Stop Making Excuses
For Yourself

with Catherine Cornelissen

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi!!! My name is Catherine Cornelissen, and I am an interior designer and art advisor, as well as founder and director of Decor A List, a curated online shop for unique homewares! I spend my days sourcing beautiful homewares and one-of-a-kind decor, liaising with artists and galleries to help expand or start a client’s collection, as well as styling, decorating and renovating homes! I studied History of Art at Christie’s Education and Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute in London, which drove my passion further to pursue a career in the art and interiors industry!

Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Yes, always! I always wanted to be an interior designer and that’s exactly what I’m doing!

Were you scared to start the process?
I was terrified, but I also had faith in myself and knew that there was no right time to start. I was finished making excuses and wanted to build a life that I would be excited about living.

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
Over the years, I have dealt with being judged, especially within personal relationships. I now know that if someone is going to judge me, comment on what I am doing, emotionally attack me or even make me question myself (!!!), I simply laugh and move on! I don’t need to respond — as I want to safeguard my own emotions — but I just think to myself: “Ok, cool. They think that, I know they’re wrong. Go away, next!” The way someone treats you is merely a reflection of how they feel about themselves!

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
All the time! To this day people doubt me! It makes me feel upset, defeated and terribly alone. I now actively choose to translate and drive those feelings into a passion to prove any doubters wrong! And quite honestly, by the time I achieve ‘x’ goal, I have long forgotten about any doubters because I am so content with my own accomplishments! People will either grow with you, or not, and I think it’s important to find people that will grow with you and constantly push you outside of your comfort zone where personal development happens.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
To stop making excuses for yourself and just get on with it! I also used to listen to life, work or relationship advice from people who were no where near where I wanted to be, or accomplish the same things. The quote “you will never be criticized by someone doing more than you. You will only be criticized by someone doing less,” resonates so much with me! I think it’s crucial to surround yourself with people who are truly accomplishing things and aligned with your goals. I also don’t share my problems with people very often as I think it’s important to deal with everything on your own so you are 110% taking accountability for our own decisions and not being swayed by others’ opinions. Basically, just don’t air your dirty laundry!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Operate daily from the future version of yourself. So where do you want to be in 3, 5, 10 years time? I envision what the future Catherine would be like, look like, practicing daily and so on. I then do my best to show up for that future version of myself every single day. It’s hard to do every single day, but if I don’t show up for the future version of myself, who will?

Who is your biggest role model? Why?
The future version of myself, Catherine Cornelissen is my role model! While I admire so many others who are doing incredible things, I don’t want anyone else’s life except my own. I know what makes me happy i.e. family, nature, playing sports, interior design, wellness and helping others! So I simply work towards what makes me happy since I know these things fuel my fire and excite me every day!

What do you love most about yourself?
My sense of humour! I laugh at just about anything! Even if it’s only remotely funny! I then laugh at myself for thinking something is funnier than it actually is! Does that make sense? I also remember the most random things at awkward times and giggle out loud… often people notice and it’s a little embarrassing, but I love that about myself.​

What motivates you most?
Knowing that we all (emphasis on the all) have the ability to shape our lives and live our wildest dreams. If we put the work in, we can carve a life that is unique to us. I think we all deserve everything we can imagine, it just depends how hard you are willing to work to get there and what you are willing to sacrifice along the way. A Pinterest vision board helps! (Gosh I could spend hours on Pinterest)!

How do you manage your work-life balance?
I already do what I love, so my work is already something I am incredibly passionate about! When I’m not working though, I spend time on a couple side hustles — which I am equally passionate about! It energizes and refreshes me while still allowing me to make progress and work towards other goals. I love cooking; so making delicious, healthy meals is something I find great satisfaction in as well!

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I constantly cut out negativity. I only surround myself with positive people, uplifting podcasts and inspiring books daily which helps me remind myself of who I am, where I want to be and how to get there.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Don’t pay attention to what anyone thinks of you! I recently read a quote from Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl Stop Apologizing, and she explains how “someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.” We all need to remember this daily! I wish I could tell my younger self to stop worrying about people’s opinions! In hindsight, I probably would have participated more frequently in class and pushed myself out of my comfort zone more often! I regret that hugely!

Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Not until recently. I always struggled with confidence, not only within myself but also with my body image. I am always working on my confidence and it’s something that I always strive to improve.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in things that I can’t quite believe exist, are real or achievable. Similar to a double negative, I find immense gratification when I visualize what my life will look like; even if it seems unattainable to others or downright crazy! Go big or go home!

What are your biggest passions?
Everything outdoors (sailing, skiing, hiking, camping, horse riding), helping other people find their entrepreneurial passion (we all have it in us!), family and interior design, which is what I have decided to pursue as a career. For me, being passionate about interior design revolves around helping others love their home. We’re all familiar with walking into a hotel, a friend’s house or even a show-room that we just LOVE! So think of that place now, where you couldn’t quite believe where you were! We then envision ourselves living there and what our lives would be like on a daily basis. My goal is to help everyone — and anyone! — live like that and be happy to be home. We all deserve beautiful life, and that includes a beautiful home!

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catherine cornelissen

After finishing school, Catherine Cornelissen realized that she did not want to work for anyone and that she also wanted to help people create a home that was unique to them. She founded Decor A List, an online interiors shop.

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