The Rest of My Story

“I lasted all morning but left midway into the afternoon session demoralized, discouraged, and definitely feeling and believing that no one could be more stupid than I was to dream this goal.”

For those of you that read my initial post on pursuing my goal of becoming a professional member of A.S.I.D  (American Society of Interior Designers), you may remember this was my ending sentence from that post. For those of you interested in catching up to my long journey you can read the post here:

Fast forward a couple of years after my San Francisco debacle where my deflated designer self was believing that my dream was at a dead end since no one in Wichita was sharing my dream for obtaining professional status. Oh, there were a few professional ASID designers here, but they had no leads for me. Nevertheless, I kept hoping and believing that someday, something or someone would come along to help me.

In the 80’s and 90’s I used to go to Dallas Market twice a year for interior design sourcing with other Wichita designers. Unlike today ‘s home industry markets that provide tons of networking opportunities, it wasn’t like that for me in those market days. I basically only did my design sourcing for my design business. The Brunschwig and Fil Dallas showroom was my favorite with stunning displays. One display was a sofa in their  iconic fabric …..So frequently used by Sister Parish that they named the fabric after her.

The B&F Dallas showroom was packed as usual, but I couldn’t help but to hear an intense conversation between designers discussing the Q or the exam to qualify for professional ASID status. Of course my radar was on full alert since they were talking my dream! However, this definitely was not a warm fuzzy conversation as this is what I heard:

“I tried to do this exam but it was so hard and time consuming that I literally took my hundreds of books and threw them in the trash!”

“I was so overwhelmed trying to study and do my design business that I gave up and put all those books in my closet never to see again, ever!”

Yes, I know without a doubt that I had that deer in headlight look.  Nevertheless, I meekly approached this very disgruntled group of designers that I had never met, asking them how they knew who or where to go for preparing to take this Q exam?  Suddenly, I had my hope back again getting from them a contact, Dr. Cheryl Meyer, professor at University of Central Ok. I had no idea of what I was about to encounter in this difficult, time consuming, expensive, and often discouraging journey of pursuing my dream of becoming a certified professional interior designer.

In finally, connecting with Dr. Meyer, she explained her $1200.00 fee for the exam preparation. Whew! I couldn’t swing that amount then with 3 kids in college even with my booming design business. Bob and I had at that time over $50,000 yearly college costs and that was in the 90’s so imagine what that would be in today’s economy? But, I was like a dog on bone contacting every lead I could in our area begging them to prepare to take the exam and share the costs bringing Dr. Meyer to Wichita, and we did.

Now, you might think this is the end of my story, but oh no, there’s more of my saga.  You see, Dr. Meyer was preparing me, but I had yet taken this rigorous exam. At that timing, there were 6 sections of this exam, given twice yearly at a designated place, proctored by a design professional.  Our assigned area was in Kansas City at Johnson Junior College, which is 3 hours from Wichita. Given that this exam is over 2 days, hotel and food expenses were in addition to the exam fee and books and etc. But onward and upward!

Finally, I was sitting for the infamous Q exam. Low and behold I passed 3 out of the 6 sections. Now, I had to wait 6 months to try again taking the remaining 3 sections.  I studied at our kitchen table in our former family home “in my free time” of doing life, family, and did I mention my business was booming then?

Now this is my second try at this ultimate dream of mine when at the next exam opportunity, I passed 2 out of my 3 remaining sections yet to pass. Oh boy, could I possibly keep up my stamina and my enthusiasm to try for the third time to pass that last dreaded 3 D section? Yes, I did take this exam for the third time and I failed 3D by one stinking point! Seriously??

To say I was discouraged was the understatement, but now I had my fire back and I was mad as a hornet! There were no explanations, no guidance, no whatever’s, when I traveled to University to Florida, yes, Florida, to seek a review and supposedly learn what I was doing wrong. To this day I remember being with the arrogant architect supposedly reviewing my 3D project. He looked at me and said, “I don’t know what you expect me to do? I can’t help you.”  I felt like I was right back where I started in San Francisco leaving Florida demoralized and discouraged. But there was one other emotion that kept me going and that was tenacity to not be this close and not have my dream regardless of the hurdles I had overcome and more ahead of me.

Well, the rest of the story is that I finally did indeed pass that rugged 3D section.  Oh BTW, during this timing, my designer friend, Liz Fleming and I traveled for year and half to Edmond, Ok also pursuing a masters degree in interior design as we both studied for the ASID exam. And yes, we both graduated with our masters degree and yes, we both achieved professional status in ASID.

Can I hear an Amen?

Obviously, there is more to my story, but enough is enough already! Thank you for following along to my journey saga but my utmost purpose for writing this unusually long post is to emphasize that dreams are merely dreams if first and foremost, there is not an unwavering commitment to achieve that dream.

This could be your year to forge ahead accomplishing what is in your heart and even is in your DNA to go for it!  You know without a doubt that I will be cheering you on with a robust gusto since now you know, “The Rest of My Story”.

Living and Loving life together,

To order your very own signed copy of my book click here!

Mitzi Beach DesignSmarts Front Cover

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  1. Michelle

    Mitzi – I had an inkling that Cheryl Meyer would be in your story when you said you started pursing NCIDQ while living in Kansas. She was my mentor and favorite, but toughest instructor, while I finished up my education in Interior Design at the University of Central Oklahoma in the 90’s. I started my Interior Design education at Oklahoma State University in the 70’s but before I graduated I got married and had two children. When we moved to Edmond a friend and I enrolled at UCO determined to finish our design education and start to work as Interior Designers. Dr. Meyer often talked of going to Kansas for the Q. Our paths must’ve crossed at some point Mitzi! Since I’ve been following you on FB and IG I’ve always felt a kinship with you, I think we would’ve been friends! I admire you so much for your beautiful designs and successful business. My husband of almost 45 years are now retired in Paradise Valley, AZ – I wish you would change your mind and retire here too! Thanks for the walk down memory lane! All my best to you!

  2. Mitzi

    Oh Michelle! I am so sorry to be so behind in responding to your lovely comment! I am under a writing deadline for my book coming out in Feb/March ish. How amazing that you were so discerning to catch the Dr Meyer possibility. I have tried many times to connect with Cheryl. Would you have any contact info? Is she still in Edmund? You won’t believe this but I am working with an author coach who temporarily is in Edmund! I plan on visiting her in Edmund before we move which will be late spring.

    I am honored that you like my “stuff”! And yes, we definitely would be friends with our backgrounds and our love of design. I hope that you are enjoying your next life stage in a wonderful warm climate. Let’s please keep in touch because who knows when our paths could cross? Mitzi

  3. Janet Lorusso

    Wow! Your perseverance to achieve your goals is so admirable and inspiring, Mitzi! Thanks for sharing your story and inspiring us!

    • mitzi beach

      Thank you Janet for understanding my intent so exactly…it was to encourage others to keep on keeping on regardless of age or obstaclles.

      You will be this exact women leading others on as well. xoxo

  4. Deborah Main

    What tenacity and perseverance Mitzi!!! Especially with so many rejections. Read Tina Nicole’s book and you’ll see the big rejections she faced too. I think that’s the only way we become who we are. I’m so happy you stuck with it and are sharing your story here to help other young designers. You are amazing!!

    • mitzi beach

      Thank you so much Deborah! The easiest thing in the journey of life is to give saying the heck with all this…it is just too hard!

      But you also have persevered and look at you go! I really appreciate your comment. xoxo

  5. Mary Ann Benoit

    So glad all your persistence paid off! I had a similar experience when I got my instrument rating for my pilots license…..failed the test twice before finally making it happen on the third try. It was expensive and time consuming preparing for each test and humiliating to fail. But in the end it paid off! Good for you!!!

    • mitzi beach

      Wow Mary Ann. How sweet it is for me to know someone who also experienced the time and humilation of failing but also kept the dream alive regardless.

      Isn’t it so amazing to be on the other side of all those really hard challenges? Thank you sooo much for your meaningful comment.

  6. Lori Carpenter

    Amazing! Congratulations on all your hard work and dedication that has made our industry of women entrepreneurs great!?

  7. Michelle Schneider

    Mitzi you are a true inspiration to all.We should all aspire to persevere to achieve our goals and dreams. Thank you for your dedication to our industry and sharing your experiences.

    • mitzi beach

      I so love your comment on my dedication to our industry because you hit it exactly for my quest to not be discounted as a Suzy homemaker with a business card only.
      While I can respect all women who try to get out there and do their thing, I cannot abide being disrespected by contractors and architects who thought I knew nothing. One of my favorite accomplishments throuhout many large remodeling projects was asking these men, ” well, can’t we just use steel beams?” They knew that I knew what I was doing. Respect has to be earned and we are doing our part to earn that respect.
      Thank you Michelle!

  8. mitzi beach

    I love your comment Lori! During those really hard times, my only focus had to be the goal and the goal only or else I would have said the heck with all of this work and humilation!
    But you know how hard you work and how in the end of a long but successful project you can say, yes, I made it happen! xoxo

  9. Leslie Carothers

    Mitzi – this really is such an inspiring story! So many women are in the same boat of work/kids/husband/money and can’t see their way clear to make their goals happen,,but you are living proof that with tenacity and determination — NOTHING can get in the way of achieving our dreams. Thanks for sharing your story !

    • Mitzi

      Obviously way behind Lselie but I so appreciate your comment agreeing with me that against all odds, we can indeed keep moving towards our dreams and goals….and at any age I might add!…:)
      You are living proof of tweaking what worked then but not now, trying to endeavors regardless of the unknown challenges ahead. You model this very rare MINDSET.

  10. Sheri Bruneau

    A never quit attitude – LOVE IT! I think anyone who is looking at forwarding their education (whether it be in ID or not), should read this. Bumps along the road are never easy and persevering takes guts.

    Congratulations on all that you have accomplished!

    • Mitzi

      thanks Sheri because what most do not know is that I realized later in life that I actually had a lerning disability which of course made me feel dumb not knowing how to overcome it. I do know withouot a doubt that my faith is what kept me going. Without that, I would have said who needs this??

    • Mitzi

      I am thrilled to be able to tell my story Eva with the intent to encouorage others that nothing in life is ever without challenges. It is the adage quitters give us but winners never do. I wish your daughter nothing with wins in her life as an interior designer knowing that the industry has drastically changed but there will always be a need for us.

  11. Kristine Lowder

    “One stinking point!” So close! Ugh. Glad you got your fire back and persevered, arrogant FL architect notwithstanding! Kudos and congratulations!

    • Mitzi

      Your comment Kristine gave me such affirmation as to why I wrote this post. With big dreams,often comes big naysayers and discouragers, often in our own families! But again, your getting my almost last straw of my goal made me feel very grateful for my sharing…thannk you so much.

  12. Peta Sklarz

    So exciting Mitzi!! Wow, this I such an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing your journey, and congrats!!!

    • Mitzi

      Thank you so much Peta! And you are own your own journey that is now and will be even more successful as you too never ever give up.