"Speak to yourself because you are listening." I love this quote because it took me years to apply its meaning to my life and to release an attachment to my work and who I am as a person. If you criticized my styles, writing or presentations—you criticized me. The popular solution is often—“It doesn’t matter what others say, just do your thing.” I disagree and suggest, as artists, listening to a balance of negative and positive is warranted.
What others say matters, no matter how secure and experienced you may be as a salon professional. Acceptance of your work feeds your passion and your vulnerability signals to a client your willingness to make them look and feel great. As you listen, you eliminate what did not work, and what really worked spurs you on to create variations on the same theme. Opinion, therefore, is necessary and feeds creativity, especially if you remove yourself from the equation and embrace the idea that comments are about your work, never about your worthiness. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but it takes practice to divorce the comment from your persona.
Who you are is never on the bargaining table—the length, color level, finished look and price might be negotiable—not your value as a person. Let your inner voice speak louder than the opinions of others on matters of your essence as a person. This requires never showing up to work seeking validation based upon external factors. Your salon work is a barometer of your mastery of the art of hairdressing—not of you. It reflects what you have mastered and still need to conquer. Certainly, an unhappy client is a valid concern. Fix the issue with the client and allow your willingness to make it good for the client to be what you will recall from the incident.
We stylists aim to strike a balance between negative and positive comments, never deterred by negativity or over confident by praise because our value as a person must never part of the equation.
Perhaps you have been criticizing or inflating your ego for years—how has that worked for you? Try, just for a day, approving unconditionally of yourself and see what happens. Never think anything of yourself you do not want to come true.
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