824. If You Don't Ask, You Don't Get
“I was always completely obsessed with the idea of self-expression and communication—that psychology of how your surroundings make you feel and how your surroundings make others feel and act and behave. And I just thought, ‘I’m going to do something with this decorating work I’ve done….and I’m going to marry it to my very important values and my identity as an environmentalist and an environmental worker.’”
Erica Reiner is a former environmental science professor using her expertise in sustainability and green living to transform spaces and the interior design field using her cleaner, greener Eco Method. Four years ago she started Eco Method Interiors to help people feel happier, healthier, less stressed and more confident at home or work. When she’s not working, she’s planning her next trip down under with her Australian husband or at the dog park with Hank, her mutt.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“Santa Monica City College, which I attended for two years, works with a non-profit called Sustainable Works, which helps educate students, residents and businesses about sustainable living practices. I enrolled and attended their courses where I learned the foundations of this field—water, energy, waste, chemicals and much more. What I learned tied directly into my lifelong love of nature and animals and showed me the profound and too often negative impact we as human beings have on our environment and our fellow inhabitants.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“After graduating from Santa Monica City College I was accepted at UC Santa Barbara, where I built on the knowledge I learned at the Sustainable Works program and majored in Environmental Studies. The depth and breadth of the program was a vital turning point for me and crystalized my personal vision and direction about what I was going to do with my career and why it mattered so much to me.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“One important lesson I’ve learned when I lecture and teach on the topic of environmental science is that a person may not be interested in the topics of water purity or climate change or pesticides in general, but when you tie those issues together and directly relate them to the topic of specifically how they directly influence and impact our living and working environments, and hence our personal mental, physical and emotional well-being, then the majority of people can quickly get on board and want to learn more.”
Steps to Success from Erica Reiner
1. Get outside the box of your own system—whether family or education or organization—so that you can listen to your own voice, make your own choices.
2. Pay attention to what holds your interests and keeps you curious, and explore those areas every way you can—via research or direct experience.
3. Seek out a role model, or mentor—someone who can share their own experiences in the area you are drawn to. Learn from them.
4. If you don’t experiment and try new things, you will never know what aspect of the occupation or profession could possibly use your talents and skills.
5. It is okay to feel uncomfortable during your exploratory phases. Hang in there until you learn what you set out to learn.
6. If you do not do these things [above], you risk always regretting that you did not fully honor your own journey to create a life and career on your own terms.
Connecting With Erica Reiner
A free phone consultation to answer a specific question you have about a space in your home or workplace. Email Erica@ecofriendlyinteriordesign.com to request a time to talk and mention you “met” her on Discover Your Talent Podcast.
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Careers: Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Green Living, Interior Design, Professor