September is Self-Improvement Month, and as we settle in to loving our fixer-upper selves, we welcome back Sherrie Tennessee to discuss burning questions like:
What does self-improvement mean?
What is the difference between self-improvement and self-help?
Why do men write most self-help/self-improvement books, but women make up the majority of consumers who buy them?
Join us as we answer all these questions and candidly discuss our own self-improvement journeys (not exactly what you may expect) in this episode of ASCP Esty Talk.
About Sherrie Tennessee:
Sherrie Tennessee has over 20 years of experience in the spa and wellness, education/training, and business leadership arenas. Recognized as a world-class speaker, seasoned consultant, trainer, business and wellness coach, and wellness “mixologist,” Tennessee is the author of three books and has designed, developed, and facilitated training programs for a variety of spa locations, including Sandals Resorts International, Red Lane Spa, and Mandarin Oriental. Tennessee has a BS in biology, an MBA specializing in marketing and entrepreneurship, and recently completed a graduate program certificate training in integrative health and wellness.
Connect with Sherrie Tennessee:
About Ella Cressman:
Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.
She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.
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About our Sponsor: NeoGenesis
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About our Sponsor: NMSWP
Meet Toshiana Baker, the founder of NMSWP.
Toshiana is a licensed esthetician who grew into an international educator, traveling globally to facilitate spa and beauty-related programs that she created. At one time, she led a team of 250+ estheticians nationally as the Director of Esthetics for an iconic luxury spa chain with over 30 locations. She was also the Regional Operations Director of four full-service spa/salons, including two inside of Saks Fifth Avenue and the Education Executive for the iconic brow artistry brand Anastasia Beverly Hills. Toshiana also held positions of leadership at other luxury influencer brands in spa, cosmetics, and retail. In 2016, she left the corporate space to become a full-time entrepreneur who parlays her wealth of experience to help small business owners, solo practitioners and independent brands grow and scale.
Seeing a gap in the spa and wellness space for support, professional development, resources, and education for those of diverse backgrounds, she founded the Network of Multicultural Spa and Wellness Professionals (NMSWP) to be the gap filler. More than that, she wanted to create a community that feels like a “tribe to thrive” and to be a beacon of light and excellence for the spa and wellness industry.
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About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):
Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.
Connect with ASCP:
0:00:00.0 Ella Cressman: This podcast is sponsored by Lamprobe, Lamprobe is a popular aesthetic tool that enables skincare practitioners to rapidly treat a wide variety of common minor skin irregularities, or MSI. Red MSI treated by Lamprobe include dilated capillaries and cherry angiomas, yellow MSI cholesterol deposits and sebaceous hyperplasia, and brown MSI treated, include skin tags and more. Lamprobe MSI treatments are non-invasive and deliver immediate results. Lamprobe can empower your skin practice with these new and highly in-demand services. For more information visit lamprobe.com that's L-A-M-P-R-O-B-E, dot com, and follow Lamprobe on social media, @lamprobe.
0:00:51.8 EC: Are you an esthetician that has felt unsupported or under-represented in the industry? Have you felt isolated once you left school, and have seen others making strides, but are unsure how to make this happen for yourself? Do you feel that if you had education, resources and access provided to others that you could kill the game? We are exactly what your career has been missing. Join the Network of Multi-Cultural Spa and Wellness Professionals, a community to help you go from simply surviving to thriving. Visit www.nmswp.com, to explore our membership options for individual professionals, students, schools, and corporations or groups.
0:01:39.3 EC: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources, and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk, 'cause ASCP knows, it's all about you. Hello and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I am your host Ella Cressman, I'm a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, owner of the HHP Collective and an ASCP member. Today, we are once again joined by Ms. Sherrie Tennessee, as we address the topic of self-improvement. Welcome back, Sherrie.
0:02:14.8 Sherrie Tennessee: So happy to be here, Ella. Hey, everybody [laughter]
0:02:19.6 EC: I'm so... We have so much fun, the last time, I know this is gonna be a good one. So, September is self-improvement month, and this is the last Wednesday in September, and we're gonna round this out. So let's start with the definition, I should say, a definition of self-improvement as defined by Merriam-Webster. So self-improvement is the improvement of one's knowledge, status or character by one's own efforts. Interesting.
0:02:48.3 ST: It is.
0:02:49.9 EC: Sherrie, what does self-improvement mean to you?
0:02:53.3 ST: Self-improvement, I really feel like is just getting better. I love Rio and in the movie, if you've seen it, I have a young kid, and they say, "This level ain't the level, the next level is the level." And I really feel like that is what self-improvement allows you to do, is to go from the level that you're at to the next level that you wanna be. In whatever steps, effort, mindset shift, actions, whatever that may be, to get you to the next level.
0:03:26.9 EC: I love that. I guess I hadn't even thought about that, and I think that's... In esthetics, we have such a broad field where leveling up can mean so many different things. It can be leveling up with services, it can be leveling up with product offerings, it could be leveling up with education, it could be leveling up with social media presence. A lot of different opportunities in esthetics to level up skill sets and so on.
0:03:53.9 ST: Yeah. You took it right out my mouth, I was gonna say skill sets. And having been in this industry, even though I'm not an esthetician, right, and I always make that disclaimer, I don't wax woo-hoos, and I don't pop pimples, I'm a massage therapist. [laughter]
0:04:09.9 EC: A massage therapist who's been a spa director. So you get it.
0:04:13.3 ST: Spa director, spa owner, director of education. And it's not always... I think sometimes when people think about self-improvement, it relates to money and finances, and it doesn't have to be a direct link to self-improvement, is to next year I'm gonna make $100,000 more. But maybe self-improvement is just, I have that co-worker that drives me absolutely insane, and my self-improvement is not to let her get to me that way, or not to let my clients stress me out, or finding better ways to practice self-care. September is also self-care month, right? So, maybe that improvement is not necessarily in a monetary aspect, but maybe it's just a mindset, or how you approach things, or how you deal with things, or how you respond to things. Also, I feel like fall under that umbrella of self-improvement.
0:05:07.1 EC: Yes, I agree. Well, those seem, self-improvement, I say, is their a new term, 'cause keep in mind, I'm in my mid-40s. But it kind of follows what I know my mom's generation had, which was self-help. I grew up watching Oprah, Sally Jessy, Donna Hughes, before Oprah had a book club, we were every day after school, watching this stuff. And so, this was a self-help, and my mom had the books by this guy and that guy, and so on. And I've seen... I've been aware of an evolution of this kind of movement of sorts. But what do you think the difference between self-help is, and then self-improvement, in your opinion?
0:05:51.5 ST: So I went and looked at some of the different definitions, and one that I saw that I really love, I don't remember the site's name, but it talked about self-help being a need, and self-improvement being growth. And I love what you said about it being an evolution 'cause I really think that that's what it is. It's just this elevation of the concept, I think that there are distinctions between the two, self-help might just be more a focus on you, even though it is self. And maybe, it's dealing with trauma, maybe it's dealing with abuse, maybe it's showing up in a better place. And then when you look at self-improvement, that really could be how you reflect out to the world. So, there's how you show up for yourself, which I feel like falls under that self-help aspect of it, and then how you show up for the world is that self-improvement aspect of it.
0:06:51.5 ST: So I think a lot of times, or I feel a lot of times in this industry, we do a lot of fake it till we make it. We put our good face forward, but inside, we're dying inside or we're... It's black, it's empty. But we're showing up in the exact opposite way, and I really think if you look at that differences between self-help and self-improvement, when you show up for yourself, when you're filling your vessel, when you're doing different things, just to nurture your own spirit, and your own light, then that helps how you show up to the world. So I don't think the two... I think you need to have the one of taking care of self, so that you can show up better to the world, if that makes sense.
0:07:42.5 EC: It makes 100% sense, and in fact, it kinda just helped me define my answer to the question, which is what's ____.
0:07:49.2 ST: So what is your answer to the question?
0:07:51.2 EC: I think self-improvement would be a journey, and on a journey, you're bound to experience some sort of road block, and those road blocks would be self-help. What is preventing you from leveling up is probably a self-help designation, and then when you're good, and you move past those things, like you mentioned traumas or past things, like relationships with money, for example. Usually that... What does that mean? Why are you... Or self-worth, I don't feel like I can charge... I wanna do X amount of business a year, but I don't feel like I can raise my prices, why can't I raise my prices? 'Cause it's a self-worth issue. So, okay, well, then let's just evaluate that, untangle that ball, and then move on with the self-improvement. So I think they're sisters or cousins. Yeah.
0:08:43.0 ST: I love that, I love that. And I was just talking to a woman who does marketing, and she's like, "I raised my prices." And her client was like, "Well, this is all that I can afford." And she's like, "Oh my goodness, I'm spending less time making more money." And I was like, "That's the whole point, and the whole goal of it." But it goes into exactly what you said, do we feel worthy to charge that much? And I think we had a previous conversation, and I talk about it a lot, with therapists coming out of school, where it's like, "Oh, I wanna charge bottom basement prices, because I'm new." And it's like, "No, you can charge premium prices." In this day and age people are very wary of, why is it so low? There's discount sites that you can go to, and you can promote your business, but are they coming back, are they coming to you just because it is cheaper? And I truly believe that that goes back to the whole self-worth, and being enough, and knowing your skillsets, and how you're showing up. Which allows you... Which creates a space for self-help, and then that ultimately creates the space for self-improvement. But it starts with the self, regardless of where it is, it starts in you, to know how you can show up.
0:09:56.9 EC: Yeah. You know what too, I think that we are learning to be aware of those things, at our place in life. But what's interesting to me too, like I said, I've been aware of the terminology for... Since I was little, but did you know that millennials are the generation that are most interested in self-improvement?
0:10:17.8 ST: Absolutely, they're also pushing a trend in the skincare, they want that youthful rejuvenation in their 20s and 30s. So they are pushing a lot of the trends that are out there, so I'm not as surprised by that.
0:10:36.0 EC: I have to... I guess we have to look at also the mental health component, there seems to be a lot more aware of, I'm feeling, this is how... The way I'm triggered by this, I'm feeling that way. And it's different than seeing things as a luxury, like you just brought up skincare treatments, it's more of a self-improvement than a fluffy luxury.
0:10:56.9 ST: Yes.
0:10:57.0 EC: As, when we kinda came out up, it was like, "Oh, you're so fancy, getting a massage." Now it's part of their self-care, which is another new term, seemingly.
0:11:07.5 ST: Yeah.
0:11:08.6 EC: New like, 10-15 years. Self-care is normal, self-care isn't luxury anymore.
0:11:15.9 ST: It's ingrained into the culture almost, but they also grew up with Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, who were taking them to the spa. So I remember coming up with tween services 10 years ago, so those individuals are now... Those were millennials then, so they've been exposed to it, where it was this... It was this luxury. But I also think in, having a younger child and thinking about how I grew up, where you were to be seen and not heard, where you were to just kind of stuff it down and deal with it, you didn't get to have... You didn't get to have a dog in the fight. If your parents said, this is what it was, it was. There was no discussion, there was no comments. Whereas now, I know that I give my son the leeway to say, "Okay, how do you feel about this? Or is this what you wanna do?" And when you grow up with that kind of freedom, and that kind of vote and voice, it just transforms how you show up. So you are gonna look at self-care, you're gonna look at things that how they support you, and how they feed into your self-worth, it all just kinda goes together. There has been a cultural shift.
0:12:29.1 EC: Hey, guys, stop. Let's take a quick break. Introducing the next generation of stem cell science for skin and hair care, NeoGenesis patented S²RM technology. By harnessing the power of adult stem cell released molecules, these products awaken your body's natural regenerative power, and simply returns to the damaged tissue, what was there when it was young and healthy. This enhances the result of all treatment room modalities, reduces downtime, and speeds up the healing process naturally. There are no contraindications and NeoGenesis will offer a full money back guarantee, on all NeoGenesis skincare products. Let's get back to the conversation.
0:13:14.9 EC: So, speaking of cultural shifts, another interesting thing that I thought was... I don't know, and I don't know if this will change if we're talking about generationally, but we look at the relationship between self-help and self-improvement. Do you know that the majority of self-help books are written by men, where the majority of self-help readers are women between the ages of 40 and 50?
0:13:42.3 ST: Do you know what's so funny? As I was just talking to my beau about that, and I was just saying, when you look at dating and a lot of the feedback or just how to show up as a better woman, a lot of that comes from men, and I love men. Don't get me wrong, but it's a different... [laughter]
0:14:01.5 EC: I know you love...
0:14:02.7 ST: It's a different... The conversation is from men guided towards women on how we show up better, but I don't think there's that same kind of accountability for men. It's also interesting, 'cause we were talking about this as well, the largest population of women having babies are also over the age of 40. So that could have some play into it as well, and he was like, "Well, why is that?" And I was like, "Because you step in your career, that takes precedent, you wanna travel, you wanna have this well-rounded full life, and then it's like late 30s, early 40s, boom, you're ready to settle down, you're ready to have that family." But I also think that as we look at this next chapter of our lives, there is a freedom that comes with 40, and I would like to see more women doing self-improvement and self-help. And mine is Brené Brown, she is my go-to guru of just being vulnerable and how you show up and creating that space for yourself and creating it for other individuals as well. But there is this freedom, truly, over 40 where it's like, "You know what, I don't have to hustle for your approval. This is how I'm showing up."
0:15:16.9 ST: There is just this casting off of the cultural chains. Ooh, I don't know where that came from, but I like it. [laughter] Of the confines of that you have to have this or by this age, you need to do that, and you're like, "At this stage, you know what, it's not happening and you're gonna have to... I'm okay with it. And you're gonna have to be okay with it." I think you're also past that point of hustling for other people's approval and wanting everyone's vote in your decisions. You really... At this age, you start making decisions for what's better for you and everybody else will fall into line, whereas I think in your 20s and 30s, it's more of, "Okay, what are they gonna say? What are they gonna think?" And there is just a little bit more latitude and freedom that comes with the years that we acquire. But ladies, if you're out there, please write some self-improvement books for us. The men can write them for the men. I love understanding the man's psyche and mind and just peering into that...
0:16:21.7 EC: Well, maybe we need to write them for the men.
0:16:24.0 ST: Yes.
0:16:24.5 EC: 'Cause we've got a lot to say and you're an author.
0:16:26.1 ST: We've got a lot to say. I am.
0:16:27.3 EC: You're a published author. Maybe we should do a collaboration. And, "Dear Sir, I have to tell you something." That will be the name of...
0:16:35.0 ST: Show up like this.
0:16:38.0 EC: I got a lot...
0:16:38.1 ST: It's funny, I'm actually working on a dating book with a gentleman and just the perspectives of life and dating, and I'm working on how not to be so critical when you show up on a date. And this is the same thing, I think in skincare, when you go into that room, it's like how to not be so critical of that client on your table, or how not to be so critical of your co-workers and a lot of it is your own insecurities and fears. You're throwing those out there first before, and it cuts down on the opportunities that you can see, because when you're seeing with a critical eye, you're not seeing with an opportunity eye. And that could be a way of just shifting your own mindset and I think that really is a part of self-improvement 'cause we do have a very catty, back-biting industry that we're in. And I think it goes back again to that self-worth and Maslow's hierarchy, where a lot of us live in self-preservation and we can't make it to that top level of autonomy and self-actualization. So being able to show up in that way, in that capacity allows for growth. It allows for that self-improvement, and then you can be a model to others.
0:17:54.4 EC: Yeah, I wanna share something personal because you brought up something for me, and this is something I share like a bird's-eye view with people, but this is something that has repeated with me. So I've always said a couple things, I've always said, "I've learned that as soon as I start to fret about my books not being filled and about money, then I start to have less bookings and less money." And the moment I enjoy that time... For example, something happened yesterday where my... I had a full, jam-packed extra day because I had two brand-new clients and three people cancelled, COVID-related, and I said, "Amen." Had a gratitude attitude because it gave me an opportunity to finish some other projects I was working on, but this summer I had a huge health scare. And Sherrie knows the details, but I had this health scare that was idiopathic, they called it. Means they had no idea where it came from, they had no idea what was going on, and so I had to wait because of our healthcare system. I had to wait two months to see a neurologist to find out what was going on. That's the whole summer. So I was in a panic in a WebMD hole of what it could possibly be for two months.
0:19:18.0 ST: Where you don't wanna be.
0:19:19.7 EC: Well, for over two months because pre... Before getting some of the preliminary doctor's stuff, before they decided to refer me out, but anyways, long story short, I had to move a couple appointments around and then I had looked at my July books and I was like, oh my gosh, I'm gonna open up my schedule so I can see more people because I don't know what these medical bills are gonna be 'cause it was a lot. It was all these different specialists, all these different labs, all these different images, it was a lot and I'm gonna do it.
0:19:56.3 EC: And I tell you what, I sat here a lot of days like two people on a day 'cause I opened up my books more than normal. And then I watched my bank account go down and I was like... One day I was like, this is miserable. I can't get anything done 'cause I'm coming in for one or two clients then going over here and going... Like whiplash around, so when I'm going back to my old schedule, this compartmentalized schedule and whatever, it'll all work out. And don't you know, I started getting so busy that I had people going like, "Are you taking September off?" "No, I'm booked." I am booked. I'm in high demand. Don't cancel unless you have COVID. [laughter] And then my bank account rebounded. I don't know what the deal was, it rebounded past where it was before, and then I got some medical bills in that were less than what I thought. Less than what they told me.
0:20:51.5 ST: Exactly.
0:20:53.2 EC: And I was like, okay, I'm gonna live in this space. And so then I went to the neurologist. [laughter] So there was like all these things in one and I decided there's two ways to show up, I could waste the summer like I did, fretting, worrying. And I'm in my 40's, I'm 43 now, there's not as many summers. You're in the middle of your summers.
0:21:16.8 ST: I'm not claiming that. I'm not claiming that.
0:21:18.0 EC: I loved summer, I love being outside, this is the esthetician in me. I can bibbidi bobbidi boo, fix it in the fall, but in the summer I'm outside, I'm sweating, I'm sunning and I'm doing all the things. And so part of my self-improvement because I let myself... What would you say? Not decline, but I let myself, my mental health go down a rabbit hole, so part... I'm like, I'm not doing that again. So part of my self-improvement is a reinstitution of something I did before and that was coming in... Before I came into the shop, before I started any work, being grateful.
0:21:53.3 EC: So on my way, as I'm getting ready, as I'm... Instead of, oh, I gotta hurry up, I'm late. Oh did I get my lunch together, oh the normal way that I had been leaving the house in the fall and since we came back really from shutdown like, oh, gosh is everything ready? Is this gonna be a people? And all this stress it's like, as I'm putting on my make-up, as I'm brushing my teeth, as I'm getting my lunch together, I am so grateful for, and then I pick something or someone and I think about them, and I smile and I think about that, and I come in happy. My clients are happier. So it's not easy. It sounds so great, right? It sounds like an Instagram meme, attitude, gratitude, and you could see me running through a field of sunflowers. But that's not... It's not easy sometimes.
0:22:37.0 ST: It's not. And it's not to say that you don't have, that you're not gonna go through the weeds, right. But it is having that tribe that you can call on, like I started my PhD about four weeks ago, and I have a friend who's a little bit further along, getting his doctorate in Business Administration, and we have this Monday call, and it really is the past two weeks is talking me off the ledge, where I'm like, "I'm gonna go sit in the corner and cry and da-da-da... " So, it's not to say you're never gonna have issues, you're never gonna have problems. We're still human beings. We're still living this life. So there are going to be challenges. It is recognizing the challenges, recognizing how you respond to those challenges, it's having that tribe that you can call upon to say, "Hey, I'm in the weeds, I can't see this long-term." And he's like, "You know, this is where you should be. You're only four weeks in." Da-da-da-da-da-da.
0:23:38.0 ST: When you have that kind of support... But I think that, again, goes back to the self-help and how you're showing up for yourself, how you're allowing yourself to show up for others, and if you're allowing them to show up for you, right? 'Cause a lot of times we have this mindset of, I could do it myself, I could do it myself, I could do it myself, and sometimes self-help is asking for help, asking for support and saying, I can't do this alone or can I just get a hug? I don't need you to do anything than just give me a hug and let me go back to my corner. But it's in being able to have that vulnerability and not putting up all of these walls and barriers and guards where people can't get in and provide that support, so maybe that's your focus of self-help is being able to get help and support when you need it versus trying to have this martyrism mentality where I can do it all and I can do it all by myself. What is... The quote, I've been saying it for the last two weeks. 'I can go far alone, but I can go further together'.
0:24:47.5 ST: So there's so many aspects when it comes to self-improvement, and especially in this industry, because it is a lonely industry, if you really think about it, it's almost... It's very similar to teaching, where you go into this room and it's you with someone else and you're the expert, but being able to walk out of there and just be like, oh did you try this? How did this work for you? Or, this is what I'm experiencing, or oh my goodness. I need to tell you about this client on the table, and not in a way that's putting the client down but maybe just feedback, maybe just input and I'm teaching at the university now and I've been teaching for 20 years and I definitely came in with this attitude of I'm here to learn, there's younger folks than me, and being willing to go into that classroom with more tools like I just texted them like, hey Career Services is coming to my class next week, here's their information maybe they can come to your class as well but supporting one another allows for improvement and not going in there thinking oh, I've been doing this for 20, 30 years there's nothing else I can learn. That's a lie, you can learn from a 12-year-old, you can learn from a 102-year-old, you can learn from everybody, but are you willing to learn? And if anything is at the root of self-improvement, it's a willingness to learn.
0:26:04.8 EC: Especially in the esthetics industry, there is opportunity for that.
0:26:07.9 ST: Absolutely. Absolutely.
0:26:10.0 EC: And that is a... That is a... And we could go on forever. I think that is a good place to pause.
0:26:17.8 ST: For a pause. [laughter]
0:26:17.9 EC: And mostly... Yeah, and I think we... This has been such an interesting conversation. Such a thought-provoking... It's not how I thought it was gonna go. It was a lot broader than I thought. It's been really a mind-opening experience and given me a lot of perspective on self-help and self-improvement, the relationship of the two sisters and also what other ways to be open and more communicative and I didn't even think that how lonely of an industry this can be. And so for that, I am grateful for you, Sherrie, and I'm grateful for your friendship, I'm grateful for your professional... Our professional relationship, and I'm grateful for you being a guest on ASCP Esty Talk.
0:27:03.5 ST: Thank you so much for having me. It's always a pleasure, and it is, and maybe that contributes to why it's such a catty industry because you feel so alone, but that could be a whole another conversation on the bullying and just the tough industry that we work in. We create such bliss for our clients but we don't create that bliss for those who actually work in the industry.
0:27:21.7 EC: On that note, male listeners, we wanna hear from you. What does self-improvement look like to you? What are you doing this month or really with the rest of 2021 to improve your knowledge, your status, your character, or whatever definition you have for self-improvement? Let us know. Let us know on social media, on our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or by emailing email@example.com. We wanna know all the details. For more information on this episode or for ways to connect with Sherrie, myself or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes and stay tuned for the next episode of ASCP Esty Talk.
0:28:03.0 EC: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive association for aestheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join at ascpskincare.com, only $2.59 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you.