Saturday, 5 July 2014

My Experience: A Crisis Of Confidence

Today I received a private message from a nail technician who is struggling with her confidence and it took me right back to my first six months after I qualified.  I came across a significant photo a few weeks ago and thought about writing a post on it to share my experience.  I have also written a series of post covering building a client base, advertising, my general rules and much more which are all linked directly below my banner in the "Advice For Therapists" tab.

Let me tell you, I had huge confidence issues at the start.  I think firstly, you need to understand the sort of person I am to see why my feelings were completely out of the blue.  I am the 'welcome wagon' in any situation, I'm the person that makes everyone else comfortable.  I'm often referred to as 'the life and soul of the party,' I joke around, I'm 'the bubbly one' of any group of friends.  This is why when my confidence plummeted it was far more extreme a contrast to the usual me.

I used to work in a little room above a hairdressers on a self employed basis.  The girl in the next room also did beauty and she was loud, a little bit 'rough around the edges' and constantly busy.  I could literally tell you stories all day long about her to make your toes curl!  She wanted to be friendly to me in all fairness to her and used to say for me to come and sit in her room with her and her client, this made me feel really uncomfortable because this might not be what her client wanted so I was never happy to do so.


There were times during the first couple of months that I would shut my door over and cry.  It might not make sense to some of you but I was always on edge and jumpy.  It was like I felt stupid and embarassed being there because many of my days were spent hanging around there with no clients whilst the girl next door was back to back (and overlapping appointments) with her clients.

I'm not too sure why it all came about but I would get incredibly panicky.  A lovely lady that I was quite friendly with was one of the few appointments I ever had and I would literally sit fighting back tears and pray that she would stay with me a little longer at the end of the service.

Looking back on it now, I think it was because I worried I would get a client and I wouldn't be able to do what they asked of me or struggle in some way and ultimately, not do a good job.  The pressure I put myself under was immense.  I do believe that you need a little bit of pressure and if you care about your job then it's completely natural but I was taking it to a level that was making myself sick with worry.

After speaking to a friend, I started taking Kalms some mornings which may have helped or may have just been a placebo but they mentally got me through.  Although they're herbal, I'm certainly not suggesting that they're the solution for everyone but I would feel myself calmer within minutes of taking one.  I probably took them between 5 and 10 times in total so I certainly didn't rely on them.

I'm going to now reference the photo I've included in this post.  No it's not a stunning design and it wasn't meant to be.  The day this photo was taken I had gotten myself into the mother of all states whilst sat behind my nail desk.  What I decided to do was to sit and do something time consuming so I got a little pot of silver circles out and sat applying them one by one until I calmed down.  Allowing myself to focus on something else really relaxed me.  The perculiar thing was, as soon as a client ever appeared I would be immediately into my super professional mode and this feeling would vanish.
If you're struggling with nervous, anxiety or a confidence issue, ask yourself what is it that you lacking confidence in?  Is it your work or something else?  The odds of it is it's purely just the pressure you put on yourself and you really have no worries.  You're willingness to learn shows that you're probably more than on your way to being an amazing nail tech so from there, you only get even more fantastic at it.

It's absolutely true that as humans, we forget compliments instantly but hold onto the slightest of negative phrases.  Try to take on board more of the positive comments that your clients give, they genuinely mean them!  Enjoy watching them smile as they gaze at their new nails / hair / whatever.  When you listen a little more carefully you'll find that you're brilliant more times then you've ever realised or acknowledged.  When you're self employed, their thoughts and opinions are the only thing that matters.

Three years on, all of this doesn't cross my mind.  If a client asks for something I don't feel I could do well, I'm fully prepared to say.  Don't get me wrong, the only thing I can think off hand that I would turn down doing would be something like a full on Disney character as I always think, if you don't pull it off perfectly then iconic characters such as those always look like they've been smoking something illegal.  I've never needed to refuse a request but the confidence I have about the job now means I'm not embarrassed to say it mid service and any issue that could happen during a treatment, I know how to resolve.  I therefore have nothing to worry about.

Confidence is built over time, as your experience levels grow.  If you feel like you're lacking confidence with a particular service or technique, practice is the only way forward.  My husband had that many extensions on one hand when I started out that he's now virtually an expert at removing them himself.  Knowledge is power, read up on anything you're unsure of.  If you feel more knowledgeable then you will feel more confident.  

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  1. Hi Karen
    It's heartening to know that we all have confidence issues, it doesn't take much for confidence to crumble. I have awful confidence issues, I worry far too much, what if my mani chips / lifts / This is after following all the steps, I even give them a care sheet. If I have a new client my hands shake ! Lol, I sweat, I worry, I've given up with acrylics, after years of practice, I had a client moaning to my friends behind my back. I'm now just working on gels, thanks for your honesty, these things, as you say take time x

  2. Here Here Karen, I love that you have shared this with us. I can identify with this, it's how we learn to cope that matters. Once again thank you x


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