Cultivate Resilience

Debacles occur in life.  For some it may seem like they can’t do anything right.  Life falls apart right before their very eyes once in a while, more times than one cares to tell the truth about, or so much, that they are filled with more doubt that chips away at their confidence.  How about you?  How you act or react when you’ve done something wrong can have a powerful impact on your psyche, your career, and your life.  However, a different response is possible.


I remember phases of my career feeling doomed for failure.  Have you ever experienced that?  You want to either climb in bed and pull the covers over your head, or you get angry at yourself and those around you, or you cave inside, and say, “Well, I won’t try that again.”  You give up.  These experiences can debilitate us, make us run for the hills, or, they become a point of understanding when we can see what we are made of.  We can learn resilience.

It didn’t help that I already I felt self-conscious about the family I grew up in, seven kids and blue collar family. My great grandfather was a cotton picker, and both sides of my family basically lived in poverty, and my grandfather on one side was a raging alcoholic, and the other worked as a dishwasher in a fancy hotel in San Francisco. My mom went to school till the 3rd grade, and my dad till the 10th. Only one of my sisters out of 7 has a college degree.

My family felt like a debacle.  We always had food on the table and hand me down clothes, and presents under the Christmas tree.  But somehow, I felt unimportant in this family, and unlike the rest, sadness and overwhelm with the chaotic environment left me mute and in my room.  Everybody needed more attention than what they could get.  So I started building my own inner life, and I wanted out in the worst way, so I left at 17 years old, and never looked back.

We’ve all got a story, a legacy.  It’s made us who we are, and when we look back we can see, either we became stronger for it, or we were defeated.

Now, let’s look at what is happening in the salon. Poor color choices, clients choosing to go somewhere else for their haircut because you continue to leave a wet towel around their neck, when they’ve told you they don’t like it a million times. Or, your coworkers harass you, or the salon loses their lease and you all have to find another place to work.

Maybe you’re learning haircutting, and you just can’t get a handle on the complexity of hair color, and you repeat past formulas that don’t work.  Maybe you’re not succeeding in the apprentice program.  Or, maybe each time you make a mistake you are completely hard on yourself.  Or worse yet, the last salon let you go.  Whatever the circumstance, the salon life is fraught with these “circumstances”.

[tweetthis]”We have this moment. Breathe in, and breathe out.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]


What you need to learn is resilience, and decide whether you are going to pull yourself up.  When we are feeling low about life, ourselves, and disappointment and anger come up, feel them.  FEEL THEM!  When we do, our senses come to life, we feel new levels of appreciation for the simplest of pleasures, like a walk in nature, or planting a garden, or talking with a friend.  A quiet strength develops inside you, a desire to better yourself and your life, a determination to make something of yourself awakens.

Food For Thought

[Losing: Builds Character or Sucks? The Wizards Speak On It] by Kyle Weidie

Your debacles lead you to awe-inspiring legacies that you learn from, they lead you to a resilience you never knew, nor could know without them.  In the research done by Donald Meichenbaum Ph.D., the Researcher Director at the Melissa Institute in Miami, Florida, states that, “Resilience reflects the ability to:

Bounce back

Beat the odds

Transform one’s emotional and physical pain into something “positive”

Evidence a relatively stable trajectory of healthy functioning across time

Move from being a victim to being a “survivor” and even to becoming a “thriver”

Be “stress hardy” adapting to whatever life sends, and for some, even evidencing “post-traumatic growth”.”  In other words, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Now granted, nobody wants to keep on losing, or failing, or having hardships. But when you realize your debacles lead you to awe-inspiring legacies, you begin to reach others, you become relatable to all, your life takes on a deeper meaning.  Meichenbaum goes on to say, “Resilience is more accessible and available to some people than for others, but everyone can strengthen their resilience.”

Meichenbaum talks about developing these skills will help you develop your ability to handle these debacles and build resilience.  Lean on social relationships, personal control, experience positive emotions, and self-regulate negative ones, flexibility, and lean into problem solving.

One thing I grew well aware of in my trials, is that the seasons change, and every one of us goes through a dark night of the soul, and deep transformation occurs.  Our struggles make us come to the mirror, face to face with ourselves and grow our purpose and cultivate meaning.  This meeting is where our job, our relationships to ourselves and others becomes a practice in developing ourselves, when we are willing to do the work.

Life is still very mysterious, and full of unpredictability, and still, we can become better hair designers, better colorists, better hair stylists, and better people.


Question: What debacles made you change from victim to a learner?  Share your answer on Facebook, or Twitter.



Tune Up Your Listening Skills

Listening may seen passive, and something we can do while performing other tasks. In fact, we fake it day in and day out, pretending to listen, nodding our head in agreement, or exclaiming, “Really?”, while you stack 30 foils in place, when we should be stopping and saying, “I’m sorry,” and look at her, because she just told you her Aunt Martha just passed on and she is upset. Eric Isselee Eric Isselee


Or, our client has told you a million times she doesn’t like a wet towel on her neck, or she doesn’t like to have her head massaged, or she doesn’t like it when her hair gets too short, and you do it anyway, because you are on automatic, and not performing a consultation because she is a regular client. Or her hair turns carrot red, when she said she wanted auburn, and you didn’t take the time to really listen to her words. Does thais sound familiar?

We’ve all been on both sides of ineffective listening. We are not afraid to let our husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and even the copy center down the street, know when we haven’t been listened to. We get furious, and indignant, because it is frustrating, and it doesn’t feel good. Imagine our clients then.

The notion that we can rest on our laurels is no longer relevant when it comes to truly listening to our clients, and delivering fabulous customer service. We cannot take them for granted. I don’t know if you have noticed, there are many talented hairdressers out there that are performing stellar consutations and would love to take care of your clients.

[tweetthis]”We all want to be heard, so do your clients.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]


Listening, to pay attention to your clients words and to what she is not saying.  Listening effectively and accurately is a skill worth building upon, as it is what will keep your client returning to you for years to come.  It’s surprising that we haven’t had more training in this area.  Because truly, we can teach anybody to cut hair, but what makes a hairdresser successful in the salon and her or his life, is listening.


Listening Benefits

Training ourselves in this arena gives us the following:

Clients are happier
Fewer mistakes.
Better sharing of ideas
Better productivity
More creativity

Listening is active and requires using other senses as well. We listen to their words, watch how they say things, and perceive what they are not saying, and repeating back to them what you think you heard. You are watching their body language as they say what they want. You need to be able to interpret these cues accurately.

When a client says she describes her wishes or complaints with her hair in how it “feels”, that tells me, I want to use the same language when I describe what I will deliver. Or she may describe her desires and complaints with, “I don’t like the way it looks. I want it to look full and like it has body.” I know then, that I am going to repeat back, ” I want your hair to look full and look like it has body, and in order for that to happen I’m going to address the cut in this way, and it will require you use these products at home, which I will show you how to do when we get into the finishing stage.

Listening also gives us time to pause, to catch up with ourselves, resting our arms to our side or clasping in front, but in a restful position, or sit in front of them, eye to eye. Listen for inconsistencies in what they are saying as well. This is frutiful to explore, as it helps you and them articulate what the issues are and what is ultimately important to them. Seek clarification.

During this whole process, it is necessary to keep our own ideas, biases, opinions, judgements, assumptions out of the picture for now. This is exploration phase, and thier time to reveal themselves, and if you cut it off, or insert strong words and opinions, you will shut down the whole process, and rid yourself of opportunity to get to know them, and better serve them.

Breathe and enjoy the journey. These are the moments of building trust with your clients, the meeting is about them, and there will be nothing more satisfying to her or him.


Question:  How has listening or not listening to your clients affected you?  Leave your answer on Facebook, or Twitter.




Wisdom Consulting

Every thorough consultation begins with a hand on the shoulder which offers a sense of grounding your client in the chair, and letting her know you’ve got this.  This simple gesture allows you to get present as well, and focus.

Consultation Media Ltd

These moments before the clients’ service allows your client to warm up, and open to you, revealing her vulnerabilities and insecurities, allowing the relationship to unfold in a respectful way.  If done correctly, this client could last your whole career.  This is true mastery in our profession.

There are hundreds of questions you could ask, and as you move through your career, your questions will get better and better.  Let’s not be fooled, even the most veteran stylists need to be reminded of how to offer a stellar consultation.

Equally as important as the questions and answers, is you listening. We will get to that on another post. If your client feels heard, she will stay.  If she doesn’t, she will leave. It’s that simple.  Allow time to take in how they are responding with their words, body language.  Look at what they are wearing, their shoes, their handbag, their glasses, not in a sizing up manner.  This is a subtle style type assessment.  Look for hints of who they are.  Listen for what they are not saying.  This is wisdom consulting.

Preferably be seated, or lift them up in the chair so that they are at eye level with you.  How many of you tower over your clients back and reach over their shoulders?  This can be very intimidating, and it’s done all the time!  Stand in front of them, make eye contact, arms unfolded.

[tweetthis]”A successful client consultation directly affects your client retention?  How would you rate yours?” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]
TOP 15

  1. In order to tailor this haircut, color or style for you, I will need to ask you some questions for you, is that okay?
  2. When is the last time you loved your hair?
  3. When was the last time you were in the salon?
  4. What did you have done?
  5. What chemical services have you had done in the last year?
  6. Are you aware that I guarantee my work only when my product recommendations for home care are followed?
  7. What worked in this last haircut, color or style?
  8. What didn’t work in the last visit?
  9. I assume you are here because you want a change, how open are you to a new look?
  10. If you could choose a celebrity that you think represents your style, who would it be?
  11. How do you want to feel in your new look?
  12. Have you ever had your colors done? (More on this topic later.)
  13. Have you had surgery, or changed medications in the last year?
  14. If you could describe the best salon experience, how would you?
  15. May I touch your hair?

Now I let them know I am going to take some time to look at them.  Assess the hair, feeling head shape, assessing density, texture and porosity, test a strand of hair in different areas of the head.  Look at the features you want to hi light and those you want to detract from, considering what would help to balance their face shape, and bring the best quality of their hair.

Present your offer, your guarantee, maintenance and price.  Ask for their buy in.

In the end, what can you do to bring them closer to expressing their essence?  Clients just want to feel relevant, and good inside.  They want to feel like they can go back out there in the world and be themselves again.  Continue to develop these skills and you will become the Master Hairdresser that people will wait in line to see, and you will be able to give yourself a raise.


Question:  What consultation practices have you found successful?  Share your answers on Facebook, or Twitter.



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