Challenge Yourself to Break the Routine and Grow Your Passion

By Damien Carney

Damien CarneyHaving a routine in both your professional and personal life is important, but too much of the same thing doesn't keep your energy flowing.

To keep my passion alive, I challenge myself to break my routines in different ways.

I keep my creativity flowing by being aware of my surroundings. Slow down just a bit as you go about day-to-day activities and observe what's around you.

I turn to people, architecture, nature, objects and the media for inspiration. Really look at someone or something and "see" the shapes, lines and irregularities. Beauty is all around us – really open you eyes and mind.

I stay current with fashion and trends by subscribing to a variety of hair and fashion magazines. The desire to stay current will keep you motivated. Remember fashion changes so quickly that if you blink, you'll miss a decade. Use this information to stimulate yourself and your clients. All types of clients love to know what's the "hot" new thing and you need to be able to tell them.

Taking my observations, I then invest in what I feel is the most imperative way to stay passionate – continuing to learn.

I learn from my colleagues and students every time I attend an event or teach. Invest in yourself. Spend money to make money – education, education and education. I take what I learn technically and give it my own spin using elements from my observations.

To make education affordable, I make a plan. Find what works for you. For example, save some of your tips to invest in educational events at least twice a year. Attend events that motivate you to become better, both professionally and personally.

In today's economy, we all need to stay sharp and focused to be competitive. I have to do hair better than ever before. I enhance my skills through education at industry events and trade shows such as the International Salon & Spa Expo in Long Beach, Cosmoprof North America, PBA Symposium, and the North American Hairstyling Awards.

Seminars and classes from various media outlets, distributors and the professional associations are also great sources. I also turn to websites, magazines and social media from within and outside of the beauty industry for ideas. The one thing I have learned is that if I don't make the time, it will never happen. I always write down my plans and check them off when done. I feel a sense of accomplishment and confidence that I pass on to my clients. We are busy, but to be successful you have to make the time and invest in yourself.

Once you have attended a show, go back and experiment with what you have learned. This will keep you moving forward. Sharpen your techniques and the way you view things. It's great to challenge yourself to change a little bit of something when your client sits in the chair.

Clients leave a stylist or salon because they get "bored." Don't be afraid to mix it up a little. Talk to clients about staying fresh. They love it! Remember you're the expert. That's why they're coming to you and not the salon next door. Also, don't be afraid to charge a little extra for the "new or special technique" you've learned. This is another way to cover your educational expenses.

Continually apply your new ideas and techniques. There's no point in learning, if you don't apply what you learned. Don't slip back into your routine ways of doing hair. Keep your favorite elements of design, but update them. Invigorate them with simple changes.

Read and learn new ways of expressing looks and trends or develop your own language. That's the sheer joy in being a stylist. You can cultivate your own signature looks and words to describe them. How fun!

When the wheel of education stops, it can be difficult to restart, but not impossible. Continually exercise your mind and your hair skills regularly and then reap the rewards.

Learning something different can be challenging, but when we master it with a bit of practice, it becomes easier. Practice makes perfect, and your passion will thrive with your courage and confidence.

Damien Carney, celebrity stylist and International Creative Director, is one of the most accomplished hairstylists in the industry today. For creative ideas and educational events, visit Damien's website at and follow him on

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