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STEVE HARVEY'S BARBER ... SAYS IT ALL!An Extra Ordinary Look at Hair Care
By James Thomas Revonne Leach-Johnson
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 James Thomas with Revonne Leach-Johnson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWHY THIS BOOK?
When I was a young man, my father explained the term "extra ordinary" to me. This simple yet grammatically incorrect phrase has become the foundation of both my professional life and my personal life. My father believed that the quality of your work was just as important as the work itself. And I have found this to be true. So I am putting some of my life experiences in this book, with the hope that you too will come to appreciate the power behind this phrase and as a result you will tap into that unlimited reservoir of power that you have within you.
My father told me that he saw greatness in me. He explained that the difference between what people do and what they accomplish is the extra that they put into it. That is what makes an ordinary person extraordinary. To help me understand his point, he used my homework as an example. Just like most kids, I did just enough to get by. When my father realized that I was doing this, he took it upon himself to show me a better way. Unbeknownst to him, he did far more than show me a better way. He reshaped the course of my life.
My father told me that when I am assigned a project, I shouldn't just write a report. I should add pictures; add more pages; add props; add the extra effort that would make my work special. I understood what he said and I applied it.
I remember a specific history project that was assigned to me in school. My project was about the Aztec Indians. The first thing that I did was write a great report on the subject. But to give my project that extra touch, I also drew a picture, colored it, and made a tee-pee. When I turned in that project, my teacher made such a big deal of it! She put it on display; called me up in front of the class; and pointed out to the other students how wonderful my project was. My father's lesson took root. Not only was his lesson crystal clear to me at that point, I also reveled in the praise that my teacher placed upon me. I loved it!
There was a situation with the kids in my neighborhood that also reinforced my father's lesson. In my neighborhood, we liked to play football. I always wanted to be a wide receiver, but there were several guys much faster than me. At the time, my chances of becoming a member of the neighborhood team seemed futile. But my father's belief in my greatness had already been seeded and I refused to let anyone or anything deter me. So I came up with a plan. Every day after school, I would throw a tennis ball far, high, and fast; and then I'd run to try to catch it. I spent countless hours doing this every day trying to improve my speed. Eventually, I did improve my speed and I made the team. I put in the extra that I needed and as a result I achieved my goal. I am not saying that everyone who chases a tennis ball will become a wide receiver. Individuals are different and so are the goals that they set for themselves. I am saying that you should do something; say something; write something; or maybe build something that will make others say ... "I can't believe that you did that!"
Webster has defined extraordinary as "going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary." In this case, the word extra does not mean 'more' of something. It doesn't mean doing the expected over and over and over. It means doing the unexpected once. The following quotes are from the American writer, publisher, and philosopher Elbert Green Hubbard. This man lived in the late 19th century yet his words can still be applied today.
— Folks who never do any more than they are paid for, never get paid more than they do. — How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success? — One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
I continued to apply my father's lesson throughout the rest of my childhood and I also began to recognize this "extra ordinary" quality in others. For example, I read that during practice Walter Peyton would sprint in the bleachers while his team was sprinting on the field. Michael Jordan would show up for practice three hours before it started just to work on his shot. Jerry Rice who was known for his legendary off-season workout regimen would run up a steep five-mile trail on a course called The Hill. He would pause at the steepest section to do ten 40-meter wind sprints followed by a heavy duty weight workout in the afternoon. This was a painful routine that paid off for him during games; often in the fourth quarter.
I've always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. —Michael Jordan
Another great example is Donald Trump. This man is one of the premier businessmen of our time. He is renowned worldwide. His name alone commands respect in the business world. When business professionals hear the name Trump, they know to immediately step up their game because this man is powerful, knowledgeable, passionate, and prepared when it comes to his work. Now this level of respect was not given to him. Donald Trump worked extremely hard to establish his standard of excellence. It began in college.
When in college Donald Trump spent his spare time reading about real estate and foreclosures. He did this on his own because he had a passion for it. He wasn't doing it to get a good grade or to impress someone. He truly wanted to learn as much as possible and it paid off. It is this extra reading that led him to his first real estate deal where he earned enough money to start his own business. He found a 1200-unit residential development that had 800 vacant apartments. The building was a disaster. The developer was gone and the government had foreclosed. Now those of us without his knowledge and his vision would say that he got 'punked!' However, Donald Trump didn't see it that way because he had acquired the extra knowledge that he needed to know the difference. Mr. Trump knew that this was not a disaster. It was a great opportunity! And as a result, he gained the confidence and drive that he needed to transform his passion into an empire.
Ask yourself, "What is the standard for which I want to be known?" Identify that standard and follow it. Don't short change yourself. Set the bar high! —Donald J. Trump
Then there is actor, comedian and radio personality Steve Harvey who early in his career turned a small dive in Dallas into one of the hottest comedy spots in the area. His career path has taken him from stand-up comedian to Apollo's MC to primetime TV star to syndicated radio personality to the "Kings of Comedy" to movie actor and finally to #1 New York Times best selling author. To succeed in this many disciplines one must consistently bring something extra to the table. Steve Harvey has and does just that, and as a result his career is a superb example of how "extra ordinary" efforts can produce results.
I don't want to be 60 years old standing on stage telling some jokes. I want my life to mean something. —Steve Harvey
Another "extra ordinary" example is radio personality Tom Joyner who was offered two on-air positions: one in Dallas in the morning and the other in Chicago in the afternoon. Instead of choosing one or the other, Tom chose both! And for several years thereafter Tom Joyner commuted daily on the same Delta flight earning him the names "The Fly Jock" and "The Hardest Working Man in Radio." In addition to Tom Joyner, there is the legendary Tina Turner who reinvented herself as a rock artist and Arnold Schwarzenegger who went from being "Mr. Olympia" to "The Terminator" and to the 38th Governor of California.
The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that. —Arnold Schwarzenegger
My father's lesson could be found everywhere: politics, entertainment, small business, sports, education, real estate, science ... you name it and someone "extra ordinary" was doing it. Eventually, I realized that the lesson my father taught me was the way he lived his life—every single day! Therefore, I cannot write this book without including the example that he set for our family.
My father, Frager Thomas Sr., worked as a mechanic by day and drove a taxi at night so that he could acquire enough money to start his own business. He was not afraid of hard work and more importantly, he was not afraid to pursue his dream. He wanted to open a service station in my hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi. He realized his dream right after my oldest brother was born. Having a child really motivated him to build a better life for himself and his family.
I want you to understand the environment that my father was in at the time that he was pursuing his dream. We were living in Mississippi; the darkest part of the "deep south." It was during a time when racism was a way of life for white residents. This was before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat and before King had a dream. So you can imagine the challenges that my father encountered. He really needed extra determination and courage to overcome the obstacles that were set before him.
During this particular time, Mississippi was not the place for a black man; especially one trying to start his own business. My father wanted a Gulf Service Station franchise. Since he was a black man, he was required to pay a much larger down payment than white applicants. This racially inflated down payment was a big deal for my father. He had no large savings. He had no investors. He had no partners. He had no fundraisers. He had no retirement plan. What he did have was the support of his wife and young son plus his sheer will to overcome this financial hurdle. I am proud to say that he did it! He saved the money that he needed for the down payment by working extra long hours.
Once he obtained his franchise, my father was not given a line of credit by the oil company. Each week he had to pre-pay for his gasoline because the oil company would not give it to him otherwise. This was not the case for white station owners. But my father never let this stop him. The slogan of the service station was "Service with a Smile." I will never forget that slogan or the smile that came along with it. My father had a perfect set of white teeth that could disarm even the meanest person. Although he had many challenges, he never let it show on his face. So each week he pre-paid for his gasoline and he did it with a smile!
My father's business did well as a direct result of the support he received from the black community. The service station wasn't just for our family. It was really for the community ... our community! Blacks could buy gas on credit (with little or no interest) to keep their families going as opposed to the station down the street where they had to pay very high rates simply because of their race. I remember when race relations got really bad in Yazoo City. As a result of the mistreatment of blacks and the unfair hiring practices toward them, the black residents of Yazoo City organized one of the longest city wide boycotts in Mississippi. Black residents made a vow to not purchase goods from white owned businesses. No dollars would flow from the black community to the pockets of white business owners. This meant driving to Vicksburg which was about 40 miles away just to buy food or clothing. But gasoline was a different story. Black residents could buy their gas in Yazoo City because there was a black owned business providing the service. My father set a great example for our entire family and our community. He was a man who practiced what he preached. He put something extra into everything that he did and he held all of us to the same high standard.
During the course of my career as a barber stylist, I have been asked the same question many times. How did you do it James? How did you go from barber school to barber stylist to salon owner to celebrity barber to project manager for Steve Harvey to COO of "Against the Grain Magazine" to product developer? My answer is ... preparation, hard work, and commitment! Things don't just happen. You make them happen through your actions. I am not saying that my life is the end-all to success. By no means is it a blue print for your success but you can learn from the experiences of others and that is the ultimate purpose of this book.
Chapter TwoSETTING AND ACHIEVING GOALS
Being "extra ordinary" is not something that you are inherently given. It is a behavior that evolves over time – not overnight! Personal success is a continuous process. The steps are simple:
1. Set your goal 2. Develop a plan 3. Take action 4. Evaluate your results 5. Adjust your plan 6. Set a new goal
You must first envision your goal. It is important that you "see" yourself cross the finish line. This makes your goal achievable and tangible.
If you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. —Henry Ford
When setting goals, keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. It should always be YOUR goal! Not a goal that someone else has created for you. Others will offer their opinions, but who knows you better than YOU? The final decision is yours!
2. Write down your goals and read them periodically. This forces you to clearly think through your plan. Would you take a cross-country road trip without a map? Or build a house without a blueprint? Following written goals greatly increases your chances of success.
3. Your goal should be specific. Set a deadline for completion. Don't say "I want to start my own business someday." Be specific with your goal and your timeline. Instead, you should say "I will open my salon in five years." In this case, you are clear about the task and the time.
4. Finally, don't expect your plan to be perfect. The unexpected will happen! That's the only guarantee that you have. But you can take comfort in knowing that you will not be alone. It happened to me and it has happened to countless others. Abraham Lincoln is probably the most common example. His life has frequently been used to motivate people during difficult times. Along with his successes, Lincoln experienced multiple failures and setbacks. He lost multiple elections; experienced business failures; unexpectedly lost his sweetheart; suffered from a nervous breakdown; and lost multiple political nominations. Yet, he persevered and has gone down in history as one of the most respected and admired of our U.S. Presidents.
The path was worn and slippery. My foot slipped from under me, knocking the other out of the way, but I recovered and said to myself, "It's a slip and not a fall." —Abraham Lincoln after loosing the Senate race
There are others who have succeeded despite having criticism inflicted upon them time and time again. For example, the late great Luther Vandross was actually booed during a performance at the Apollo Theatre and talk show queen Oprah Winfrey was told on more than one occasion that she was unattractive, too fat and too black. After a Hollywood screen test, Fred Astaire was reportedly criticized for his singing, his acting and his dancing. Despite their personal rejections, each is still among the best in their respective fields.
Criticism is not the only obstacle waiting to block your dream. There could be physical and/or social hurdles to overcome. A year or so after Barbara Jordan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She had trouble walking up stairs and eventually found herself using a cane and then a wheelchair. She endured the pain of this disease for years and managed to effectively hide the state of her health from the media. But despite her health challenges, she went on to make some of the most impacting speeches of the 20th century. She also earned the reputation of being an extraordinary teacher after she retired from politics in 1979.
Just as these famous figures encountered setbacks, hurdles, criticisms, and failures ... so shall you. But you must always remember that knowledge is power and attitude is key! Roadblocks represent progress. Remain positive and flexible because those who have a clear picture of what they want have a greater chance of bypassing their obstacles. When obstacles arise do something extra. Work longer hours or work during off hours. Read books and magazines; or read online. Ask a colleague. Find a mentor. Attend a training class or seminar. The objective is to obtain the knowledge and the courage that you need to continue on your path to success.
Excerpted from STEVE HARVEY'S BARBER ... SAYS IT ALL! by James Thomas Revonne Leach-Johnson Copyright © 2010 by James Thomas with Revonne Leach-Johnson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Why This Book?....................5
Chapter 2. Setting and Achieving Goals....................13
Chapter 3. The 12 Step Program....................19
Chapter 4. Barber School to Barber Stylist....................39
Chapter 5. Barber Stylist to Salon Owner....................47
Chapter 6. Family and Business....................51
Chapter 7. Getting It Done....................53
Chapter 8. The Second Time Around....................57
Chapter 9. Salon Owner to Road Manager....................65
Chapter 10. On the Road with the Kings....................71
Chapter 11. Hard Work Has Its Rewards....................75
Chapter 12. Why THIS?....................79
Chapter 13. An "Extra Ordinary" Ending....................7