When Your Trail is Leading Nowhere, Follow a Trailblazer to Happiness

When Your Trail is Leading Nowhere, Follow a Trailblazer to Happiness

We are all following a path to somewhere, hopefully to becoming the person we are meant to be, doing that thing that only we can do, that makes others lives better so they pay us generously for our service.

Sometimes we know the right path and sometimes we get lost or take the long way. 

Some seem to know the way intuitively, or  just want to blaze a new trail for themselves. 

They inspire us with ideas on which way to go in our own journey.

There are four people that have inspired me and shaped my direction the last couple years. I thank them for being the trailblazers in my life. Maybe they can help you.

When Your Trail is Leading Nowhere, Follow a Trailblazer to Happiness

My Trail

When I was younger, I wanted to be an Interior Designer. Fresh out of design school, I did some work in the field but got distracted by other adventures, travel and life. Later, I went back to school and got a second degree in wildlife biology, and worked as a wildlife biologist for 35 years.

In 2014 I decided to start a creative business and considered going back into Interior Design. You can imagine how things had changed in 35 years and what a challenge that would be to overcome. Not being one to give up easily, I found a way.

The following four trailblazers helped me make that happen and changed my life.

Note this post contains affiliate links, meaning I may make a small commission for sharing with you if you try their programs at no additional cost to you.

Home Staging Trailblazer

Debra Gould- The Staging Diva
Debra Gould- The Staging Diva. Photo courtesy of the Staging Diva.

As I considered how to get back into Interior Design after so long, I discovered home staging. I thought learning to be a home stager might be a great stepping stone back into the design world.

I found Debra Gould’s Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program online. Check out her amazing home staging courses.


Staging Diva Home Staging Store

Debra had a passion for decorating since she was a child but started her home staging career when she realized people would pay her to do what came naturally to her and what she loved doing! Sounds like a dream we all have! Since 2005 she has taught over 30,000 students how to make that dream come true.

Her training is fantastic and teaches you how to start and run a successful home staging business. An expert in marketing, business and home staging, she is also a fun and generous teacher and great mentor.

10 Tips to Become a Home Stager - FREE
Staging Savvy Quiz: Do You Have the Eye of a Home Stager?

Debra is a marketing ninja and what she teaches I have seen proven true over time. Every time I listen to her course again, I learn something new.  

I continue to enjoy ongoing support and mentorship from Debra along with an amazing group of her graduates.   I highly recommend her courses. 

I incorporated what I  learned from Debra into my philosophy of Aligned Design and in my home staging services.  By aligning art (creativity), science (color science) and energy (emotional connection with buyers) in my home staging projects, I have had great success in helping my clients sell fast and for more.

Color Trailblaer

Lori Sawaya of Camp Chroma
Lori Sawaya of Camp Chroma. Photo courtesy of Lori Sawaya.

Lori is a color unicorn. Her super power is taking complex concepts and theories and transforming them into clear and actionable ideas and strategies. She takes complex color problems and unravels them to create understanding and beauty for her students and clients.

She created and teaches a science based course on how designers and others can use color measurements to help homeowners and property managers choose the perfect colors. 

In my journey with  color, I finally “got it” after taking Lori’s Four Pillars of Color training..  I understand why people struggle with picking paint colors and why it is inevitable that most people will “mess up” and make expensive mistakes if they do not understand how color really works.

This course changed how I approach everything I do related to design! Now, the science of color is a key aspect of my Aligned Design system which aligns art, science (color) and energy to make magic happen in your home.

If you love color and truly want to understand it better for your own enjoyment or your business, you can’t go wrong with this course!

Four Pillars of Color Training Course
Best Color Training EVER.
Mary Ann Benoit is the only certified color strategist in Alaska
Become a certified color strategist when you learn to become a color unicorn like Lori.

Interior Design Trailblazer

Jenna Gaidusek or the Edesign Tribe
Jenna Gaidusek of the Edesign Tribe. Photo from Jenna Gaidusek Designs.

Jenna Gaidusek, a young entrepreneur who founded the Edesign Tribe  in August of 2018 inspired me to branch out more into Interior Design after being away from it for 35 years. I wondered how I could possibly catch up as times had obviously changed. She showed me that instead of going backwards to catch up, I could be a trail blazer with her, breaking new ground into the future of Edesign, working with clients online anywhere in the world, using the latest technology to create stunning designs, renders and an easy shopping experiences for our clients. The experience is above and beyond any you can get from a big box store, thanks to Jenna’s training, innovative software and the supportive unique community she has built of designers worldwide.

Jenna teaches how to do social media advertising, marketing, work with clients, set up a self-hosted website, create beautiful renderings and make money with  affiliate partners.  Jenna  has built a beautiful, supportive tribe of designers worldwide as well as a working ecosystem of designers that help each other. 

The things I have learned as part of the Edesign Tribe have become a key part of the “art” or creative part of my Aligned Design system which aligns art, science and energy to create your perfect space.

If you are an Interior designer  that wants to add additional services. I highly recommend this! 

Be a trail blazer and guide the future of Interior Design by learning the latest in Edesign.

Transformational Coaching Trailblazer

Jim Fortin and TCP

Learn to BE the person you are meant to BE with a little help from Jim Fortin and his amazing team.

I first heard about Jim Fortin when a friend recommended his podcast on transforming yourself from the inside out. And wow, what a podcast! I was hooked and started implementing some of the things I learned to transform my life for the better right away. 

Some of his podcast episodes such as- Why Your Bad Habits are So Hard To Break  helped me to change some of my eating habits and lose weight and quit smoking. Another great episode is How the Law of Attraction Repels Money and Abundance you Want helped me with my business.  Listen to the Master Thought Formula, to learn how to control your thinking and improve your life in all ways.

I took his Transformational Coaching Program (TCP) and I can not recommend this program enough to transform yourself or your business from the inside out to be the person you are meant to be or to serve your clients better and make more money.  This is the best training course I have ever taken, hands down. Get on the Waitlist for the next TCP Program.

This training inspired my Aligned Design philosophy which aligns art, science, and energy in Interior Design. It is a key part of the “energy” aspect and how I use what I call Transformative Design to create your perfect space. 

Jim teaches that you need to BE the person you want in order to do the things you need to have what you want in life (Jim’s BE, DO,  HAVE model), I incorporate that thinking into my Interior Designs, where we work together to determine who you want to BE and create a space that supports that.

Check out some of my blog articles,  Create Your Perfect Space by Doing Nothing, and  Lose Weight, Quit Smoking, Get Healthy and Peaceful Without Pain for some of my experiences with this program.

Aligned Design Trailblazer

Now I blaze my own trail to create your perfect space with my Aligned Design philosophy, which aligns art, science and energy to create magic in your home through Interior Design or Home Staging.


My philosophy was built on the things I learned from the trailblazers above, mixed with my unique creative perspective, love of color and global style design.

I am happy to blaze the trail for you to happiness in your perfect space. Start with an Aligned Design consultation to develop your plan, and then we can work on individual rooms with some of my Edesign services.

Selling your home? I can help you sell fast and for more with home staging. The right colors can also increase the sales price of your home….or reduce it.


Find out more about your design style with this fun quiz.

What is Your Global Design Style? Take the Quiz

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When Your Trail is Leading Nowhere, Follow a Trailblazer to Happiness

By Mary Ann Benoit

President- Northern Lights Home Staging and Design Owner- Arctic Paradise Bed and Breakfast Artist- Stained Glass, Jewelry and Alcohol Ink Art Wildlife Biologist Director- Kaleido World Percussion and Dance Company Director- Tavus Dance Company of Alaska Lover of music, art, dance and animals.


  1. Ohhhh, SUCH a terrific post Mary Ann. I love hearing about your journey and thanks for posting all those trail-blazer links!

  2. Hi Mary Ann – what a wonderful post showcasing all the important people who have helped blaze your trial. Some I know, and others I’m happy to be introduced to! I have to go listen to some podcasts now…

  3. What a great post and a wonderful way to acknowledge the people who have helped you along the way.

  4. It is fun to hear a bit about your journey back into design. Thanks for sharing all these great resources that have helped you on your path!

  5. What a lovely tribute to the people who helped you find what is obviously the best path for your talents! Bravo!

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