Inspiration for the work that my clients commission on a daily basis doesn't just come from hair magazines and fashion blogs. It comes from a hike in the woods; live music; city architecture; or a gallery of installations like "Wonder," on exhibit at the Renwick.
Every artist has to decide what sort of beauty he or she wants to create. For my part, there has to be an element of surprise. Profound beauty creeps up on us; it doesn't yell in our face (the latter, all high contrast and harsh lines, is the "hairdresser-y hair" we pros love to hate). Beauty feels organic, like it grew out of the environment in which we found it (whether or not it took four hours and four liters of developer to bring it to life). Beauty has a lot to do with flourishing amidst the uncertainty and inconsistency of life.
I take a couple of high-intensity technique classes every year, and that keeps me reasonably disciplined. More curiosity is sparked, however, in questioning my overall approach to design and exploring art and business ideas beyond my own industry. When a woman tells me the pixie I gave her is the best cut she's ever had, she probably isn't impressed with the way I hold my shears, the exact angle at which I point cut, or how neat my sectioning looks. These are things hairdressers care about to keep themselves organized, and also to impress other hairdressers. Becoming remarkable to the people you serve has to do with how you hear someone's desires and how you work with - not against - the canvas of their natural hair. The twining stick huts in Patrick's Dougherty's Shindig are a perfect analogy to how I work with whorls and wave patterns in executing a haircut:
Each structure is unique, an improvised response to its surroundings, as reliant on the materials at hand as the artist’s wishes: the branches tell him which way they want to bend. This give and take lends vitality to Dougherty’s work, so that walls and spires are a record of gestures and wills.
"A record of gestures and wills." Beauty has this job to do. The best hairstylists use beauty to send messages. Since our canvas is a human being, our work is about discerning and projecting her through her ideal image. That image is a beacon to the world that tells others how to address her and take her in. The most important thing I have to know about everyone who sits in my chair is this: what is your most important message, and what is your life about? Because I want it to show.
Live interview from Rainey Street in Austin last week.
Emily Ford has been my client for about 5 years, and a client of PR at Partners for 10. Hear her perspective on what we do (hair), what she does (marketing) and how she approaches personal branding and presence.
The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot?
I did this with Bikram, and it stuck. Knowing there's an end point to the challenge makes you more likely to try something adventurous or difficult. #creativityboost
There's a limit to how much you can cut, but there's no limit to how much you can earn...
I left my Man Friend's place the other morning intending to walk 3 blocks to the metro. I made it one block before I hopped in a cab and paid $38 + tip to get home. That's my relationship with winter, and part of the reason I finally gave hot yoga a try.
My business partner and a few clients have been nudging me. The idea is that it's much easier on my post-carpal-tunnel-surgery wrists than flow classes, helps develop core strength necessary for a physical job, and limbers me up for jogging and standing all day. Plus, the rhythmic breathing provides stress relief. So yeah, yoga is good for people. Blah blah blah.
What really got me in there is what keeps me going back: my skin, OMG!!!!
Mary started talking about how every dead and dry skin cell sloughs off in the shower after a class, and I tried it the next day.
I have never had a facial or anti-aging product produce this sort of glow. I can skip foundation after a Bikram class and get complimented on my makeup. Even my eyes look clearer and brighter. It's January and my skin feels like it's springtime and I just got a full-body sugar scrub at a spa!
Not only that, when I am in the hot room and see sweat pouring down my face, I can't help but feel like an athlete and get sort of impressed. Yesterday I finally folded into a toe stand from tree pose (or whatever it's called). I wake up with no stiffness in my shoulders and can see in the mirror how much further they automatically fall from my ears. I used to wake up almost every morning feeling like one big walking charlie horse, but my calves are much more content. Repeating the same 26 poses every class gives me a sense of discipline, and builds respect for my body while pushing its limits. Whatever worries I carry into the room, I find that the practice leaves me with a complete inability to focus on anything but the positive. In anyone.
And there ain't nothing prettier than self-acceptance.
The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day...Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.
Literally and figuratively in my case - I'm spending the first quarter of 2015 getting carpal tunnel surgery in both wrists while also going out on a limb to move my chair, lead a new team and take on a new position. As Eleanor Roosevelt said,
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
I know I'm on the right track when something in me says, "this is overwhelming, I can't quite see how I'll get there." I always feel this way right before I surprise myself.
Are you going out on any limbs this year? If you want to be a master of anything, you are. Mastery starts with taking risks, and experiencing the necessary vulnerability for creativity and ownership. The confidence you gain from going beyond your comfort zone, letting yourself be seen and owning the outcomes helps you get to a place of resilience - it builds the strength to learn from your mistakes as well as external challenges. The people who spend their lives mastering something are willing to go through this process again and again, and it's a process they get better at tackling. It hurts so much the first time you really push yourself. But that rush towards the next level can become something you crave.
Wishing you an exciting, kickass year of going beyond your own expectations. Start by taking on the thing you don't quite think you can do. Because if the path before you is clear and straight, you picked one boring path! It's the muddy, thorny, twisty ones that make us grow.