I run a lease shop. For those that don’t know what that means, it means that my barbers do not get paid hourly, they do not accrue PTO, and if they don’t work for their paycheck, they simply don’t get paid from their clients. When you work with this kind of arrangement, taking time away from work can prove incredibly costly because you typically spend the money you aren’t earning on vacation, and a compound issue is created. Now that you understand that, when I asked my shop if anyone wanted to volunteer to take a Saturday off to cut hair for free, I honestly was not expecting anyone to take me up on the offer, but today was the best opportunity to be proven wrong.
Pride Mental Health, a local mental health clinic, reached out to The Barber Story to offer our services to the community at a suicide prevention walk. The owner of Pride, Dane, is a great friend who knows why The Barber Story began, and he felt it was important that the community understand that there are people who have not only experienced depression, self-destructive behaviors, suicidal inclinations, but have also made their way past the struggle with a story to tell. I have told my story online and to my clients a thousand times. Suicide was a real option for me until I decided to change my life. Cutting hair literally saved my life. That’s the barber story in a nutshell, but today I was invited to tell the story to the Treasure Valley.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention puts on a walk called Out of the Darkness every year. The purpose of this walk is to take a proactive approach towards talking about mental health, rather than the reactionary one that so commonly happens when a major suicide occurs. Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, the list goes on. We can all talk about how sad it is that it happened, or we can start talking about the simple things we can do to prevent suicide from occurring in the first place.
Self care is vital to your well being. There was a point in my life when I just hated looking in the mirror because that person disgusted me, he simply wasn’t worth the time spent looking in the mirror. I remember getting my first real haircut, and a small bit felt just a little bit better about myself. I could hold my chin up, even if it was just that day. As stupid as it was, my haircut was a reason to take a selfie, and be excited.
That is the tiny spark we all deserve and all need in our life, we need to be excited about the people we can become, and a lot of the time you simply need to be able to face your reflection.
I love that my job is to put smiles on other peoples faces. If you do something you love so much that you would be willing to do it for free, you have found the career that is right for you. Today, Jimbo and I got to put smiles on people’s faces, and all it cost us was a morning away from work.
Money will never buy you that kind of happiness.
Help is never too far away, if you are struggling reach out to the Suicide Prevention hotline. Someone is available to talk 24 hours a day, just pick up a phone and call 1-800-273-8255.