After a biiiiiig blogging break I come back with a story worth sharing. The story of a dream come true 🙂
Two years of intense work have led to creating the world’s best architecture guide of London.
The books have been published about a week ago and I had some time these past days to reflect over this journey full of ups and downs. I tried to organise my thoughts into a collection of moments that I’d like you to be part of. They are in no chronological order.
If you haven’t yet, you can get a copy of your London Guide now.
1. The silly daily happiness
Some days have been really big. My heart beats faster when I think of the day I finished the drawings or when I registered the ISBN. However, the mundane daily tasks are the essence of our success. Those million little decisions that changed everything. On the other hand, realising my job was to read, draw (drawing for a living!), and visiting places feels like living the dream.
2. Creating something massive with a tiny team
Work load has been intense. An editor, a maps director, an art director and me. Sweating the small stuff out of every detail. We were a very motivated team but still a very small team for the complexity and dimensions of the project. Forever grateful to Ali, Paula and Dani who worked relentlessly to make this dream come true.
3. Saying no and feeling great about it
– Virginia, did you say we will get a free copy after it’s published in exchange for this personal tour?
– Haha, NO. The book will be 50 pounds.
I was mentally clapping for myself when I said this to the 70 year old man who cheekily made this comment. And for someone who has real issues at saying no, this is a big achievement. My inability to say no has been an impediment in my life but I’ve got better, and it feels good.
4. Growing inside me something I didn’t have
Being aware of everything you lack to start a project is a scary feeling. However, the fastest way to learn what you need is going through each step. I think having the courage to have an idea or even start executing an idea is nothing compared to delivering it. Ok, I had the creative and design skills but what about negotiating, budgeting and having the stomach to deal with daily problems and obstacles? Seeing how all those skills painfully became part of me has been a joy. This morning I received bad news from one of my shipping companies and my brain responded with solutions, not angst as it used to. Hello happiness 🙂
5. Aiming for perfection, giving 200%
They say focus on having a basic MVP, fail fast, test fast. To hell with that crap!
People aren’t stupid and perfection, beauty and detail are aspects all human beings admire and cherish. I’ve received so much advice on “stopping there”, “testing with the first one” and “enough is enough”. No, it’s not. And aiming for perfection – even if it still isn’t – is the key to building successful products. Because we all value well executed crafts, details and little surprises. It’s in our human nature. Being able to see how we were constantly upgrading the book in unexpected ways when given the chance felt like magic.
6. Working from home
The little pleasures of being able to eat properly every day, every meal. To have the most comfortable office possible because you designed the space. To always have laundry up to date. And the best, the morning tea breaks. I don’t know what it is about having tea at noon every day on a beautiful set from T2 that feels so good and rewarding.
7. Learning the true meaning of perseverance
Not giving up is a beautiful thing as a concept. ‘And he never gave up, he made it in the end.‘ – the story goes. But being him, persevering and facing moral discouragement is very very ugly. There is so much mental toughness involved in perseverance and it’s very challenging. I aspire to never quit what is important to me and I now understand the difficulties that go with it.
8. The day I received the 1,000 copies
The delivery man arrived earlier so I rushed to the warehouse where he was waiting for me. He said he saw the books the day before and that it was a beautiful project. ‘My daughter is a doctor in France and seeing how young people fiercely fight for their dreams gives me hope for the upcoming generations’. I was uplifted by his words and ready to see the result of hard work. When I saw the first final copy I didn’t cry (God, I cried for everything these past emotional months haha). I felt immensity inside me, warmth and strength. I felt so powerful and grateful too.
9. The unknown: the constant fear but oh the surprises!
Experience tells us that the unknown normally comes with more pros than cons. Why are we so reluctant to the unknown then? to taking risks? Not knowing what’s going to happen is exciting because unexpected things surprise us too, unimaginable good things that would otherwise not have happened. Finally, I am enjoying the unknown as a potential way to bring unpredicted happiness.
10. People’s support
Some comments have lit up my journey like the sun. Words of encouragement, messages of hope and my favourite: the shared excitement. When the first books arrived to Spain, the number of messages sharing the joy of this moment were overwhelmingly rewarding. Also, the fact, that many people did an economic effort to financially support the creation of Architectour makes me feel extremely loved. Thanks everyone – who knows or doesn’t know me yet – for your positive influence.
The first guides have started arriving to their new homes and feedback has been amazing.
My future is still uncertain, challenging and blurry. I am starting a different phase and need to grow more crucial skills that I lack just now. But I am on my way to progress, learning every day and growing stronger than I ever was.
I am ready to embrace uncertainty and never stop dreaming.
Because as Oprah Winfrey said ‘The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.’
Thanks for being part of this journey 🙂
You can get a copy of my book at www.ArchitectourGuide.com