WHY WE WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SUCCEED
I like to think about why I make certain decisions at certain times. I revisit and analyze the big decisions I’ve made in my life; moving to Chicago ten years ago, leaving my corporate career to pursue my passion for nails, starting this blog and I think about if I would do anything differently. The thought I have most often is I wish I had done them sooner. I wish I had found nails earlier in my life, and I wish I had had the courage to move to a big city before I actually did it. The anticipation of making these large, life-altering decisions was much worse than actually taking the action and just doing it. Yes they were all difficult decisions, but the worst-case scenarios I had conjured in my head didn’t happen. I was prepared, and I had done my due diligence – I didn’t just jump into any of these decisions, but I did let my fear hold me back. WHY WE WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SUCCEED
Fear of what? Failure, plain and simple. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I have to admit defeat? What if the decision I make is the wrong one and it makes me look stupid or silly? As I get older, I realize that no one is harder on us than we are on ourselves. That internal voice of doubt knows you. It knows your fears and weaknesses and uses them to keep you “safe.” It’s a biological imperative ingrained in us from our hunter/gatherer days. The same doubtful internal voice that kept our ancestors from eating poisonous mushrooms is the same one that tells us not to put ourselves out there in case everything blows up in our face. WHY WE WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SUCCEED
When I moved to Chicago in 2007, I was transferring from a small retail store where I was an assistant manager to one that was much higher profile. I would be in charge of the operations of this downtown Chicago concept store location. I leapt at the chance, because I had always wanted to live in Chicago. It was a big step. I didn’t know a single soul in Chicago, and I also didn’t know the city very well, so I had to take a shot in the dark with what neighborhood to live in and how to get around in a city 41x larger than the small Wisconsin town where I was currently living.
It was a difficult first year. My co-workers weren’t interested in being friends, and my job was tough to navigate. There was a power struggle between the other managers at my store, and the clash of personalities did not make for a successful or enjoyable mix. I was still learning the city and trying to take in all of the amazing things to do and see, but it was very isolating and lonely without many friends. I ended up adopting my dog during this time so I would have something to focus on other than my empty social calendar. WHY WE WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SUCCEED
Then, in September of 2008, in the midst of the mortgage crisis and recession, I lost my job. I had five days less seniority with the company than the other manager, and so I was given 30 days notice that my position was being eliminated. At the time, I thought the city had beaten me. I felt dejected and like a failure. Do I move back home with my parents? Do I try and stick it out in a city that I love, but was having a hard time adjusting to? When I look back on this event that is almost ten years ago now, I see it as a blessing in disguise. That job was heinous and the people were even worse, but at the time, I was scared. Afraid to fail in this big decision, and afraid that my choice had turned out to be the wrong one. All I wanted, was for someone to tell me what to do, and tell me which decision would ultimately be the right one. WHY WE WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SUCCEED
As I navigate the nail industry and steep in its culture, I notice some of that same fear in the nail techs I meet at shows and those I interact with on social media. When I first started, I watched my idols do amazing things in the industry. They started their own brands, they were often asked for advice in industry publications, and they were backstage at fashion shows and red carpet events, doing all of the things I wanted to do. I didn’t understand how they got to be there, where everything happens. At the time, I didn’t understand that they put themselves there. I still had the mindset from my retail career; do good work that gets noticed and get promoted. Work your way up the ladder. Wait for someone to tell you you’re doing a good job and build on that.
That voice that tells us we aren’t good enough to do the things we dream about is usually wrong, but what we can count on from that voice is brutal honesty. We are all our own worst critics, and with that knowledge comes power. We all know what our strengths and weaknesses are, because our internal critic lets us know every chance it gets. I know I’m a kick ass freehand painter, and my area of opportunity is sculpted liquid and powder. I know this because my artwork is usually great and my enhancements are the one thing I don’t get to do as much, and therefore, struggle with. If I set aside time to practice those skills, I feel like I would be unstoppable. (Finding the time is another story for another day, but you get the point.)
So many nail techs wait for external validation before they deem themselves “good enough” to move up their career ladder. We wait for a brand to notice us and make us an educator. We wait for magazines to notice us and publish our work. We wait to introduce ourselves to a tech we admire at a show because we don’t want to bother them, and ultimately miss the chance to make a connection. The common denominator in all of the major decisions I listed at the top of this blog is that I waited for someone else to tell me to do these things. I had always wanted to live in Chicago, but I didn’t move here until my district manager mentioned the job opening. I didn’t leave retail to pursue nails until roughly 250 people looked at my nails and told me I should be doing nails. I didn’t start this blog until I was on set one day, explaining to the model about the miracle that is cuticle oil and the makeup artist asked me “why don’t you have a blog? You should have a blog.” Yeah, why don’t I have a blog? WHY WE WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SUCCEED
I waited for someone to tell me to do the things I already desperately wanted to do, and I’ve vowed to no longer wait to listen to what my heart and head have been telling me. I hope you do the same. If you want to build your own brand, open your own salon, fill your client books, get a cover of an industry magazine – do it. Your drive and passion will help you fill in the blanks. You already know what you need to do, so if you’re waiting for a sign from the Universe or a hand written invitation, consider this the moment you’ve been waiting for.
I want to hear about the things that are holding you back from what you really want to do, and how you plan to overcome them in 2018. Reach out here in the comments, or on any of our social media channels @thenailscape. This is designed to be a community that supports nail techs, so please reach out! – you never know who might be going through the same issues you are, or who could help you with your next big step. WHY WE WAIT FOR PERMISSION TO SUCCEED