WHY I COMPETE
Hope everyone is getting use to this cold November. My dad being a Geordie always said I was a “Southern Softie” and after 3 and a half years in Newcastle I completely understand what he means now as I’m still seeing men walking around in shorts and t-shirt….. F*** THAT - It’s freeeezzzing!!!!
Anyway, it’s that time again when I feel like writing. I still want to do these more often but I need to be in the right mood to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. With this blog I wanted to share with you the reason why I enter competitions within the hairdressing and barbering world, and even the reason why I blog and post images on Instagram because you will see its all for the same reason.
I’ve been very blessed so far with my hairdressing career, managing to be selected for numerous awards and accolades. I have been lucky enough to win some but l have definitely lost more then I have won meaning my conversion rate is actually not great, but does that matter??? Not to me. The more loss I had the more I thrive on losing. Here is why……
In 2015 I got very lucky and won my first 2 competitions in a row not experiencing a lose. Then along came my 3rd opportunity to win a national final and I had an absolute disaster. I didn’t just lose, lets just say I completely F***ed it haha….. I knew I hadn’t won and I thought I would of been a whole lot more disappointment with myself, but after a so called debrief with my right hand men at the time I quickly realised that this was an opening of another opportunity, an opportunity to simply use this loss to help me grow. When I won the first 2 competitions I never even considered asking for feedback from the judges. I won, I came first so why ask the judges, they’ve picked yours as a winner, right? How wrong was I with that thought process.
So I find myself standing next to the stage looking around trying to find my first Judge to approach. I was very nervous because these guys were highly regarded professionals in the industry and to add to that fact, I had just completely f***ed up. Deep down I wanted to just hibernate and bury my head. I knew this was going to be hard hearing but I did it anyway.
I clocked my first judge, slowly walked over and went to speak with him. He was in mid conversation, so I stood patiently waiting for him to become free. Now we all have been in a position like this before I’m sure, not knowing whether to leave and come back or to stand firm and try not to look around the room as if you were invisible. The awkward wait was over and I shook his hand and simply asked the dreaded question “would you kindly give me some feedback where I can improve”? His reply ripped me apart, albeit with respect and dignity but there was certainly no bullshit or holding back. I felt like I had just taken a right hook… and this was suppose to be the "nice judge”. I walked away a little shocked just trying to absorb and take everything in. I gave it about 30 minutes before approaching my second judge and even that wasn’t long enough to rebuild the confidence. I plucked up the courage and walked over to judge number 2, this time I asked the same question but with my soft nervous mumble shining through. Lets just say Judge 2, 3 oh and 4 opened me up like a can of worms. I felt hammered, deflated and tried to take as much of it in as possible without taking it personal. That was the difficult part, however after a few hours the hard hearing became less destructive and far more helpful. It started to make sense and I began to understand what they meant. Once I could start to understand the constructive criticism then I could see how to improve myself. They had given me great direction.
This day I will never forget because some of the things I learnt from this experience were incredible, not just on hairdressing but mindset as well. This was the exact moment I became addicted to learning, not only learning but the feeling of becoming stronger by absorbing other peoples knowledge. Right there and then I realised that competitions for me was not about winning, far from it in fact.
I saw it as being given a clear platform to push myself and learn in intense situations. Don’t get me wrong its an added bonus when we win of course but we can win and win bigger when we lose.
Competitions for me are about being given a platform for 2 reasons:
1 - To raise your profile (this can be done WITHOUT winning)
2 - To learn and grow as an individual and hairdresser/barber (we must be willing to accept change)
Competitions have certainly helped me massively in my career. Ive always had to work hard on my mindset, the hardest thing in life is to look in the mirror and accept those flaws and mistakes, and its even harder to put those changes into place. Those mistakes and losses however I truly believe is the only way I have really grown. This isn’t just in competitions but it is my NUMBER 1 rule in life. There is only ONE person I compete with and that is simple…. That is myself.
I have a quote printed and it say's “we never lose, we either win or learn” and this is so true.
I soon started to realise that I could use these “finalist accolades” and watch my story develop over the years, I didn’t care about winning after this. I didn’t want to do it to show off or for any other reason. I simply wanted to be able to create my own scrap book that I could look back on and learn to push my own boundaries by trying to better myself day after day, year after year. It’s the same reason why I blog or post on forms of social media (which I will be blogging about at some point) because its like recording my journey whether it be through images or writing. I can look back and see exactly how far I have come and how much I have grown. I battle with me, myself and I whilst recording my own story, but I need not to compete with any one else.
Even if your a finalist you can still be proud of getting there and use it on other platforms to build your profile, but don’t forget that those platforms are there to benefit us and us only, not for likes or gratitude. Look at the winner of “The X factor” for example, the runners up always release singles and albums because they still have the exposure that they capitalise on.
So make it count, don’t do it for shiny silverware or a pretty plaque, just go and win for yourself.
Mr Sam Wall