My diary

This is where I blog & share my experiences.

The reality of success

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Just like the walls I’ve built up, I can tear down…

Everyone always asks me, how does it feel? “How does it feel to know you’ve made it?” Honestly, I would be lying if I said it was amazing. I was miserable for a long time. It’s as if everything was crashing down on me. A wave kept going over me & as I kept grasping for air trying to swim, I was sinking deeper & deeper. Hit with another wave, I was drowning on the inside. It’s as if this was my journey to getting to where I am now. It’s like when you wish for something for so long and you put it on a pedestal & you work so hard just to get there & when you do, it’s not what you thought it would be. That’s exactly how it feels.

The pain & the agony, I was miserable. 

 Let me explain…

From the beginning, I shared my journey to how it all started. For anyone who has followed me, knows my story. For anyone who doesn’t, my journey has lead me to my own self-destruction & unhappiness. I remember being so hopeful, so full of ambition, so full of heart and feeling unstoppable. I never imagined it would be this hard. Let me start off by saying that, I am truly grateful for all the opportunities given to me but I also know how hard I’ve worked to be given these opportunities. 

I opened a salon at a young age of 26 & this was something I had accomplished but what I didn’t realize was, I was naive in business. Everyone sees my salon as my success story but what they don’t see is the struggle & sacrifice. Growing up, I never came from a business background. I didn’t have any experience in opening a business or running a business or let alone being a boss & managing a team. All of this was so new to me, I had no one to guide me & show me what needed to be done or how to protect myself. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been screwed in business over again & again. To the point where I’m so tired of it. I’ve become such a broken person through this process & journey that I’ve been on. I literally pour my heart & soul into everything I do. I never get any breaks & I’m constantly fighting for everything I believe in. I’ve been taught to do everything with dignity, integrity & respect. Even though I’ve been devastated & having a difficult time, it hasn’t changed my core values of who I am as a person. I’ve built a reputation for myself & a business that no one can take away from me.

The countless hours… 

I was working from my home basement, it was difficult because it was so personal. Working from home & separating work & my personal life wasn’t easy. Clients always asked me, “Working from home must be nice, Why would you leave?” I remember it happened on a day where I was working on a client, all I could hear was fighting & things being thrown. I couldn’t stand it anymore, I couldn’t focus on what I needed to do. I couldn’t work in an environment where I was hurting, it was too close to home (literally).  I was so upset by it all & that’s the first memory of me going into counselling, that’s when I knew I couldn’t work from home anymore.

So I finally decided, I would rent space outside of home. I felt so much gratitude to the people who shared their space. They supported me & we became almost I would say, friends even family. I worked a lot but I was more happy to be in a space where I felt in control. It was going well for a few months but then things took a turn for the worst. I started feeling brainwashed & trapped by these people. I thought they were my friends but instead they had such negative energy. I felt stuck that I started having these negative thoughts & perception. At that point, I had already hired my first assistant Olivia. If you read my past blogs, you would know how I felt during those long tiring hours of being absoultley alone in my own shadow. Working day in & day out just to prove to myself that I could make it one day. When she came, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Back to the story, things started to feel uncomfortable. I didn’t feel that same genuine authentic feeling when I first started renting the space. I knew something was happening, that’s when I had asked Olivia if she wanted to stay with them or for us to leave & find a salon space more suitable for us. We made the decision to leave & that’s when it all started…

I won’t go into all the details but it was a very traumatizing experience. I remember getting the call, they threatened me on the phone. I was so scared, I hang up the phone after 20 minutes. I cried hysterically on the floor for 30 minutes straight after that call. I couldn’t believe what was said to me, my body was in shock & I was in so much pain. All I could remember doing was calling my admin, Olivia & my boyfriend to tell them what had happened. Shortly after, I then called my cousin crying for help. Later that night her & my boyfriend came to pack up all my stuff that night & just like that, we left. They threatened me with legal action. That’s when I knew, business is business. People don’t really care about you. It’s the idea of how they can use you & take advantage of you & when they don’t get what they want, in their perspective.

We try to fill this empty void we feel inside

We had no where to go & at the time I was booked up 3-6+ months with clients. I was grieving, I felt like I was falling apart. To move from home to find a space to rent where I felt safe, only to feel more unsafe & uncertain. I was so desperate to find a temporary place to rent that I searched on kijiji & craigslist. I knew I had to find a place for us to go temporarily, we had to move on. I found a place in Yorkville, Toronto where we decided to rent for a month before I determined if it was worth it for us to buy the salon & takeover the lease. No one knew this at the time but it seemed as if we were moving to bigger & better things. During the month renting, it was evident that it was very shady & odd behaviour. I knew we were being used & being taken advantage of. He wasn’t selling his salon, he was trying to buy us in & I realized this wasn’t going to work out. I started looking for places to rent on our own.

That’s when in August 2015, I had found the perfect place to lease. I drove by when driving from Yorkville after feeling sick. I got out of the car & looked into the windows. I remember feeling like this is the space. This is the space where we can open the salon. I felt so hopeful. I fell in love with the building at first sight. I gazed inside trying to gauge how much space was inside for a salon. I also saw the backyard space & knew this was the space I really wanted to be in. After having my boyfriend call, they finally got back to us. I was so thrilled, I felt like there was hope.

September 2015 – We signed the lease & got the keys in October. We went back to my home basement to work for 3+ months during the renovations at this time. We would work all day until the end of the night. During this process, I worked on clients & would leave to check on renovations. I was paying for rent at the same time, so I was constantly stressed & anxious. I was also looking for more to add to our team so I had a lot on my mind. Olivia had never questioned me or my intentions, even at our lowest points together. She never left my side even after all of this. She stayed consistent & was supportive through the challenges. My team kept my pieces together as I felt the heaviness & burden I was carrying to keep it all together.

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Opened in January 2016 – Lisa Dinh Hair Studio

Despite all the backlash & set-backs, I had opened & created a space for us to call home. It was difficult for us in the beginning. We had to learn to adjust in a new space. It was especially challenging for me to adjust & all of a sudden going from a freelance stylist to a boss, salon owner & manage our new team. It was all so new to me, I’ve never managed before or own a business. I realized quickly that this process would not be easy. I got hurt in the process. It was hard to manage not only my emotions but others. I felt like I didn’t fully understand what I was signing myself up for until I was actually in it. That’s when our first assistant had left & it was time for me to rebuild our team stronger than ever. From that moment, I knew that it’s all about perspective. Everyone has their own perspective on things. You can’t change someones mindset or opinions when their viewpoint is their own. I wanted to find genuine, hard working individuals who knew my struggle. To understand what it took for me to get here & what I had to endure & sacrifice. In order to understand from my point of view, my story.

I was struggling to keep it all together. I kept asking myself, is this all worth it? I felt so much pressure. I felt the agony & the misery. To everyone, I was doing well but in reality, I was trying to cope with it all. I didn’t know how to deal with managing stress, anxiety & depression. I didn’t know how to run my business properly. It kept getting bigger than myself. The salon was becoming so busy that it was overwhelming. I couldn’t do it on my own. I was already getting help but I felt like it wasn’t enough. Sometimes, I even felt like I wasn’t enough. I had to be this role model for everyone but for myself, I wasn’t happy. I felt defeated, I was ready to give it all up…

I felt like I was falling apart, I just wanted this nightmare to be over.

For the past 10+ months, I’ve been trying to buy & purchase our salon space. I opened Lisa Dinh Hair Studio in January 2016, within 6 months I decided that I wanted to buy the property. I went through hell negotiating to try to get our space. Going back & fourth for months, trying to get loans, I tried everything I could & even got my family involved. In October 2016, the deal was so close to closing. All he had to do was sign but he said he had a change of heart. My family was left devastated as we were left with interest onto of being upset over this whole ordeal. To me, it meant I finally had a place that was mine. I didn’t have to deal with anyones terms or being under anyones control. I could have the peace of mind that I am working towards something that was for me & for my family. We were dragged in the mud for months, as I kept it in the back of my mind. It was all I could think about.

It completely broke me, I felt devastated. I was crying in my car when I got the news. I kept telling myself it would be okay but deep down inside I knew, I was broken by all of this. It took everything left inside of me to keep going.

Then I got the news, I received the call that he’s decided to list the building for sale. What did that mean to me? I could potentially lose everything I’ve worked so hard to build. All the blood, sweat & tears that I put into this space. All the money, time & stress, I was about to lose it all… If someone wanted to buy the property  & wanted the building vacant. That would mean, we would be terminated & have no where to go. I didn’t have a back up plan. As my heart started to break into pieces & the agony of losing everything I worked so hard for sank in, all I could remember was calling my parents & telling them we’re about to lose everything. I spent the entire month completely stressed out of my mind, waiting anxiously & becoming this paranoid business owner. Imagine, working your whole life saving to open a business and pour your heart & soul into it for it to be just taken away? That’s how I felt. In that very moment, I felt like I was losing control.

As I put my last & final offer in, I realized that it’s all or nothing. This is it & if it didn’t happen then it wasn’t meant to be ours. Either whoever purchases the property keeps our lease & holds the building as an investment property. Or worst case scenario, wants to buy the building & to have it vacant. Which leaves us, to start all over again… Just the thought of starting all over again is stressful & leaves me feeling heartbroken. Just like the walls my dad helped build up, I wanted to tear it all down. Tear down everything we put into the place, tear down every part of what I helped create at the expense of us & the property being worth more. I was completely devastated. I put everything on the line, I had risked it all at this point.

This was the pinnacle moment in my life, I had worked all these years for this moment. To own the building meant to own the salon. To own the salon meant all the hard work wasn’t for nothing. I would have a property that was for me & my family. It couldn’t be taken away from me. I’ve sacrificed so much at this point, for the end goal. Then I got the call, “he signed.”

I didn’t know how to respond or react. I couldn’t believe it, the fight was finally over (or so I thought). I’ve waited almost my entire life for this. I waited my entire career for this. I was completely burned out but had the support of my family & loved ones. They believed in me & my dreams. They believed in me so much to put so much on the line, including our house & investing everything in me. They saw how much agony I was in, it was like torture. Instead of letting it break me, it built me.

“She overcame everything that was meant to destroy her.”

Days when I’m feeling completely defeated, I feel so drained. I feel exhausted physically & mentally. It’s like everything I’ve built, I can just end it all. When I feel the pressure, I feel it tremendously. To the point where I suffer & ask myself if this is all worth it. If being this unhappy is worth it.

I told myself just suffer a few more years, just a few more years of working like this so that my parents wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. To work & become successful so that they could retire at peace. If that would cost me my happiness at the expense of theirs, I would do it.

How does the story end?

To be continued…

The one thing that has remain the same, I didn’t give up. After all adversity, I never gave up even when I wanted to. Driven with a bigger purpose & goal in mind. Never giving up, I had the strength to keep going… The secret to success in my career & in life. With love always – Lisa

The chapters to my life

Keep going – 2016 (The cost of my ambition)

My Autobiography – 2015 (From the beginning)

My Journey – 2015 (My journey to becoming a hairstylist)

My diary – 2014 (My journey to overcoming depression & anxiety)

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Keep going

I just wanted to stay in bed

The truth was I couldn’t escape it

As much as I wanted to & to fight it, I could feel myself slipping.

(from my Diary)

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Keep going…

Update since my last blog post –  I opened my very own salon, Lisa Dinh Hair Studio at the beginning of this year January 2016. I’m very proud of all my accomplishments & achievements thus far. Since my last blog post, I moved around 3 times & was going through a very tough time. In everyones perspective I was moving up, I was moving on to better things. In my own reality, I had no where to go. I couldn’t escape my reality & thought the people that supported me the most would be there. In all truth, I felt very alone. I kept telling myself it would get better. It had felt as if everything was falling apart… Everyone just saw my success but not really for what it was. 

The bigger I got, the harder it got. The more successful I got, the more hate I got. I’ve lost friends & relationships along the way. The ones I thought would be there & support me the most left me. The ones I thought who would want to see me become a successful entrepreneur became full of jealousy & hate. There’s no other reason, it was the hardest reality to face. I never felt so alone. This came soon after I had a year of being so inspired as an hairstylist. What it really came with was hard work & a price. Being an entrepreneur: very few people are willing to endure: the pain, the sacrifices to be successful. I had to sacrifice so much to make it to this point. I was so lonely to the point where when my first stylist came, I felt less alone. I didn’t just see my own shadow. I worked 15 hours a day, 7 days a week to the point of exhaustion. I would work all day & have my first meal at night. Why? because I wanted it so bad. I wanted to be successful so much & if that meant working until I got there, I did. I remember my body shutting down on me & I was in so much pain. To the point where I had such bad back & shoulder pain I would wake up in tears. I was completely overworked & all because I wanted to make it…

I kept chasing the dream, knowing that there’s so much more. There’s so much potential. Every single part of this process has been challenging and the more we continue to grow, the harder it gets. Every year, my role changes. The demand grows and the pressure sinks in. This is how it feels to make it? The more enormous pressure I felt.

The truth about this industry: It’s not all what it’s made up to be. You get to the point where you have to be honest with yourself. What you wanted & what it took, with what it actually came with. I had no idea trying to be an successful entrepreneur would come with hate, jealousy & so many obstacles & challenges I had to face. It was a reality check for me that I didn’t expect or was ready for. This industry can be filled with ego minded individuals who want to chase the fame & success. I was so heart broken, “It’s as if all the super heroes I looked up to, had turn into villains.” Everyone in the same industry as me that I considered to be friends or close to me dropped me. Everyone that I looked up to had ended up being not what I thought. 

The Reality: With business, people will take advantage of you & step on you to make it to the top. They will see the opportunities in your potential & will break you for all your worth just to not see you win. Or in other cases to use you for their benefit. This was my reality, this was my truth. 

I remember being told, “Are you fucking stupid? Lisa, no one fucking owns a salon.” The conversation continued with telling me I am poor & that a salon cost over a certain amount & do I understand that? The conversation went on to belittle me & destroy everything I had inside. As tears fell down my face, I continued to cry in anguish. My heart broke into a million pieces as if my dreams were shattered. I knew things would never be the same.

I was determined to prove them wrong, to prove everyone that ever doubted me wrong. Instead of letting it break me, it built me. You have to have thick skin to be in this industry. It’s tough in every career, but if you can build thick enough skin to not let things get to you & destroy your hopes & dreams – You will make it, I promise. I picked myself back up & with purpose.

Within 6 months, I opened my very first salon.

If you haven’t read my blogs in the past, I’ve suffered from depression & anxiety since 21 years old. It doesn’t appear like it but it’s there & it still lingers from time to time. Everyday is an ongoing battle & fight for me. I have days I struggle with it & my emotions. Sometimes I feel like I’m sinking deeper & deeper. My heart weighs heavy… but instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’ve accepted it. I know I need to continue, to keep going to be strong for my family, my team, my business & more importanly for myself.

Everyone wants to chase the dream but at what cost? 

At the expense of you…

“I can’t count how many times I’ve broken down & cried from the pressure & the stress. The anxiety triggers flashbacks of the past reaching my breaking point. All in that very moment, all I can feel is pain & agony. The depression kicks in & I’m so sad deep in my heart & soul, it’s as if everything that ever hurt me comes rushing through my veins. The negative feelings start coming & as much as I want to stop it, it’s too late. Crying immensely just to shed the pressure off of me & cry out everything that causes me pain. I have a moment of silence & then I pick up the pieces & continue the rest of my day.”

Success comes with a price. You give up everything to become something. You sacrifice it all for that one belief that if you work harder & never give up, you’ll make it to where you want to be. The question is, but at what cost.

I put my trust in people & I always got hurt. I had set backs after set backs. I had people always try to take advantage of my success & of me. I have people always using me for their own gain, for their own benefit. I won’t go into all the details about my journey getting here but it was dramatic & traumatizing. What hurts the most, is the people who you think want the best for you & love you, leave you because of their own perspective. In my perspective, it’s been a difficult process & journey. Everyone just sees success for what it is but they don’t really know what happens or understand the blood, sweat and tears it took for me to get here. All the sacrifices made to be successful in this career. I gave up a lot of my life in the past 2 years. People look at me now, a 27 year old successful salon owner but what they don’t realize is where I am now is not where I was 2 years ago or even 5 years ago.

I wake up most mornings with stress & anxiety. My mind is filled with everything I need to do for that day. I’m lucky if I’m able to have 2 meals a day. People think being a boss is easy, it’s actually more work. I went from being a stylist to now managing a small team. I work 70+ hours a week, it use to be 80+ hours a week. By the time we’re done work, there’s literally no time to get anything else done or we’re completely exhausted. When I opened the salon, I didn’t have anyone to help me. I had my family, friends & boyfriend but no one who really knew the in & out of opening a business. We had to learn & make many mistakes in the process. It ended up costing us thousands of dollars. I used my entire life savings to open the salon on my own.

Being in our 20’s & early 30’s we feel this sense of pressure to find our careers. To find ourselves & to feel this sense of fulfilment & purpose. We feel pressure from our parents & from ourselves.

The cost of ambition, is it worth it?

(Post from the past) When I first started in my 20’s I was working 3 jobs. I would waitress at night & do hair during the day. I also worked part-time at a high end salon. I was exhausted working so many jobs but I needed to pay my bills. After my ex-boss told me I was replaceable as an assistant I knew he didn’t value me. I ended quitting my salon job & going to Dubai. I had a moment where I just needed to get away from my own thoughts. I was lost, like anyone in their 20’s. When I came back I decided to quit waitressing job. I was waitressing for 2 years & would work late night shifts from 7pm going into 7am. After that I would go home, sleep for the few hours that I could then I would wake up & do my hair appointments. I was a vampire, doing a graveyard shift. It was too much for my body to handle. I wanted to quit everything & focus on my career just doing hair before turning 25. After I did, everything changed. I saw the potential to grow & better myself. I’ve given up so much at this point – my social life, my personal life, all for my work life. I keep the end goal in mind. 

What’s your end goal?

(Post from the past) I’ve always wanted to open a salon since I could remember. Being a hairstylist for 7 years, I’ve finally made that dream come true. Would I do it all again if I had to? My answer would probably be I don’t think so. Why? Because it’s the most stressful, mentally & physically exhausting, frustrating & time consuming thing you will ever have to do. Not to mention, the most expensive. Why did I do it? Because I had no choice. I’ve always worked in salons & no one saw potential in me to take me in & mentor me. I was always just the pretty face, I got fed up. I knew that if I didn’t do it on my own, nothing would happen for me. I decided to take matters into my own hands & become my own boss, start my own business. I told myself if I ever become a boss, I would mentor & take potential in. To give them what I never had when I was desperately looking for it. A job & salon to have growth in, feel appreciated & most important, valued as an artist & individual. To learn & mentor from someone who actually gives a damn about you. I created this for myself & hopefully for my future team. I have a company that’s in my name now & that’s something I’m really proud of.

My end goal is to support & provide for my family. I want to be able to financially support myself & my family & I won’t stop until I get there. 

October 2016: I have an amazing team. I love & adore every one of them like they were my own. I’m very proud of all of them & how far we’ve come. It’s not just my journey, now it’s all of ours. All our hopes & dreams, together. Everyday is a new challenge but I know they support me & I support them. You have to learn who genuinely wants to see you do well & succeed. Those are the ones you want to stay close. There will be people who negatively impact you & your life, those are the ones you have to let go of.

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Never let anyone make you feel like you’re incapable of reaching your full potential. We are given the opportunity everyday to prove to ourselves that we are capable, that we are worth it. Everyday is a new chance to start over. I know how hard it is, it’s never easy… but I know that I’m able to overcome my fears. You just have to keep reminding yourself why it’s worth it. You deserve a life full of happiness, you have to fight for it. You have to push through it. You need to feel – the pain, the struggle, the heartache, the grief, the loss…

Let yourself feel, live without judgement or fear of what others think of you. No one knows what you’re going through or your story. Be yourself & do what’s right in your heart & feeds your soul. You have a purpose in this life.

– Lisa

I strive for success not because money defines me, but so I can provide stability for my life and my family.

My Autobiography

Humble Beginnings…

(Sept 2015) Current update on my vlog: I am no longer with Trends due to circumstances. However, I am happy to announce that I will be opening up my own salon in Toronto! Lisa Dinh Hair Studio – COMING SOON…

Growing up, I never came from a privileged family. I was born & raised in Toronto & we lived in the projects, my family was on welfare. My parents worked day & night to provide for me & my 2 sisters. I remember every year housing funding would give us a christmas box. Every year me & my sisters would wait for this box & when we received it, we were the happiest kids. I would open the box & see all the toys that my parents could not afford for us at the time. These toys became an abundance of hope & joy.

If you haven’t read my past blogs, I’ll help explain my story.

I was sitting there with my counsellor telling her what it means to me to be successful. Why do I strive so hard & work myself to the bone. What does this end goal mean to me? What is my definition of success. The answer was simple.

It was happiness…

Everyone in life, we strive for this in ourselves. To be happy would be the highest form of success & what does that mean to me? As I sat there with tears falling down my face, I said to her “To be happy & successful would mean I wouldn’t have to open the housing funding christmas boxes again, I would be able to afford my own gifts. I wouldn’t have to see my family struggle again.” That was my most real & honest definition of what success meant to me.

I’ve always said “You are a product of your environment.” what I meant by that is your environment makes you who you are. What you were raised around growing up, it stays with you & it defines you as an adult. I don’t mean you can’t change the circumstances of your life but it builds you & your character as a person. At a young age, watching my parents struggle it was instilled in me that hard work was important. You had to work hard for every dollar.

Being that young & understanding the concept that things don’t come easy I always knew I would strive for greatness. Not only for myself but for my family. I was raised in an environment where the goal was to survive. My parents were constantly in survivor mode to make ends meet. I learned at a young age to hustle & by hustle I mean to do what we needed to do to “survive.” Growing up in the projects, I was exposed to drugs, alcoholism, violence & gang related activities. We barely made it out but when we did, my parents re-located & moved us out of the city & into a place we could call home & feel safe. Everything at the time was all I knew, 13-14 years of my life growing up in the projects. That was my reality, it was all I had known.

Entering my teenage years into high-school, I knew I was different. I always knew I was different. It was evident, I was shown to a world where to what other teenage kids would say was normal. You would go to school, have your lunch packed or given allowance. Hang out with your friends & after school go to the mall or go home. I definitely did all that but I knew deep inside I had a life that was not in other words “normal”. I always tried fitting in with the crowd but I eventually managed to start making friends with everyone & had made a new life for myself. I started to feel what by now I’ve already used the term & plays a significant role in my life, “normal.” I started a new chapter in my life.

After graduating high-school, I knew university life wasn’t for me. All my friends went to college or university. I was the only one out of my group of friends to take a year off & work. I then later on enrolled myself into beauty school. I finished the hairstyling program & that’s where another chapter of my life started. I explained my story in my journey to becoming a hairstylist post.

I started to travel & this is where I found my appreciation & gratitude for life. Every time I travelled I felt a sense of purpose & meaning to my life. I would travel to the most amazing places & have the most incredible experiences. I would get to see the best of what life had to offer & I felt extremely grateful for those experiences. At times it was unbelievable how beautiful the world would appear to be & I would reflect on my life & be thankful. Thankful for the wonderful memories & to remember what it felt like to feel alive. To be happy.

Sharing something very personal to me because to feel is to be human.

Talking with my counsellor, in what I like to think was a turning point in one of our sessions & in my life. Not only was what my definition of success meant to me but the realization also of why I felt this sense of happiness & at the same time sadness. I have suffered from depression & anxiety in the past but the pain still lingers from time to time. I tried expressing how I felt & the answer was clear. I have experienced so much in such a short amount of time & in my life that over time I developed post traumatic stress & it still affects me. Sometimes I get triggered & have a flashback of emotions. All the pain & agony from the past years come rushing into one moment of anxiety & panic. I saw the world differently. Through the pain & the happiness. I’ve experienced both worlds & that’s why I experience happiness & sadness at the same time.

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As I reach this pinnacle point in my life, I’m 25 going on 26 (June 1st) & I’ve already had a few life experiences. Everyday I face a new challenge & still struggle from time to time. I reflect on my life & take a step back to look how far I have come. I made it through some tough times. The thing that keeps me going is determination & hope. Hope that despite how I feel at times, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have the drive to change & better my life. I have the power to make a difference. The ability to influence others. To share my stories & make something negative become something empowering.

Keep going…

I’ve already experienced some success in my career. This definitely did not come easy & was never handed to me. My dreams are so big & my definition of success meant working myself to the ground until I got there. I’ve worked so hard my entire life to be able to work for myself building my own business but also building a team. I’ve put blood, sweat & tears into my business. So many nights asking myself, “is this worth it?”. Endless hours of work, investing time & money spent. All for one dream, to achieve the possible. There are no limitations when it comes to what we can do. What we strive for in ourselves & in life. We have the ability & capacity to reach our potential. It’s all about the mindset & the determination to do so & I wont stop until I get there.

“There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.”

A secret to my success – Being able to be relatable to my clients. Everyone who sits in my chair has a story. Being able to connect with my clients but to be relatable & compassionate, I have found to be the most highest form of not only therapeutic sessions but rewarding. As long as your genuine, your clients can see that. I’ve been able to share my story & I’m forever grateful for that. Rememeber, we are all human & we all make mistakes in life. Some encounter life differently & have different life experiences but we all have the same goal. To be happy in this life. We are all on the pursuit of happiness.

Being lost brings you to the most beautiful places that you would have not discovered otherwise. A place where the mind goes deeper than you could ever imagine.

Dedicated to: Anyone who feels lost, I hope with time you find yourself again.

Follow your dreams & keep your passion alive

– Lisa Dinh

My Journey

This is my journey of becoming a hairstylist, this is my story…

lilachair

My first blog post for January 2015!

This is my second blog post & I decided to share my story of my journey to becoming a hairstylist. I’ve always wanted to write about my journey but never had the motivation to do so but all that changed when I wrote my first blog post. It was not until I had someone actually genuinely interested in my life & asked me to write my journey that I finally decided to.

I’ve always had an interest for the beauty industry ever since I could remember. It all started when I was in high-school, I knew university or college wasn’t for me so I decided to take a year off. I worked in a salon & saved up enough to enroll myself into a hairstyling school. I was 19 at the time when I started. I graduated from The Aveda Institute program within 10 months.

After graduating from the Aveda Institute of Toronto I wanted to further my education to get ahead so I decided to enroll myself back into the advanced program. I wanted to advance in my career & gain the skills to take me to the next level. Shortly after, I ended up dropping out of the advance course. (I explain it in my last video from New Orleans) The educators there told me that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this industry. I remember feeling devastated & discouraged. I ended up leaving the program. From there on I was always in & out of salons. Same thing, they always told me that I needed to work in a salon & that I wouldn’t make it on my own as a stylist. I always ended up leaving because I never felt like I truly belonged in any salon, my heart was never in it.

My whole life, I remember always putting so much pressure on myself to do well. Not because my parents told me too but because I felt like I had something to prove. Maybe it was to prove to myself that I could do it. That I could become this successful & determined person if I wanted to be. That motivation took me to work for myself & start my own business at the age of 20. I started working from home as a freelance hairstylist. I was motivated to start my own business & work for myself part-time. Over the years, I gained the clientele I had always wanted & the confidence to continue to work for myself.

I started by working part-time as I was building my clientele still. 5 years later, I now work full-time for myself as a freelance hairstylist. I have my own clientele which continues to grow & I’m absolutely amazed with where I am now. I never would have thought I would be able to work for myself. Working for myself & my clients, that’s where my heart & passion is. They are the reason I love what I do. Not only do I feel like my clients give me purpose but they give me meaning. They inspire me & make me feel empowered.

I remember at a young age, I told my dad that I wanted to be a hairstylist but he said “No, you don’t make that much being a hairstylist.” After hearing that I was discouraged but I didn’t listen. I did it anyways, if someone you love says you can’t or you shouldn’t do something, don’t listen. Follow your dreams & follow your heart. If you feel like you want to do something, then you should do it. Go for it, you never know until you try & I’m happy I did. I found my love & passion for this industry. Never give up your dreams, never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Use that as your motivation to prove to yourself that you can. I’m fortunate because I found what I love to do & I’m able to make a career out of it. This journey wasn’t easy for me but it’s been worth it. After school educators & mentors telling me I couldn’t do it, that was my opportunity to not only prove to them but prove to myself that I could do it.

I continue to be inspired everyday by other hairstylists & colorists work now on social media. Social media has open doors for me & opportunities of networking with other hairstylists out there like me. Thank you to all my followers who have been there with me on my journey to becoming a hairstylist & successful entrepreneur. I’m working hard everyday to achieve my goals & I couldn’t have done it without all of you & all of your support. Lots of love – Lisa

You can find me on social media on Instagram @hairbylisadinh #hairbylisadinh or my personal account @lisathidinh & on Twitter @lisathidinh

www.lisadinhhairstudio.com 

New account: @lisadinhhairstudio

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Behindthechair – New Orleans ’14

After coming back from New Orleans from Behindthechair Color, Cut & Style – I feel more determined now than ever to exceed even my highest expectations of myself. I use to feel pressured but now I feel like “Bring it on!”

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I finally got to meet my hair idol of course! Guy Tang, who has been such a big influence on my career & someone I look up to as a mentor. The story behind all of this is, I started following Guy Tang on Instagram. I was so amazed by his work that I got inspired to do more color on my clients. I never really considered myself as a colorist because I use to only do mostly haircuts but after watching his videos & seeing all of his work I started to really love color & it’s all because I was so inspired. Guy Tang followed me back on Instagram & I remember freaking out because I was so excited. He messaged me that he would be in New Orleans for the Behindthechair – Color, Cut & Style show & to come. I decided to fly out to meet the person who inspired me in my career. He told me he believed in my work & he believed in me.  I got Guy Tang approved & the rest is history. He gave me the confidence I needed in myself to take my career to another level. Now I continue to reach my goals & make my dreams happen.

So here it is! My video blogs & updates from my New Orleans trip back in September 2014.

“Greatness is not reserved for the chosen few, it’s reserved for those who choose it.”

My diary

This is my story of my struggle with depression & anxiety… This is my diary

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From a person on the outside looking in, my life looked almost perfect. I had loving friends, family, a boyfriend & a career. It looked like I had it all, how could someone who appeared so happy & fine fall under depression? Well It happened & it happened to me. For the few that knew, they couldn’t believe it. I was the most happy, bubbly & positive person they knew but all that changed. Depression hit me & it hit me hard. It was something unexplainable at the time, I knew it would change my life forever.

— It took me almost 3 years but I’ve finally decided to share my story with my struggle with depression & anxiety. Why did I decide to share this now? Honestly, It’s been a long time coming & after endless reasons of why I shouldn’t & having doubts, I knew it was what I wanted to do. This has been my project, to put myself out there & share my experience meant helping others that could be suffering & going through the same thing was worth it. I knew I wanted to share my experience to help others so they wouldn’t have to go through what I did or alone. After my depression, I kept a diary of all my emotions & how I felt during & after recovering from it. It was my raw & real emotions… every word, every sentence was the very core of my existence. I never written anything more real & true to how I felt at the time.

My depression was real & the pain runs deep…

Part of the reason why it took me so long to finally post this was I had over 2 years worth of blogging about my experience with depression & anxiety. I knew eventually I would want to share it, make a blog & to help others understand about struggling with depression & anxiety. After my computer got stolen, I had lost all the documents that were saved over the past years. I was absolutely devastated. I thought to myself maybe this was a sign not to post & share something so personal to me & that very few knew about. That maybe it was better for everyone not to know the struggles & obstacles I had to face but I knew it was the right thing to do. What changed my mind was the compassion for others. I was inspired to share my story, to make a difference. I want to help end the stigma towards depression & anxiety.

They say 1 out of 4 people will have a mental illness in their lifetime. I just didn’t realize it would be me. I was 21 at the time when it happened. I had no idea what was going on with me.  No one could understand or explain what was happening to me either. I just knew something was wrong. I kept crying & saying “Why me, why me?”. I remember telling my boyfriend at the time. I was in my bed crying hysterically & he knew right then & there, it was real. This wasn’t me acting up, this wasn’t me being dramatic, this was me going through severe depression. He broke down because he knew, this wasn’t going to be easy. He was my only source of hope. He gave up everything at the time & was there when I needed him the most. With his patience & love, he got me through this dark period & time in my life. I couldn’t have done it without him, for that moment I knew that these were the defining moments of our relationship. When someone gives up everything for you, no words can truly describe that feeling of gratitude & that’s exactly what he’s done for me. I will always be forever grateful that I had someone like that in my life. For him to be there for me at my worst & still try to help & understand what I was going through, he truly cared for me. No words can describe it, all I know is that there was a reason & purpose he was in my life.

My depression got worse as the days turned into weeks & the weeks turned into months. I had no idea what triggered it & I started having suicidal thoughts. Not only was I feeling depressed & couldn’t get out of bed but my body felt numb & I had major anxiety. I was anxious about everything & about not knowing what was happening. I remember feeling so anxious that something bad was going to happen every minute. It got so bad that the thoughts started taking over & every waking moment was too much for me to handle. I didn’t want to live. I would go to sleep every night hoping that I wouldn’t wake up & when I did, all I could think about was ending all of this. I didn’t understand that I was falling into major depression. No one told me or could have explained to me because they didn’t even understand what was happening to me. All they could do & the best they could do was try to get me help & that’s what they did. My family took me to all the doctors, the hospitals & even tried a therapist. They told me I was going through depression because I had a chemical imbalance. I refused to take anti-depressants because I didn’t want to rely on meds to help me, I didn’t even want to help myself. I always had a stigma towards any medications. Eventually, they put me on anti-depressants & on anxiety pills. I never had anxiety before but it just developed over time. I felt like something was wrong with me. It was something I couldn’t snap out of, I felt stuck & I felt hopeless. I just didn’t understand what was happening to my mind & taking control of my life.

“Mental illness is not by choice, it’s a disease.”

After time, I realized it’s nothing to be ashamed about. I did not choose to be this way, it just happened. Either you learn how to cope with it or you drown in it. The reason I wrote this was, for whoever feels like their drowning, you’re not alone. Before depression I was the most happy & bubbly person you could imagine. No one would have ever thought I would go through depression. When it hit me, it hit me hard. It was out of no where & there wasn’t anything that triggered it. All I knew was that something was wrong with me & I couldn’t figure it out. If I knew then what I knew now it would’ve helped me so much & this is why I’m sharing this. For those that don’t understand it, I want to help those going through it & also those that know someone who is suffering from depression. I remember someone telling me, “You’re beautiful, you have friends & a boyfriend. So what is there to be sad about?”. I knew not everyone would understand. Before all of this happened, I had no idea or couldn’t even grasp the concept of depression or anxiety. To me it was someone who was unhappy, I never really knew what mental illness was until it happened to me. So I hope by sharing this & my personal experiences that I can truly help someone in need.

My signs & symptoms of depression:

– Over sleeping (excessive sleeping)

– Loss of appetite & lack of energy

– No emotions, things I enjoyed before I didn’t care for anymore

– Anxiety & suicidal thoughts, I couldn’t control it…

– I felt worthless & hopeless, I didn’t feel like myself

I fell under major depression also known as clinical depression. I felt so broken & damaged beyond repair. You feel empty, you feel broken, you feel numb. I felt so hopeless, like nothing or anything could save me.

What I did to help me through my recovery & still continued in my daily life:

– yoga, gym, walks, travel, (maintain a healthier lifestyle)

In yoga & meditating, I found peace within myself. It just makes me more calm & puts me at ease. Breathing is so important in yoga & in everyday life. Just breathe in & out when you’re feeling stressed, angry or anything. I also started going to the gym. I found that by going to the gym, I felt better about myself & I started living a healthier lifestyle. Not only by appearance & fit but my mental state of mind. Pushing yourself to have a healthy lifestyles allows you to have an active mind. Keeps you energetic & keeps you going. I also started going for walks. It allowed me to clear my mind & just take everything in. It really makes you appreciate life when you have time to reflect on all the positive & good. Nature is beautiful itself so take it all in & be grateful for the life you have.

I told myself when I was 21 that I would try to travel at least twice a year. In travelling I found so much happiness. I love travelling & seeing the world because there’s so much more to life. It really gives you a bigger appreciation for life. When I travel, it gives me time to reflect on the meaning of my life & purpose. I get a better understanding & clear mind of what I want & what makes me happy. This is why I love to travel.

I don’t know what it was still to this day, that made me better but just like it came, it left. I went off all the meds & watched the seasons change, all of a sudden I felt like me again. There’s no words or explanation I can give for how I got over it & overcome my depression. It just felt like something inside of me was still fighting for my life. I never thought I would snap out of it but it happened & one day I just did. I didn’t tell most people about this part of my life because it was so personal to me. I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just wanted to continue to live my life.

“You don’t drown by falling into the water, you drown by staying there.”

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I started writing & I found a way in words to express myself & how I was feeling. It gave me a positive outlet to let everything out. Every thought, every emotion, I would start by writing down which turned into notes & that inspired me to keep writing.

The first & last note
May 23, 2011 at 11:35pm
I’ve always thought of myself as a strong independent individual who knew what I wanted in life & the person I wanted to become but life happens & anything can change. I’ve always had high expectations for myself & because of that I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a certain way. I’m the type of person that has many different sides to me but no one sees. Only the people who truly know me know all my sides. I stay very neutral because it’s simple, I don’t let people get to know me sometimes. I have a hard time letting people in because I’m scared to be vulnerable. I’ve experienced & seen things that no one should go through in life but it’s the way that I react to it that makes me the person I am today. Throughout my life I’ve always viewed myself as a positive person but sometimes things happen to change the person you are. I’ve experienced happiness, sadness & all of the above. I’ve been heartbroken, fell out of love, fell back in love & the list goes on. I’m usually a really happy & bubbly person but I’ve also been through hell & back. I’ve been through a really dark place & state of mind before that no one will ever completely understand. With that, I’m not going to lie but I’m a very judgemental person. That saying “Never judge a book by its cover” well it’s true. I’m learning not to judge because you don’t know that person. The thing I do know is that only in your most darkest moments, you realize who your real friends really are. Why am I sharing this? I want everyone to know that you shouldn’t judge someone if you don’t know them & that person could change your life. If you do find friends that will always be there, be there for them & for those who have been there for me, I will always be forever grateful. Life has its mysterious ways of making something horrible into a positive situation. It’s like a blessing in disguise but we live & we learn. I’ve made mistakes before, I’m not a perfect person and I’ve done good things but also things I would take back. I know the person I am today could change in the future but I try to not look ahead but rather live in the present now because like I said anything can change. I know that sometimes you get lost in life & feel like giving up but it’s also an opportunity to find yourself again. I’m constantly changing my views on life but I know that with my family & friends, I’ll always stay grounded to be the person I’m suppose to be. Everyone experiences life differently, everyone has a story. So that’s my story & the only question I have for you is, what’s your story?
Life is precious, beautiful, wonderful, hard, sad & anything you make it…
– Lisa Dinh

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Strength – (my tattoo on the right side of my hand) everyone always asks “why strength?” the reason behind it is, during this dark period & time in my life I was praying. The pain & sorrow I felt was so unbearable that I asked God to give me strength & he did. The tattoo is a reminder that if I can overcome this that I can overcome anything, it’s a reminder to stay strong.

Fortunately, I did have some files that were backed up & saved. Here’s a part of my diary that I found. This is shortly after my depression & during my recovery phase. It’s one of the last things I wrote…

JULY 2011 

New Chapter in my Life…

I can’t say I completely recovered from depression, but I can say that I feel like I have overcome the fear of not knowing. It’s been about 3 months now that I feel like myself again & going through this experience I’m still coping but it’s been getting a lot better. I enjoy things again & I can feel a sense of emotion. When I was depressed, I couldn’t feel anything, I felt numb. The whole experience was a snowball effect that I couldn’t control, it was a path to self-destruction. Looking back now, words cannot describe what I’ve been through. I never want to feel that pain again… Feeling anxiety & not being able to control my mind, thoughts & body. The brain is a powerful thing, it’s the most complex. I never thought that my mind could go that far & get into such a dark state of mind. I never thought that depression would have all of a sudden just hit me like it did.

“It’s not that I wanted to die, it’s just that I didn’t want to live this way.”

I was suicidal & for the same reason many are, I wanted the pain to go away. I didn’t understand what was happening to my mind & taking control of my life. I didn’t want to go through the aftermath of depression. In my mind, it was the easiest way out. The only way I could be at peace. I’ve never been so terrified in my life. How could I not control my own thoughts? I didn’t want to live this way… The anxiety was unbearable & caused me to go down into this downward spiral. That time of my life still haunts me. My dreams are a reminder that the pain was real. No one will ever completely understand what I went through or how I felt. It’s probably one of the hardest things I will ever go through in my life. Nothing will ever compare to the pain & hurt that I felt…

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Today I am happy, healthy & so grateful for the life I have. My life now is more than I could ever ask for. I have the most amazing support, family & friends in the world. I’ve learned to accept the past & cope with everything. The past has made me who I am today. I just hope by sharing this I helped someone either going through it or understand depression better. You’re not alone, you’re never alone. The struggles you face in your past & in your present will build you up & make you stronger. Sometimes you have to go through the pain & the lost to find yourself again. I can say that I’m not ashamed of my depression or my past anymore. Through my heartache & pain, I found love for myself & I found happiness. I found myself again & will continue for the years to come & grow as a person. I feel empowered, I feel inspired, I feel like me. Life goes on, never give up.
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This is dedicated to my family – Nga, Nina, Mommy & Daddy
I love you so much with all my being, I won’t ever let you down.
– Lisa