I know that this will help me focus and channel my ideas to become a reality.

I don’t believe in New Years’ resolutions. I have a plan. A long term plan. And you? What will you do in 2015?

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