Q by Kim: I’ve been a hair dresser for a couple of years. I still struggle with my confidence level with people. Sometimes I don’t feel “good” enough in my skill level, but many people like my work. Any advice?
A by Reagan: Yes! I have great advice, if I do say so myself. I’ll break this up into three parts.
Part 1, Self peptalks. Sometimes a bit of a project comes in and sits in my chair. It could be that their hair is harder than normal, that they want something particularly challenging, or maybe that the client themselves are just a little picky and difficult. This certainly isn’t every-day, but it’s not all that uncommon either. In any case, here is how I handle it…I walk away while the client is getting shampood, and give myself a pep talk. I usually say (in my head so my co-workers don’t think I’m a lunatic), “Hey, Reags! you have done this a million times! She/He is going to LOVE your work!”, etc. Sometimes I also tell myself that I’m pretty and good at making nutella sandwiches, which isn’t related to hair, but I’m just a believer in speaking kindly to yourself in general. And it’s nice to hear those things sometimes.
Part 2, Ask lots of questions. Sometimes I humble myself by picking my co-workers’ brains. There is a girl I work with who is a ninja at men’s cuts, so I ask her what she did with that one guy’s hairline. Or if I see someone use a certain product for curly hair that I wouldn’t have thought of using..I like to know why. It helps so much to have a nerdy little industry chat with people whose work you respect.
Part 3, Continue your education. I still take cutting classes. I still go to hair shows sometimes too. My salon provides styling and cutting demos that are so informative. Trends come and go, and as long as you want your craft to stay up to date, take classes! Work on models! Practice on your friends! One of the most talented editorial stylists I’ve ever worked with used to ask me all the time if she could try things out on me. Keeping my skills honed definitely helps my confidence.
Bonus, Trust yourself! Early on, all I cared about was pleasing the client..whether it was at the salon, at a wedding or out on a shoot. And I never felt completely sure of the results. Now, I realize that I attract people who are coming to me because they want me to work my true work on them. I listen to their requests, but do my very own spin on it. They booked me for this job because they like my work and they want my perspective, after all.
What do you think? I have a lot of friends in various careers who feel a lack of confidence from time to time..have you experienced this?