As a provider in the barber and beauty industry we are granted a level of trust and access. We are often granted that access because of who we advertise ourselves to be, not necessarily who we are and in the very beginnings not because of what we have done.
The simple act of someone coming and sitting in our chair is a gift. Let that sink in. There is no shortage of chairs with competent providers in any given area at any given time. Whether by chance or design, they chose you. You have been granted trust, trust with the moment, trust with moments to follow. You have been given this gift of trust.
Since you have been given this gift, what are you going to do with it? How much access is offered? You can look at the person as just a head to be shorn, quiffed or quaffed, or you can take an approach that addresses the whole person. I know of black barber in New York who uses his access to speak to health issues in the African American male community by taking blood pressure measurements of his clients and handing out health literature. What sort, if any, value do you want to grant the community of trust that surrounds you and what you do?
Of course the first commitment of the provider is to the superficial physical aspect of our craft. The expectation, the trust grant, assumes that you will make your guest look amazing to the very best of your ability. It is up to you too take the care and build the necessary skills to do so. You get to decide if good enough is good enough, or if it is not. How you attend to the physical nature of your craft is the first and most immediate prerequisite determining future access.
The second opportunity has to do with the mental. How pleasant is the experience? Is it time well spent; something to be looked forward to or a chore to be endured to get the desired result? How we communicate, how we handle the implements that touch the head and tug at the hair, all make up the mental part of the experience. I have seen providers give a substandard service, but because of the experience those inadequacies might be overlooked.
Since we are granted access to the physical and the mental, why wouldn’t we also address the spiritual as well. When the other two accesses are tended well we have the opportunity for even deeper, more dearly personal access to the spirit. We can speak peace, encouragement and love to the raw, beaten and weary sore spirit if we attend to the humanity, attend to the almost hidden cues that indicate an opening, a softening, a private entrance to speak to the deepest parts of the person. While I am a person of passionate Christian conviction I am not necessarily talking about religion. I am talking about those things that trend to draw us and then closer to the peace that we all are hungry for. (To be continued)