29 Mar

Talk Is Cheap Even At The Barbershop

Lessons From My Real World

For many of us the local or sometimes even distant barbershop has become more than a place to cut your hair and stay fresh. It has become a community hub for great discussions and also a place where strangers become friends.

Discussions around my barbershop tend to be about music, sports or people dissing each other, but no matter the discussion there is always something that stands out.

My barber and I usually talk about our businesses, trials and tribulations and over all life. However; this one day things were different.

Here I was sitting with my barber talking about trimmers. The day before I pre-ordered a Bevel trimmer and started asking him questions on the quality of other trimmers, costs and life expectancy. I was gifting him the trimmer but had to do my own customer development simply because I’m always curious.

As we talked two spanish guys walked in with this swagger to them; one that exuded confidence like no other. They stopped right after the entrance, looked at me and then looked at my barber as if they were going to ask who’s next?

My barber Al, who also owns the shop, quickly asked them “What’s up???”

To my surprise the older Spanish guy said, “Do you have two seats for us? We are looking for a place to cut hair from.” What surprised me wasn’t the question but the confidence he had when saying it. Better than Jordan type of attitude.

My barber Al, quickly stopped cutting my hair and fired off a few questions like who’s the barber? Who needs the gig and how long have they been cutting hair. You know typical interview questions but one response set him off.

He asked them very simply, “Do you both have skills? Show me some of your work!” The shop became silent even as they had Dave East blasting in the background.

The younger Latino looked at him and said, “I’ll let my work speak for me!”

A smile quickly formed on my face. I have known Al for over 15 years and knew he was going to test them especially since they were gassed.

Al said, “Oh yeah, so if you’re that nice, why don’t both of you grab that chair and cut each other’s hair?

Let the show being!!!

That confidence they exuded earlier was gone! They looked at each other, mumbled a few things and declined the offer to prove their worth. They gave a ton of excuses like I don’t have my tools, or I’ll bring a friend later but we all knew they were dodging the challenge. My barber told them, come back when you are ready but you know once they left the jokes commenced.

Like many they came in and asked for an opportunity to showcase their talent and just like many others when it was time to prove it they ran away from the challenge. Could they have gotten a job if they did it? Possibly, maybe they sucked, maybe they had skills.

One thing for sure they had no fortitude and that alone cost them an opportunity.

In business and in life, opportunities come and go. One thing you can’t do however; is ask for the challenge and then decline it when it comes your way.

Sometimes you just have to show that you are willing to take on a challenge even if your skills are not up to par. Heck we did that with The Phat Startup, wrote a book and hosted conferences (tech808) all over the United States with no prior experience.

People gave us a chance because we stepped up to the challenged and then figured it out, not run away like many would be “hustlers” would do. When you fake it till you make it, there will come a time when you really will have to prove your worth.

Your skill level might not be up to par with your mouth, but a little effort and heart can take you a long way…


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  1. […] the beginning of starting a business or entrepreneurship we spend time faking it till we make it. Hopefully once that opportunity comes around, you won’t be faking it anymore, but will be adding […]

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