Skip to main content
Inspiration for the Day

The Secret to having the Life that you Want; The Landmark Forum

By 03/16/2009December 3rd, 201920 Comments

Since I’ve mentioned this course a few times in my posts, I thought I should include the story [of how I became a Colour Designer] in my blog because this education is such a huge part of who I am and how I got to where I am today.

Plus I had a comment from my ‘6 things about me’ post where someone asked “What is this course, please share with us why it was so special to you?”. So here is the story:

In 1997, I had been going out with this guy for about three weeks and we were having an argument.

Right in the middle of it, he looked at me and asked “What do you need from me right now”?

It stopped me right in my tracks. “What?” I said. First of all, I was completely disarmed, and second, I thought, “If my ex-husband had communicated this way, we might still be together”. What I noticed about him, the more time we spent together, was that he communicated like no one else I had ever been around. And yet if you asked me, I couldn’t explain what was different about it. I was so intrigued; that I decided whatever it was that he had, I wanted it.

Plus I’m a Gemini; which means I love to communicate.

It endlessly fascinates me (the stuff that makes people tick), I am inherently curious.

I have a totally tortured head (I analyze everything, always, all the time, constantly–even now) which is probably what makes me such a good teacher. Once I KNOW something, I can then explain it in the way I would want to be taught.

My biggest fault is that I am brutally honest and I’m the first to call bullsh*t if I see it (although I have learned to be a lot more diplomatic with my years of participating in Landmark courses).

Which means that I am the one who pipes up and says what everyone else in the room is thinking. Which some people like and some don’t. Luckily it works for what I do because my clients are paying for my honest opinion.

At the time, I was a Sales Manager at the Westin Bayshore. But every day I dreamed about doing something more creative.

I worked in corporate sales all through my 20’s (at the same time that I was decorating for my friends and family) but it was participating in the Landmark Forum that really gave me the courage to take the next step towards a career that I loved.

The Landmark Forum is [Ontology] the science of being (or what it is to be human).

It’s a course that constantly asks ‘Are you living your life powerfully, and are you living a life that you love?’

And the access to having the life that you want, is hanging out in a conversation called: what you don’t know that you don’t know. That’s what this conversation is and what makes it different.

It answers the questions we all have but are not answered in traditional education; why am I the way that I am? Why do I make the decisions that I make? How do I operate at my peak performance?

And, you learn how to communicate in a way that honours another human being, how to move a conversation forward, how to communicate in a way that brings out the best in someone.

When you really think about it. Communication is everything. It is what moves life forward. Period.

You know how there are some arguments you have with your husband, mom, dad, kids, you know the circle conversations? They never seem to go anywhere, they are so frustrating because you have your point of view and they have theirs (and both of you are right?). And so, there is very little movement. This course, is the access to moving those conversations forward (among many other things of course). Therefore, the more power you have in communication, the more power you have in your life.

Some people do the Forum because they are at a transition in their life, some because they are curious. Whatever your reason is however, it’s the right one for you. Is this course for everyone? No. Only people who are interested in moving their life forward with velocity.

This is the reason why nothing thrills me more than when someone I know participates in the Landmark Forum. Your reason for doing it will be different from the reason I did it. But whatever area of your life that doesn’t work for you as well as it should, that’s the place to look. And no, I don’t get a toaster if you do it.

In the meantime, as I was learning and trying out my new communication skills, I managed to get myself fired from the Westin. Which, of course, was okay with me because I was on my new path of living a life that I loved. To make a long story short, it is this course that put me on the path to my career as a designer way faster than anything else would have. And it’s a good thing I did it before I got fired because at least I knew exactly what I should do next.

And one of the biggest lessons I learned along the way? Every designer has their own special niche. I had no idea mine would be colour until I made the decision to get into action and just do it [design]. If you don’t know what yours is yet, don’t worry. Just make sure that when you find it, you specialize as fast as you can.

When I was new I thought I had to know everything [about design]. Now that I’ve experienced all aspects of design, I’m clear I don’t want to stand in a half finished house with a builder (covered in drywall dust) talking about tile and moldings. But I’m happy to stand there and specify colour.

What I do the best is colour, decorating, styling and finishing a home. Something that a designer that spends all their managing renovations doesn’t necessarily do as well because while I am reading decorating magazines and analyzing the undertones of colour, they are re-designing floor plans because that’s their passion.

A Jack of all trades, after all, is Master of none.

Related Posts:

Happiness is. . . Getting What you Want
The Secret to Happiness on a Monday
10 Commandments for a Happy Chic Home (Jonathan Adler’s answer to the question; What is your greatest accomplishment to date)
Find your Perfect Job Here

While you’re here, subscribe to this feed so you don’t miss out!
0 pins


  • Brillante Home Decor says:

    I am so glad they fired you at the Westin.
    Now we have a great designer, a very knowleadgeable colour consultant, a great blogger, a happy person and…I was able to meet you!

  • Imogen Lamport says:

    I love that you didn’t walk out of school into design, but found it later in life – which I think is something that can inspire people to look outside of what they do now, to find something else new, if they are not happy with where they currently are.

  • Michelle says:

    Great post Maria!

    Since I have known from a young age what I wanted to do with my life…maybe from decorating friend’s bedrooms at 15 years old, and my parents builing a house when I was that age…I get sad when someone says they don’t know what to do with their lives.

    To them, I say make a decision…any decision, and get moving when the time comes(mine was after my children had grown)…the world is waiting for you to shine!

  • Haven and Home says:

    Very interesting. I love to hear how people got to where they are. Your blog is very inspirational, keep up the good work!!!!

  • Anita says:

    . . . to communicate in a way that honours another human being. That really stood out. What a good blog entry today!

  • DesignTies says:

    I can’t tell you how timely this post is for me, Maria! Thank You!!

  • Marlo says:

    What an inspirational post! And I thought this blog was only about design – what a bonus! 🙂

    I’d appreciate it if someone would explain the difference between Designer, Decorator and Stylist. From what I understand the key difference is that a Designer can make structual changes to a building and a Decorator cannot. Where does a Stylist fit in? Is it another word for Decorator?

  • Colour Me Happy says:

    An Interior Designer works with you from the plan stages all the way to completion. Designs kitchens, makes structural changes, etc.

    A Decorator faciliates space planning, selects fabrics, furniture, window coverings, toss cushions, designs built-ins and picks out finishes such as tile, granite, etc.

    A stylist is someone that finishes with the details, places the coffee tables books with the vase and candleholders on the coffee table. One might hire a stylist for a photo shoot to make the room look like a magazine. (There’s the least amount of $$ in this job however.)

  • Marlo says:

    Thank you for the definitions Maria; they make perfect sense now that you’ve explained them. I was thrown off with the terms because on Design Inc.’s website they listed all of Sarah Richardson’s team members as Designers or Stylists and I wondered what a stylist was because I thought they were either junior or senior designers.

    Thank you again. I love your blog.

  • Linda at Lime in the Coconut! says:

    Oh…this WAS a great post. Full of inspiration!!

  • Awesome Sara says:

    i want to be happy too. that was a very i want to take my life by the balls post! what do i even want to do?

  • unique unique design says:

    Very interesting post! It was interesting to see how you were able to hone in on what you found interesting and enjoyable. Thanks for the insight!

  • chanteusevca says:

    Awesome post! Hooray for you, Maria! I love it when people communicate effectively and are open and transparent. I wish I had taken a Landmark course before I willingly left my job (before they might have fired me if I persisted in being who I am). So now I need to find me a Landmark course to figure out what my next step should be.

    ~~ victoria

  • Joyce says:

    WOW a wonderful post! Another case of when one door closes another opens. Thanks!

  • Rachel James says:

    Having a niche is key. Interestingly enough, I have a MA in Psychology, and now am a designer, but communication—the way to be effective, assertive, etc, is essential to working with clients in any field!

  • Ada's Design Team! says:

    Thanks for posting ‘from your heart’. It reminded me of the reason I resigned from my corporate world .. after getting a promotion and a raise .. it wasn’t about money … but following our passion. When one door closes, another one opens. Have a beauuutiful and ‘colourful’ day ~ Ada

  • The says:

    Just read your 6 Ways I've Grown Through Writing a Blog and loved it. It reminded me of 20 years ago when I took 3 Forum courses. I loved it at the time and it made a big difference then. Of course, now I think I want a re-do! Also, I just started a blog on a whim a few weeks ago, and it IS work! I enjoy it, but not at your pace. I'll keep reading 😉

  • The Blasphemous Fiendess says:

    hello-just taking a peek at an older post and I have to say I should borrow your list of who yo are because you are a Gemini. I too am a Gemini and while I take astrology with a gigantic grain of salt, that list pretty much describes me.

    and yes, I too am glad you no longer work for Westin.

  • Sandi says:

    That was a $%^& inspiring post Maria! It's so great to hear about the journey you've been on and how you got where you are. Thanks for sharing a piece of the puzzle 😉

  • NJW says:

    Maria — I love this post. I follow your blog and I feel like I already know you just by reading your work!

Leave a Reply