February 2009

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Balancing Love of Work With the Rest of Life

Since I have over 35 years in the beauty industry, my colleagues, associates and apprentices often ask me, “How do you do it?”

They have more questions like: “How do you maintain your passion for your industry after all this time? How do you find balance with all the facets of what you do professionally and nurture your personal and private life? How do you thrive in one area of your life and yet not neglect or fail in the other parts of your life?”

I answer saying, attitude is everything. When my attitude is out of sync with my desires and goals, I feel it. Why? Because when you are in alignment with what your true self is, you feel good. When it doesn’t feel right you don’t feel good.

In that case, I need an attitude adjustment. It’s no lie, after 35 years behind the chair sometimes Saturdays come hard. I often tell students that when you become a stylist you lose the right to Saturdays for the rest of life.

The good news I tell them is that our Saturday is Friday, our Sunday is Saturday and when the rest of the corporate world is dragging their tails kicking and screaming into the office on Monday guess what, we can sleep in if we desire because Monday is our Sunday. Again, it’s a question of our attitude.

I always try to remember that when I am driving in the dark to the salon for that 6 a.m. client on a Saturday, so are they. Both our alarms went off at 4:30 a.m., but theirs was on their day off.

I always try to be grateful for the house I live in, the car I drive, the abundance I enjoy for myself and my children comes from my clients and for that I am eternally grateful and need to be continually worthy by providing the highest standard in service.

By maintaining an attitude of gratitude, it becomes easier to keep a good perspective even when you feel like you are running on empty. Your tank is actually full, which you need to take on life’s journey.

One of the most powerful tools I have found is the affirmation in statements following the words “I am.” Here are a few of them for your consideration.

I am grateful to be a share taker in an industry that is continually evolving, expanding and challenging me to grow and be part of all that it has to offer. If I keep attentive to embracing the positive characteristics of our profession, it’s never the same. It can always seem new. I’ll never forget something one of my mentors and friend Ron Love shared with me over 10 years ago, “If you want to die in this industry, it’s a simple process, just stand still.” The industry and the success we desire will move on without us. So go with the flow and stay ahead of the curve. You will not merely survive you will thrive.

I am grateful for the limitless possibilities our industry has to offer, which demand constant awareness. As we evolve and seek growth within our profession, we have the ability to consciously create our own abundance both creatively and financially. We first have to be aware of our potential and existing opportunities. That takes vision. But actually making the opportunity a victory takes positive action. Unrealized opportunity is one of the greatest thieves of success.

I am grateful for my ability to expand beyond my current reality and am limited only by my own failure to grow. I can expand my brand consciousness; I can expand my skills through advanced and continuing education and offer new innovative services to my existing and potential new clients. I can expand my customer base by focusing on marketing and advertising my brand individually and as a business. I can expand by becoming a better steward and caretaker of my industry through advocacy for my industry and upholding a higher ideal of us as a profession. I can expand in my focus to give back by mentoring those new to our industry and professional community, never forgetting that others will follow the footsteps we leave behind.

I am grateful to know that, although our success is often judged by what we achieve individually, as beauty professionals we are never alone. It takes clients’ faces to be our skincare or makeup canvas and they through their beauty reflect our creativity. It takes the clients’ hair so we can sculpt it with an amazing haircut or paint it from the palette of the latest color technique to create a modern masterpiece. We can enhance or convert the client’s natural texture as a textile come to life.

Our success as beauty professionals is a designer and model dynamic. It is a synergy. Without the model’s body beneath a fashion design, it’s only clothing as a form of expression. Never forget, it’s the model’s body that gives the designer’s vision true life on the runway, and it’s our client that brings our work to life.

I hope the “I am” statements helped you see the point: Our attitude shapes our reality.

Something that will always be a challenge to me and comes up often is the question of balance. I love what I do; this profession is a life-long love affair. When I work, I feel like a child at play. Have you ever watched a child play at something that brings them joy? Do they care if it’s dinnertime or if it’s getting dark or they’re getting tired? No. I don’t know about you, but that’s how I feel about my craft and profession.

The challenge is that if your work or professional life is everything that defines you, you will never truly enjoy the other fruits of your labor of love. It’s your love of labor that defines you. In a three-dimensional world, you are one-dimensional. So while you can applaud your professional success, the theater of life rings empty in your personal and private arena.

No one on their deathbed says they wish they’d spent more overtime at the office. Or that they wish they had canceled vacation time with family and loved ones to spend more face time with the boss. To truly be abundant in life requires balance. It’s OK to be a success both at home and at work.

In the end, what are you working for? I will work hard for the abundance that affords me a walk on the sand of a Caribbean beach with the ones I love rather than sitting at a desk looking at a calendar with a picture of a sandy beach and go home and sleep alone only to go back to work the next day to the picture of the sandy beach. Balance says it is okay to do the fun things for ourselves and for our families that let them know they mean the world to us.

It’s all about what’s most important and always putting first things first. That is the delicate balance between what we love and those whom we love. So at the end of the day what are you working for?

Jerry Tyler’s column Blue Highways is his “Road Less Traveled” perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Education for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.