Your only competition is yourself – so get reps in

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. We’ve heard it all before; luck is when opportunity meets preparation, it takes ten years to become an overnight success, no one cares to keep working… The list of inspirational quotes goes on and on.

If you want to become your best self, you have to suit up and show up. Put yourself out there. It can be daunting to try new things, but the worst form of self-sabotage in my opinion, is judging yourself before you even try.

The only way you get better is by getting your reps in. I can assure new barbers none of the artists they look up to were where they are now when they started — they tried and failed over and over again at endeavors to become better. But it’s only a true failure if you give up.

One way to build confidence as a barber is participating in events such as Hair Jams and Barber Battles.

Combat stage fright

If I had a dollar for every time I overheard someone in the crowd critiquing participating artists, it would have paid for my entry fees. It’s true maybe said person in the audience could have some knowledgeable insight into what the artists are trying to achieve but they’re up there doing the damn thing and the peanut gallery is not. It’s a lot easier to judge something you’ve never tried than it is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, which is the only place you grow. As events begin again, remember this before you trash talk the people putting themselves out there. They’re human too.

Celebrate all the wins

More often than not, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placeholders categorize wins but we need to start celebrating every win in our lives. Your competition is not other people; it’s your past self. The true wins can be identified as combating anxiety, breaking limiting beliefs about yourself, and showing up for yourself by doing what you say you’re going to, amongst others. Success is not a trophy or a tangible prize; it’s a feeling.

It’s the people you didn’t see coming that may change your life

Hindsight is clearer than foresight and while you may not see what you wanted materialize immediately in your day-to-day life, everything has an interesting way of working out. Many of the reasons I showed up to particular events was that there were specific peoples hands I wanted to shake and goals that I had in mind. They had a way of working out better than I could have imagined for myself.

The next time you find self doubts settling in, remind yourself not to strive for perfection, but rather excellence.

Also, make sure you attend conventions as a first time barber — the people you meet can change your life.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, read up on the advice given by the following industry leaders:

Chico Boom on why you need a positive mindset everyday.
Angel and Papito, founders of Barber Verzuz on investing in yourself and educating a new generation.

Photo via Tyler Golden/The CW

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