When I was in 4th grade, I met a kid named Will who ultimately became by best friend and would impact my life forever. He was always unique and stood out from everyone because of the depth of his character. How did I know this in the 4th grade? Let me explain. Will liked what he liked no matter how you reacted to it. He was willing to engage in whatever you were interested in and always made you feel as if you were the center of the room. This charisma of his has garnered respect and has created lasting relationships. When you meet him, you become family, and he is, for me, the greatest definition and example of friendship. We have been friends for over 30 years, and so much of what I have learned in business has come from Will. One of the most impactful things Will has taught me is the art of having meaningful conversation with everyone you come in contact with. Here are five pointers that you can start using immediately.
1. Be transparent
Will never “faked the funk.” He was never trying to be someone or something that he wasn’t. And most of all he never tried to hide anything. A lot of us hairdressers, especially early on, try to make sure that our guests see us in a certain light. I believe that transparency is so great because it connects your guest with your story and they become engaged in seeing the next chapter.
2. Be respectful
I might sound like your mom in this one, but hear me out. Will was always respectful of everyone’s journey. I think he learned that from his parents. They were the most loving, open and non-judgmental people I have ever met. The Simmons household was the first true melting pot that I’d ever experienced. From black to white, Asian to Hispanic, Christian to Buddhist, and gay to straight, everyone was welcomed and their journey respected. Take the time to respect the journey of your guests and truly acknowledge who they are.
3. Be unique
Even though Will had many friends, his relationship with each one was truly unique. Make sure that each and every guest feels that unique bond. I believe that Amber Borsch, Director of KCS CARLSBAD, has mastered this. She invests in each and every guest in a unique way that has caused the business to grow uncontrollably.
4. Be Enlightening
Will always lifts me up! He believes in me sometimes more than I believe in myself. He always gives me an enlightened perspective. At the core of what we do is the ability to make someone feel lifted up. Hair may be the avenue but we as hairdressers have a responsibility to breathe life into all that we encounter. To teach enlightenment we must first be enlightened. This fourth step comes with homework. We must read, watch and listen to things that lift us up if we are going to pour this out into our guests, otherwise we will not be able to bless others.
5. Be Yourself
This is the best lesson that Will and my friendship has ever taught me. No matter how much I accomplish or fail, when we are together his only expectation of me is to be Kelly. This is such a freeing aspect of life. In your conversations and all interactions simply be yourself and I promise you that you will never have a challenge building your business.
Now take transparency, respect, uniqueness and enlightenment and the acronym becomes simple: Be T.R.U.E.
These are just a few lessons that I have learned from my best friend Will and there are many more that have shaped my life. These five points can help you create amazing conversations and even lasting friendships. Through true relationships, people will buy into YOU, and building a business will be simple. Remember though not to get too caught up in systems because these lessons were never the focus—the magic is always in the people!
Thank you, Will.