I Cried at the Hairdressers
Yesterday was a big day in our house. For six months my teenage daughter, Chloe, had been asking to get her long hair cut off. She wanted it short and messy with a fringe and my mind monkeys were working overtime.
The thing is, the last time Chloe had short hair she was 2 years old. She’s now 14 and has the most beautiful, almost waist-length, long, curly chestnut hair, which until last year she loved.
I remember a few years ago on holiday we went to the hotel hairdresser (because trying to get her to the hairdresser any other time was almost impossible) and he cut off about 3 inches. She was really miffed even though it looked great and was still half way down her back.
So she and I have had something of an emotional attachment to her long hair for a long time but this year, everything changed.
She started following people on TikTok who had a more androgenous look. She would send me photos of girls with short, messy haircuts and yes, they looked great but I wasn’t convinced that style would suit her.
In my head I was thinking it was a phase because how could she go from loving her long hair to suddenly wanting it all cut off, so my strategy was this. Wait 6 months and see how she was then. I know this sounds drastic for something as simple as a haircut but her long hair was a huge part of her identity and bizarrely, she would even get upset when other people with long hair got it cut short.
Anyway, she didn’t give up. She would go out with her friends with her hair tucked up under a beanie hat. Every so often she would message me a photo of a cute short hairstyle and I’d say, maybe you can get it cut in the summer holidays. Which finished yesterday.
I finally gave in and made her an appointment with my hairdresser, which was also yesterday.
By then I’d resigned myself to Chloe having short hair. I looked at some of the hairstyles she liked and realised they were actually quite nice, even though they were a big change for her.
So yesterday morning we jumped in the car and drove the 2 miles to the hairdresser’s. She was excited but also nervous (she hadn’t slept at all the night before). She told me she still wasn’t sure if she would just get a trim or get it all cut off. I said it was her choice and it would look amazing, whatever she decided.
We had a long chat with my hairdresser who was talking through her options and saying she might be better going for a mid-length cut that wasn’t such a huge change in one go. She looked at me for reassurance and I said ‘if you want it short, go for it’ and so she did. He washed her hair and sat her back in front of the mirror and started cutting and I started crying, I couldn’t help it. Not big crying and not for long, it just made me very emotional. I don’t think he knew what to do, bless him but Chloe’s face was a picture. She couldn’t believe she had actually done it and she LOVED it.
Anyway after we got home and Chloe showed everyone her lovely new hairstyle I was thinking about why I’d been so upset and so resistant to change when actually she looks amazing, she is so happy and if she goes off it, her hair will grow.
My mind monkeys had thrown all sorts of scenarios at me.
She will hate it and I’ll have to deal with an upset Chloe.
I can’t fix it if she doesn’t like it - I can’t glue her hair back on.
How is she going to manage that fringe?
Will her hair even stay in a proper fringe when it’s been in a parting for 12 years?
She doesn’t even look after her hair now, how will she manage?
She has never used a hairdryer!
What if it doesn’t look as good when she tries to do it herself?
We already have a flurry of activity to get out of the door on time on a school day, how can we fit in hair floofing?
Oh my goodness, they had a field day as you can see. They were showing me all the things I couldn’t fix or control. They were creating dramatic scenarios that were going to make our busy mornings even more of a hassle. I had images of an upset child, of tantrums, of me having to come to the rescue. They were telling me all the ways it could go wrong.
But once it was done, and my delighted child was in the car I realised how silly I had been, and started to think of all the good sides to this.
It would be easier for her to look after. Literally, she could wash it in 5 minutes, dry it upside down in another 5 minutes and it would be done. Better than wrestling with that long mane of hair every morning. And she looked so happy.
She disappeared into her bedroom and came down with tiny pigtails. Then a tiny ponytail. Then with some cute hair clips and she looked really lovely every time. She also reminded me it would be easier to fit under her cosplay wigs!
What a lot of fuss and drama I had created over nothing, but then we do, don’t we?
Even with our business we stall and procrastinate and delay doing scary things because we think of all the ways it could go wrong.
I can’t send a newsletter because I’m rubbish at writing and nobody will want to hear from me and they will think I’m spamming them and they will hate me.
I can’t do lives or videos because I don’t like how I look or sound and people will judge me and I’ll make a fool of myself and I’ll get nasty comments.
I can’t talk about my products or services because people will think I’m salesy and that’s awful and I don’t want people thinking badly of me.
I can’t put up my prices because people will think I’m greedy and nobody has any money and all my customers will leave and go somewhere else.
We all do it.
We stall and procrastinate and tell ourselves all the ways it could go wrong. We talk ourselves out of it and convince ourselves not to even try because it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Just like I did with Chloe’s haircut.
And yet, it could all go right. It could go amazingly. It could be better than you ever expected.
That newsletter you’re putting off sending because you don’t know what to write and you think everyone will hate you? It’s much easier than you think. I’ve got a simple newsletter content recipe that you can use HERE. And people won’t think you’re spamming and hate you because they subscribed to your newsletter. They ticked a box and gave you their email address because they WANT to hear from you, they are excited to see what you’re up to. You’ll be building a relationship with them and staying top of mind at the same time. That’s a great outcome.
Those videos you’re avoiding because you think people will judge how you look or sound and you’ll make a fool of yourself? Your fans and followers love what you do. They are fans for a reason. They would LOVE to see you on video talking or demonstrating or sharing what you’re working on, even if you don’t show your face. One of my clients was worried she sounded like a ‘Scottish pixie’ (her words) and it turns out her fans think she has a lovely, soothing lilt and have asked her to do meditations for them. Another lady thought her Australian accent was ‘too nasal’ (her words) and avoided videos for years and it turns out she is brilliant at them and her clients love seeing and hearing her. And who cares if you make a mistake? Your followers will love the fact you’re real and human and will laugh with you, not at you.
That fear of being salesy? If you don’t talk about what you offer and how you help, how will we know what you sell? How will we know if you’re exactly what we need? Your fans and followers NEED you to talk to them about what you do, because they are busy and you are their shortcut. You’re not being salesy, you are helping.
And that fear of putting up your prices? You are in business to make money, to make a profit. If you’re not doing that, you have an expensive hobby not a business. Look at the shampoo aisle in the supermarket - I was there yesterday and there were shampoos for 99p and shampoos for £20 and I bet they sell all of them, just to different people. Yes, some people might leave if you put up your prices - you might also attract new, higher-budget clients who perceive your higher prices as a sign of quality. You will have to work less and sell less to make the same money. There is nothing stopping you having a budget option and a high-level, luxury option and we’ll talk about that in another episode but just remember this: you are in business - think like a business owner.
Every big scary decision is going to bring out a bunch of mind monkeys to tell you all the ways it could go wrong, so you postpone and avoid and end up not doing that thing.
My challenge to you is to also look at all the ways it could go right. What could happen if you do that scary thing? What amazing opportunities might it open up? What if it’s not as difficult as you think? What if your clients love it? What if you feel amazing afterwards and wonder why you resisted for so long?
Whether it’s haircuts or newsletters, the approach is the same. It’s never as bad as your drama mind monkeys told you and there is always a positive side.