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Today I had a haircut with a Master stylist.  If you’re not sure what that is, I can tell you that the tip alone cost more than my last haircut, so surely I was purchasing…..something.

I felt very much welcome in spite of my jeans and t-shirt.  Not overwhelmed, but welcome.

My stylist was Jamie; she was kind but I still felt a little nervous.  How do you tell someone what you want to look like?  How does one separate out an attractive hair style from the model wearing it?  Jamie talked about face shape and hair type (genetics), lifestyle (practical considerations), and personal preferences (my level of commitment).  She knew what I wanted and helped me to understand possible from unrealistic; she’s a hairstylist, not a plastic surgeon.

She led the direction of the conversation; apparently I wasn’t the first person to sit in a chair without a clue.  Indeed, she was so skilled and nonjudgemental that I found myself admitting more than I had intended about my less than orthodox hair care techniques and products.  Whatever she may have thought about what I said, she did not let on.  Her acceptance allowed me to admit additional information – and surely she synthetized this information to select a style and routine that fit my needs and personal quirks.  By understanding the past, she was able to create a realistic plan for the future.  Maybe it wasn’t her first choice, but she recognized my limitations and interests.

Without feeling like I was being interviewed, I gave her the relevant information she needed before she even picked up a pair of scissors.  As the professional, she took that information and gave me a realistic goal.

Jamie passion for her work was evident, and I found myself getting an education.  Not just about my own hair, but about hair in general.  Her passion made me reconsider some of my own thoughts and beliefs; in a subtle way she changed me and made me more open to new ideas.  Her calm, intelligent, and well thought out explanations brought out my curiousity and willingness to learn.  Passion is contagious and her excitement for her field made me want to learn more – to understand where her passion came from.

Passion creates power which in turn makes influence.  When one is passionate about their topic – any topic – they can draw others in by virtue of their infectious enthusiasm. Those with passions incite others to learn – to grow and change.

Whether talking about dog training, child rearing or cutting hair, the human condition is the same.  Our best chances for influencing others is subtle.  Quiet.  Based in our passions and shared in manageable doses when the listener appears receptive.  Judgement and lecture are not effective; they simply close down communication.  Acceptance and listening- that creates change.  Maybe slowly and a small amount at a time, but change nonetheless.

I look forward to going back; I thought Jamie was nice.  I have some questions this time; harder questions.  I might be ready to tell her that my favorite conditioner belongs to…my dogs.  Whether she agrees with my choice or not, I bet she’ll listen and give a well reasoned and thoughtful opinion.

The door to communication is open.

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

23 responses »

  1. Where is the photo of the hair cut ??

  2. So when do we get to see the haircut?

  3. My haircut? Um. Ok; let’s see what i can do about coming up with a photo. I should have known….

  4. I’ve thought about hair cuts and styles being similar to dog training in some ways. I remember my (non master) stylist saying something about how the style is no good if I can’t manage it myself and end up putting my hair in a ponytail all the time. Made me think about dog training plans.

  5. Uh, yeah….. Inquiring minds want to see this hair cut!! Sounds great!

  6. Ya! Let’s see the new doo !

    Carolyn Fossey

  7. My wife’s favorite hair conditioner belongs to her horses. 😉

  8. This is awesome! I love when creative writers can take the seemingly mundane and deconstruct it to reveal a much deeper meaning and an interesting connection! Well done! This especially struck home because I possess crazy hair which requires the attention of a ‘Master Stylist’ to look half decent. I too am the one in jeans feeling like I don’t quite fit the environment. My ‘Jamie’ is ‘Amy’ and she is wonderful and talented… and she has 2 dogs and that makes it all worthwhile!

  9. Karen Mountain

    While I am interested in the handy work of a master stylist and do want to see your picture, I am more interested in what you had to say about passion. I am interested in how I can better incite my dogs “to learn – to grow and change” and how I can sustain our mutual passion over time. Now that you will hopefully have more time to write due to your carefree hair style I hope you will muse more about this.

    • I was actually referring to inciting change in humans but….I’m relatively passionate about inciting change it dogs too, so will see about that topic. As far as time, I’m about to start teaching a few classes and think time is about to get relatively scarce!

  10. If that photo is the haircut you got robbed! LOL!

  11. When I think back this is the way I was able to embrace change. My first and second dogs had very basic learning with positive methods (typical puppy luring classs). My second dog turned into a horrible teenage type and I shifted to harsher methods that got results quick. I pretty much bought into those methods at the time (and defended them) but it still opened my interest in training and working with my dog. I started reading books by Patricia McConnell, Suzanne Clothier etc and their passion for fair treatment and relationship inspired me to look farther and explore alternate methods. I started rally obedience classes with a KPA trainer and my relationship with that second dog changed forever. I am lucky that he is a hard headed labrador that forgave easily and had no lasting effects and am so grateful that I had that knowledge when my happy bouncy vizsla joined our lives. Harsh methods would totally freak her out and I am loving training with joy.

  12. Looking good!!!!

  13. WOW! Thanks for the reminder to listen more and judge less and btw…cute hair cut!

  14. I completely agree with you about the charisma of passion. You can do a job without passion, but it’s so much less rewarding if that one ingredient is missing.

    I’m beginning to train my third dog. Dog #1 was wonderful, and I made countless novice errors. Dog #2 was so easy to train, though I really struggled to generate enthusiasm with her. When I was looking for Dog #3, that was a key attribute for the prospective puppies. I wanted the parents who had enthusiasm that made them a joy to work with. Every e-mail I wrote included that word, I wanted a puppy that would be passionate about life. 🙂

    I guess getting back to your point, my first dog was supposed to be a pet only. But he was such a tremendously enthusiastic dog for anything and everything I tried. His passion colored everything he did with the vibrant paint of joy. And as you mentioned, his passion did transform my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be growing and learning from dog number three has all of the passion I’d hoped for.

  15. Denise, that looks like a first class haircut and well worth the $$$. If hair is a PITA, it ruins your day! Good job. I like the idea of listening more and judging less. Learning to listen to your doggie is harder than training for utility! But at some point one figures it out and moves on! As you know, after years of futility we finally did figure this out! Love the do! Looks great on you.

  16. Denise, I love that you continue to grow and change not only on a personal level, but professional as well. I congratulate you for doing so because so many professional trainers are stuck in their ‘program’ and are limited because of it.

    I consider my stylist to be part of my creative team and I have found that it is to my benefit not to put limits or put boundaries on them. There is a fine line between creative direction and limitations.

  17. Denise, how do you find a Master hair styler?

  18. The hair style is beautiful – somehow it is more terv-like than before! And it looks lovely when you wear it partly back like you did in the next blog video ( the stay video). jacky


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