I’ve never considered myself an exceptional hair stylist. I’ve often admired other stylists’ technical skills and quality. There are stylists with new tricks and techniques that are above and beyond the training I received many years ago.

Recently, one of my long time guests, came back to me after trying out another stylist, and he said, “I don’t know what you did differently Andrew, but people commented on my hair after you cut it”. “I’m not someone who even notices the difference, but other people did.” “There was something in what you did that was noticeable, that stood out as something special.”

I realized in that moment that there is something I’ve mastered over the years that translates not only into a quality hair cut, but a client who feels great, and who is noticed by friends and family. It’s something I’ve partly stumbled upon by just practising the disciplines of the work day in and day out. And it’s something I’ve been exploring in personal leadership courses, and my men’s group.

It’s the practice of holding context. Who we are, and how we show up, translates into the quality of the hair cut and the client’s experience. If we are stuck in complaint, bitterness, anger, and gossip, then no matter how good our technical skills are, the hair cut will reflect this stuck place. And the client will bare the brunt of who we’re being. They’ll even take it on, and leave with it.

If we’re open, present, engaged, alive, and curious, our clients will take that on, and their hair will embody it.

So what’s the context you’re holding as a stylist? Who are you being? What’s in your background? The way you notice is by looking at your clients. How are they showing up and how are they leaving the chair? And who’s noticing?

Reflections from Beyond the Chair
by Andrew McAleese, Owner of La Luma Salon & Academy