Staying Sharp: More than Just Scissors
You know the guy who comes by to sharpen your scissors? When he shows up at your salon, you fork over a small fee and he sharpens your scissors. It’s the cost of doing hair. Your tools need to be in shape.
Are you sharpening your mind?
Don’t kid yourself. Your mind is in fact your greatest tool and needs to be sharp. You use your mind to do your job every day. You have to be able to:
- Assess what the client is asking for
- Evaluate what will work best
- Design and craft the most flattering hairstyle, choosing the best products and tools
Take steps to sharpen!
You may not be writing poetry or engaging in long philosophical dialogues, but you need to find a way to be inspired and engaged all day long. We recommend the following:
- Clear your mind. Are you going gangbusters all day long? That’s pretty typical. Can you spare 10 minutes? That’s what you need for quiet reflection. You need a quiet place where you have nothing to do (a 10 minute break between clients in your car?) Keep your eyes open; this isn’t nap time; it’s intentional quiet time. Let your mind settle. No to do-lists, just quiet reflection.
- Observe somebody who inspires you. Whom do you admire? On your day off, go watch them work for a while. Take some notes, not just about technique, but about how they create rapport, how they assess, how they stay fresh and sharp. Sometimes you can even watch tutorials on YouTube, almost as good, but not quite the same.
- Take a walk. Whether it’s the street scene or nature, it’s rejuvenating to get out of your car, out of your house, out of your booth and just let the world unfold around you. Look around. What colors and patterns do you see? What sounds do you typically ignore, but now you can hear?
- Be a culture vulture. Your profession is a creative one. Creative peeps need to be creatively recharged. It’s not a hard task: beautiful art, music, engaging drama, every community has it and you NEED to set aside time to take it in. It’s good for your mind, but also you’ll see things that actually will have an impact on your profession. Find an art gallery and take 30 minutes to look around. Fancier, more established art museums are community jewels and offer the opportunity to walk around and see how the idea of beauty has changed over the years and differs from culture to culture. Taking in live music performances, a show, a play: all of these activities let you be part of an audience, which is in many ways much more stimulating than just taking in content from a screen.
- Read fiction or poetry. Yes, you can use audio podcasts. But actually looking at a page of fiction or poetry takes you out of your daily life and enriches your brain, makes you have to rethink things from a different perspective for at least a moment. If you aren’t a reader or don’t love poetry, consider short stories. They’re awesome and give you the same benefit with a beginning and an end at one setting.
- Live like a tourist. Do you live in a town that has all sorts of attractions and amenities that you haven’t taken advantage of in years? It’s not fair. The local zoo, urban park, botanical garden, art institute, downtown library or even trolley system was built for the enjoyment of residents. Take advantage of what’s nearby and see them with new eyes, open for reengagement.
The bottom line is that there are benefits in using your down time not just to disengage, get into your jammies and binge watch. This is relaxing, but it may not be recharging. It takes an effort to sharpen yourself, but you will feel instantly not only like you’ve done something good or virtuous, you will actually notice a difference in your attitude towards work and your production.
Let us know what works for you!