by Tara Rose
Here's the funny thing, everyone has expectations – from parents, siblings, spouses, kids, friendships, and institutions… from life itself! And while it's not wrong to have hope and hold people accountable, it's taken me some time to learn that setting expectations from anyone or anything is the surest way to disappointment. Not only will you be let down, but you are also left forever looking to someone (or something) else for self-fulfillment and happiness.
I know this because, for a very long time, I used to think that life owed me for previous wrongs and misunderstandings. It's no secret that I grew up with mixed feelings about school and academic learning. I was told that I wasn't good enough, and I was made to feel like a failure as a student. And in school systems that were so rigidly number-centric, with no room for creativity and self-expression, I grew up lacking faith in myself and my abilities. It would even be fair to say that I spent most of my teenage years battling mental health issues. But even in this grim period, I found my salvation in hairdressing. It was my silver lining – a way to pull myself out of a depressive funk and a chance to channel my creativity into something bigger and more wholesome than rote academic learning. It would (eventually) become the catalyst for all the success I have today, but back then, I simply assumed that now that I had found something that I was good at, life would suddenly become amazing.
But that's not how it played out. I still struggled, navigated challenges, and faced defeat. These very same disappointments saw me move from the UK to Dubai in search of a new job with a meagre £200 in my pocket. Here I was now, making demands once again from life. Surely, I had dodged that cloud of bad luck that had followed me for years?
But, despite a change of environment, I could not change the challenges or the mental state that had followed me growing up. I felt more lost than ever. I moved to Abu Dhabi and still struggled to find meaningful work. It was then that I decided I had had enough and opted to do my own thing. I had no business experience and barely any idea of how to get started. But I did it anyway.
I wish I could give you a bumper sticker tagline of "entrepreneurial success," but alas, that's not real life! My experiences with my first salon went as well as I could have hoped. I knew and understood hair, and my passion fuelled me, but without any idea of how to lead a team of people or manage finances, I was back where I started. While business was doing well enough, it was operating in constant fire-fighting mode. I was tired, frustrated, and angry.
It was only by the time I was on my second branch of Tara Rose Salons that the truth really began to hit home. The real "aha" moment came five years ago amidst juggling two salons, a growing team, and a six-week-old baby. I looked deeply into myself and realised that my own subconscious was limiting my beliefs and potential. I had seen weakness and failure as circumstantial evidence of external problems – it was a cycle on repeat. If I had to move on, I had to break old habits. And the only way to move on was to do better. I invested in self-development, first through books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Miracle Morning, among others, and then through deeper self-belief and empowerment. When I started to realise that I had to find my own power and that life doesn't owe anyone anything, I began to create my own opportunities.
I wish I could tell you that unlearning the thoughts, behaviours, and habits that hinder us is easy work. It isn't. I've learnt that you can fulfil your highest potential only when you realise your power and step into it. This act of looking inwards, not outwards, creates things. And when you begin to trust yourself and your efforts, success, and fulfilment follow automatically.