Gratitude, the Greatest
Let’s talk about gratitude. Not as something out of pop culture but a timeless, and profound virtue. The great philosophers wrote and spoke about gratitude. Cicero calls it the “greatest and parent of all virtues”.
How can we feel gratitude when we feel constricted, scared, angry, stressed, and or in physical pain? I’ll tell you right now. It takes a whole lot less energy to feel gratitude than it does to feel any one of the above mentioned.
Interest in the topic of gratitude dates all the way back to the ancient philosophers up to modern times. Why?
Our “monkey mind” needs to be reigned in sometimes. Our mind jumps from thought to thought like a monkey in a tree. The part of one’s mind that wants to go down the same old track and take over, needs to be put in place. Train it to subside!
This is where gratitude comes in. Gratitude can be cultivated in a daily practice, and for those of you who resist the discipline, remember that no great thing comes easily. The process takes all of five minutes.
Daily practice means getting up before your official day begins, and when distractions are at a minimum, and writing down what you are grateful for. They can be small, or large, long ago or current. Choose a lovely journal, or a simple pad, and a beautiful pen. Keep it in the same place, so you can come back to it. Develop the routine.Write down whatever comes to mind, and you will see your list gets to the real essence of your life, and the people that matter, the aspects of your life that matter.
A little back story. For a year, I wrote down every morning what I was grateful for. The discipline of doing so made me see how much beauty, synchronicity, love, appreciation, not to mention; the basic needs in my life were fulfilled.
I overlooked so much when I simply went about my day without taking a moment to reflect on the goodness of life.
Practicing gratitude does more good than what we know. Gratitude is the fuel to a happier, more contented life. In an article entitled, “The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief”, psychiatric counsellor, Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury writes,
“When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.”
As you can see, the exercise of gratitude is not just some pop culture woo woo. It is backed by science and is worth pursuing.
It is never too late to let people know just what they mean to you. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. All of the withholds take up space in our hearts and minds
Here are 5 ways in which gratitude can play a role in your self-care and wellness:
- Gratitude is by far the easiest route to feeling wellness in our lives. A lovely way to wake up with a cup of tea or coffee. Light a candle, sit quietly, and write.
- Gratitude requires no effort. Try listing out as you close your eyes at night, or actually writing them down before you go to bed. I think you will find the page is filled without struggling.
- Gratitude opens our hearts and gets us out of our heads. When we are in touch with our heart, we smile more, we offer help, we don’t expect, we don’t compare, we don’t judge.
- Gratitude brings us to the present, rather than thinking about the past or worrying about the future. The feeling is immediate. Tame that monkey mind.
- Gratitude reminds us of our humanity, of what connects us, versus what divides us. It teaches us to treat each other with more kindness. Allowing ourselves to feel gratitude may even lead us to how we can serve. Doing anything in service of the greater good is a humble act.
May you find great peace and gratitude this Thanksgiving. Create more beauty in the world.
Where in your life do you feel gratitude? Let me know on Facebook and Instagram.
Are you afraid to raise your fees?
Like I said in my 16th Facebook Live video, there is so much fear around the topic of raising your fees.
Let me say this first before anything else, unless you deal with your underlying fear, and feelings of not being good enough, no matter how much you charge…it will never be enough. It is this underbelly that you must deal with to ever achieve success.
If you want to know how to get powerful results in your life now, and how you can get the help you need to grow you and your business, read on. Remember however, this is not the path for the faint of heart. Are you ready to roll up your sleeves?
Christina Wocinte Unsplash
Asking the Hard Questions
The overall mission of this blog and website is to bring you content that will make you pause for a moment and think about your life as it is, your career, your relationships, where you would like to be in a week, a year, three years, five years, 10 years and beyond.
Consider where you are right now, on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Think about the areas of your life that work, and those that don’t.
What areas of your career can use some tune up? Does it feel like you can sustain where you are, what you are doing for the rest of your career? Or, have you thought of doing something else with your life, because your body hurts, or you are tired, or you are unable to pay your bills? Are you content in your relationships inside the salon and outside?
Do you vacation? Do you make the money you need to live and save? Are you having enough fun, or too much fun and not enough planning?
These are hard questions to answer honestly. However, unless we are willing to tell the truth to ourselves, how can we ever change our situation?
More Than Just Passion
You got to love us hairstylists, we are so passionate about what we do, that we can overlook the details of life, the nitty gritty stuff that we would rather have someone else handle; like finances, health appointments, or exercise, etc.
That is– if you are passionate!
What if you’ve lost the passion, and you are not paying attention to these issues? So much of what we do as hairstylists is show work, and we get accolades all the time for what we do, so the mundane, is just that– MUNDANE. You keep pushing it away.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, then stay with me here.
Dream and Do
With this community, and in this work, we are throwing all these issues in the mix, and creating articles that will help you in these areas. We offer up ideas, techniques, ways in which you can make changes in your life. The kind of hairdressing skills most of us were not taught in beauty school, and the kind of changes that can make your life work, should you choose.
The process of uncovering your life goals and dreams requires a bit of surrendering. It takes trust, it takes doing the work, and following suggestions. One tiny change at a time can start moving you in the direction of the dream you have for your life.
Some of you were not taught, or allowed to dream, nor get help when you needed it. But look around you, look at the industry and you will see a lot of people struggling to make their business thrive. Don’t be deceived by their looks. How are you supposed to do it all by yourself?
Maybe you’ve lost your way around depending on each other, and in fact you’re becoming hyper competitive, doubting yourselves, a bitterness grows inside, isolation sounds better than dealing with the demons in your life.
If you can’t dream it, it won’t happen. Dream larger than life, beyond where you thought you might ever be. Unless you can allow yourself to imagine it, it will not happen. You can learn to dream, but you must deal with what is in the way.
You Don’t Have To Walk Alone
I’ve dedicated my life to the hairdressing industry for over 30 years, and absolutely love it. Did I always? The answer is no. The path led me away from the beauty industry and back again towards a few times.
About 15 years into it, I discovered my passion for the craft, and an utmost respect for those who came before me. Sometimes it’s necessary to leave what is comfortable in order to become more of who you are.
Each of you need to find your own way, research mentors, find those who are willing to help. Hire a coach, it is a business and personal necessity, and let us be clear, coaching is not therapy. It is a process in which a coach listens to what you are saying and helps you dig deeper into the areas where you are stuck. Makes sense, right?
The aware hairstylist is a superb listener, and so she needs to be heard as well, but it’s not whining.
I got to where I am because I recognized the need for support at different points in my life. “Anyone who has ever had a good coach will tell you that the role is indispensable”, says Brittany Hodak in a Forbes article.
I opened my studio ShineForth Salon in 2014 and am well into my sixth year, to finally serve clients in a way that respected myself, and offered them the kind of experience I knew I had to deliver.
I hired coaches every chance I could along the way, from the beginning of my career.
Now that I’m settled in my studio, the 3rd chapter of my career is obvious– to reach out and show other hairstylists, barbers, salon owners and all beauty industry professionals, all over the world the secrets to success
I hire coaches for my own development in business and in life..
By setting goals and achieving them, by dealing with what is in the way, and constantly reviewing are steps along the way of how you can get powerful results in your life now. Ask for help. Follow through.
Sohail Khan (CEO & Founder of The Joint Venture Group) says in Entrepreneur,
“Business coaching is proven to work when these two factors are present: the client is willing to grow, and there is a gap between where they are now, and where they want to be.”
You can read more about the “Six Benefits of Working With a Business Coach” here.
I am on a mission to help other hairstylists live their lives by design, to find or rediscover their mission. My approach is holistic guidance– I want you to live a healthy, fulfilling, deeply meaningful, and fun life.
Here’s a piece of advice from me. Develop the skills to make your life work, and that of a master. Make money, save money. Build relationships that sustain you. Each time you set a new goal and achieve it, your mission becomes clearer.
With supporting hairstylists in mind, I’ve created this hub for those who seek a better way of doing things, a more sustainable, meaningful, and impactful career, and life.
This hub is also for you if you desire community, and need support in growing your life. Take your job of getting clients in the chair and out into a vocation, where lasting happiness and peace of mind can grow, and ultimately make you more money.
Look around this site, and see what is there waiting for you. I invite you to be part of this community of hairdressers that are committed to personal growth, and ready to elevate not only themselves, but the profession, and the people around them.
This is the place for you, if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and grow and you are hungry for support.
I can’t wait to get to know you. Learn from my expertise through my newsletters, email me your questions. Book a powerful coaching session today. Let’s look at how you can get powerful results in your life now, receiving help is the first step.
This site will change now and again as I deepen my own work. My next big dream is to add a weekly podcast, once a month live guest webinars, and a library of suggested reading. Stay tuned. Please let me know what topics you would like to hear discussed, and what you need help working through.
I look forward to hearing about your dreams.
Make a list right now, of the issues you want to deal with and if you would like to end the isolation.
Watch this awesome TedTalk on vulnerability here.
If you would like to gain clarity, get the support that you need to succeed in your career and life, let’s talk. You can book a call with me here.
How Is Your Salon Management Style?
Salon ownership can be as exhilarating as your 21st birthday, it can also be as daunting as getting your teeth pulled.
Adam Winger Unsplash
Think of the process as something like slow cooking. The sauce lacks flavor and depth when it is instant, or poured out of a jar. But when you take time to include quality ingredients and simmer on low, the product is one to remember and enjoy.
Your mission and vision statements, your values, are some of the secret ingredients, revising as you go. They will be helpful in guiding you along your journey.
We all have been in salons where toxicity permeates the space. Don’t let it happen to yours. You, as a leader (owner or manager, or both), can create the dream team of all time, or you can quickly bring the salon to a toxic place that no one wants to work in. This happens when you’re only looking at the bottom line, or are too much in a hurry to fill your chair.
Choose wisely, take your time. Adding too much vinegar to the sauce could create an unsavory sour flavor.
Sometimes, we are the problem. Maybe we are too overzealous and want to please everybody, and in so doing, we lose sight of the slow cooking involved. Or maybe, we just don’t step in enough, and have a hands off approach. Neither work. You end with no real sauce you can serve. Let me be clear, your staff is a mirror for you to reflect in.
When you resort to complaining to your staff about what isn’t working all the time, the joy can be drained right out of the salon. Be as clear as you can about what the expectations are for your staff. Create a handbook for your own clarity for, and the staff. Ensure that all employees and renters read it.
Though remember, you can have all the procedures and protocols down, but if the owner, and/or, the manager don’t follow through, or do what is expected of the staff, you lose the trust of your stylists. The more you erode that trust, the more chaos will follow.
7 Key Components in the Sauce
1. Non Defensive Communication
You are well served to consider clean, clear communication when you are leading a group of hairstylists. Whether you are a salon owner or manager, or both, how you communicate is just as important as what you say. Check yourself out first. Read others’ body language.
Non defensive communication is the art of offering direction, listening to the feedback, responding without taking the situation personally, inquiring so as to learn, try to put yourself in their shoes to understand their position, say what is true for you with “I” statements, and talk about the issue at hand objectively. You can acknowledge the emotion in a situation, but not be run by it.
Setting this example of communication can really help diffuse hot topics, and move things along productively. If someone is unable to get past the emotion, then maybe setting a date for future conversation would be helpful. If so, let them know you’d like to discuss further. This gives you time to disengage.
Active listening is one of those things we hear all the time in psychology books and articles. But it truly is a great way for people to be heard and understood. When situations come up in the salon, often listening can diffuse a situation rather quickly.
If there are two people involved, it may take separating them and hearing from them both individually first. Dealing with issues immediately, rather than letting them stew, is critical to keeping the salon space non toxic.
Here are some tips to help when mediating an issue:
- Create the space for them to share without interruptions.
- Ask questions, listen to what they say.
- See how committed they are to a solution.
- Ask them how they would solve it.
- What is in their way to solving the situation.
- Ask what it is they think you can do about it.
- Let them know you would like to take a bit of time to consider the situation and what they’ve said.
When people are heard, they don’t necessarily need a solution right then and there. But if you are hearing similar complaints from your employees, it’s very much worth your while to investigate and take seriously. You don’t want to lose any of those ingredients.
3. Set the Example
Do as you expect your employees to do. If you are not abiding by your own rules, you don’t deserve to be the manager or owner. I’m sorry. This is where you either need coaching or stepping down.
Leading by example shows your staff that you are willing to get your hands dirty. And that you are in the trenches with them. This will grow their confidence that you know what you are doing.
You don’t have to know everything, you can make mistakes, you may even have to throw out batches of that sauce, but you do need to be the adult in the room.
4. Build a Great Team
You build a great team by holding your bar high enough that you want your stylists to do better. But not so high that you leave people hanging out to dry because they don’t fit in a mold.
You also build a team, by not relying solely on what salon they came from. Getting to the why of someone leaving their last salon is important information for you.
Reference checks are also important. If someone is not meeting the benchmarks that you’ve agreed on, you need to have a frank conversation.
Of course, grooming them from the beginning is ideal. But, just like parenting, you can’t expect them to hang around if there is no place to grow to.
5. Managers Should Be Skilled
Literally, some salon owners seem to be in business for the cache of saying they own a salon, instead of really leading people. So they appoint someone who has less skill set, or even the salon experience to handle the responsibility. But managing is not babysitting.
Managers take the time to really know the ins and outs of their stylists. They get to know their strengths and their unique gaps.
Managing isn’t about being punitive, it’s about bringing out the best in people and coaching them to get to where they want to be in their career.
Great managers get great coaching, because they understand it is getting yourself out of the way in order to listen and lead.
6. Be Clear on Expectations
Being clear about your expectations of what you want your business to be and to provide are critical to the success of your salon. Communicate your brand identity, values and work ethics clearly.
You want to make sure that people you on-board are on the same page as you. Aligning your staff with your team or brand values sets your business to a good start. When they fully understand your identity as a team or brandit will be much easier to identify what you deem acceptable or not.
Clarity on what your expectations are of people that you hire, the better.
You also need to hear what your employees’ expectations are, preferably when they are hired. This will ensure there is little misunderstanding in what their job is and isn’t. By hearing their expectations, you can check if they fully understand your identity and goals as a team right off the bat.
7. Think Apple
You will hear successful salons are driven by numbers. Sadly, this philosophy can burn out so many hairstylists. Yes, knowing your numbers is important. But if you are an owner that is only driven to have your stylists sell more product, you are missing the point.
Many years ago, I transferred over to Apple products. I could never go back to a PC. I’ve tried, and it is not only boring, but truly not intuitive for me. Call me a snob.
What I soon discovered with Apple is, THEY DON’T TRY TO SELL ME SOMETHING. They simply display their products on shelves, and teach you how to use them.
I like to think of salons as learning and listening spaces, not me preaching about three products I think they should have. And I don’t like going into a space, where all I see are products everywhere.
Yes, you can train your stylists to educate. This is worth your time, effort and money. Coach your people, people. And get coached yourself.
As you can see, there is more to leading than just saying, “I want to open a salon!” “WHY”, is what I would ask first.
Is Self-Care Just Drama?
Self-care used to be considered hokey or unnecessary fluff. But recent statistics reveal that stress levels of about half of all Americans are getting worse instead of getting better.
Now, large companies, leaders, activists and volunteer organizations see the essential need and benefits of healthy habits and self-care is as necessary, as loving your children.
Obviously, self-care isn’t just melodrama. It is essential for maintaining wellness and self-love. In short, it will keep you healthy and sane.
We, at Up Your Salon Game, have taken it a step further by creating for you a 7- day challenge, and all the necessary support you need is in this downloadable Self-Care Survival Kit.
There are 8 areas of self-care in this guide adapted from habitsforwellbeing.com. We want to make sure that we will take on a holistic approach in the challenge that we have prepared for you. You can use these to jumpstart your self-care routine as you pursue holistic wellness.
What Does Self-Care Mean to You?
What I hope and dream for, is you discovering a new, and deeper relationship with yourself. What would that look like for you?
- more sleep
- showing gratitude
- more nature
- talking to a friend more regularly
- wearing your mask
- time with your husband
- uninterrupted with your child
- being more honest with yourself
- cleaning out one closet
- eating less
- eating more
- taking a lunch
- buying less
- start that meditation practice
- more time with yourself
- prepare your meals
- to name a few.
Completing this challenge means taking your own health and well-being into your own hands.
The 7-day Challenge
Day 1: Physical Self-Care
Eating habits in salon back rooms can be pretty scary. Indulgence comes to mind. It’s like a bunch of vultures whenever food comes out. People stealing each other’s food, eating whatever is quick and easy, or spending money on lunches that leave us feeling bad, because we just blew our budget for meals.
Mindset reset. How you eat can set the tone for your day, and your life?
This is where nurturing yourself has to take priority, if you don’t want health issues down the road.
Eating fresh food can feel like a luxury, particularly in some parts of the country where fresh is not readily available. Choose organic with thin-skinned veggies and fruits, if you can.
When grocery shopping, avoid the middle aisles. These aisles are mostly filled with additive filled foods that do us little good.
Add these enriching oils to your diet:
- olive oil
- avocado oil
- pumpkin seed oil
- flaxseed oil
- Coconut oil for high heat cooking and use with food that benefit from the flavor
Add whole grains to your diet, soaking beans and grains with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar first
Choosing nuts, veggies, hummus, hard boiled egg, veggie smoothie from home, for snacks during the day if you need energy
Lessen your sugar intake. If you do have a sweet tooth, have a piece of dark chocolate, or bake something from home. Fresh is always better
Enjoy nurturing yourself and see what a difference it makes to actually support your health while in the salon.
Day 2: Psychological Self-Care
Okay, take five minutes today and sit with yourself.
Each day, take five more. Keep adding time, until you are up to 30 minutes.
feet on the ground
palms down on your lap
rest your eyes in front of you, or close them
relax your jaw
Now, place your attention on your breath, particularly the out breath.
Whenever your mind gets busy with thoughts, simply say the word to yourself, “Thinking”, and bring your attention back to the out breath.
Meditation practice not only supports your health and well-being, but helps:
- reduce stress
- gain new perspective
- build stress management skills
- help you in the salon with stressful situations
- focus on the present
- increase imagination and creativity
- sleep better
- increase patience
- become more self-aware
- decrease negative emotions
I hope you can see there is everything to gain from sitting…
Day 3: Spiritual Self-Care
Being in nature is another way for us to connect to ourselves, and offers a chance to realign our mind and body. Walking in it, allows for our head to clear the clutter. We get in touch with our heart, our breath, and our bodies.
Everything moves so fast in this world, the need to ground our bodies is crucial to our being able to be present in our lives.
Feel the wind on your face
Feel the dampness on your skin
Smell the dry earth
Listen to all that is going on when you are out there
Let your senses come to life, and bring that to your next consultation.
Enjoy your day!
Day 4: Social Self-Care
Our mental health, particularly as we move into this third spike in the pandemic, is to be nurtured. The need for connection with family and friends is key to our well-being.
We need to remember voicing our concerns, questions, and fears, and calling attention to the grief and sorrow is SO important and needed.
This is self-care.
Zoom with a good friend.
Call a friend.
Write a letter to a friend or family member.
Remember, our kids are watching. Show them what self-care looks like.
Day 5: Financial Self-Care
That is right. Place a moratorium on your shopping for a week. Nothing. Zero.
How many people do you know that spend, spend, spend on expensive clothes, and shoes? Their closets filled, and yet their hearts ache for something deeper. They just can’t get enough to fill the empty space.
The empty space is where the richness lays. Do we dare to feel whatever is there?
This is self-care.
Day 6: Environmental Care
Years ago I mentioned taking a digital detox, and now, it even seems more important.
Our devices can very easily take over our lives in the guise of saving time. But in actuality, adults are spending 10-12 hours a day on their devices! Yikes. And we are setting an example for our kids?
So much screen time can add to:
Depression and anxiety
Chronic back neck pain
Shutting down an hour before bed allows us to slow our minds down and rest our eyes.
Keep screens away from where you eat and sleep.
Time away from our screens allows us to get back in touch with the humans in our lives.
Pick up a book instead. How rare it is to even see a book in someone’s hand? Who knows you may even get through the stack of best sellers near your bed at some point?
Sundays are great days to enjoy a digital detox.
Day 7: Professional Self- Care
Mondays are great days to take a mental or written inventory of where you are in your business.
As you relax today, think about your salon life to figure out where you sell yourself short. Do you undermine your fellow stylists, your manager, the owner, your clients, and most importantly– yourself?
Three points for you to consider here.
- Boundaries are absolutely necessary. They act as your bumper rails as you are out in your salons, they help guide you, and mold your clientele. The stronger and clearer you are, the more people can support you, and your values. Your values will actually be more evident without you even speaking about them if your boundaries are clear.
- Your conversations in the chair ought to be about the client. Be mindful of topics you bring up. Let them lead. Inform yourself about the world
- Communication- clean, honest, no blame. Learn to communicate from the I position rather than You, which inevitably makes people defensive. Always ask your clients permission to take a photo, and you better have a photo release signed and filed when you post on social media