Episode four transcript

[00:03] ELLEN:  Our lives are defined by key moments, sometimes expected, sometimes unexpected. This podcast explores the stories of extraordinary moments in our everyday lives -- the joys and celebrations as well as the challenges and surprises. These stories provide opportunities to share ideas and takeaways to learn from, to witness moments where love becomes a living, breathing action that showcases strength, resilience, beauty and humanity.

[00:00] ELLEN:  I am your host, Ellen Adair, and welcome to

Love Takes Action, brought to you by New York Life, helping people act on their love and successfully navigate life’s biggest choices since 1845.

[00:50] ELLEN:  On today’s episode, we’re at looking the moment someone turns a deeply held passion into a profession.  And more specifically, how that’s done while developing and fostering love within your community.

[01:04] CHARLTEN:  …You come in with no confidence and with a pair of clippers, you get the change a guy's life … 

…if they trust me with their hair, they’re going to trust me with what’s going on in their heart…

…borrow my confidence in you - until you’re able to use your confidence in yourself.

[01:18] ELLEN: And we’ll be speaking with a professional Life Coach … who is working with people in the midst of their most significant and remarkable transitions – those looking to improve their relationships, careers and day-to-day lives.

[01:32] ALLISON: Don’t go after a thing, go after a crossover between two things... 

… it's not just about the problems it's also having someone to celebrate the wins with you.

[01:43] ELLEN: Let’s begin with Charlten Henderson, a Licensed Therapist - and Master Barber - who owns a barbershop in Springfield, Missouri. A place where clients come to get a trim and have a meaningful chat.

Charlten, welcome, and thank you for joining us.  It seems like such a unique combination; did you always know you wanted to be a Therapist and a Barber?

Alt:

To begin, did you always know you wanted to be a Therapist and Barber?

[02:08] : CHARLTEN:  You know, not really. I took a lot of interest inventory tests and they were mainly around hospitality. A little bit of counseling, but that wasn't the main focus. 

I was cutting hair in high school, because I have several uncles that are master barbers as well. And you know, it's one of those things where every Saturday morning he’s in the kitchen cutting all of my friends, my dad's hair. We have the blues and everything playing in the background. 

So, just that sense of community, you know, that openness, and love, and atmosphere kind of took a drawing to me. 

So, I picked up my first pair of clippers in high school.     

[02:42] ELLEN:  So, the role of a barbershop is about so more than just cutting hair…

[02:47] CHARLTEN: Absolutely. Growing up I always knew the barber shop, or a pillar  to our community as a whole. And from the conversations, to just having you coming in and you thinking I got a job interview today, so I'm looking forward to this haircut. 

You come in with no confidence and with a pair of clippers, you get the change a guy's life, or a lady's life in about 40 minutes. And when they turn around and see that person in the mirror is like, “Wow, I didn't know you could transform me like this.” 

But then you also have people who are at the barbershop just for counsel. 

They may not openly admit, “Hey, I'm here just to talk,” but just that sense of family, you know, I'm going to hang out at the barbershop today. I know a few guys are going to be there.

Whatever you were looking for, you can pretty much find that at the barbershop.

[03:30] ELLEN:  How about you as a young guy? Do you have that distinct memory of: ‘Hey, it’s Saturday. I’m going to have this experience.’

Do you remember having that feeling as a young guy? Going to the barbershop, knowing it was going to be a fun experience?

[03:39] CHARLTEN:  When you in a chair, that's your moment to shine, you know? You have a chance to build your confidence. 

You get to kind of glorify and look at the shop from a different perspective. Because you're not necessarily on the hot seat, but you're the spotlight. 

So everyone is checking out your cut. You get to engage in the conversation. You kind of get to steer the conversation the way that you wanted to go. 

So, there’s a lot, you know, in that moment that you can take in.

[04:03] ELLEN: You said you picked up your first pair of clippers in high school, how’d your first haircut go?  And did you think then this might be something you'd end up doing?

[04:10] CHARLTEN: My first haircut you couldn't tell me anything? I just knew I knocked it out of the park. 

Looking at my skill set now, it was…(laugh) I don't even think I hit the ball, you know. But my friends, they kept coming back. 

So, for me, I just kind of rode the confidence of my uncle early on, you know? I just kind of took his, his path early.

But to answer your question, barbering wasn't thought of as a career at that time. So, I knew I had to have an education beyond something as a trade at that time. 

And as much as I love barbering, I didn't have the confidence at that time to believe that I could make a living off my passion

[04:47] ELLEN: Did you uncles teach you or did you just learn by watching?

[04:54] CHARLTEN:  My uncle, he took me under his wings early on, and when my dad was at work, he took on, you know, father role – 

 

So the importance of dressing the part:  Clothes from the cleaners, very starched down, very pristine and clean and the importance of just well-being - taking care of yourself. Appearances.

[05:13] ELLEN:  You mentioned you knew you had to have an education. What did you study in college?

[05:20] CHARLTEN:  When I graduated from undergrad, I had my degree in sociology and I did apply to some grad schools. But I never thought that reality was going to come because at that time, I had experienced a few losses. 

 

I got in at the University of Arkansas, but also had an interview at Missouri State, the very next day, and I took a deep breath and I was like, you know, “Let's just ride up to Springfield, Missouri. Let's just check it out.” 

 

And the next day, I interviewed with them, got accepted and said, “I think I'm going to switch it up a bit.” And on that switch of a dime, I made the decision to go to grad school in Springfield. 

 

I have no family here, you know, at that time. Uh, I think I had about 300 bucks in my pocket. 

 

I had already paid my first month's rent at the house, but I was eating pizza and (laughs) just kind of sack lunches and things like that for the first week. 

 

But it was the best decision I made - going into mental health counseling and to see where I am today. I'm absolutely excited that I made that decision.

[06:15] ELLEN: You alluded to your losses - you shared with me that you lost your parents at a young age. Do you think that motivated you or held you back?

[06:26] CHARLTEN:  My dad was a police officer for 30 years. He was the breadwinner of the family and I knew that without my dad, I you know, I didn't have a lifeline. 

 

My, ah, mom, we had been evicted right after my dad passed. My mom moved in with my sister. 

 

So, now the family is separated and that was kind of a reality check for me, you know? You're 18 now and instead of leaving home, you're kind of pushed out of the nest in a way. I was like, “Man, this, this is real.”

 

So, from that moment, I think I just became very eager, to want more, to do more, to be more. So, always look for the opportunity in everything that I was doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[07:05] ELLEN: So, grad school led to your counseling degree but then you circled back to cutting hair…

[07:11] CHARLTEN:  Yeah, yeah, and once I finished my degree, I went and got my barber license. 

 

And I wrote down years ago that I wanted to integrate counseling and barbering, so I had to go back to finish my PLPC, so, Provisional Licensed Professional Counselor. 

 

So, my license will be fulfilled in December. 

 

So, I'm currently practicing as a PLPC right now where I see clients as well. So, school counseling during the day, barbering in the latter part of the week and private practice.

 

[07:41] ELLEN:  You said you wrote it down, how old were you and where did you write it down?  Was a part of an assignment or was it just something you journaled?

You mentioned you wrote this plan down years ago

 

Alt:  You said you wrote it down, where? Where'd you write it down?

 

[07:48] CHARLTEN:  It was just a manifestation - you know, in college, I had a sticky notes all over my door. 

 

And I projected my graduation date, my salary, my goals, and every morning before I left the door, I would read those things. 

 

So, that's something I still practice today. When I was ready to take my PLPC test, I wrote it down on index cards with the exact date that I will pass. 

 

And whatever my goals are, they ride around with me in my wallet, right now. So, I know that they're close and dear to me every day. 

 

So, I pull those five index cards out. I read them and then I know that they're in my subconscious and they're kind of willing my way towards those goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

[08:26] ELLEN: Goal-setting is a bedrock of your life – do you encourage others to set goals as well?

 

 [08:34] CHARLTEN: Absolutely. I think before setting goals is to be at a state of just clarity in the mind where you're just kind of free of things that are interrupting or disturbing you. 

 

Just to be, for a bit, to see what it is that you truly want. 

 

And once you recognize that, I think that's when you're kind of writing, almost brainstorming, you know? 

 

Write down about 10 things and look at that list of 10 things and then write your top five, 

 

And of that top five, you know, cross out the things that are not top three, and then I go from there.

[9:05] ELLEN:  You should absolutely write a book about this… Was it easy finding a job after school?

[09:15] CHARLTEN:  Once I graduated grad school, I applied to maybe six or seven jobs in the area. 

 

And, I'm married at this time. So, I've met my wife in grad school and we're together and it was probably one of the one of the lowest points. You know, I was turned down from five school counseling jobs. And I was like, I may have to move back to Arkansas at this point. 

 

And I applied for one more job and I was like, this is all or nothing and once I got that job, we could kind of relax for a bit. You know, we were no longer having to really be doubting on our meal prep, and we had a little bit of freedom to explore and do things that we wanted. 

 

So, after a year of being at the job, that's when I applied for barber school. And once I completed my barber school, I did some shadowing at a shop and they hired me to work there. So, now I'm a barber going on two years. And at that shop, they decided that they're going to split ways, so I had a few decisions to make. 

 

I joined another guy for a month. And then another shop came open and my wife and I had a sit down - and I was like: ‘The funds are there. We've been investing a little bit. I think we can do it.

 

And my wife has always been my biggest support you know, in terms of just going for it. 

 

So, I went for it and you know, opened my own shop. And now I have a nail tech, have an aesthetician and I have one barber and one cosmetologist.

 

[10:30] ELLEN:  How’d you grow your business so fast?

[10:46] CHARLTEN:  Being a new barber in the barbershop, especially in a black barbershops, if you’re that first chair it’s an unspoken rule that if that chair is open, you probably shouldn’t go to that guy. You know, he’s, he’s probably gonna mess you up.

 

[10:56] ELLEN: (laugh under)

 

[10:58] CHARLTEN:  For six months, I did not have clients you know, it took them seeing a few haircuts on people that I will call my, my testers, you know, and it’s like, “Oh he can cut a bit.” 

 

And then from there it was word of mouth. So, I started to get booked and after that, I was like, “Man, I can increase my prices now, because I don't have room to accommodate everybody.” 

 

I hashtag everything that I do on Instagram. 

 

Also, if I have a client that satisfied with the haircut, they’ll put it on their page and you know, tag me. So, I just repost those things and now it goes out to their friends. It goes out to my friends and then if your hashtag-ing Missouri, people in Missouri are like, “Oh!” You know, you may not be thinking of a haircut, but you'll follow that page just for future references. 

 

So, you know, it's a great tool to utilize. 

 

And it's been the same as you know, for private practice. Once I was up on the website you know, people are utilizing that website and kind of comparing counselors and like, “Oh, I like what is written in his description. He fits my style. So, you know, that's who I want to work with .”

 

 

[11:54] ELLEN: What do you look for in the people you want to work with?

 

[11:57] CHARLTEN:  You know, uh just really great personality. Someone who's likable and are gonna treat everyone with respect and not as ‘$’. 

 

Because when it's flipped, and you're constantly counting the heads - you know your money for the day, then some of that integrity goes out the window.

  

[12:13] ELLEN: When did you first implement your idea of combining the barbering and the counseling?

[12:23] CHARLTEN:  This started in grad school, you know, I was writing about the importance of getting a haircut, and talking to my professor about it.

And, you know, she and I are very close friends to this day. 

 

Last year I was writing, just writing an article about - Why counseling? Why barbering? I shared that with her. I was like, I really wish I could integrate the two. 

 

Specifically for men - counseling is something, is typically taboo. “I'm too strong. I don't want to seek out someone helping me in that regard. I don't want to see a shrink.” 

 

So, I was like, with barbering, you know, it took me a while to build my clientele because they didn't trust me. But once they started to trust me, everything just kind of flowed. So, I was like, if they trust me with their hair, they're going to trust me with what's going on in their heart. 

 

So, how do I maximize that? And I may not be able to get them at my practice, but I am still a counselor at heart. So, there are some things I can implement while you're in that barber chair to help you. And it's not just merely, oh, I'm giving you advice. 

 

You know, sometimes it's reflecting or active listening as you're cutting the hair. Sometimes it’s being in a non-judgmental space and seeing them for who they are or not whatever label has been placed upon them, or whatever stigma society says this person fits.

[13:34] ELLEN:  And all this happens in about half-an-hour?

[13:43] CHARLTEN:  Uh, no, you know, um, I charge a little bit more so my services are typically 45 minutes to an hour. 

 

Specifically, with you know, black hair, it takes a little bit longer to cut because you're not going in one direction, you know, you have with the grain, against the grain, across the grain. 

 

You're looking at all these hair growth patterns. So, while you’re cutting their hair, you're trying to figure those things out to make sure the cut flows and you know, there are no dark spots and things that are sticking out for the client.

[14:12] ELLEN: Why don’t you think more people seek mental health treatment?

[14:18] CHARLTEN: And part of that is you know, there's a stigma about you know, mental health, about seeking support like this. Especially within our community. 

 

You know, there has been, you know, historical data of showing just the, the treatment of people who seek out mental health support that looks like me.

 

So, I understand the distrust, that I'm not going to see anyone that's in your profession, you know, they did me wrong before. 

 

It goes all the way up to doctors. So, I think that's why we deal with a lot of things that are omitted in our community because of that distrust.

 

[14:48] ELLEN: How hard is it to have meaningful conversations with clients while in the barbershop?

[15:03] CHARLTEN:  You know, I've started out being very subtle, especially if the space is filled with other patrons in the shop - but if it's just a customer, I’m more open about some of those things. And, here's what I'm noticing. 

 

And a majority of my clients do know that I'm a counselor as well so they don't mind talking to me about some things that are on their hearts, they've been struggling with, and that just kind of comes with the profession.

 

[15:27] ELLEN: Looking back, who were some of the people whose actions were expressions of love?

 

 

 

 

[15:37] CHARLTEN:  When I attended Missouri State’s interview process, it was vastly different than any process I had encountered before. So, instead of a panel, it was three teachers in the room, and you're filled with other candidates. 

 

So now I was like, “Wow, you know, I've never had to compete for a spot in a program before.” 

 

So, when they had that interview process, I immediately connected with the professors and I was able to not only share part of my story, but not use it as a, ‘feel sorry for me.’ 

 

I was like, here is my story and I'm taking this path because of XYZ. 

 

And once I connected with that professor and just seeing her practicing style, it sold me right away. Because now that I talked to her today is something that we always say when I'm scared to do something, I know there are people that are supporting me. And I just borrow their confidence in me because I know sometimes they're seeing something that I'm not seeing.

[16:28] ELLEN:  Confidence is big in mental health, isn't it?

[16:31] CHARLTEN:  The confidence is where all the healing starts. You know, without that belief and that confidence in yourself - we're probably stuck for a while just in the mud. 

So, sometimes we have to build that up before we can kind of launch off our launching pad.

[16:44] ELLEN: You're enjoying this, aren't you?

But it seems like you’ve definitely launched. You’re really enjoying your business, now, aren’t you?

 

[16:46] CHARLTEN:  I am, you know, it's ah, absolute blast to do it. And you know, one of the things I tell all of my new barbers, “Do not worry about the money.”  

 

And since I've been practicing barbering, and counseling, you know, I never look at the money until the end of the day. When it becomes more about the money than the client then you lose that sense of integrity.

 

I hardly ever even think about the clippers I'm using because I'm in such a process and such zone with them that, you know, it's just a part of what I do. So yes, yes, I'm having a blast with it,

 

 

[17:14] ELLEN: What advice would you give someone who is worried about the money?

[17:20] CHARLTEN:  Before you go in to understand if you're going to be an entrepreneur, there’s, there's risk. 

 

So, I definitely ask them to estimate how much they're willing to take, you know, early on, and whatever that amount that you adhere to, stick to that. You know, and trust what you're doing. 

 

Especially in a field that can fluctuate, you know, it's not guaranteed income everyday.

[17:42] ELLEN:  You write everything down. So, what's the one year plan the five-year plan and the 50-year plan?

[17:49] CHARLTEN:  (Laugh in…)

So, the one-year plan it was written down a year ago to acquire a shop. The shop was actually written down for year five, but I was like it came in year one of Coronavirus. 

 

So, I wanted to grow the private practice and step away from school counseling in year five as well. Well, I actually resigned from school counseling last week.

 

So, this will be my last year as a school counselor. And I struggled with that decision because I was like I need a secure income. I need to build that. 

 

So, I went out an interview for a company and they offered me um, 15k more than what I currently make as a school counselor. But in regards to that, I would have to lose my private practice - you're not allowed to practice because now you’re a conflict of interest. 

 

So, my wife and I sat down and really discussed the importance of our future and how do we get there? 

 

So, I was like, here's the amount of risk I'm willing to take. Here's what we have put up. We shouldn't have to dig into this. Here's our retirement. I said in a year's time, I think we can do it. 

 

And you know, I utilize her belief in me that we can do it. Having a newborn now and it's really something that I think I can do. 

 

So again, I resigned and I reached out to the job to let them know that I'm going to turn down this offer as of right now. 

 

It just doesn't fit with my current goals and you know what, I have aligned. So, I told my wife I want to retire her in 10 years. So I try to invest aggressively for us because that's a, that's a big goal that I want, you know, for both of us.

 

[19:18] ELLEN:  What about the 50-year plan? Since year one and five all happened in a couple weeks. You guys retiring at 35 or what?

 

[19:25] CHARLTEN:  (Laugh in…) Let’s hope so yeah…

 

I would love to you know, or to be as close as possible. I want us to finally be debt free, but you know, some of that debt right now is good debt, because it's invested in you know, it's working for us right now. 

 

But that, that 50-year mark is to really be able to enjoy family. 

 

As much as I love my dad, I wish we had more one on ones together. So, now being a dad myself, I want to see my little man grow up. I want to be at his games. 

 

And once he's done with high school that he decides to pursue college, let's do it. If you want to start your own business, let's do it. I want you to have those options on the table. And I want you to have a chance, you know? 

 

So, I want to build a little bit better than my people did. So, that when he's in this situation, he can do better than I did.  

 

Let’s not have those dreams go to the cemetery. Let's live those out. If you don't want to be an employee, you do not have to be an employee. 

 

Let some of those dreams and creative ideas flow through you.  And I think part of doing that is reducing as much limitation as possible. You know, I don't want him to feel like he's limited in his ability. And that's something I struggled with early on. I did not mention you know, struggling to read. Did not think I was capable of, you know, getting a college degree. Did not think I was capable of getting a master's degree. 

 

So, I want that to be, if  that's what I want. That's what I’m going to get.

 

[20:43] ELLEN:  Sometimes we struggle against time itself, don’t we? We’ve changed haven’t we. Things constantly change…

Hoping for the next generation to be better, or to have it better than us, is such a key human goal. But things are constantly changing, and have been changing so quickly in the last few years…

[20:51] CHARLTEN: Yeah, very much so. You know, I think there are parts of the barbershop that has lost some of that community aspect. 

 

There are a lot of shops that are appointment only, so you don't have a lot of people that are just kind of hanging around for communion and you know, fellowshipping. 

 

So, now what I do when I go into the shop, I want to create an atmosphere of just welcoming, loving, you know, homey to them. So, so now it's a more intimate setting. 

 

Where in the past, I have been a part of barbershops where there's still the banter going on.

 

But being a mental health advocate, I can see myself shifting that dynamic slightly, you know, just trying to be more aware of certain things. While I still think they are important to be a part of the shop, I also think, you know, being a mental health advocates in that space is really a good service to have, you know, in today's time.

[21:39] ELLEN:  What would life be like if everyone had access to mental health service?

[21:44] CHARLTEN:  You know, I truly think people would be able to wake up in the morning and be okay or even happy with what they see.  In regards to mental health, there are a lot of stigmas that have to be debunked. There are a lot of personality things that people are judged by. 

 

So, a lot of times we wake up in the morning, we're not happy with what we see and a lot of times we can easily project that feeling, that emotion onto our employees, our kids and our spouses whatever the situation may be. But I surely think having access to mental health kind of lightens that load. 

 

You know, you don't have to carry this weight around every day, all day, by yourself. And you know, I'll say this, I have clients that are coming off of that there are no bad things going on. It's almost like a checkup. 

 

Let’s celebrate some of the good things that are going on. So, I love that you can have that component in mental health as well. You don't just have to see someone when you feel like your world is upside down. You can have someone to celebrate those ways as well.

 

[22:41 ELLEN:  Speaking of targeting, and marketing yourself – you have a podcast too don’t you? What’s it about?

[22:58] CHARLTEN:  The idea behind our podcast you know, we named it “Superior Living.”

 

The name wasn't meant to be that you’re superior than anyone, but it's being superior to the person that you were yesterday. Even if that's 1%. So, we had the, the motto, “More than a lifestyle.” 

 

So, you know, my friends and I we're invested into the stock market. All of us, you know, we work out, you know? So, we hold each other accountable. 

 

“You up at 5am?” “I already there. You know, let’s get this workout in. Let's pay ourselves first.” 

 

And that's something that I have always preached in our circles. We cannot be our best if we're not paying ourselves first. You know, similar to when you get on a plane. What do they tell you? “You got to save yourself first before you can help anyone else.

 

And it’s the same with what we’re doing today. So, the goal is to get more people involved but be able to share as many gems as possible, just with our community, the world – and the people willing to listen.

 

 

[23:48] ELLEN:  Charlten, thank you for your love and care for your community. Such a wonderful example of love filling all aspects of your life…

(Sound design)

[2] ELLEN: Next please welcome, Allison Task, a professional Life Coach who is bringing new thinking and new activations to the lives of people seeking a transition. 

 

Allison, thanks for joining us. 

[24:??3:??] ALLISON: Thank you, Ellen.

[24:??] ELLEN: Allison, your work as a life coach differs quite a bit from Charlten’s work in the mental health field. Can you help us understand those differences?

[24:20] ALLISON: As a coach, I work with people who are at baseline and want to achieve more, go for more. I'll often work in partnership with a therapist, but I am not a therapist.

 

Meaning if there's really, you know, great tragedy, great trauma, that is not my specialty. Right? 

 

I'll help someone evolve at a certain point in their life and evolve a little bit faster and with more fun, but I won't go deeper into the trauma. 

 

He's trained to deal with that and that's a big gift, because especially in this community of people have trauma that they just want to shut down and not discuss. He's very skilled to be gentle, and allow people to explore some of that and leave them safely at the end of their appointment to go back into the world. 

 

That's not something I would do as a coach, but that's something that he is trained and equipped to do.

 

[25:06] ELLEN:  What resonated with you the most with Charlten’s story?

[25:12] ALLISON:  It's interesting to see his own transition, right? His own transition from him being in high school and loving the barber shop but be encouraged to go after something more not, quote, just a trade, and then eventually returning to that thing that he's known he's loved since high school.

 

You know, personally, I found myself just wanting to jump into his chair.

 

His way was really beautiful.  He talked about not giving advice, but hearing people out. Letting them talk. Letting them speak. 

 

Isn't that sort of what we do when we go to a barber, right, we just sort of blather on - and they're doing something really generous for us and he just seemed like an incredibly generous person wanting to support and guide others, even to his podcast. 

 

Can you be a little bit better today than you were yesterday? Well, what a, what a gentle assertion that is.

 

[25:57] ELLEN:   He’s built this amalgam of things, have you seen people like that who combining these interests to build something new, unique?

[26:10] ALLISON:  What he's doing, it's sort of a template that I've seen before - and actually that I encourage my clients to do. Which is don't go after a thing, but go after the crossover between two things. 

 

He has his cutting hair, his barbershop and then he has his therapy. Well, when you, when you blend those two, that's a very special thing that you're doing and that's something that really only he can do with his skill sets with his education with his interests.

 

So, whenever you can blend two passions of yours or two skills and interests, that's always the sweet spot to go after.

 

[26:41] ELLEN:  Why is that? 

[26:42] ALLISON:  There's a lot of people cutting hair. There's a lot of people doing therapy, but a therapist that cuts hair, a barber that could do therapy, that's far more rare, and he's cross training! He has passions in two areas of his life.

We’ve all experienced burnout, right? Well, today I'm going to be a barber. Today I'm going to be a therapist. If you can cross train, he’s more passionate about his work. He's more engaged in his work. It's more complex, more interesting. 

 

So, number one, it's more rare. Number two, he's bringing more to it right? And he's more engaged with every passing day.

[27:11] ELLEN:  He's serving a real need in his community, isn’t he? - when talked about people’s hesitancy to share…

[27:26] ALLISON: He talks specifically about the stigma in the black community to seek out mental health support and it's bigger than that. 

 

As, as we've seen in the pandemic and beyond, right? There is a lack of trust for health care practitioners in that community, especially mental health. And that’s, that's an earned lack of trust, right, that didn't come from nowhere. People haven't been treated right, by the health care community.

 

And so, for him, as a member of the community to help within the community and to help in a really soft-pedaled way.  He also said something really interesting. He doesn't have those 30-minute haircuts. He costs a little more and it's 45- minutes to an hour, in part because of the way the hair grows, right that's needed, and in part because of the service he wants to provide. 

 

So, he holds space to give more than just a haircut. But he doesn't say it's more than a haircut, but everyone kind of winks and nods and knows it's more than that.

[28:22] ELLEN: It’s the unspoken communication of love isn’t it?

[28:32] ALLISON:  It's not explicit, right? It's a pat on the back. It’s, it's a loving look, and for him, he's holding space. 

 

So, he's not going to cut someone off and say, “You know what, that happened to my brother?” He's just gonna say, ”Really?" And by holding that space for another person it invites them to talk more, to explore more or to look deeper within themselves, and now he's building connection, right? 

 

He's seeing his people once a month, there's regularity, there's consistency, and there's a relationship and it's not about therapy. 

 

Also, he was saying, it's not just about the problems. It's also having someone to celebrate the wins with you, right? To be that accountability partner. 

 

You gotta get a haircut. You gotta go see your guy. But he's also going to remember more than just your style. He's going to remember your life and the seasons of your life

 

 

[29:19] ELLEN:  And he’s adapted and made these exchanges appointment based. And in that sense the pandemic works so well within this model.

[29:32] ALLISON:  Yeah, it’s, it sounds like it. As more of those service providers couldn't have the waiting rooms, right, had to have the appointments.

 

It gives a little more privacy, but there's something beautiful about a barbershop that's really, really unique.

 

Because you're sitting there and he described it as, you're in the spotlight.

 

So, there's maybe six chairs in a shop. You're in your own spotlight. They're in their spotlight. So, you both have privacy and community at the same time. It's a very interesting balance to strike.

[30:00] ELLEN:  Is having fun part of the equation?

[30:06] ALLISON:  Absolutely! When I work with clients, we often complete something called a Whole Life Model, which talks about 10 areas of your life. 

 

Career, is one of 10 areas. Finances, is one. You know, friends is one, your primary love relationship is one. 

 

And FUN is actually one of the 10 most critical aspects of your life. 

 

So, the fact that he can wrap a career with fun and that he finds that his career is fun is incredibly powerful.

 

And the specific category is fun and creativity and I find that my clients overall, fun and creativity and spirituality are two of the categories that they're like, ‘Nea, doesn't matter.’ 

 

Totally matters.

Fun and creativity and holding space for it. He’s creative when he's cutting hair, right? Someone's gonna come in with some wild design or maybe want some very cool color or an athlete wanting some logo on his hair. Right? So, he, by the nature of his work, he's very creative. 

And when we're creative, we're more open to creative solutions. 

Like he's come back to owning the barbershop full on. And that happened not in five years, in one year. 

 

How did that happen? 

 

He set a goal and when it ,when it availed itself to him, he was like, ‘Go for it. Let's do it. Let's figure this out.’ 

 

But having that creativity in your life allows you to see more possibility, which is really vital for the work he does because he's helping the people in his chair find more possibilities in their lives.

 

 

[31:27] ELLEN: How do we incorporate some of these things into our daily lives? How do we leave the house with more confidence?

[31:40] ALLISON:  So, we all can take a look at our lives and say, “What's something I feel I'm missing?” 

 

We can all find a bespoke thing that we can do for ourselves; that's really vital that puts that pep in our step; that lets us start the day ahead. 

 

Maybe it's every day I'm gonna write a little love letter to a friend, or a relative who just deserves a hug. And maybe it's an email or a text. It can literally take 15 seconds. 

 

But look at yourself and see an area of your life that's a little depleted that you want to make a little more full, like those friendships; like that exercise; whatever it is for you and commit to, you know, between 15 seconds and 20 minutes a day of doing something toward that.

 

Maybe you decide – “Hey, this week:”

I'm going to Starbucks and I'm buying someone a coffee every day. I'm gonna look to the person next to me on line, get them a coffee. I'm gonna walk in get someone a coffee. 

 

I'm just gonna do that. That's just gonna be my thing.

 

I'm gonna pay toll for the guy behind me on the road, whatever it is. 

 

Buy some extra tickets, whatever. If you're taking the train or the bus or whatever. 

 

That's a fiscal thing. It's a small thing. You may never see this person again. It's just a delightful thing that you can do to add some positive community in the world.

[32:49] ELLEN:  Wow, I do think about that but rarely do it. Cool… Thank you to Allison & Charlten.  And thank you for joining us for this episode of Love Takes Action.

[33:00] ELLEN:  Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of

Love Takes Action. If you like what you hear, we invite you to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform–add your comments and share with your friends and family. It’s a chance to celebrate the voices of our inspiring guests and their wonderful stories. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram or visit our website at newyorklife.com

[33:20] Disclaimer:  Love Takes Action is brought to you by New York Life Insurance Company and is for general informational purposes only. References to any financial products or strategies are solely incidental and may not be construed as solicitation. The views and opinions expressed on this show are solely those of the host, guests and experts and do not necessarily represent the opinions or viewpoints of New York Life Insurance Company or its subsidiaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Media contact
Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499
Sara_M_Sefcovic@newyorklife.com