“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
– Jane Goodall.
I never thought I would be a hairdresser. I was never the most stylish girl in school. So when I started working at Paul Mitchell The School-Colorado Springs, I was honestly looking for a job that could provide a way through college. I had begun a major in Communications one year prior to joining the Paul Mitchell Family. When I applied for a front desk position, I was instead gifted with the opportunity to work in Admissions. Working in Admissions, I gained the abilities of professionalism, consistency and public speaking. I also learned all about the Paul Mitchell systems, culture and family. After 9 months of working for Admissions I was offered the position of the Be Nice Leader. This newfound position offered so much more than I ever could have thought. Everything that I wanted to do with a Communications degree and would have been going to school for, I was already doing in this job.
In this role, I created places, events and times where people had the opportunity to impact others’ days–moments like cutting hair for the homeless or painting nails for residents in assisted living homes. In these moments created every week, I was able experience the genuine love and tenderness of a Hairdresser. I witnessed the power in having a skill that could provide others an opportunity to escape the real world and feel beautiful, even just for a moment.
I have countless stories from homeless shelters to assisted living homes of how these hairdressers impacted others’ lives in simple ways. Maybe to others, mundane ways. However, I have to say that my favorite story was of a 101-year old woman named Polly and an 80-year old, mostly blind woman, named Ann.
Ann was a gentle, white-haired and soft-spoken woman I spoke to while she was getting her nails done. She kept speaking of this amazing woman named Polly who she just had lunch with prior to our meeting. Polly and I had met before and she was wonderful! She was full of life and stories, she had just finished writing a book on WWII and how it affected America… I mean really she is 101 years old and she is still kicking life’s ass! She had five children and the most beautiful love story that she didn’t mind repeating over and over. Polly even had a sign that was posted in her room that stated “wake me up if you have time to talk. But you will need at least an hour.”
As I wheeled Ann through the hallways to her temporary room I spotted Polly sitting just outside her door. I whispered to Ann that Polly was just ahead. Ann reached out for Polly’s hand and said “I have to say, that even being as old as I am, I look up to you. You have inspired me. Thank you for spending lunch with me.” In that moment I knew that I wanted to not only serve and love people in a tangible way, but I wanted to give them opportunities to be inspired! I wanted to help people feel beautiful from the inside out, whether I through a conversation over lunch or a conversation over a hair appointment! It is the willingness to inspire and to be inspired that has caused me to want to invest in my education to become a hairdresser. I hope that even when I am 80 years old I can still be willing to be inspired and that when I am 101 years old I will be just as inspiring as Polly!