Let’s begin by defining what is means to be mindful. It’s a relatively new addition to our everyday vocabulary and can be interpreted in various ways but primarily being mindful means to be present. It’s about being aware of your emotions and state of mind in that moment. Not what’s gone before or what the future holds but acknowledging what you are feeling right now, without judgement.
As a busy salon owner or stylist, I appreciate it is easier to just stay busy. We know busy salons pay the bills but there has to be more that just paying bills and surviving. As an industry we are fast paced and being forced to stop during the pandemic gave us all space and time to think about what really makes us happy, what do we really want to get out of life. I love our industry and I love being a hairdresser and when I started to analyse what my purpose was I realised I didn’t need to do it all – all of the time. Session stylist, educator, mentor, brand ambassador, salon owner, creative director and salon stylist, I love it all but rather than chasing a dream or overly planning for the future I decided to focus on what makes me happy today. The answer; mentoring my team.
Since the salons have reopened I have tried hard to stay in the present. If I’m with a client, a team member or a supplier I try to keep my focus on the moment we’re in together. This allows me to really listen to what is being said, without judgment. I try not to get distracted by letting my mind wander or think about what the plans are for later.
Mindfulness involves noticing what is happening without evaluating or analysing the situation, which as a salon owner seems impossible. However, since I have adopted a more mindful approach to business I have noticed that the team too have altered their attitude. Increased communication and creativity, empathy, acceptability and flexibility are just some of the positive changes that I have witnessed within both HARE & BONE salon teams. Mindfulness has also been proven to increase job satisfaction and reduce work place stress. All of this and it doesn’t cost a penny to integrate into the business. So what’s the catch?
You may have noticed that I often used the word ‘try’ throughout this article. Mindfulness isn’t something that happens overnight. Like most things that genuinely improve your life, it takes time. It is a practice I started during lockdown, and will continue to work on daily. Morning rituals help set my day up in the right approach and allow me to take this attitude into the salon. The significance of morning routines can not be under-estimated. If you wake up and immediately pick up the phone you will be on the back foot all day. However, if you can shower, exercise, eat breakfast, meditate, walk the dog – whatever works for you – before you check in with the outside world your day will improve significantly. I know we are all busy and reaching for the phone is a habit but I promise, if you can make that change to the start of the day you will see vast, positive shifts in your energy, attitude and salon business.
Another habit instilled in a lot of business owners is that we are often busy being busy. Introducing a more mindful approach allows you to strip away the noise. Training your mind to be consistently present helps make clearer and faster decisions. By accepting the moment for what it is means that you accept yourself, those people and practices around you. If there is a challenge with the business, such as client complaint, approaching it mindfully means that you accept the situation and see it as an opportunity to learn from it. Don’t well on it or drag it through the rest of the day but acknowledge it, deal with it and move on.
Don’t be mistaken to think that mindfulness is void of emotion. It isn’t. It is about feeling those emotions in the moment rather than locking them away only to impact on the business at a later date. Adopting a more mindful approach to my salon over the last year has had positive impacts on myself, the team and the business. You don’t need to go on a course, invest money or lots of time. Simply by training your mind to focus on the now will positively impact your business.
If you only have five minutes for mindfulness then these give these a try:
How about these
Try introducing a gratitude practice as the last thing you do before you go to sleep and the first thing you do when you wake up. This will really help you set your intention for a sound sleep and a positive first step into the day. It literally takes a couple of minutes and can make all the difference. When you’re ready to go to sleep think about three things that day you are grateful for. It could be anything, a great conversation, a tasty muffin or smooth-running day. In the morning when your alarm goes off, before you check your phone or even open your eyes repeat the practice and think of three things your grateful for or three positive intentions for the day. It could be your comfy pillows or your partner didn’t snore or you’re looking forward to sharing that new idea you have with the team.
As I mentioned, I find my morning meditation routine has dramatically improved my life. It has reduced stress and anxiety and helps me get my thoughts in order before I start the day. Even 5 minutes are enough and can make a big difference. If you’re new to meditation you could start with some guided meditation. I have just completed the Deepak Chopra 21 days of Abundance guided mediation challenge. It’s great as it only takes a few minutes and you just follow the instructions.
Deepack Chopra 21 days of Abundance guided mediation
With all this chat of meditation if you are interested in finding out more you check out this Netflix Headspace Documentary