Sabrina Teekah On Curiosity And Creating Moments That Matter
Has your life become a virtual ground-hog day since the start of the pandemic? In this episode, former software developer, turned principal designer for an award-winning interior design firm, turned event designer and producer Sabrina Teekah chats with Ellie Shefi about bringing your vision to life and creating unexpected magical moments that matter.
A lifelong learner with insatiable curiosity, Sabrina shares her innovative process for activating memory points by creating spaces and experiences that inspire, empower, and engage. If you’re sick of zoomzilla and want to take control of your digital venue, this is one episode you don’t want to miss!
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Sabrina Teekah On Curiosity And Creating Moments That Matter
Our guest is a former software developer for Fortune 500 companies, turned to principal designer for an award-winning interior design firm, turned event designer and producer. In her role, she brings together her technological experience and her design experience to create and implement unique and impactful online experiences and events for her clients. Passionate about helping people use their voice and share their knowledge and experience as a vehicle for change, she is the host of the Now or Never Show and the cohost of Life 2.0. Welcome, Sabrina Teekah. You have had quite a journey. What drew you to computer science and software development initially?
Thank you for having me. This is great. It’s great to be with you in person. What drove me to software development is, I'm not sure there was one thing but I'm always fascinated with puzzles ever since I was a child. To me, software development is one big puzzle. I started studying that and I was fascinated. This was back in the ‘80s when it was the dinosaur age of coding. I loved it.
You had quite the pivot from software developer to interior design. What was the impetus for that? Take us on that journey.
Software takes a lot of concentrated effort like anything else. After seventeen years, I was pretty much burnt out because you’re working on deadlines. Sometimes I would have to be on call. I would hate it if I had to be on call for payroll because the next day, if the payroll didn't run then we were in trouble. Those types of things, I was like, “I'm done.” At that time, when I made that decision, my kids were still very young. I thought, “No, I need to rethink this whole thing.” After I was home for a little while, I was like, “I need to do something where I can control my own time.”
That was critical for me to control my own time. I was like, “I like this interior design thing.” I didn't even know you could study that when I went to college because my mom was always rearranging our house in some way. The house would always be rearranged at Christmas time or whatever time and this, that and the other. I never knew it was a profession to be quite honest. I thought, “This interior design might be interesting.” I went back to school and studied Interior Design. I thought, “This is like Computer Science. You have a vision and implementation but we're using some different tools in between.” To me, it's the same thing using a few different tools.
That's amazing because I would have never envisioned that Computer Science and Interior Design were at all the same thing. My brain does not recognize that but hearing you explain it makes perfect sense. You're executing a vision. It's the pieces of the puzzle to bring the vision to life. I love the fact that now you get to use both of those experiences to create online experiences, online events as this incredible virtual event planner. What gave you the idea to marry the two professions and become an online event producer?
My journey has taken many different twists and turns. In March of 2020, I attended this online three-day event where I met you, 10 hours a day, 30 hours of sitting on Zoom and we were not bored. The reason why I attended the event was I was teaching three-hour classes at the college as part of that other little thing that I do. I was like, “How do I make this online thing more interesting?” I knew SAGE Event Management from their in-person events. I thought, “If anybody knows how to do this, they know how to do this.”
After I went through it, I got some great ideas. I started noticing the questions that people were struggling with in the Facebook group to put on their event. I was like, “I know how to build a password-protected dashboard. I know how to build an email sequence.” That's taken my computer science brain but I also know how to make your digital environment appealing because in interior design, it has to follow certain rules and it has to appeal to you so that your environment feeds your soul. I was like, “This makes sense.” It's weird. That's how that started.
It was that perfect marriage of the technological experience with the aesthetics and the design experience and knowing what little touches take a Zoom meeting and elevating that to a full experience that is engaging, immersive and captivating.
It was the perfect marriage. The other thing that I bring into that whole mix is experiential design because I teach customer journey mapping. I was like, “You come to this event and you're on a journey. What is that incoming experience? What is that outgoing experience?” There's something that we used to do in interior design when we did model homes because when you're looking for a house, you're naturally going to look at 20 to 30 houses or whatever. We're like, “How do we make the person remember our house?” It comes from a different angle of a residential design for somebody living there when you do a model home.
You have to know who you're marketing to. You have to know your ideal target market of all those types. We build an avatar and a family. We give them professions, this, that and the other. We're very clear on who our target is. We come up with this other thing is, what is the talking point that we want people to leave with? We come up with a phrase.
That's amazing. In interior design? In the home design?
Yes. Each house has different things. This one house, to illustrate the point, we wanted the person to say, “You remember that wallpaper in the powder room?” How do we create that? We had this amazing design. Everything is perfect and is perfectly placed. In the bathroom and powder room, we did a beautiful wallpaper that had the scale and the proportion. Everything was perfect based on the design rules but the theme was wrong. The theme was teacups and saucers. We were like, “That should get their attention,” because it was the unexpected. You don't expect teacups and saucers in a powder room, in a bathroom situation. We wanted that expression.
When I do design for anything, I want to know how you want to feel and what you want to remember because I can tell you a whole bunch of stuff but if you don't get that emotional feeling evoked matched with a certain memory, you're not going to remember that, “That house was gorgeous.” Once you get that memory point activated then you remember the rest of that house. It's the same scenario. Once you get that memory point activated in whatever it is that you're doing in these events then everything else falls into place. It's like a focal point of the whole event.
I would never have thought about it that way. It is fascinating and on-point and necessary, particularly in our new online environment where we are on Zoomzilla for 18 hours a day or 14 hours a day. We don't even know what day it is. We don't know what meeting we were at. To have that journey, that experience, what do you want to feel, what is that memory point, to make the events that your clients are hosting stand out and not just be yet another Zoom meeting, event, summit or class but an actual experience.
To bring in the psychology, the proportions, the aesthetics, the emotions, the psychographics of the audience of it, to bring that all together. Also, have the technological expertise to be able to execute that vision. I can see why people flock to you. That is an incredible skill set. It seems like everything you've experienced in your professional journey has brought you to this moment. It perfectly positioned you for the online environment of the pandemic and now going forward.
The other set of tools that I needed to add to that mix was understanding how would I use Zoom as our tool to evoke those emotions because I don't have fabric, this and that. How can I use the tool to facilitate and evoke those emotions? What is that going to look like? Is it going to look like a breakout room? Is it going to look like me playing audio? It's a little bit more challenging because your toolset is limited with the execution of it. Being conscientious about if I want to evoke a feeling of happiness, sad, joy, whatever, how can I evoke that using this tool and using this other thing and this other thing? How can I plan that out?
How can you create that customer journey to be the experience at each step in the journey?
At each moment, that matters. This whole journey, you can't plan every single moment but there are moments that matter in the journey. Certain moments like, for example, when you walk into a space. The first moment that matters is you're in the space. What are you feeling? What are you experiencing? Where does your eye go to? Where do you want that eye to travel? Your eye goes to a certain place and it travels so that you can have the whole experience of the space. It's the same thing that you should be doing for your online digital venue. It's your digital venue. You have to be conscientious about that. I do put all that thought into when I build things for people.
You can work towards the possibility of whatever you want.
That's remarkable. All of the little details. It's the same as when you walk into a house and the books that are on the coffee table. The flowers that are in the vase whether they're real or not. What is the fragrance? What are the lights? I love that. The moments that matter. I want to shift gears a little bit. Let's dive into some other moments that matter from your life. You have this illustrious, diverse, interesting, fascinating, epic professional career but it hasn't always been smooth sailing and easy. You have had many moments that have shaped your life from childhood, from the experiences that you had growing up. Share with us some of those pivotal moments, those moments that matter.
I've had a very interesting life. There are a couple of things that stand out to me when I was less than ten. I was always curious about life in general. My biggest question was, I don't understand why they say the parallel lines don't meet when the sun's rays are supposed to be parallel and they do meet at some point on the ground. That was a big question in my mind. Who thinks about that when they were less than ten?
I was always fascinated with mathematics. I always wanted to be a mathematician but I always felt like puzzles were fascinating to me. This was all puzzled. At a certain point in our country, we couldn't further your education because there weren’t options. I had to leave. Fortunately, I had older siblings that lived in Canada and the US and things like that so that we could go away. That was a brave moment.
Tell us a little bit about where you grew up. You mentioned that at a certain point, there weren't any other opportunities. What opportunities did you see growing up? When were you aware that there was a limit to what you could do or study or achieve? When did you notice that you were going to have to go somewhere else to have the life that you envisioned?
I am 1 of 6 children. I'm number five. I had siblings that this was their path. I knew that this was possible because my eldest sister left to go study Nursing in England. We lived in Guiana. It was British Guiana at the time. In order for her to furthermore, she had to leave the country. We were under British rule. It was easier to get to England. She still lives there. She's been there forever. I had another brother and he wanted to further his education as well. He was a teacher. Now he is a professor at a couple of different universities in Canada. He went to Canada. My other brother went to Chicago. Because our siblings, this was a thing.
It's not just our family. It was the norm in the country. When it came my time, I was like, “Where do I go? I have England, the US or Canada.” It’s because my siblings were there. In order for you to migrate, you have to be sponsored and go through the whole thing. It took me two years of paperwork in order to get to my brother in Canada because he sponsored me. That took some time to get there.
Talk about tenacity, drive and dedication.
The other thing, I don't think sometimes I take a step back. Most people in Guiana, at that time, you can leave the country. We're not hugely wealthy or anything. We had everything. My father was a minister. The compassion and the love of people and service are how I was brought up. Understanding what's possible when you're a little child is important.
It’s critical. Who instilled that curiosity, the understanding of possibility?
My mom and dad. My dad taught himself seven languages. He did comparative religion. He would study other religions. That was his thing. My mom was the gentle giant. She was the teacher of life, as far as I'm concerned. She'd be like, “Always respect everybody. Everybody's got something to teach you. Don't ever think you're above anybody else. Listen and learn. If you don't have anything good to say then shut your mouth.”
Those things but on the other hand, I had lots of relatives that were super wealthy. I saw possibilities to build and grow. You saw things that, “When you have a wedding, you go to a different country to shop or come back?” Those are the types of things. I had family members that were in the government. I had a good exposure to what's possible.
From early on, it's understanding that whatever you want, you can work towards the possibility because, I don't think I've ever mentioned this to you but I left Guiana with $5. It’s all that I had. Building from there to having two kids that went to Emory University and law school and everything, paying all of that, I feel like we've given them a good foundation but we had to work to get there to be able to do that.
Holding on to the dream of what's possible and having the curiosity and the resourcefulness because if you only have $5, you don't have the resources. You may have had other people in your family with the resources but they weren't writing the check enough for you. Having the dream and the vision, believing that it's possible but then within yourself, having the curiosity, the dedication, the drive, the tenacity, the resilience and the passion to go after it and build a life that you love. That's so inspiring. You've learned from a lot of people. You've had the opportunity to be surrounded by these incredible people. You've continued that in programs that you've taken in careers that you've had. What is the best advice that someone has given you?
It comes from my mom. It's respect everybody and everybody has something to teach you. There are times when you get mad at whatever situation. We all go through a phase of, “I'm right.” As I did a lot of self-development, I learned that I'm not the judge. Nobody made me judge. I'm here to learn from people good, bad or ugly. Once I learned the lesson that somebody was placed in my life to teach me something, I was like, “What am I supposed to learn here?”
It seems like that paradigm shift, the perspective shift allowed you to be open to receiving and removing some judgment.
There were times in my life journey that I’d be stressed out. This stress and weight live in your head. After many Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, hours and hours, four hours a day, from 2012, I was looking at it because I have a reminder on my phone to now, I do some self-development work. It used to be four hours a day. It's probably that got about an hour a day now because I don't have enough of the time. I was like, “Somebody says you got to be 10,000 hours before you're an expert. I'm still not an expert. I'm not past 10,000 hours.” I know. I now say, “The rent in my head is expensive. Not everybody can afford it.” I don't let things live in my head.
That is so profound. Say that again for our audience. I want that to sink in.
Everybody's got something to teach you. Don't ever think you're above anybody else.
The things that you allow to live in your head, can they afford the rent? What somebody else thinks about you is none of your business. It's their thoughts. You can't control their thoughts. When you come to accept that, you live a much freer life. You live a much happier self. You're a happier self. I only let things live in my head that matter to my life. If somebody else's opinion, it's like, “Sorry, you don't put food on my table.” I can't waste that energy. I'd much rather go learn something.
Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” It's a similar thing. What you focus on, you will find. What you focus on, you'll feel. Standing guard at the gate of your mind and not letting anything in that doesn't serve you. If it doesn't serve you, make you feel better, help you get to your goals and move the needle in the direction that you want, they can't afford the rent and it doesn't go in your head.
Sorry, you can’t afford the rent.
Let's piggyback on that. Let's talk about some freeloaders that like to pop into our heads. How do you deal with the negative chatter that comes up, the inner critic, the fear, the doubt, the Imposter syndrome? All those freeloaders that like to come in and take up that space in our head but can't afford the rent, how do you deal with them?
What has helped me is hours of self-development. It is not a switch that you can turn things off. I'm further along in my journey of dealing with those voices in my head but when they first started, it took lots of time. Some of the things you have to be, first of all, aware of it before you can fix it. You have to want to fix it. Not everybody wants to fix it. Some people thrive on stress and chaos. I don't. I need to honor myself.
The way I honor myself, there are many different things that I do for that. One of them is why would I take your stress and give me a heart attack? You don't get to do that. These negative things don't get to do that now. Talking about the negative pieces, it does take time. Some of the things that I did initially to help me, now it's more of a habit. I'm better at it but at first, it was very difficult. I had to keep guard.
Stand guard at the gate of your mind.
I had to stand guard. I was like, “How can I change this? How can I make it seamless?” If I had a practice that I would do, I would tie it to something that I do naturally. If I did coffee in the morning, I would tie studying for ten minutes or meditating for ten minutes to the thing so that I can make it easier to remember.
I did things like triggers. If I enter a room, what energy do I bring to this room? What value do I bring to the room? If I come into my house, what baggage am I bringing in? Those types of things. I would put reminders on my phone. Gradually over the years, I have an old phone and that’s a reminder of mine. I have something called the bookends of the day, which I learned from John C. Maxwell. I have two questions that I start and end my day with. The first question is, “Who can I help today?” The nighttime question is, “Who did I help? How did I do it?” I look for opportunities to be of value to somebody else but it's not something that is a switch.
You have to want to do that because I want to leave this world a better place because somebody knew me because I helped them take that one step that I'm holding space for them if they can't hold that space for themselves or whatever it is. I put it on my phone and the phone reminds me every morning, every night. At first, it’s hard. I had a burning desire to develop that habit. One of the things that I do is I try every year to instill another habit.
One piece at a time.
How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time. Progress, not perfection, like we say. It's habit stacking. I like that term.
Adding one more thing, one thing at a time to something you're already doing that is already part of your routine so you're not overturning the apple cart. It's not overwhelming. You're building in the reminders. I love using the technology of your phone to give you a reminder. I use songs that I love because I love to have a good dance party. In the hustle and bustle of the day with Zoomzilla and back-to-back meetings, the next thing you know, it's the end of the week. Forget the end of the day. It's now the end of the week and all you've done is sit at the computer. I like to have fun little songs. They're set about six times during the day so it will go off. I love the song.
I immediately start singing and dancing then I give up. I put a note similar to the question that pops up that is an affirmation or the next one may be a reminder. I tend to forget to eat because the day goes. I have one that says nourish yourself as a reminder. I love the idea of using the technology and the habits that you already have. It was an insightful point that when you walk into a room because we walk into rooms all the time. By anchoring an emotion, a thought, a behavior and a new habit to that thing that we already do all the time, it helps you to remember. It’s a moment that matters.
It all ties back. On Life 2.0, we did a show called How Do You Honor Yourself? We did a little survey of about 100 people. We took 50/50. Ninety-five percent of the people when we asked them, “How do you honor yourself?” said something about what they do for somebody else. There are 1 or 2 people only that said how they put on their own oxygen mask first. It's so interesting, especially as women. We are always doing things for other people. We're the nurturers. Who nurtures us? We have to nurture ourselves because that's where self-acceptance and self-confidence come from.
How do you nurture yourself? How do you honor yourself? What is your self-care routine?
I grew up with afternoon tea. Being in a British country and everything, my mom would have tea ready for us at about 3:00 when the bus came back or whatever, we came back from school. She would sit there and talk to us about our day. We'd have tea and a little snack or whatever. It was interesting. I still love afternoon tea. I still take that moment that matters. It's a moment that ties me back subconsciously to my mom. It's also a moment to sit for five minutes and enjoy a cup of tea or a cup of coffee, whatever it is. I like coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. That's one thing. The other thing is I pay attention to what my ears hear and how I process it.
What you allow in.
What I allow in to take root. For example, the news now. I look at it as a soap opera. “What's the episode today?” I need to know, should I be in the basement because there was tornado? That's how I see it. There are certain words that I don't use because I didn't grow up with them. I feel the dictionary is pretty large like you could find a different word. To me, honoring your word, your speech, your language and your emotions. Like, “How do I want to feel today?” Being aware of that, for me is critical because I grew up in a very peaceful household that promoted taking care of each other and reaching out to people and being there for people.
That's part of who I am. I could not be bothered with somebody saying this or that. I've come to the point now where whatever somebody thinks, if I put something and I have a period missing or some word spelled wrong, that's the way it is. If that's the point that you get out of what I'm trying to say or do or bring value to your life, if that's what looking at then you're not my right fit. That's how I look at that whole thing. That, to me is how I honor myself. I do take time for myself. If I feel that I'm overworked, overstressed or I'm not feeling quite right, I go have a nap or I go for a walk to the bookstore. I love the bookstore.
I go sit and have a cup of coffee. I'm fine with having coffee by myself. I'm fine with eating. I am fine with my own. I love journals. I have a stack of them. I have ideas coming out of the wazoo. That's my outlet. I took this test. I call it my test. I was reading this book that says how we're allowing our brain cells to die out and how do you live longer. I was like, “This is interesting.” They were talking about a simple meal and how fast we eat a meal.
You sit down and start chewing because you're eating in between Zoom calls.
There are times when we should take time to enjoy what it looks like, what it feels like, what it tastes like because some of those cells are dying out because we're not paying attention to it.
You are here to learn from people; good, bad, or ugly.
That's a great example too, of being present, of training yourself to be present and to be present in each moment and to pay attention to what you see, what you smell, what you taste, what the texture is, what you are feeling throughout that experience. It's a great practice that the audience can implement right away to slow down, to train yourself, to be present and to notice and to become aware.
I challenge you guys. Please, don't do it at home. Do it in a space that inspires you. Because you're home, all the dishes and laundry will be calling you. Do not do it there at the first time. I did it at Longwood Gardens and I challenged myself, “How long can I sit at this meal by myself?” It took courage, stamina and everything in me not to drink that coffee so fast. I journaled about it all the time that I was there. As a result of that, I ate less food. I was like, “I can't finish this.”
I knew if I did not take that, noticing every single thing, I would have finished that and even didn't know that I ate. Sometimes we're like, “I ate that sandwich?” It's a great exercise. Do it in a space that inspires you because then if you want to wander, there's something interesting to wander and not something calling you to work.
On that note, what inspires you?
Innovation. When I see people take ideas and make them into something amazing, it's like, “That's fascinating.” You inspire me. I don't know how you get everything done. I'm blown away by how much value you bring to this world. I'm blown away when people take a bad situation and figure out how to make a good one out of it. For example, our mentors. Thinking about how can I change this whole industry of us doing in-person events to how can I pivot it to an online event is fascinating. I look for, “What is it that I'm doing that I can do better?” I look for things to make what I do better. That's what inspires me.
Growth inspires you, progress, innovation and creativity.
Spaces and experiences. Those things fascinate me. The other thing that fascinates me too is buildings, architecture.
We've touched on what lights you up, your self-care and what inspires you. How do you deal with challenges? Let's flip to the other side. How do you deal with obstacles that come up or challenges that may arise?
Early in my journey, it was fear and doubt. “I can't do this thing,” whatever it is then pausing to say, “What is this thing? Has it been done before? Did somebody else do it before? If they can figure it out, I can figure it out.” I always go back. I have this little person in my brain that says, “The light bulb. How many tries?” It was not an obstacle or a challenge. It was the path to grow.
What a powerful reframe and shift in perspective. You mentioned the language that you used. Being very intentional with the language that you used and about how you want to feel. Looking at the obstacles or the challenges as the path to grow. That's such an empowering perspective. It's empowering language. It's an entirely different feeling. From that space, you can take action.
What happens from that space is you see possibilities. Think about if you bought this red car. You never saw a red car on road until you bought yours. They were always there but you never looked for them. If you come from that space, I'm always looking to learn.
Looking for possibilities, opportunities and innovation.
Looking to where do you fill the gap. How can you fill the gap so you can make some of these lives a little bit easier?
The sense of curiosity and wonder. It sounds like it all comes to being open and going back to that child with the brain, wondering about the sun's rays. That innate curiosity and feeding that and nurturing that rather than stifling it.
I'm always curious about, “How does this?” With different mentors that I listened to, like Jim Rohn says, “The time to fix the roof is before it rains.” The time to have the map is before you go into the woods. Looking for things before that bigger challenge happens, like how do you see those possibilities and how do you see yourself as a bridge for somebody to get to that next space.
You're so clear on who you are and what your values are. You do an incredible job of standing guard at the gate of your mind as being intentional with what you allow in, with the language that you use, with the values that you hold, with the boundaries that you've said. How do you stay in such clear, strong alignment with your vision, mission and purpose?
I'm going to get a little bit preacher child here. I believe in a higher power and that I'm a masterpiece because God doesn't make mistakes. We make mistakes but like I tell my children, “Your mama didn't make no fool so please.” I try to stay in the power that we all are unique and powerful. We just need to find what that power is, what's our unique power and gifts.
Has there been a time in your life when your power was taken from you?
Yes. There are two instances that I distinctly remember. One was more traumatic than the other. The first one was I had an ectopic pregnancy before my kids were born. I was like, “I should have played the lottery. How many people have an ectopic pregnancy?” I was younger at that time and had not as much wisdom. It was like forming a company. What do I know about forming a company when I did my interior design? It took on that, “That's how it is. Let's see what we can do and get to the next step.” Odds, when somebody say, “The odds are only whatever,” I was like, “I'm one of the odd.” That's why I don't like to take pills and numb whatever you need to numb. I'm like, “They say I can heal myself. Let's think about this first.”
The other time was, which I did not know at the time and it wasn't diagnosed but I think this is what it was. There were many major life experiences happening at the same time, which I didn't realize. It compounded the effect of this. We moved to a different state, have a different house. My son was three months old. My daughter was four and a half. Now, I'm going to need a different job and my child will not stay with anyone. I, having to juggle this new environment, having to take care of two children, not having that work relationship, had postpartum depression. It was a feeling that I had never felt before. I didn't have any energy and enthusiasm. It was depressing.
I was like, “What the heck is this?” I have no idea. I went to the doctor. The doctor gave me some pills. I went back home and I was like, “Okay.” There were the pills. I kept going then I was like, “I need to do something because I don't understand this.” I looked at the pills and I read the side effects. Now, I had had an ectopic pregnancy so I read the side effects. I was like, “What? My children need me.” I flush it down the toilet and that was it. It was like a switch. That was the end of the feeling that way because, at that moment, it wasn't about me anymore. It was about my kids. “I need to be here for my kids. I'm not going to drug myself up.”
Somebody else’s opinion doesn’t put food on your table. Don’t waste your energy.
I'm not saying don't take drugs. Please don't get me wrong. I am saying that, for me, that was not the right prescription. I needed to be present for my kids. I needed to not let that thing live in my head because it couldn't afford the rent. It's not that easy. For me, it was a switch because I think I'm a strong person in terms of I'm more of a follower of certain things. I want to craft my own path. I want to lead. I'm like, “No, I'm not taking that.” It was one of those switches.
You took your power back. They say when you're overwhelmed, when you're going into a darker place or having a tough time, that one of the fastest paths out of the darkness is through service of others, through taking yourself out, shifting your focus on, “What can I do for someone today? How can I serve others who needs me?” There's an interesting driver that, as humans, we often do more for others than we will do for ourselves. We show up more for others than we show up for ourselves. We are kinder to others than we are to ourselves. When you go down the rabbit hole, one of the fastest ways to flip that switch is the service of others. It sounded like when you got out of the, “What's going on with me? How am I feeling? What is this that I'm experiencing?” to, “My kids need me.”
It was that emotion that I had never felt before in my entire life. This was very strange to me. I could have dwelled on it but I looked at the fact that I have two young kids that, “All these side effects?” You had a choice. In that moment, I flushed them down the toilet and that was the end of that.
Life is a series of decisions. It is shaped by the decisions that we make. What a beautiful thing that in each and every moment, we have the power to make the decision to live the life that we want. We have the power to make a decision. In the moments of decision, destiny is shaped. Our life can change like that.
Sometimes those decisions are like a switch. Sometimes it's harder to switch. I do get that every instance it's not going to be the same. There are things that are going to nag at us. Having a support group to talk about these things that you don’t understand, it's critical to have that community where you can discuss these things or be yourself. It's key to getting out of that obstacles. The challenges as well, understanding. One of the things I used to do when I was much younger, I do it but not consciously now. It’s having stretch goals.
What have been some of your stretch goals?
One that I remember is when I first entered the interior design profession. It's not like the computer science profession. The computer science profession is teamwork. The interior design that I experienced was me-focused. To me, it came from a not an abundance mindset that there's enough for everybody. That was very strange to me. I'd go to trade shows trying to learn the business. I would ask people, “How do you do this? How do you do that?” They would avoid the question. I was like, “What the heck?” At that time, I would be like, “The heck with it. I'll figure it out.”
My stretch goal at that time was to become somebody that is recognized in this world. I was like, “How do you do that? What do you do? I need to be published. I need to have an award of some sort. I need to figure out how to get higher-end clients.” I got published. Some of my work was on Open House NYC. TV people came and they filmed it and all of that. Those were like a stretch, “If I can do this thing,” and what is the path to getting there.
I find that interesting. I want to dive into a point that you brought up in that answer. We've talked a lot about the internal and knowing that you're a masterpiece, loving yourself, valuing yourself and taking care of yourself. For you, what did the external represent to you for your internal?
It was one of those checkboxes. I got published several times in the interior design world. I won awards. To be quite honest, that was not fulfilling. It was just a thing. This is the other thing that it represents in my life. It's like, people ask, “What do you do?” A lot of people say their profession. What I do is help you take your next step. I'm your business Uber. Let me help you get from here to there. I’ll help you point A to point B. I'll leave you alone then call me back when you're ready to go to point C with the things that I know how to do. “I am Mrs. So-and-so or I'm COO or CEO.” To me, that's not who you are. Who you are is the person that you are.
Who are you?
Sometimes that's a hard question. I am happy with who I am. I wish I was further along but I think a lot of times most of us wish we were further along in our life journey but I know where I'm supposed to be because it's written already. I believe that my life path is already written. I was saying to my husband and my sister-in-law because we went to visit family, we were talking about death. I was like, “It doesn't matter what I do. I'm going to die when I’m supposed to die.” I'm comfortable with that, with who I am and with my skillset. I'm always learning. I'm extremely proud of my two children and I'm extremely happy when they are around and we have fun but I'm also extremely happy for friends.
I choose happiness. I'm always looking for, “How can I make light of this?” I don't take myself seriously but I do serious things. I want to have a calm life and experience. I don't want to have to go through. To me, I'm a person that is happy with who they are. I try to bring value to people as much as I can because I want to leave my little part of the world better.
It's the end of your life and it's the life best lived. It's all the things you could hope and dream. You've accomplished everything you've wanted to accomplish. You've lived fully and you've chosen joy and happiness and peace. What do you want others to say about you? What do you want your legacy to be?
I want when people think about me is that they light up. They remember some moments that we've had something that I made a difference in one little tiny speck of their life. This is why I'm so passionate about online learning. I do want to leave the little bit that I have online because it can keep helping people long after I'm gone. This is why I'm passionate about people teaching whatever they know and sharing their knowledge online because it's so easy. After I'm gone, it can still be there. It can still help somebody else. There are certain things that don't change. Life lessons don't change. Those are some of the things that I would like to leave behind. When people say afternoon tea, they'll think of me.
I will think of moments that matter and afternoon tea. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for what you're doing out in the world to help people create these incredible experiences. Thank you for helping them to create moments that matter.
For themselves as well and for others.
Any last words of wisdom or any parting messages you would like to leave with our audience?
Life is lived in moments. Try to make as many of them memorable for yourself and for others. Don't let the moment pass. Be aware that all you have now is this moment so live it well.
On that note, how can people connect with you? How can they learn more about what you're doing?
The website stuff is there but the fastest way is LinkedIn under Sabrina Teekah.
Connect with you on social media and on LinkedIn. Find you, connect and make some magical moments together.
There you go.
Thank you again. Thank you for being here. Until next time.
- Now or Never Show
- Life 2.0
- Sabrina Teekah
About Sabrina Teekah
Sabrina Teekah is a former software developer for fortune 500 companies, turned principal designer for an award-winning interior design firm, turned event designer and producer. In her current role, she brings together her technological experience and her design experience to create and implement unique and impactful online experiences and events for her clients. Passionate about helping people use their voice and share their knowledge and experience as a vehicle for change, she is the host of the Now or Never show and the co-host of Life 2.0.