Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
— Arthur Ashe
Lessons learned from a bad dye job.

Lessons learned from a bad dye job.

It had been several months since I had done anything to my hair. No haircut, no dye – I had even been re-training my hair to go 2 or 3 days between washes with great results! My hair was starting to feel really, really healthy again.

Every so often, though, I feel like I need a change, and usually that change comes in the form of a new hairstyle. This past weekend, I decided that it was finally time to give my hair a much-needed trim.

But then, I started thinking. If I’m getting a new haircut, I might as well get a new summer color to go with it. Of course, I didn’t want to spend tons of money, especially since this was going to be an impulse purchase.

After scrolling through a few ideas on Google Images and finding one I liked (mistake #1), I marched myself into a chain salon that I won’t name (mistake #2), and asked for a cut and color. After the cut, I let myself be talked out of what I wanted by the stylist (mistake #3) in favor of something that would shorten the processing time on my hair. To make matters worse, even though I could see that my hairdresser was not confident and was making mistakes even I knew not to make, I didn’t speak up (mistake #4) because she was really nice and I didn’t want to make things awkward.

And so, four-and-a-half hours and a painful $160 later, I was released out into the world…looking. like. this:

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And for the entire rest of the day, I lamented over my hair, searching for a quick DIY fix to the problem (mistake #6). It took me several hours to come to terms with the fact that there would be no cheap, easy, at-home solution. And so the next day, I went to a real salon to have my hair professionally fixed. Don’t worry – this time, it came out exactly as I wanted it.

I feel like I was reminded of some really valuable lessons through this comically tragic experience -

First, don’t make impulse purchases. And if you must, don’t skimp. You’ll just end up with something that wasn’t quite what you wanted (or worse, nothing like what you wanted) and a sad wallet.

Second, don’t be quick to let others talk you out of something you’ve made your mind up about. If you know what you want, stick to it.

Third, don’t let the fear of awkwardness keep you from speaking up. If something isn’t going well, you have the power (and sometimes the obligation) to stop it. Does that mean it won’t be awkward? No. Sometimes it will be awkward. But not as awkward as walking around looking like your hair was done by a 12-year-old with a bottle of bleach.

Fourth, when you do make a mistake that needs to be fixed, don’t look for an easy out. If you didn’t do it right the first time, at least do it right the second time!

And finally, look for what can be learned from your experiences – good and bad. I could have chosen to be angry or embarrassed about my hair, but instead, I decided to take it as a lesson and learn what I could from it.

Going through life angry or embarrassed won’t help you grow; learning from your experiences will. Take risks, but think them through. Know what you want, and stick to it. Speak up for yourself. When you mess up, do it right the second time. And then choose to learn from your mistakes.

5 good reasons to add volunteering to your life.

5 good reasons to add volunteering to your life.

My weird (but effective) day planning system

My weird (but effective) day planning system

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