Brad Johns, Clairol global color director and artistic director of Avon Salon & Spa, tells why it's good to give peace a chance.
I love coming to work. It makes me feel good knowing that I'm helping make a little part of the planet feel and look beautiful, and that's my art. But just as significantly, I love coming to work because I've made my environment peaceful at all times. My own personal operating system, my modus operandi, is peace. This inspires me and allows me to feel passion for what I do.
If you are an artist—and if haircolor is your passion, then you are an artist—I don't believe you can reach the fullest potential for loving your work if you allow negative influences to affect your own MO. Unfortunately, there's no shortage of negative influences surrounding us these days. The media bombards us with gossip-filled headlines talking about the latest misfortunes of the celebrity of the moment. In the workplace we sometimes encounter difficult clients or competitive or envious co-workers whose very negativity saps the life out of us. But if you make peace your MO, you can find ways to look past these negative influences and turn to more positive ones as inspiration for your art.
This sometimes involves making difficult decisions. For instance, you may have to tell a client who complains constantly about her haircolor but keeps coming back that you can no longer do her hair. Or, you may have to face a co-worker who is envious of your work, feels threatened by you or simply doesn't want peace. You could first try to reason with him in private, but if he doesn't respond, then bring your manager into the picture. If all else fails, you need to accept that because your co-worker isn't at peace with himself, he can't be at peace with you, and let it go. You can't always keep problem clients or coworkers out of your physical environment, but you're the only one who can choose to eliminate them from your mental space.
The same goes for how you handle the negative influences in other areas of your life. For example, while there's a lot of good to be said about popular culture, and it can be fun and enjoyable, it takes a negative turn when the media tries to make you dislike another artist's work because of their personal affairs. Hearing about one celebrity's hard feelings toward another doesn't make me feel good; it has no positive influence on me, and I don't pay attention to it. I do pay attention to March of the Penguins, Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line. They're art forms that show people and nature living their lives, and they make me feel good and inspire me.
If you want to stay powerful as an artist, my advice is to take lightly what the media dishes out, or don't participate in it. Instead, seek out the positive influences that can bring you peace, like the haircolor of little kids playing at the beach, or attending an exhibit of an artist you're not familiar with, or even one you don't particularly like. Go anyway, because I bet you'll find something there you've never seen before and that you may love. A thought: Not every day is the best day on the planet, so you can either allow yourself to be bogged down by the negatives, or you can find something beautiful to inspire you. Negativity doesn't make people like you, or make you like yourself when you look in the mirror. Ending a bad relationship, telling a client you can no longer work with her or ignoring a coworker is hard, but it's the only way to stay peaceful and rationalize what isn't working for your MO. So find an operating system that works for you, and remember, the negatives will constrict you, but the positives will propel you.