Creative Genius Podcast

Season 3 Episode 6

Excited by Fear (Lori McRae)

Excited by Fear (Lori McRae)

Do you shy away from a new challenge or task, afraid you might make a mistake or not succeed?  Don’t block that fear or succumb to it.  More than acknowledge it, welcome it.  It’s trying to tell you something.

In this podcast Gail and Erin talk with interior designer Lori McRae, co-founder and partner, Frederick McRae Ltd., Grand Cayman Islands.  Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the firm offers architecture and interior design services for corporate, retail and select residential projects.

Lori recounted how she became an interior designer and the journey that took her from her native Toronto to the Cayman Islands, where she’s lived for the past 22 years.  Ten years ago, she fulfilled her dream of establishing her own firm with an architect partner.

Congratulating Lori on her success, Gail asked her what she has planned for the next 10 years.  Having built a highly talented team, the firm currently is involved in succession planning.  “I would like to transition into a different role in the company,” Lori explained.  “I would like to pivot to being a true visionary, to be the one who sets the grand goals.”

Now that you’ve gotten to that place, Erin queried, what would you say is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? “Don’t be immobilized by fear,” replied Lori.  “Face your fears head on and it’s amazing what can happen.  When I’m feeling fearful, I’ve realized, this is an opportunity for growth.  I’m excited by fear now.  I’m not afraid of it.”

As a follow-up, Erin asked Lori in what areas she feels she’s grown as a result of her coaching work with Gail.  Moving from working in the company to working on the company, she said.  Also, “I’ve learned to let go.  I realized I don’t need to have an influence on everything that’s happening in the firm.”

In regards to coaching, Gail was interested in Lori’s thoughts on when one should do coaching and when one should not.  “I don’t know that there is a time when you shouldn’t do it,” responded Lori, saying that she plans to continue to seek coaching.  “I think coaching keeps you accountable.”  Thanking Gail and her team for the help they’ve given her, Lori commented, “It’s been instrumental in getting me where the company is today.”

In closing, Gail wondered what advice Lori might have for other designers seeking to grow their businesses.  Lori offered,

  • Work on your company rather than in your company
  • Face your fears; don’t be afraid to fail
  • Put processes in place

Gail and Erin had a lot more to talk about with Lori.  Listen to the full podcast to discover Lori’s guilty pleasure (you’ll never guess what it is!) and how she took on her biggest challenges.

Mentioned in This Podcast

You can find out more about Lori, her firm and her work at

Lori said that since she was a design student, she’s been inspired by the work of the Toronto-based firm Yabu Pushelberg, founded by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg.  You can find out more about them and their work at

An avid reader, Lori has set herself a goal of reading at least one book a week this year.  She mentioned several titles that she’s read recently:

  • The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness by Eric Jorgenson (more information at
  • Be 2.0: Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0 by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great (more information at
  • Greenlights by actor Matthew McConaughey (more information at

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