Motherhood didn’t become my identity– it helped me find it.
Ever been told things happen for a reason? Yes, even being on the receiving end of a bad haircut! Recently, I went into a new hairdresser and asked for the Jennifer Aniston look. I hadn’t had a cut for a long time because I’d changed states and was a bit hesitant (to say the least) about letting a new hairdresser touch my precious locks. Lengthwise; it was long. Damn long!
Needless to say, I walked out with a short bob. My initial response was WTF! Not only had this new hairdresser neglected to do as I asked, but I’d lost at least 15 cm of pure length. The horror! Jennifer Aniston’s style was, therefore; totally out of the question. So, I walked out of the salon with murderous intent because the ‘professional’ with scissors had snipped away at my identity.
After a few hours of despair, self pity and all that crap, I decided to flip my attitude and considered myself quite lucky. Loads of people get the same hair cut – time after time. With a bad cut, you have an opportunity to experiment with something different. It’s all in the attitude. You can either sulk about it until your hair grows back or you can turn lemons into lemonade. And here’s a few tips on how to do just that.
1. Avoid DIY cutting
Put down the scissors NOW! DIY works well for a variety of other things but fixing your haircut really isn’t one of them. It doesn’t matter if you have a bit of experience, either. Chances are you are probably a bit emotional and what starts as a bad hair cut could end up being a total disaster.
2. Check out the latest styles
Jump on the internet and check out the latest styles. Work out what will suit you and be realistic about achieving it. If you’ve had long hair for a while, going short will be a big change and you will need some time to get used to it. Make the best of the situation and think sexy! There are plenty of sexy shorter styles, which may look better than your previous long locks.
3. Using what you have
If you have natural curls, reinventing a bad haircut will be fairly easy. If you have straight hair, you may want to invest in a curling wand or opt for an even shorter look. You will need to go to another hairdresser to have it done. Either way, think about what type of hair you have and work out ways to make that bad hair cut work for you.
Most of us have a few products tucked away. It’s time to use them. If you don’t have any, think about what you want to achieve, go and spend a bit of money and buy them. They aren’t going to break the bank and they will make you feel better. It’s tough to put a price on that! For example, the wet look is really sexy and suits lots of different hair styles. Applying it is easy and you can get the look you are after. Plus, it can cost as little as $10.
It doesn’t matter what your hair looks like. Beauty comes from within. If you walk around with a shitty attitude, it will shine through. If you approach this event as time for a makeover, you’ll do fine. You’ll probably get comments about how great the new style is and how brave you are for trying something new.
If you obsess about your misfortune, not only will you act and sound like a whinger, which repels people, but you will have missed an opportunity to improve yourself. Life often throws things at you for this specific purpose. So grab it with both hands and make it work for you.
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Going through a major life change? You’ll want to read this. Rachael Robertson enjoyed a successful career in PR, before seeing a newspaper ad requiring an expedition leader to the Antarctica. She took a leap of faith and applied. After a gruelling selection process, Rachael was appointed. What ensued was an incredible journey that she has documented in her book Leading on the Edge.
In the book Rachael describes her experience in leading a team of 18 strangers into the wilderness of Antarctica for an entire year through nine months of darkness.
Every single one of us faces life-changing decision points throughout our lifetimes. At these times, it can be exhausting thinking about all the permutations and how the decision might play out. And we can drive ourselves silly with worry and concern. My strongest advice is very simple. Step away from the emotion and focus on the practicalities, it will help clarify your thoughts.
When faced with the decision to lead an expedition, and live and work in Antarctica for a year I followed these five steps. These enabled me to separate fact from fiction and focus on “why not?” rather than the “what if?”
1. Very few decisions in life are irreversible – so make some!
I wasn’t looking for a new job when I saw the advertisement for an Expedition Leader to Antarctica. I had a job I loved yet the ad caught my eye. Always look out for opportunities. Fortune favours the brave so be prepared to get out and take a chance. If you make the jump and you realise it was a mistake then make another decision. Very few decisions are irreversible.
2. Adventure is not without risk
Not every opportunity is worth taking and some are so good that we would be mad not to pursue them. But the hardest decisions are those where the risk and reward are both high and finely balanced. Ask yourself “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” to you, your relationships, your finances and then ask, “Could I live with that?”
3. Protect the tribe – so the individual thrives
The Emperor penguins in Antarctica have a unique survival technique. In summer they compete, but in winter they collaborate and share the challenges of this extreme environment. They protect the tribe so that each individual can thrive.
When you make a major life change, protect your tribe: your family, friends and community. They will keep you resilient should things get rocky. Keep your relationships strong and protect your tribe.
4. Seek out wise counsel
Speak to other people who have made a similar decision. Learn from their experiences. Before I left for Antarctica I spoke to Diana Patterson (the first woman station leader) and she got me thinking about things that hadn’t occurred to me yet. Use the knowledge and experience of others to anticipate the challenge ahead.
5. Break it down
Sometimes a decision can seem overwhelming. Moving to Antarctica for a year sure felt like that. So I broke it down into actions and decisions I needed to take – in the next day/week/month. Making lists of actions to be taken including practical steps (writing a will, storing furniture) and personal needs (spending time with family & friends, buying new cold weather clothes) made the decision less enormous. I then celebrated those moments where I achieved the small things. Those moments created momentum and kept me inspired.
Everyone has their Antarctic decisions – a cross road where action must be taken before an opportunity is missed. Back yourself and remember it’s always better to regret what you did, than regret what you didn’t do.
Leading on the Edge by Rachael Robertson, published by Wiley, RRP $29.95. Visit www.rachaelrobertson.com.au.