The Four Agreements is probably the most impactful small book in the marketplace!  Written by don Miguel Ruiz, it is based on ancient South American philosophy.  It is a simple and straightforward book and there are only FOUR behaviours to incorporate into your life! Not ten or 12 or 24, just four simple strategies to make your life simpler, richer, and with more meaning. They also make the perfect commandments for salon life. Here they are in a nutshell, salon style!

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD:  Everything that comes out of your mouth affects those around you. Start to consider that every syllable that slips from your lips has the power to motivate, love, train, and empower, as well as the ability to hurt, demean, criticize and destroy.  Think about the times in the past that someone else’s words have crushed your spirit, or stopped you in your tracks with some hateful vitriolic.  Now look back on the times that you have been nurtured and sustained by the loving and forward focused words given to you by a family member, co-worker, or employer. Embrace the philosophy that the negative emotion you put out in your words circles around to sneak up behind you and bite you in the you-know-where!  In the same concept, the positive emotion you expel from your lips ends up as a kiss in the wind.


Treat your staff to the kiss in the wind; take the negatives out of your language.  Substitute can for cant; do for don’t; shall for shouldn’t; will for wont; and for but.  Challenge yourself to find a way to create the positive out of the negative. We will always have to critique our staff; they remain the same without challenges and direction; and we can do that with constructive criticism.  Direct them on how to perform a task correctly rather than how to NOT do something.  Our mothers always said, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”; and once again, the cliché wins out!

We have all had to deal with the BRB (back room bitch, sorry for the language) and the spiraling negativity that they can cause within the salon environment. It is in your power to wipe out that negativity by training your staff in forward thinking philosophy and on-going discussions on creating positive environments.  If the BRB continues to bring down your staff consider letting them go, some people refuse to be happy.

Speak to your clients with this positive energy. Eliminate gossip and innuendo in the salon and you will create a haven for your guests that will keep them coming back time and time again. Once past the lips, it is hard to retract, so think twice before voicing your opinion on religion, sex, politics or any other subject that may offend your client.

MAKE NO ASSUMPTIONS: Imperative in our business!  Every time a client sits in our chair, we make instant assumptions about them. We assume all sorts of things about them; pass all kinds of judgements, based perhaps on what they are wearing, the color of their hair, or the way they sit!  We even make assumptions about how much money our client has to spend on their service and the products they might buy.  How often have you heard a stylist say, “Oh, I didn’t think they could afford that after spending that much on their service.” We make assumptions about everyone we meet.  We make assumptions about events we encounter. We make assumptions about the articles we read and the media we follow.  We make assumptions about our families and our friends.


The sad thing is that our assumptions are not necessarily correct, our information is incomplete and the actions we take based on incorrect assumptions often lead us into making critical mistakes.  Stop the insanity! Make no assumptions and allow reality to take its rightful place. The only thing we should assume in the salon is that the client wants our services and is interested in our products!

TAKE NOTHING PERSONALLY:  Whereas being impeccable with your word is about the words you put out into the universe, taking nothing personally is about being on the receiving end of words.  Both are about communication, but let’s face it – you only have control over what you say; you have no control over what someone else says to you.  The only thing you can control is your reaction to what you hear.  What someone else says is their responsibility, not yours.  We all speak from our own knowledge, not someone else’s. For example, if someone says something negative to you, perhaps there is something negative going on in their life. That emotion is brought out in what they say to us, and we, in turn, react to that negativity.  It truly doesn’t have anything to do with us; it comes from within the person speaking.  When someone points a finger at us to criticize something about us, there are actually three of their fingers pointing back at themselves.  Their criticism of us is actually a projection of something they see within themselves.

So let’s be ducks and let every negative comment from another person roll off our back like the drop of water falling on a bird.

DO YOUR BEST: Could it be more succinct? Do your best! Be the best person you can be…….one day at a time. Be the best salon owner you can be…… day at a time; be the best ANYONE……one day at a time!  Sometimes when we think of the long term goals of being the best it becomes an overwhelming chore; because, guess what, we are not perfect!  We have challenges, obstacles, emotions, baggage, all sorts of reasons that create struggles throughout our lives. Take a step back and just think, “Today, just for today, I will do my best!” Then you can worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.  Follow the three agreements above, think before you speak, wait before making assumptions, be a duck, and above all; be kind, and you will have the BEST day… day at a time!