Gordon Miller people passion purpose podcast hd

Gordon Miller on Disruption + Amazon + Retail

In this episode Gordon Miller, CEO (Chief Engagement Officer) of Hairbrained shares some thoughts on digital disruption, the rise of Amazon in beauty, it’s effects on salon retail, retail in general and what we can do about it. You can find Gordon on the gram @gordnm and Hairbrained at @hairbrained_official + hairbrained.me + hblive.me

You can also listen + subscribe to our podcast on;

Google Play

Your experience matters. We would be so grateful if you shared your experience with our podcast by leaving a review. It matters to us, and so do you. Thank you- Nina

4 Lessons of Gratitude In Action Passion Squared blog hd

5 Lessons of Gratitude in Action

In the month of November, we witnessed gratitude in action, online and off, thanks to all you passionate + courageous humans who joined our #gratefulAF challenge. Our intention with this challenge was to help you see value in beginning a lifelong practice of daily gratitude.

To be honest, I had no idea when we created this challenge how it would go. November is a “busy” month, yet it took off and took on a life of it’s own, which I am in awe of and so grateful for.

For some context, gratitude is a cornerstone of all that we are and do at Passion Squared, because gratitude both saved, and changed, my life, you can read more about that here. I have seen how gratitude can change everything, as when you are grateful, you are empowered, and when you are empowered, there is nothing that can stop you.

What did we learn about gratitude in action?

1. It’s so easy to lose perspective and so simple to get it back

This lesson came from watching your energy shift as the month went on.
Watching you discover how gratitude changes perspective was awesome. So much of our angst at times comes from a loss of perspective. We get so wrapped up in our own shit that we end up with a distorted view of what is real and what is imaginary. Gratitude is a perspective keeper.

2. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a key to growth

This lesson was apparent from week 1, when we asked you to buy coffee for a stranger and in week 3 when we asked that you buy a meal for someone.
No matter what business you are in, or social circle you keep, some of us are so focused on “playing it safe” that we have stunted our own growth. Nothing in life, or biz, is guaranteed. Failure is inevitable. But if you want to grow, it will be uncomfortable and uncertain. That is where faith + courage come in, and yes, gratitude.

3. When we focus on service to others, we are being a service to ourselves

This lesson was super apparent throughout the month, whether it was when we shouted out our glam squad, or sent a surprise thank you note to a client, to sending flowers to a loved one.
When we give joy, we get joy. When we step out of ourselves, and begin to see the world around us, our hearts expand. We learn about the gifts of compassion & empathy, and realize we are not the center of the universe. This lesson helps us become better leaders, co-workers, companions and humans.

4. Giving is not about getting 

This lesson came from watching you all give of yourselves all month, without asking anything in return. You just gave, and not surprisingly, you got so much back. Getting something from doing the challenge was not your intention. There was no prize, contest, or pot of gold at the end. You simply saw value in making a commitment to doing something different. And that leads us to lesson 5.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”  John Bunyan

5. Value is in the eye of the beholder

You saw value in challenging yourself. You saw value in being of service to others. There are both biz + life lessons in this one. But the ONE biz lesson I will share is that we must dig deep to understand what our audience and team values. It’s easy to assume they all value the “prize”, but that is not always the case. And if we run and lead our business with prizes, eventually the prizes run dry, and where does that leave you?

Here’s the thing loves. There is always something to be grateful for. We don’t have to wait til November every year to be grateful. And lastly, gratitude changes everything.

From the bottom of my emoAF heart, thank you for stepping up and leading this challenge. Thank you for raising the vibration of your spaces and in turn, touching the hearts, minds and lives of many you will never even realize you did. Thank you for being beacons of light and love. We are #gratefulAF for you.


Love + Awesomeness-
Nina @passionsquared

BTS of This Blog

Total Time: 3 hours
Researching + Writing 2 hours
Editing/SEO/Proofing 30 min
Graphics made with Canva.com 30 min

#gratefulAF challenge Passion Squared blog

The #gratefulAF challenge

In early 2007 I was in the darkest place I have ever been in my life. So much so, that I was planning my suicide. But here it is, 20 fucking 17… I am alive, living my purpose and empowering others to live their’s too. How did this happen? It all began with gratitude.

Of course, there is so much more to the story which I share in my book Follow Your Heart, but it was learning about the power of daily gratitude that made me realize that I had more to do on this planet, and that no matter how dark my head became, there was always something to be grateful for.

From there, I was able to keep perspective, and perspective allows me to get through just about any hardship, sadness or loss. It was this quote that changed it all for me, which is tattooed on my left arm to be sure i never forget that gratitude saved my fucking life.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

November seems to be the month people remember to be grateful, so I decided to create a simple challenge for you and one I hope you invite your community + teams to join in too. It’s called the #gratefulAF challenge. Each day in the month of November I invite you to practice a little piece of gratitude.

Passion Squared #gratefulAF challenge art Insta

Here’s how it works…

1. Capture your gratitude in action
2. Post to Instagram page or stories
3. Use #passionsquared #gratefulAF
4. Tag @passionsquared /@ mention
passionsquared if posting in stories

Invite your community + team to join us!

Click here for the Instagram graphic
Click here for the Insta Story graphic

My intention is that after 30 days you will feel how much gratitude can change your perspective, your energy, your brain, your biz and your LIFE.

With love + a fuck ton of gratitude-
Nina @passionsquared

BTS of this blog + challenge
Total Time: 4 hours

Building the challenge
Developing the idea and daily themes 1 hour
Designing graphics on Canva.com 1 hour
Getting feedback + editing 30 min.

Building the blog
Writing 30 min.
Editing/SEO stuff 30 min.
Proof reading 15 min.
Designing graphics on Canva.com 15 min.

How to take a social media break Passion Squared hd

How To Take A Social Media Break and Why You Need One

As of this writing, I am in day three of an extended social media break. Why? I simply couldn’t breathe. I was losing it, and losing perspective, something I value and require as a creative small biz coach and empowerer.

As a leader, perspective is so incredibly important for you to have. It’s defined as “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance”. And OMG how easy it is to lose in the era of social media.

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Bertrand Russell

 Let’s begin at the beginning. If you know me, you know I LOVE social media for it’s ability to empower creative humans; to build relationships, deepen understanding, create connections, and grow businesses. But, and this is a big BUT, it can also be exhausting, anxiety producing and one of the best ways to lose perspective if you are too deeply engaged.

The last few months have been heavy, with what seems to be gut wrenching suffering, pain and bad news. For some of you, like me, it’s become too much to process. There plenty of proof on the internet today that show the effects of social media on mental health. Check out this article.

Self awareness is key here. If you feel yourself getting more anxious than normal, angry, resentful or out of fucking control, it may be a sign that it’s time to take a break.

So what do we do? If you have an online business like me, how in the world do you disconnect? If you rely on social to build and grow your business, like most of you do, how can you take a break? Here’s how.

1. Decide on how long your break will be and what it looks like

This past week, I chose to take an extended break (at least 5 days), and with that, came the question… how will I care for my clients and be offline? Well, it’s been quite simple.

With two Facebook groups and hundreds of clients on Instagram, logging in does not mean I have to dwell in the news feeds, if fact, I have not even looked at them. Instead, I just log on and go straight to my A School and Social Beauty Intelligence Facebook groups, and it’s business as usual.

For Instagram, I simply log in and search my hashtag and then am able to engage with those who are choosing to use it, a good reminder of why a branded hashtag matters #passionsquared It’s a listening tool. And on my break I am able to still “listen” a bit and engage with my clients.

So this social media break was not 100% off the internet, this break was about removing myself from public dialogue, news feeds and content creation. Lastly, be sure you post that you are taking a break and how to get in touch during your break. No drama needed, just simple and direct. Here is an example of my post on Instagram, made with the GIFx app. Here is the Facebook post.

2. Create a system for unplugging, unfollowing, unsubscribing

This is what I see as maintenance mode. If we maintain a plan to unplug, we are less likely to be at a breaking point and need an extended break. The last year I have done a weekly “24 hours” off the social media. This is a full 24, sometimes 48 hours, in a row. This has helped immensely with perspective and has allowed me to simply take a rest. Try it. Start with 24, then see how you feel. Next thing to do is remember you have a choice on what and who you listen to and follow. Schedule time to unsubscribe from emails you no longer want, from people who are toxic, or simply from noise that doesn’t serve you.

3. Listen to your body and mind

This is the key and sometimes you are moving so fast, you do not even realize what is causing your agitation. In order to listen to your body and mind, you gotta slow down. And you have to take your power back. Drop the phone and pick up a book, have lunch with a friend, go on a Netflix binge, take a long walk, whatever.

4. Remember why you are on social platforms to begin with

Now this may be one of the most important aspects of maintaining perspective. If you have tapped into the power of social media for business, then your primary purpose for being on any given platform is to build relationships and solve problems with and for your target audience, your “people”. And I know how much time you spend watching and listening to people that are not your audience. This is a big problem as your energy becomes focused on what others are doing, then the comparison game begins, and we know where that leads. Most importantly, it is distracting you from your current and future clients. So STOP it. Just stop. You will find so much more joy and value when you refocus your energy where it belongs, on your tribe.

When you put these four steps into practice, there is no doubt you will be able to keep a better perspective on your biz and more importantly, on your life. You will be able to be more present for your clients, team, family and community. You will be able to breathe again.

Before we go, I wanted to share a few others insights from this break;

I miss my community.
Going back to the beginning of this blog, I LOVE social for all the good it brings, and a big part of that is community. And I love mine. And I miss you.

I miss listening.
Social listening is one of the most awesome benefits for an owner and leader. Why? When we listen, really listen, we learn. How do you know how to solve problems if you don’t even know what the problems are? How do you celebrate your clients in between visits when you have no clue what they are up to? This is one of my favorite things about social, listening.

Instagram engagement is WAY down
Over 80% drop in engagement in fact, and that’s the risk we take. But I also know that it will not take long to build it back up when I return. And since social is not my ONLY way of engaging clients (email marketing still matters!) this break has given me some time to be more thoughtful about my overall content strategy and how I engage with current and future clients. During this break I am also running a Facebook ad for a NEW class, and thus, Facebook engagement is actually up as is traffic to my website from Facebook.

As a leader, I have a responsibility, as do you, to maintain perspective, stay present and be the best I can be in order to serve you. And if that means a little social media break, so be it.

Thank you for all your love and support of this break, I see you, I hear you, I feel you and I love you. Now go schedule yours.

Love + Gratitude-
Nina @passionsquared

PS: As of this blog, I will be sharing some BTS info into how this blog was created. I hope you find value in this as you continue to work on content creation.

BTS for this blog post
Total Time: 3 hours

Writing, Editing, Proofing
The idea came to me a few days ago. From idea, I created a simple outline, about 30 min. From that, I began writing which took about an hour. Editing about 30 min. Graphics about 15 min. Final touches (re-reading, previewing, testing, tags, SEO stuff), about 15 min.

All made with Canva.com (my go to for all blog graphics)

Embedded Facebook post in blog (for WordPress)
Click on the (…) bar at the top right of your Facebook post and select the Embed option, then paste the embed code into your post in the “text” option of your blog post.

Education and Change in the salon industry blog Passion Squared

So Much Education So Little Change

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” Robert Frost

(This post was originally written on June 3, 2013. It has been updated, but the issue, sadly, is still real for many.)

When will you decide to take action on all that education you are consuming? Because the truth is, until you do, please do not expect any changes to occur. Change the system, change the result.

So many professionals arrive to education classes each day with the hopes of getting info on the latest and greatest products, tools, programs, and being inspired and motivated. And of course, grab a selfie with their hair heroes and sheroes. We’ve all been there. And it can be some of the best experiences of our lives.

My career began when I first attended the International Beauty Show in New York. The moment I stepped foot into the door, I knew my life would never be the same. Many of us have stories like that, and I never tire of hearing them.

Everyday in the pro beauty biz, there are shows, classes, workshops, academies, webinars, DVD’s and books to purchase. And everyday, beauty professionals from around the globe consume these educational opportunities.

But here is the dilemma. Not much has changed. After 30 years, I still see and hear so much of the same narrative, the same struggles, the same resentment.

Why are you investing so much in education and not seeing significant changes consistently? Why do hairdressers still struggle to make a living? Why do salons open with fanfare and close in silence and shame? It breaks my heart. But it is also why Passion Squared exists.

While the answers are not as simple as a blog post, here are some of the reasons I believe this cycle continues and what we can do to change it…

1. You Have A Taking Action Problem

As one that has worked in this beautiful biz my entire adult life, 30 years, is see a huge problem with owners and hairdressers actually taking action and following through. Yep, I said it. It’s quite common for us creative types, to be addicted to the inspiration and info, but not taking action on much of what we learn.

You have become addicted to obtaining knowledge, not to executing on the knowledge you are receiving. In order to change that, you must begin to fall in love with taking action. Or finding a partner in your biz that is in love with taking action. There is no way around it. Awesome businesses execute. They are consistent. They are in love with the fundamentals of what makes a business awesome. Period.

2. The Truth Is Technical Skills Include Business

Speaking of addictions, many are addicted to learning how to be better cutters, colorists and stylists and almost adverse to being better leaders, managers, business owners and brand developers. Being an awesome haircutter does not automatically make you an awesome biz owner (have you read the E Myth?). Having a big Instagram following does not mean you can build and grow a team, or coach others on how to build and grow. And if you are an independent artist, you are a business owner too. Drop the ego, stop thinking you know it all, and commit to learning what it takes to build and grow a business. If you are not into improving your business skills, don’t own a business.

3. Don’t Buy Into The Hype 

Many are in love and enamored with our product lines, manufacturers, distributors and those with big social media followings. You worship them. You spend thousands of dollars supporting them. How are they supporting you? How are they helping you increase traffic to grow your business? And let me remind you, just because someone can collect followers on social platforms does not mean they are a good business person, or have a good business. It simply means they have learned how to build followers. It’s not the same. Some actually do have an awesome business, but many do not. Don’t buy into the hype.

4. Get Focused AF

As a group, we are a fairly unfocused bunch. I include myself in all of this as I will only speak from my own experiences. We are so addicted to what’s next, we miss the opportunity to actually learn something, implement it, measure it, learn from it, and adjust it.

We move towards what we focus on and we can only focus on one thing at a time. Something to think about next time you sign up for a class, workshop and webinar. What is your plan for taking action on the ideas you learned? To measure the results? To adjust as you measure?

There is no getting around doing the work. And if you want to see a change, a real change in the results of your business, your skills and your life, there’s gotta be some type of plan and commitment to get focused. The first step to this is taking a shit ton of meaningless stuff off your to-do list. Just let it go. It’s not helping you.

5. Real Education Empowers

Education should empower the educated. It should awaken the student. It should create real change. Both the educator and the educated share responsibility for this.

This is why I created membership programs like A School and Social Beauty Intelligence.

I understand that all the problems above exist, and my solution it to not just inspire you for an hour or a day, but for the lifetime of your career.

You see, the more we can stay connected, the better chance you have of staying on track and reaching your goals. It’s really that simple. Each day I am so proud of the decisions my clients are making, because they have simply decided they want to make an impact by focusing on what matters and investing in long term growth.

My purpose is to empower the people that I love. That is the also the purpose of Passion Squared. I have a dream that one day, in my lifetime, beauty professionals will be awakened and empowered to make good decisions about their career and business, and earn a good living, consistently. Sadly, if we get honest with ourselves, this is just not the reality of our biz. It’s time to change that.

With love + truth- Nina @passionsquared