Practice My 30/30 Challenge 

Every hairdresser needs to find their UNIQUE GIFT to share with the beauty industry.  It gives you a sense of direction, meaning and purpose.  Some hairdressers know as soon as they get their license, what direction captures their attention.  Others may need to try different things to find their strengths and assets.


The process of finding your gift can take time to figure out, but one of the ways I like to use is to try something that is not hair related.

You may have been lucky enough to have a parent who was a hairdresser and you got to hang out in the salon and learn the business, like Nicholas French and his father Freddy French.  For most of us though, that path is maybe not so clear, and even so, we come up against junctures where we must change and grow.  There will come a time when you must carve your own path.

This is the beauty of this industry.

There are so many different ways we can utilize our craft.  And with each avenue, a different skill set may be needed.  Maybe you want to style hair in a salon, or groom hair for film, or opera, or theatre.  Or, maybe you’ve decided to style hair for print or runway.

Whichever the path you choose, each requires commitment, dedication, and practice to discover your unique gift.  A good way to do this is to just put all that you know aside and become a student again in something new, outside the box.  Accessing your creative juices doesn’t have to come from ‘doing hair’ at all.

Maybe you want to take a calligraphy class, like my friend Cheng Tan, or sing like my friend Rachel Blado, or take dancing classes and competition like Jessica Todd.   All of these artists have full lives, and have found their unique gift to the beauty industry.

One of my own challenges is writing a haiku every day.

On our shared commute to school and my salon, my daughter and I look at a picture I have taken on my phone from my walk the day before, and then she dictates a haiku for me.   We work on it together and use the hashtag #commutehaiku that we then post on Instagram.

It’s been a fabulous effort because I know nothing about writing haiku or taking pictures, but I am dedicated to the practice.

My eye is seeing more, and seeing differently, and I get to play wordsmith while trying to find the essence of what I am trying to say.  I am tuning in to the beauty all around me, particularly nature, light, lines, shape and color.  This practice is feeding my soul, and in a deep way, it connects me to my world, and in a far better way, to hair.

Yes, that’s right.  Try it.  You begin seeing your relationship to hair in a whole new way, and moreover, gain clarity on your UNIQUE GIFT!

[tweetthis]”Hairdressers: Try this 30/30 challenge and see what you discover about yourself.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]


Master hairdressers know there is value in revisiting being a student, because they know and understand that at the heart of discomfort are a whole lot of treasures.  What you gain in exploring other avenues of creativity is a stronger sense of who you are as an artist.  You will find your UNIQUE GIFT to share with the industry.  But you have to be committed, and be willing to not know, and be a student.

So, what is the 30/30 Challenge?

Choose a creative activity and time yourself for thirty minutes.  Commit to this practice for thirty days, rain or shine folks.

When you’ve completed the thirty days, you will have a visual journal of what your eye is drawn to, colors you like, texture, and the practice of letting go of any result is really important.  This process is about exercising your creative mind;  giving your left side of the brain a rest for a while.

Here are some ideas:

  • Journal:  I like lined, cheap notebooks that I can write freely, then I can go back and get the jewels and maybe expand on those.  I like moleskin journals for my creative journals, where I can doodle, take with me everywhere to write down ideas, or words that come to me.
  • Take pictures:  Take walks and take pictures of everything, trying different angles, upside down.  I have an artist friend that when traveling would carry her camera upside down and walk.  It’s the concept of turning a painting in process upside down, to see what is there to expand on.  In other words, the activity is not linear, it gets you out of your head.
  • Paint:  Get yourself some acrylics and paper, or cardboard, or any paintable material, and let yourself start playing.  Don’t judge about how pretty it is, or not.  Just let yourself paint, it is not about pretty.  The next day, you will start another.  Yep, each day is a new one.

At the end of the thirty days, you will have a visual journal of what your eye is drawn to, the colors you like, texture, shape.  This process will really take you deep into your psyche and heart, if you allow.

Lisa Girard wrote an article for Entrepreneur Magazine titled, How to Find Your Passion in 5 Creativity Exercises, and one of the steps talks about setting aside the money part of the equation, just explore first.  She also talks about revisiting your childhood to see what brought you joy.

Another article I read on creativity was on the Oprah blog,  written by Jancee Dunn, called 6 Steps to Get Your Creativity Flowing.  I think there is very good information here and one of the steps is to hire a coach!

If you want to move forward, this is the most assured way it can happen.  Somebody who can guide you, but also see the bigger picture, ask important questions that can lead you to your own brilliance.  Check out the pithy step #3; a brilliant question to ask yourself.

One last resource I have used is the Artist Way, this is where I learned the idea of daily practice, journaling, having a creative journal and a written journal have proven to be so valuable through out my life.

As we move forward in exploring different avenues of creativity, we can begin our research on different aspects of the business to learn what it is we don’t know.  List the people you aspire to be like, Interview people that are doing what you want to explore, find out how to begin.  Finding your unique gift to share with the beauty industry will surface.  Give it time.

Question:  What have you discovered about yourself after thirty days?  Share your comments on Facebook, or Twitter.


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