10 ways we as a nation are “numbing out”

After listening to the most recent “couragemakers” podcast (click here to experience it for yourself) I really started to think about how much I continue to numb myself. Although I work really hard on self discovery I still have a long way to go. Today’s episode was called “Challenging The Shit That Holds You Back” with Andrea Owen.

Andrea talked about how when she really started down her path of self discovery how her drinking had really accelerated. How when she really started to look deep within herself and address her pain the numbing became more prevalent. That really made me think about how we numb and all the different tools we use to numb. A lot of which you probably don’t think of numbing agents. Also how we really stunt our emotional growth when we numb ourselves.

Growth really happens in the most painful, uncomfortable, awkward times of our lives. If we numb ourselves in those moments to lessen the pain we are feeling we are really doing ourselves a HUGE disservice. If you can put down the drink, put down the doughnut, avoid the pills, or whatever it is that you are reaching for in that moment and just look that pain right in eye…feel the pain, and yes it’s going to hurt like a motherfucker….but those are growing pains and they are necessary.
First, let’s think about all the different agents we use to numb and how it is affecting us and those around us.

1.) Alcohol
This is a tough one for me because I really do enjoy cocktails…Prosecco is my current drink of choice…The thing is though how is it affecting not only you but those around you. Most people would say “what is the harm in just having a couple drinks”…I am one of those someone’s btw. One thing I start to realize with myself though is after even just one drink…I change. I lose momentum. My ambition towards greatness starts to decrease…I get this “meh, it can wait until tomorrow” sort of attitude. For others, they love the way the drink let’s their guard down but then they don’t know when to stop…before they know it they are slurring their speech and depicting themselves as someone their not which can make them look very unattractive to the people they love most.. Then there are the one’s who think they are “OK” to drive and end up injuring themselves and becoming the responsibility of a loved one. Or maybe get a DUI which again puts pressure on the loved one to drive them to work and everywhere else they have to go.  This can often cause resentment and inevitably lead to the end of that relationship. Or the absolute worst case is tragically taking the life of another human being…possibly ruining the lives of an entire family and more.

2.) Drugs
Drugs come in so many different forms now, Legal to illegal. Anything that is going to change the way you FEEL…masking physical and emotional pain, anxiety, sadness, fatigue…I am not talking about antibiotics here. Anything that if when the effects of the drugs wear off that you feel the emotional pain you were trying to mask with the drug in the first place…that is what I am talking about….Although I do not really think that marijuana is a harmful drug at all and I don’t think that legalizing it would be a bad thing it is still a mind altering drug and it numbs you from the pain you should be experiencing for growth. Which leads me to the other point…you cannot selectively numb….if you numb pain…you numb joy and happiness along with it. If you have someone in your life that loves you…they love all of you…the good, the bad, and the ugly. I recognize that many people suffer from feelings of depression and anxiety but I think many times those symptoms can be fought with a change in perspective, ownership of mistakes, and self-love.

3.) Sex
We as humans are here on earth for one reason and one reason only…Connection. So often we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to show the people around us who we really are so we feel the only way to feel actual human connection is through sex…I’m not talking about sex with someone you love and have a beautiful relationship with. I am talking about just having a warm body that you are trying to connect with. The problem with that is without that real connection that only comes with vulnerability of the heart you don’t connect anyway and you start to trust people less and less. You start to feel more alone than you did before this “connection” therefore even less likely to truly connect. There can be so much pain involved in this ….I think particularly with women as we tend to get more emotionally attached after sex then men do. When that emotional attachment happens but there is no foundation in which the relationship was formed there is a feeling of rejection when the deed is over with nothing to show for it.

4.) Shopping
Shopping actually boosts the same neurotransmitters, serotonin, as sex and drugs. When we buy things it makes us feel good which in many cases can be awesome. Anytime you make a purchase so many people prosper as a result of it. The company you purchased from, the creator of the actual item, the paper company that the receipt was printed on, the company that created the bag that you carried your time away in…the list goes on and on. The downfall is, much like alcohol, when is enough enough. We are the most in debt nation in the world for this reason. We max out credit cards, we blow our savings, we take out loans, you name it…we do it… all to just keep buying things that we don’t truly NEED. As a result our families suffer as we are now not able to provide the needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, and eduction….or medical needs perhaps. I absolutely believe in buying things that make you feel good but there has to be a limit..it has to just be the things you NEED. Be intentional with your purchases. If you don’t absolutely love it then you don’t need it.

5.) Video Games
Whether they are on a gaming console, your phone, or your computer games can often times act as a distraction from the pain you are feeling. I think a game, when you are intentional about when you choose to play it is awesome. If you find yourself reaching for your phone, computer, or game controller because you begin to feel the tinge of pain when you sit in silence….you have to fight the urge and just feel the pain.

6.) Social Media
This is a major one. Social media has a wonderful place in this world. I will forever be grateful for Facebook because that was the medium in which my boyfriend Heath and I were reunited. The question is how are you using it? Aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, and other sites is a sign that you are avoiding something. Worse yet, we like to share the things on social media that make us look really really good….what we WANT people to see. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a couple snap a pic of each other in this really lovey dovey pose with big smiles and pure happiness only to go back to not talking or looking at each other after the photo was taken. We are creating a mirage of what we want people to think in hopes that will make us feel better about ourselves and our lives. All that does is drive us further and further away from connection. Use social media for inspiration, motivation, entertainment…but make sure you are not using it to numb or mask. Unless you are intentionally searching for something or you are posting something that you are really proud of that you think your friends, family, and the rest of the world needs to see tread lightly because you are likely just avoiding facing the pain you are inevitably feeling

7.) Food <——my numbing agent of choice
This is one I can really relate to the most. I have struggled with my weight and my body for as long as I can remember. I love food, I love the way it makes me feel. I love the feeling of being full…not stuffed but full. I wish salads would give me the same satisfaction as pizza did! We need food for survival which is what makes it extra difficult. You can’t just say “ok, that’s it, I’m quitting food”. Food is a must. Unfortunately there is something in a big ol’ plate of nachos that really gives me comfort than I cannot find in a bowl of quinoa and kale. This is something I have really been working on. Identifying when I am truly hungry versus when I am just trying to numb some pain. When I am traveling the road of healthy eating though it is amazing the difference you feel. The energy and genuine happiness you feel. Because I am not filling a void or feeling of emptiness with a sleeve of Oreo’s I am forced to face my demons and identify with where they are stem from….and fight them.

8.) Television
This is very much in the same realm as social media and video games. If you find yourself scrolling through the guide on tv…you are avoiding something. If you reach for the remote, find exactly what you want to watch, and pay attention and enjoy that is different. I think, again, like social media and video games, television has a wonderful place in this world….but you have to be aware of are you just distracting yourself, just passing time??? Or are you engaged with what you are watching?

9.) Over-exercising
I have a feeling there would be some people who would fight me on this but it’s true. Exercise is something, much like food, that we all need. This is also something that so many people avoid…myself included. However, there is a whole lot of truth in “too much of a good thing is bad”. Working out also stimulates that beautiful neurotransmitter, Serotonin. It makes us feel good which is awesome but there are people that are spending 5-6 hours of everyday working out. Our bodies need rest and our brains need to be stimulated. I get it though…nothing makes you feel like you can conquer the world more than working out. But it has to come in healthy doses. Work out, build muscle, burn fat, escalate your heart rate….but be cognizant of when you are just trying to numb out…trying to avoid the emotional pain.

10.) Plastic Surgery
We see this all the time in Hollywood. The most beautiful people in the world go under the knife in hopes of changing the way they feel inside. I can understand how this happens. As I’ve gotten older it becomes harder and harder to identify with the person I see in the mirror…who is that person? Inside I feel like a young 22-year-old woman but I look in the mirror and see the reality, It can be tough to swallow. I am not against plastic surgery….I think if a little enhancement is going to make you feel beautiful go for it. A nose job, breast enhancements, Botox, facelift. Go for it….BUT, if you find that you get one of those done and you end up wanting to go back for more there is a deeper issue there. You have pain that needs to be felt and fought and until you do that there is not enough plastic surgery in the world that will make you feel beautiful. You have to feel it on the inside before you yourself can see it on the outside.

What this all comes down to is being intentional. Give yourself a few moments every single day to feel your emotions. When you are in the car alone, turn off the radio, put your phone on airplane mode, and just be. For most people this is going to hurt….to actually feel your emotions…it can be excruciating but once you do it…it is the most peaceful beautiful feeling in the world. Trust me on this, I can always feel when I haven’t gave myself a little silence. When I do though, I recognize my value, my worth, my beauty, and my power. You will too!

 

This is what happened when technology failed me…again

In my quest to change the way the beauty industry is viewed by empowering new and seasoned stylists to earn the respect they so greatly deserve I was presenting at a local cosmetology school.  I do this by teaching the importance of how you show up in the world.  The night before I made sure I was completely prepared by testing out my projector, hooking up my laptop, and doing my presentation.  Of course as luck would have it when I got to the school and hooked everything up…. nothing ..zilch …nada.  Nothing worked.  I had to get creative….I had to rely on my story telling to get me through my 1.5 hour presentation.

After the presentation the students willingly gave me feedback telling me they enjoyed this class so much more than my past presentations.  It was my vulnerability and my engagement with them they really enjoyed.  I was very thankful for the feedback since I had another presentation at the same school later that evening.  When I arrived I had made the decision to not even try to use technology.  I was incredibly nervous because I realized that 1/2 of the class was comprised of the same students I had presented to earlier.  I thought it was going be a whole new class.  The story I had going through my head was that these students were thinking “great, I have to listen to her babble on again for another 1.5 hours”.  What the truth actually was though is they were completely engaged.

When I left there I felt really good about everything.  I felt that my message was well received…the next day…I had gotten an email telling me just how well received it really was.

“Hello, my name is Danielle. I was at HP Collage in Dekalb Tuesday night getting my hair done by my sister while you were guest speaking to the class. I know the speech wasn’t intended for me, but I feel as though I was meant to be there and hear you talk. I am at work right now, still trying to process and reflect on everything you said. What stood out the most to me is “fake it until you become it”, that hit me personally because I struggle with self-confidence. I always imagine a way I’d like to “appear” to others, but never was able to work up the courage to become that person. Well, this morning I woke up early, curled my hair, put on my brightest red lipstick and went to the back of my closet and pulled out a pair of heels I bought 6 months ago and had yet to wear them. I try them on almost every day… but they never made it out the door, until today. Today I am dressed the way I want to be seen from head to toe and I feel amazing. Walking into work was a little awkward, but I was flooded with compliments. I can’t explain to you how good I feel. I can’t wait to see what my future holds. I just needed to thank you and make sure you knew that you did this. You successfully changed a life over-night. My goal is to write down things I remember so I can keep reflecting and putting your words into my everyday life. Thank you Gina, thank you thank you.”

As much as she thinks my words changed her life….her words changed mine.  This made me think about one of my favorite Ted Talks.  How telling someone the impact you had on their life effects you.  Because Danielle went out of her way to share that with me has given me the confidence to pursue this mission that I am on full strength!!! Danielle has now became a leader herself….first, this new lease on life she has is going to inspire and empower those around her to do the same….second, because she sent that email my mission has gotten greater and I will continue to change the lives of others….SHE DID THAT.  A leader is defined as a person who guides or directs.  Well Danielle is definitely keeping me in the direction of greatness.

I am a firm believer in the power of the universe.  A dear friend gave me this great little box of inspirational quotes and daily motivators. Yesterday here is the one I pulled…it gave me chills.  “You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you” by Bryan Tracy.  EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU HAS THE POWER OF GREATNESS.  Are you showing it to the world?  Put yourself in a position in which you cannot be ignored. How do you do that?  You look your absolute best…if you put on an outfit in the morning and your thought is “meh, it will do”…BURN THAT SHIT.  It does not belong in your closet.  Get a killer haircut, do your makeup, smell irresistible, only wear something that you know you look fucking amazing in.  Make eye contact, shake hands, smile, use killer dialogue, stand up straight, be on time, and have a great attitude.  If you are not confident enough to do these things…..fake it, fake it every damn day until one day you realize you’re not faking it…you have just become that confident!!!

Please share this with everyone you know!!!  Shit, share it with everyone you don’t know too!  You never know who might be reading that needs to hear these exact words!

 

11 rules to respect for yourself and your industry…no matter what it is

I came to a realization recently that in my quest to raise the respect level of the beauty industry that this is something that can be used across the board…no matter your industry.  If you are in an industry that you feel does not get the respect is deserves it is up to you to take responsibility for it.  If you find yourself saying “I hold myself to a high standard it’s everyone else that is the problem” you have to take responsibility for that too!  If you are an industry leader it is your responsibility to lead those down the path of mastering that same leadership.  The only way we can do this is to do it together.  Here is the thing though… it’s ALL ABOUT YOUR ATTITUDE!

1. Assume the best out of everyone.  If others in your industry are not holding themselves to a higher standard therefore not earning respect assume that is because they don’t know how or know that it is even an option. Not that they just don’t want to or don’t care enough.  So many people never had that person in their life telling them how smart and powerful they are.  BE THAT PERSON!!!

2. Be thankful for as much or as little as you have.  No matter what you have its is something you have to be thankful for.  My boyfriend shared with me that after working an 18 hour day only to get up 5 hours later to do it all over again he saw a man pushing a cart full of metal that he had collected from the streets.   What an eye-opener.  The thing is if I had the opportunity to speak to that man pushing the cart he too would have something to be thankful for.  When you count your blessings it gives you a feeling of power and strength that can be used to pass onto others.

3. Make eye contact with EVERYONE!  The cashiers, your server, your barista, any human being that you have contact with…look them in the eyes!

4. Smile!  Smile at everyone!!!  A smile has an energy that is contagious.

5. Shake hands….everyone that you greet…shake their hand.  Learn how to give a proper handshake…no limp wrist or dead fish handshakes…those are disgusting and will only cost you respect not earn it.

6. Stand up straight…head up, shoulders back, chest out!  I can see your confidence level in your posture…if your not feeling confident fake it with perfect posture and eventually you become confident!

7. Use powerful words…words that perk people’s ears.  Delivery those words in a way that create intrigue.

8. Take care of your hygiene!  Respect is lost when you are the stinky kid…deodorant, breath mints…if you’re a smoker find a way to get rid of that smell….use perfume/cologne but use it sparingly!

9. ONLY wear clothes that you KNOW you look fucking awesome in!!  If you put something on and you look in the mirror and think “meh”….donate it!  GET IT OUT OF YOUR CLOSET IMMEDIATELY!  Only wear pieces you feel killer in!!!

10. BE EARLY!  I’d rather be 3 hours early than 1 minute late!!!

11. Choose to have a killer attitude…at the end of the day EVERYTHING is a choice!

If you follow these rules of thumb, teach them to the people in your industry, hold yourself and them accountable….you become a force to be reckoned with and so will your industry!

 

 

 

What happens when you define your mission

My favorite artist/singer/poet/activist/ultra-feminist, Ani Difranco, has a song titled “Out of Habit” that contains the lyrics “Art is why I get up in the morning  But my definition ends there And it doesn’t seem fair That I’m living for something I can’t even define”.  Even though I’ve been singing that song at the top of my longs for nearly 20 years now….those words have really began to resonate with me.  Until recently I knew what I wanted my life to look like but I couldn’t define it.  It wasn’t until meeting a few truly inspiring people who I am finally able to define my purpose in life.  “To change the way hairdressers and the beauty industry is viewed.”  By demanding the respect the industry so greatly deserves.  Empowering them to hold themselves to a standard so high they cannot be ignored.  To let them know that no matter who is sitting at the table there is a seat for them…ceo’s, cfo’s, state officials, doctors, lawyers, professors….pull up a chair people!”  What I have found is so many people go through life not knowing how damn smart and powerful they really are.  So many people don’t have that person in their life telling them they can do anything,  supporting them and to help push them to the top.  If that person does not exist in their life..I will be that person.

I share this with EVERYONE because this applies to human beings in general.  This is a concept that can be utilized with anyone…whether you want to change the way you as a person are viewed or the industry you have dedicated yourself to.  This certainly does not just apply to hairdressers.

I will be preaching the good word about how strategically branding yourself will earn you the respect you so greatly deserve. I was lucky enough to be taught the importance of this by Bennie Pollard and Paula Hensen of Cool Beauty Consulting.  It is now my responsibility to share this with the future hairdressers of the world.

Smiling, making eye contact, shaking hands, having a killer wardrobe, great personal hygiene, using great dialogue and delivery, great posture, being punctual, and having an exceptional attitude.  Sharing the importance of these 9 things to the future hairdressers of the world.  But this goes FAR BEYOND hairdressing.  This is just human beings holding themselves to a higher standard in general.  This is something we should be teaching our children and something that we as adults should be doing every day!

At Lola we call this “The Art of Mastering Badassery”.  Now that I can define my mission….now that I have an actual strategy of spreading this mission…I AM UNSTOPPABLE!!!!   As long as my heart is beating I know that my assignment is not complete!!!  I invite you to join me in being a badass and teaching those around us how to be badasses….ANYONE can Master the Art of Badassery!!!  Let’s do this shit!!!!!

Being your very best self starts with how you dress

It is so easy to get overwhelmed when we begin the journey into living an intentional life. A life that portrays us as being our very best self. One of the very first things that I recommend doing to start the process is going through your closet.
I remember when I first began living my intentional life I got rid of all the clothes that I did not feel amazing in. Which was A LOT!!! We all have our favorite items of clothing that we KNOW we look good in. Well shouldn’t that be every piece of clothing? Often times the way we feel about ourselves on any given day begins with what we see in the mirror. If you begin your day feeling confident with the way you look your attitude on the day’s challenges tend to be much easier to handle.
I’m sure many of you are thinking that it would cost a fortune to get an entire new wardrobe but really you don’t need tons of clothes. All you need are pieces of clothing that can be paired easily with other things. When you shop you have to shop INTENTIONALLY. Is it something that fits you in ALL of the right places? Does it complement your figure? Do you LOVE the way you look and feel in it? Is it something you can wear with several different items? If you answered no to ANY of these questions than put it back….that piece is not for you.
After cleaning out all of the clothes that really were just “meh” I went from a huge bedroom size walk in closet full of clothes to a small 4 foot wardrobe rack and 1 drawer half full of clothes. I had made the decision that black was my favorite color for clothing. I love the way I look in it. I have found I like myself best in solid black…no prints. I also made an intentional decision on exactly what cut of clothing fits me the best. When you are very strategic about what it is you are looking for it weeds out a ton of items so I don’t even bother looking at anything unless it fits within the guidelines I mentioned. To make these limited items of clothing look different every time I wear different pieces of inexpensive jewelry and different shoes. Also by slightly changing the way you style your hair can make an outfit look different as well.
As a hairstylist I know how the confidence of looking and feeling your best can effect EVERYTHING!! When you KNOW you look GOOD and I mean really GOOD you behave differently. You treat your children with more patience. You are more affectionate with your spouse. You are kinder to strangers. You are also more willing to take chances…like asking for a raise or joining a social club. Looking good equals feeling good.
One other great little aspect of this exercise is getting rid of a bunch of clutter in your closet which will be one step closer to de-cluttering the mind