It’s True…Your Time Is Limited Time

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  ~Steve Jobs

It’s a rare thing for us, while living the young years of life, to think about our futures being anything but long. The reality of life is that it is just a whisper. We begin to realize this as we age. As I look in the mirror, I wonder where my years have gone. I know I’ve lived them…just am amazed at how fast they seemed to have gone.

If I were to give any encouragement, any advise…I would say to “embrace transition”. Change happens. Years demand the transition from one ideology to another. From fantasizing, to reality, as we merge onto the redefining highway. Now…that doesn’t mean we look at our future as being a downer. No, no, no! The years bring CHANGE, not despair. A different reality. Possibly a NEW reality. All very good!

Seriously…think about it. Would you want to do (and be) the same today as you were yesterday? Okay…maybe stretch that a bit. Would you want to be doing the same thing today, as you were doing maybe 10 years ago? Nah…me neither!

I have been in the beauty industry for 38 years, with a couple of sebaticals…which brought change themselves…and I can tell you, my life has been a beautiful journey. But I believe the best is yet to come.

The purpose of this particular blog entry, is to dispel any type of fear one might face when looking into the looking-glass. I used to (long ago) watch the people who attended our beauty industry events. I could not imagine myself aging, and still being in the same business, as some of these older ladies. They were so dated in their hair styles, their clothing, their over-all appearance. I decided then and there, that I would go out strong…at my peak, and never allow myself this sort of (what I perceived to be) humiliation.

Well, that was one reason for my last sabbatical. Determined to re-identify myself, I closed the shop down, much to the dismay of many clients. That was in 1994 or ’95. Six years later, I was placing myself back in the industry that I loved. Crazy…simply crazy! Yet, it took only a short 6 months before my client base had built to where I could go back out on my own and open yet another business. It felt boomerangish. I threw it out, away from me (totally), and it returned to me as if it were so much a part of me, it had to come back. Just like those little paddle boards that have a rubber string attached to a small ball. You hit the ball away from you, and the rubber band brings it back to the paddle…or in the near vicinity of said paddle, to which you have to make the decision of whether to hit it again or let it fall.

Needless to say, I hit it again. Sometimes I question that decision, yet the ball keeps coming back to me. I suppose it is such a strong part of who I am, I must embrace it, with some element of change. Maybe a different way of hitting that little ball. But it all is good. We are made to be, and do, certain things in this short life we experience here on planet Earth. The sooner we follow the road we are set on, and stop taking all those rabbit trails, the better our lives will unfold. Sure, rabbit trails will bring a different kind of adventure. And maybe you can allow them once in a while. But what we are made for, is greatness in the inner person. Who we were created to be. And since we have a body of flesh and bone (and all those other ingredients), we must use it to get to where we are going. There is a plan, that if followed, will lead to a peaceful existence. And if we don’t follow that particular road, (for whatever reason), we will know no peace. Because we were not made for that existence.

When we find ourselves going in the wrong direction, we can always turn the car around, right? Right!

Don’t waste your years, do your own thing Passionistas!




The Tax Man Cometh

Elements Tax ManI’m guessing most of you already have your taxes filed and waiting on Uncle Sam to throw a dollar of two your way, from all that you’ve thrown HIS way. But…if you don’t, you’ve only got a few short weeks to get yourself in gear.

Being self-employed, I choose to give all my information to a CPA…someone that knows all the tax laws, and is the best one to keep us out of trouble and is able to keep us from paying huge fines. I don’t know much about those sort of things (taxes and insurance, I stay far away from), and am very grateful there are those that do.

In this blog, I would like to address a little know fact, when it comes to tips. Tips are looked at by the IRS as being income. It doesn’t matter if you are in the beauty industry or the restaurant business, or any other business that accepts tips. Uncle Sam expects (no, he demands) a bite out of every piece of bread that is headed toward our mouth. I have worked with a lot of people in my years of living…of which we won’t discuss…and continue to be amazed how easy it is to just not document tips. After all, they are gifts from those we serve. It says, “we appreciate the care you have given in the service you have provided for me.” Right? Right! Yet, our government says, “As a tax payer, you are required to give a percentage of EVERYTHING (sometimes twice…sometimes thrice), you receive.” And therein lies the kicker. For me, anyway.

I was raised to obey the laws of the land whether I agreed with them or not. A sense of pride came with the fact that we were not thieves, taking or holding back, what was required of others. And because of that, we could lay our head on our pillow (if we had one), at night…knowing we had done what was right. So because of that simple rule, I have never tried to hide my earnings from the government. Tips included. I remember one very dear client of mine from Oklahoma, that knew I was this way. As she was paying one pre-Christmas week, she looked me square in the eyes and said, “Mary, this is not a tip. I just didn’t have time to wrap this Christmas gift to you.” And that is how she kept me from recording that particular extra bit of money. She wanted me to have it all, and not just a percentage.

Now, just in case you’re thinking, “Well, I’ll just say that I never received tips, if I ever get audited, or questioned,” let me warn you. The type of return you file tells the government what you do for a living, where you work, who your employer is (if you have one other than yourself), and how much you should be reporting in tips. If there is any variation from that, you are targeted for review. Sure, there is a real possibility you can get by with some of that…but it raises a red flag with the IRS. Or so I’ve heard.

We can play hide and seek for only so long, when it comes to business. For me, I’d rather not come into question in the first place. And I know there are probably more than I realize those that are cheating Uncle Sam and his rules. My problem is this conscience that was instilled in me from the time I was only a wee little lassie. Actually, it all started way before I was born. God commanded us to “give to Caesar (the government), that which is Caesar’s (taxes), and to God (the One who redeemed us), what is God’s (the tithe).” Mark 12:13-17

When we come under the authority of the One that really matters, it won’t seem to matter so much what is required from a government we don’t agree with…because we’ll always have enough…and at times, possibly more than enough.

Forge on Passionistas!

Guard Against “Soap Boxes”

Elements fb coverThis new adventure of mine is bringing out the previously semi-controlled soap box that resides inside me from living life. You know of what I speak, if you know me.

Even though most of us know basic public relations manners, on occasion we’ll slip up. Well, yesterday was one of those days for me. There are few people I feel comfortable enough with to share my serious thoughts. When a door opens, even if it is with just one question (that’s actually just a crack in the door), I tend to grab it and swing it wide, so as to let the “light” in…if you know what I mean.

There are two very important, close to my heart issues, in this life that if given opportunity, I will share everything I know, (and then some), on the subject. They are: Abused Women and Children…and Home Education. Completely different issues, yet both have touched my life in such a way, they have become my “Soap Box”.

In all the years I’ve maintained a business presence, I’ve cautioned those that worked with me not to share too much of their personal lives while at work. Our clients come to a place to breathe free, not be burdened with others thoughts. And even though yesterday’s conversation was a pleasant interaction (for me anyway), it felt as if my voice consumed most of the conversation. This had already happened on one other occasion since I’ve been in North Carolina, but on an entirely different subject. Yet another awesome new client had brought my defenses down. I’m beginning to think I really need my husband to get that house sold, and get to where I am, so I won’t feel the need to communicate quite so much. He can be the happy recipient of my ramblings. 😉

Please don’t misunderstand…communication is very important, in any business…not just the beauty industry. But as professionals, we must make the conversation about the client, and not so much about ourselves, during the time they occupy our chair.

Here’s a possible solution: Take a good hard look at your day in the salon, and ask yourself if you would want to be your own client. Then…adjust as needed. Just don’t destroy your personality while correcting minor freedoms. Most days, at the end of business, I will shut the main lights off and sit in a soothing atmosphere with just a few strings of twinkle lights on,  and soak in the days happenings. Maybe with a cup of hot cocoa, chai, or coffee nestled between my hands as I review everything that happened that day between me and my clients. I never want to stop learning; nor do I want to stop taking a second look at my actions, or the lack of them. I let the memories come as they will…never trying to “conjure” up something. If nothing is there to concern myself with, I don’t. There truly is a happy medium that balances our moments in life, but we can’t change what we refuse to look at, or don’t take the time to look at. And remember…we aren’t perfect human beings, but we can be perfected. Don’t be too hard on yourself…just hard enough to find truth.

There are times to speak, and times to listen. Just don’t forget to listen more than you speak. Okay…okay…I got it.