How to Stay Humble When You’re Tempted to Be Otherwise

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In the salon industry, having a passion for what you do is only half of the requirement to become successful in your field. You also need to become good at what you’re doing and hone in on your skills and techniques. Once you learn those skills, though, you will find yourself building clientele and finding new ways to grow your business and career. When you begin to reach the levels you want, sometimes it can be tempting to be arrogant or conceited about your accomplishments and any accolades you’ve received throughout your career. This temptation will drive clients (and possibly your employees) away if it goes too far.  It is imperative to your business and work environment to remain humble. 

For episode 135 of the Beyond The Technique podcast, we brought back Abigail and Sierra, co-owners of the Boulevard Hair Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Boulevard Hair Company was named the top salon in Salon Today in 2017. The salon currently has over 50 stylists on their team and are both experts on growing a salon team.  Abigail and Sierra discussed the importance of being humble in all areas of the salon industry and how we can learn from each other to be our best selves. 

Understanding What It Means to Be Humble

Being humble is something that is foreign to some people, especially those in high-demanding positions. Sierra believes the key to being humble is not to be arrogant about your work, but instead become modest. It is more than natural to put modesty to the side when money, and sometimes fame, go to your head. Instead of letting success go to your head, Sierra believes taking on new opportunities to learn from others and helping colleagues of all levels thrive within their positions is the best way to remain humble. 

Comparing Yourself to Others WILL Drive You Crazy

While learning from others who may be more experienced than you is a great way to learn something new, many stylists will avoid taking that step due to the fear they will not be successful at mastering a new skill set. So often we waste our energy worried about what the person next to us is doing that we don’t focus on improving our skills and our career. In the salon industry, so many of us offer different techniques that’s unique to everyone. Abigail believes that when we start comparing ourselves to others, you start getting down on yourself, which will make you produce work that you’re less than capable of doing. To avoid this, Abigail believes it’s more effective to stand alongside your fellow stylists and ask how they achieved a certain look or technique. Doing this will help you remain positive if you are feeling inadequate to your peers and will also help you stay humble if you are the one being asked for guidance. 

Seek Guidance When You Need It

One of the best aspects of the salon industry is that it’s always changing and expanding as more stylists begin to emerge with new skills. While it can seem embarrassing to ask someone younger or new to the industry for help, it can be used as a teaching moment for both parties and will inevitably help your career. In addition to seeking guidance, not adapting to changes in the industry can be a pitfall for your business in the future. Many stylists who have been in the industry for decades, and have had the same clients for years, may not want to fix what they feel isn’t broken. This can stop them from not trying new color techniques that could better their clients’ looks in the future. Instead of focusing on the status of your position, you should always be looking for ways to learn and grow as a stylist. 

Remaining Humble as a Salon Owner

Boulevard Hair Company’s success is largely in part to Abigail and Sierra having the ability to work together as a team. Abigail said that while many stylists on the team are independent contractors, everyone has always been supportive of each other and wants to see the company continue to grow. She believes in having a strong support system, as well as being able to help others who aren’t in the same position as you. As Abigail found success as an owner of her own salon, and then moving to Boulevard Hair Company and being nominated for the top salon in the nation, it was easy for her to become egotistical about where the company was going. This changed once her family intervened and helped her see she wasn’t better than anyone else who works for her – or with her. Both Sierra and Abigail credit having a strong support system that will humble them if they feel they are in over their heads. Investing in your stylists is also a great way to find what is important to them and have them feel comfortable working for them. 

Words of Affirmation Are Key

In addition to asking for help and finding ways to work with your team, complimenting your team of stylists is always a good way to show that you’re not competing with anyone and aren’t afraid to acknowledge someone’s work. Words of Affirmation is one of the five love languages and is something many people strive for, especially in the workplace. Abigail and Sierra believe that if you compliment someone, they are more likely to compliment someone else down the line, which creates a positive rapport in a salon and keeps clients coming back. 

A Way of Life

Being humble is not just one act or complimenting one person, but is something you practice every day. Abigail believes that if someone is struggling to be humble, they should practice humbling acts until it’s a part of who they are. Being humble is a practice that a salon professional can apply to both their professional and personal lives. It is what helps an individual find the strengths of their fellow stylists and how they can incorporate that into the company. The salon industry is 80 percent people skills and 20 percent technical skills, and remaining humble can largely impact the 80 percent in a positive way. Being open and vulnerable is the best way to grow because it’s what will keep people wanting to work for you in the future and grow your salon. 

To hear more from Abigail and Sierra, check out episode 135 of the podcast. And if you like what you hear, check out episodes 122 and 128 where both Abigail and Sierra drop more gems. 

Emily Kelly