By: Christine Turek (@painthatmane)
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: As stylists and hair artists, we work in the best industry on earth!
While this is true, it doesn’t mean that we’re immune to occasionally become a little disenfranchised with the work. Stress and burnout are serious concerns for everyone—stylists included.
Just think back to yourself when you were new to the field. Are you still as bright-eyed, positive, and idealistic as you were back then? If you are, that’s great—you’re doing something right! But if not, there’s no shame in admitting that you’ve lost a little bit of that fire in your belly. What matters is what you do next. Do you continue to muddle along, or do you take steps to reignite your love and passion for what you do so that you can be happy for years to come?
Below, we talk about why passion is so crucial for success, outline some of the key reasons that hair professionals lose some of their passion, and offer some tips to help you get that spark back.
Why Hair Professionals Lose Passion for Their Work
Before we explore the steps that you can take to reignite your passion for your work, it’s important to first understand the main reasons that individuals tend to lose that passion to begin with. By understanding the why, you will be better able to notice the warning signs and prevent yourself (or your loved ones) from falling into the same trap in the future.
1. You focus too much on the money.
We’re not here to tell you that money isn’t important. It obviously is! But cash flow is just one part of a happy life.
Over time, people tend to fall into the trap of focusing only on how much money they can bring in and how they can increase their income—even if it means that they’re not really doing what they love to do. They see clients that don’t make them feel happy and fulfilled; they make appointments for all hours, even when they’re feeling overworked; they might even push off career development or personal passions because they won’t directly translate into monetary gain.
What they don’t realize is that if you have zero passion about your work, the money is not going to flow. If your attitude and self don’t reflect in your work, it will never carry your career to new places. Yes, you want to make money. But you should love what you do every step of the way!
2. You’re surrounded by negative people.
If you want to feel uplifted, passionate, and inspired, then you naturally want to have uplifting, passionate, and inspiring people around you. Positivity truly does attract positivity.
When coworkers, friends, family, clients, and bosses are speaking negativity into your ear, you are going to start believing it, and that’s going to drag you down.
3. You’re not really doing what you want to do.
On a given day, what percentage of your time do you spend performing treatments and services that you actually enjoy performing, compared to stuff that you tolerate only because your clients request them and they pay the bills? If you’re like a lot of stylists, that percentage is going to be way too low; after all, it’s hard to turn away a sure thing!
For example, maybe you really want to be a balayage specialist, but you’re stuck doing back-to-back root colors because that’s the kind of clientele that you’ve built. While there is nothing wrong with doing root colors, some people are simply not fulfilled doing this.
Eventually, this can cause you to become bored and stagnant—and stagnant is not a healthy place for your mind! While change can be scary, trying and failing is better than standing in one place for too long and becoming numb.
How to Reignite Your Passion Behind the Chair
Now that you know how you can avoid losing your passion to begin with, we’ve gathered five tips that you can use to reignite your passion and keep your fire alive for years to come.
1. Surround yourself with the right people.
As mentioned above, the people you surround yourself with have a major impact on your mental wellbeing. You want to surround yourself with the right kind of people, who you know will be there to support you as you make the changes that you want in your career.
Exactly what this looks like will depend on where you find yourself to be. It might mean taking some risky steps, such as approaching your boss with new ideas. It may even mean leaving your current place of employment or trying something completely out of your comfort zone that you know will bring you the happiness and fulfillment that you’re missing.
2. Avoid the negativity.
It’s all too easy to let negativity from others rub off on you, ruin your mood, and rob you of the positivity that you need in order to remain passionate in your work. The only solution? Avoid that negativity like the plague.
If you’ve got negative people and negative influences in your life, you need to find a way to replace them with positivity. And to do that, you’ve generally got two options: You can either change your environment or your schedule to avoid the negative influences in your life, or you can train your brain not to react. Both are viable options; you should pursue whichever makes the most sense for you personally.
3. Embrace education.
One of the keys to remaining passionate about your work is to ensure that you are always learning and evolving and growing your skill set and expertise. Education is truly key in this industry. So long as you are always learning, you’ll never feel as though you are growing stagnant.
There is not a single class on this planet that you will learn nothing from. Every class has the potential to teach you something. Sometimes, that might be a new technique or business strategy. Other times, you might find yourself learning about other peoples’ mistakes and finding things that you shouldn’t do. And other times still, you might just be sitting there and all of a sudden a lightbulb will go off offering you insight about yourself that you wouldn’t have realized if you didn’t put yourself in that situation.
4. Think about what you really want.
If you don’t know what you want out of your life and out of your career, then you won’t know the steps that you need to take to get there, and you might not even realize once you’ve arrived. That’s why it’s so critical to sit down and think it through: What do you really want, at your core? Identify it, visualize it, and then work to identify the steps that’ll get you there.
Soul work isn’t always easy, but it’s some of the most fulfilling and important work out there.
5. Get involved.
In the end, if you want to be happy and successful in your career then you need to get involved. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the habit of relying on autopilot; become an active participant in your life and in your career.
A part of this is going to be to get involved with others who remind you of the kind of person that you want to be. Find a community that aspires to the same things that you aspire to. Find people that you look up to and that you wish to be like. Stop comparing yourself to others, and stop taking advice from people who have not lived your dream (or who don’t even understand what your dream is). Once you remember that you have agency over your own life, you can remove all of the limits.
Keeping the Spark Alive
If you love what you do for a living—and we hope you do!—then you’ve got to fight to keep that spark alive. Identify the threats to your happiness, and take the steps necessary to remove those threats and protect passion. It might not always be easy, but no one else is going to do the work for you.
Want to learn more about how you can reignite your passion, avoid burnout, and prioritize self-care? Sign up for Salt Society’s first-ever stylist wellness workshop, where you’ll learn how to create healthy boundaries, establish balance, and find peace to get you through the struggle.