How to Be a Better Hairstylist: Identify What’s Blocking You

Stylist with client
Do you want to become a better hairstylist? That might sound like a silly question—after all, who doesn’t, right?—but the truth is the first step of developing your skills is to acknowledge that you need and want to grow. So congratulations on taking the first step!

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But the next step is just as important: You need to identify whatever it is that’s holding you back from moving forward in your career. Without putting in the work now, you’ll only make it harder for yourself later on. 

Here, we explore some of the common reasons that stylists often feel held back in their careers, and then offer some specific advice to help you resolve these issues and get to work becoming the best you that you can be!

Common Issues Holding Stylists Back From Development

Nobody’s story or career are ever 100% the same as anyone else’s. But that isn’t to say that similarities don’t exist. After all, the hair industry tends to attract a certain type of person: Somebody who takes joy in helping others look and feel happy and beautiful and confident. It only makes sense that like-minded stylists might experience similar concerns.

With that being said, some of the most common issues that we’ve seen hold stylists back from developing and excelling in their careers include:

  • Fear of failure
  • Past trauma from previous failures
  • Regret (in so, so many different forms)
  • Stress and anxiety in your everyday life not necessarily related to work
  • A lack of confidence in your own abilities

Many stylists are also afraid of stepping on the toes of others within their salons, which definitely holds them back. Another common issue is stylists getting in their own way by believing that they have nothing new to offer.

If something feels uncomfortable, then ultimately you will need to take the time to get to the bottom of exactly why you feel that way. Only then can you heal and begin to move forward.

How to Become a Better Hairstylist

1. Identify what’s holding you back.

If you haven’t yet done so, this is the first and most important step of advancing in your career. 

While the points outlined above can be a great place to start, if you’re struggling in identifying the issue that’s holding you back, try not to get frustrated. It is very hard for most people to analyze their own life. Many times you need someone else to help walk you through this. This obviously needs to be someone you trust and look up to. I rarely suggest family, because there is often trauma from family that is under the surface. It can hold you back emotionally.

We have to get better at seeking advice from someone who has actually walked in the shoes you’re trying to fill. People are very free to give advice, but is it helpful or hurtful? Not everyone in your life has the same strength and we can't expect them to. 

And you also have to want it. You cannot ask for advice and reflect resistance right away. When you are ready to become a different type of boss in your life, you generally are more open to receiving advice.

2. Recognize your trigger points.

Once you’ve identified the issue that’s holding you back, the next step is to recognize the events that tend to trigger a negative reaction in you. For example, does confrontation cause you to put your own needs aside in order to focus on the needs of others, often to your own detriment? Does stress and burnout cause you to shut down and lose the joy you normally take from the job?

Recognizing these trigger points and why they get a reaction out of you is so important. In order to control your reaction you have to realize where they’re coming from. Processing those pain points will help to lower anxiety and retrain your brain to respond with less emotion.

3. Build your confidence.

Finally, once you know what’s holding you back and your trigger points, the final step is to do everything within your power to help yourself feel truly capable of whatever you put your mind to. The best way to do that is to build your confidence in yourself and your abilities.

Building confidence should be the focus when you are trying to shift things around in your life. To become better at something requires you to believe in yourself. Retaining information, for example, requires you to believe you are capable. If you go into any endeavor believing that you’re going to fail, you dramatically decrease your own odds of success.

Ironically lots of people lack these skills because they believe something else about what they deserve. Somewhere along the way it all got confused and lost. Maybe it's time to start building that again. 

Need some help building your confidence? While this article specifically discusses building confidence as it relates to formulation, the general advice holds true for anything, really. Slowly begin stepping out of your comfort zone and testing the waters in low-stakes ways so that if you do fail, it isn’t a big deal. Surround yourself with talented people who you want to learn from. Embrace education that can help you learn the skills that you need to learn to be successful. And perhaps most importantly, when you do make a mistake (as we all do sometimes!) you need to learn from those mistakes.

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