“You look so good!” “Your hair is so flattering!” “I wish I could pull that off.” My fourteen-year-old daughter had never gotten so many compliments until she tried an asymmetrical a line bob. It really was darling on her, and she got a lot of attention. Even my mother loved it. Enough said.
After keeping the same cut for 2-3 trims, she participated in a play that required long straight hair. She wore hair extensions for a few weeks of performances, got a ton of compliments, and she was ready for a new style. However, growing out an asymmetrical cut is not a lot of fun.
It’s been a year since she started, her hair is all one length at her shoulders, and she is well on her way. And now it’s my turn.
I have been growing out a very short pixie cut for seven or so months, and it is shocking how much discomfort and even insecurity can be caused by such a little thing. Just sayin.
We can learn a ton as we watch from the sidelines, but the lessons we learn up close and personal are much more intimate. And painful. Did I mention painful?
But . . . I’ve observed some life lessons through this process.
We all have different priorities and goals, but the types of obstacles we each have to overcome are pretty universal.
Let Go of the Awkward
While on a video call with my From the Rooftops board, one of the ladies noticed I was playing with my hair. She mentioned something about it because she knows how uncomfortable the growing out process has been for me. She caught me in the act, and I was embarrassed. But here’s the thing. No one actually has the time to give more than a second’s glance to my hair to consider whether or not it is being problematic. In that deer-in-the-headlights moment I realized that the more I draw attention to my awkwardness, the more awkward I look and feel.
This applies to all of our goals, whether it’s learning to speak a new language, riding a bike, or just choosing to eat better. For instance, it may feel weird to eat leafy greens and oranges instead of unwrapping a Snickers bar, but no one actually notices until we start whining and complaining about it. The complaining just prolongs the process of truly wanting to eat better and accomplishing our goals. Letting go of the discomfort actually allows us to attain our objectives more quickly.
Looking for New Approaches
Going through growing pains requires a new approach. Every day, as my hair grows a tiny bit longer, I have to tweak my style a little bit more. Sometimes it feels tedious, but doing what I’ve always done in the past isn’t working. The results are disastrous. So I ask questions. Should I try parting my hair on the other side? Should I flip it up instead of down? Do I tuck it behind my ear? Maybe on both sides?
In a similar fashion, as we move toward our goals, we have to be open to being more fluid in our approach. We have to ask new questions. If doing what we’ve always done in the past worked, we would already have reached our goals. So we have to be open to new ideas, thoughts, and solutions. What book could I read that might help me reach my goal? What distractions are de-railing me? Do I need a mentor?
Looking at things from a new perspective and being on the look out for new solutions will propel us toward our goal.
Practice, Practice, Practice
I’ve had the same haircut for a number of years. I’ve styled it the same without variation because it was easy and I loved it. But now I’ve endured three haircuts that are shaping my hair differently. My hair has its own ideas, and it was trained for a long time to move in a particular way. Now I’m asking it to do something it’s not familiar with or comfortable doing. How do I deal with the rebellion? I have to spend much more time than the past training my hair to move in new ways - to conform to a new look.
As we go after our new goals, we have to do the same. We are busting through old belief systems and the old ways we’ve always done it. To meet a goal in playing a new piece on the piano, we have to practice every day to train our fingers to move in a different way. As we do so, the day truly comes that we have developed new, beautiful habits that deliver incredible results.
Will It Be Worth It?
A few years ago I attempted this same current goal: growing out my hair from a pixie cut. It was slow. It was tedious. It was awkward. And one day I was plain tired of it. I wasn’t even sure what it would look like when it was fully grown out. It sure seemed like a lot of work and pain to get a new style that was completely unfamiliar. Would it even be worth it?
So I quit. I set an appointment, got my hair cut, and I was so relieved to go back to my comfort zone.
Oh dear. Is that what I was doing?
Isn’t it crazy? I was just going back to the “safety” of my comfort zone . . . where nothing magical happens. Where progress doesn’t exist.
I was being sabotaged by my own brain. Our subconscious’ only job is to keep us safe. To keep us alive. To prevent us from feeling pain. My subconscious sucked me back into that place of comfort, and I never grew in that area. (Hahaha. No pun unintended.)
Does it really matter if I get a new hairstyle? Of course not. But truth can be found in our every day world, and we ought to learn from it.
When we set a goal, we simply have to trust that all of our efforts, awkward moments, and discomfort will be worth it. Don’t quit! Trust the process and look forward to the satisfaction on the other end.
It will all be worth it.