How to Deal When You Mess Up

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January 30 2016, is a day I’ll never forget. Looking back it was a pivotal moment in my career… but at the time I wanted to shrink down as small as I could and run away

See, I had the most loveliest client in. I had done her hair before and we were gabbing away while I applied her highlights.

Within a few minutes she let me know that it felt hot on her neck. When I leaned in it felt like I was standing in front of a fire, or had just opened up the oven door. I could feel the heat on my face and hear the crackling.

Cue panic, I quickly got her to the sink and rinsed off her hair, when I started to brush her hair back at the chair a chunk fell off.

I nearly passed out. Nothing like that had ever happened before.  

After going over the products I used and how I applied them I settled on the fact that it was a heat reaction and there was no way I could have predicted it.

But I still felt 100% responsible. Not to mention like a total failure.

I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Imposter Syndrome before, but if you haven’t, well, I felt like a complete imposter, that I shouldn’t be doing hair, and that I should quit.

These were the thoughts circulating around in my head:

“Who am I to be teaching other stylists when this happened to me? What if everyone finds out? I clearly don’t know how to do hair. How could this happen after 16 years in the industry? I should quit.”

It was the beginning of a long journey of recognizing my anxiety and also learning to love myself.

Shit happens. Sometimes it’s our fault and we could have prevented it, and sometimes there was no way to know.

So what should you do when faced with these moments?

First, be gentle with yourself. You are only human. Don’t expect perfection every time. You are only setting yourself up for failure that way.

Learn to let go, but take responsibility. You can make a mistake, but it doesnt mean to you are a mistake.

Learn to communicate, if I would have let my client know the risk involved in hair colour (no matter how minimal) she would have better understood what happened. Now I go through all the risks of chemical services with all my clients to make sure they understand there are no guarantees and that each time they sit in my chair the biology is a variable in the equations.

And lastly, learn from these moments, there is no such thing as failure, there is only success or learning.


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