This week Kelvin Ringold, my photographer, will do his magic and create a new headshot for my websites End Game Business and Steve Borek Career Coaching. (Kelvin is also an inspirational speaker. Check it.)

To prepare for the shoot, I visited Danyell, my fave hairdresser for the last 10 years. I hopped into her chair on a virtually empty salon on an idle Tuesday.

After exchanging the proverbial -what’s new with each other- I switched the topic.

“Danyell, how long have you been cutting hair?” I asked in a nonchalant curious way.

“Twenty years” she replied as she snipped and shaped my mane.

“What’s the most important thing you’ve learned over the last two decades? Not necessarily about cutting hair. More about people’s behavior?” I asked as I watched us, client and professional, in the mirror.

“People don’t care about what you think. They’ll ask you your opinion. When you tell them, they’re usually disappointed” Danyell replied with a smile, scissors clipping away not missing a beat.

I’m sure you’ve had a similar experience or two. Hm?

She went on to share a story about a customer who brought in a photo of a model with a chichi hairstyle she absolutely had to have.

“I want my hair to like this” the customer said with excitement.

Danyell gazed at the impeccable coiffure and took a beat. “Are you willing to do the work required to keep it looking like that?” Danyell said to the customer sitting there visualizing her new persona.

The short answer was no.

The client wasn’t willing to put in the laborious time and effort, day in and day out, to continue to look like the airbrushed magazine pic.

We all have clients who arrive dressed in the  Dollar Store Drive Thru package. They’re willing to spend bank on the “I Dream of Jeannie” solution though not willing to do what’s necessary to achieve their desired endgame.

I don’t have an “I Dream of Jeannie” solution. Any coach who says they do, run the other way.

I’m in the business of sustainable change.

Clients come to me with behaviors. They have certain ways of doing things. Some good, some not so good. More importantly, they’ve been behaving this way for a long time. Sometimes decades.

It would be unprofessional of me to tell a client I can provide magical instantaneous life altering chimerical shifts.

This doesn’t mean clients aren’t able to achieve swift meaningful change over a short period of time. I’m not saying that.

What I am saying is to create sustainable change, the client must be willing to invest in themselves and modify their behavior over an extended period which eventually leads to an upleveling of performance.

I’ve experienced this with my clients, time and time again.

Sustainable change:

  • Takes sweat equity
  • Builds character
  • Requires consistent action
  • Demands patience
  • Changes you forever
  • Sticks

What are you willing to change?

Today, what are you willing to do differently?

What’s one small action step you’re willing to commit to over the next seven days?

If none of this works, visit your hairdresser. Everything feels better after a haircut.

Photo courtesy of Marco Raaphorst.

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