That definition eally sums it up, doesn’t it? The back half is kind of spooky to even read, but the first three words of that definition really characterize truly what fear means to most of us. An unpleasant emotion, but what if we made a decision to reconfigure that a little? We can’t simply become icy veined warriors like the Dothraki armies of Game of Thrones, but what if we can take the unsettling emotion of fear and twist it into motivation? What scares us most times is merely a challenge to overcome. To overcome the fear to capture what it is on the other side we covet.
I recently connected with Clairol and started talk about the prospect of dyeing my hair. At first, the conversation was playful and experimental in nature. I told them I had never done it before, that the whole process was a little foreign to me but hey, I wasn’t scared to do it. Our conversation pivoted from there. They said, “Daniel, that’s kind of why we reached out to you and thought you would be a great partner, you seem like a the adventurous type.” Clairol very much wanted to align themselves with the fearless of the world. Those who aren’t just willing to be daring with their style, but those who embody the way of life. Listen, we all feel fear in small and big circumstances, but we all approach it a little differently. I immediately connected with the idea and put my hand in the middle like a scout at summer camp.
You may be thinking, well you can’t compare the fear of making a bold statement with your hair colour to life’s REAL fears. You know, starting a new job, divorce, illness…but remember fear is simply the feeling of unpleasant emotion. We feel fear every day in life’s smallest things. Emotion is emotion no matter how high it tips on the meter. It’s not all about overcoming life’s biggest fears or comparing each other’s, it’s about overcoming YOUR fears. Breaking down big and small walls because life itself and the pursuit of happiness is riddled with them like landmines.
So how can we be fearless? While I am always sharpening my sword to cut down fear more mightily, I found a weapon in using fear as motivation. Often I find the things I’m scared of are blocking me from achieving the things I want. It was only 24 months ago that I sat in a glass office selling services for a company, tucking my shirt in because I had to not because I wanted to. Arriving at 9AM sharp because I was expected to and a corporate finger would be wagged at me if I didn’t adhere to the rules. To this day, the best support I ever got was from a close friend of mine that told me during a really difficult breakup that no matter what was thrown at me, I found a way through it. It was a strange vote of confidence that my track record was a winning one. I didn’t need to be told “oh Daniel everything is going to be OK…” I needed to hear that life was s**** right now, but chances are I was going to climb out of it.
Clairol asked me to elaborate a little on my story. Like, how did you get here? What did it take? I realized that when you’re so busy and focused on achieving goals that sometimes you forget the journey. I’m an entrepreneur. It’s great and it’s all I know, but how is it that I became that? I asked myself. It started at 15 years old. To the heartbreak of my mother, I packed up my belongings and moved out making a home out of a small
basement apartment with my bulldog Mickey and not much more than a Blue Jay collection. My mother and I were at odds and while I didn’t want to leave, I needed independence. I did my best to maintain my academics and the social system actually put me on student welfare. Here I was 15 years old going to school, collecting a monthly check of $398, forwarding $300 to my landlord and spending the rest on dog kibble and pizza slices as a treat meal. . My buddies loved that they now had their first friend with their own place with no parents and no rules, but I felt nothing but emptiness. I had zero purpose and high school didn’t inspire me. So I quit. I was sick of eating the handout sack of potatoes from the landlord making hash browns in the morning and mashed potatoes at night. I quit school and I hit the workforce. I worked 12-hour days on high-pitched, scorching-hot roofs, I pumped gasoline at the local station for the parents of my neighbourhood friends, I installed skyscraper windows and worked in factories. I did this and that and learned everything I could and stuffed my pockets full of money. My hands were filthy and my walls were bare of diplomas, but I was proud of myself for doing things unconventionally and overcoming the challenge of being a teenage dropout with meaningful responsibility, but I grew bored. I grew fearful that my whole life was destined for working on construction sites and that my thirst for creative practices like drawing, music, graphic design and fashion were going to die a slow miserable death. I was getting physically unhealthy and I started to truly dislike my path. So again, I quit. I slammed the door shut but I didn’t sit in the hallway of career purgatory, I looked for a new door. It happened to be fitness.
Now I was a mildly broke receptionist at a fitness club. A far cry from a skyscraper window installer, but a new and fresh environment. I needed to get my butt in shape, sharpen my communication skills and prove myself to move up the ladder with my career. I was the General Manger of the club within 16 months. My reception skills made me a staff favourite and I was introduced to membership sales and then I killed it! I got fit and was challenged to become a personal trainer, so I did and then I took over the personal training division. I filled in for the GM when he was on vacation and I crushed club goals and I kingslayered him and took over. I eventually got a junior position for the most prestigious fitness club in Canada and one of the very best on the planet. I was terrified to go to from a Mom & Pop brand to a global giant, but I found my footing and again smashed all my sales goals and was given a plethora of bonuses and corporate pats on the back for putting the brand on the map in Canada. I was senior advisor for one of the world’s fastest growing companies, but then I felt that sense of emptiness again. My bank was full, my job was safe but my relationships were failing, my creative thirst was still unquenched and I was miserable. Married to my job and on a leash. I quit.
I had zero plan. I had a nest egg and again was in search of a door. Most people thought I was a dummy. My friends were confused, my parents were worried and my corporate peers thought I was walking away from a future. I felt relieved, for a little while. Fear came me over many nights and I too was scared that I walked away from something simply because the romanticism of doing what I really wanted in life was too intoxicating for me to ignore. But who really gets to do that, right? Life is about security and pensions and health benefits. I guess…for some. But not for me.
The next chapter of my life is still being written. I’ve written many times about how my life as a blogger came to be, but it was fast and rather unplanned. My sneaker addiction led to a simple Instagram account and no matter how terrifying it was in the beginning to suddenly throw every thought and outfit on the internet, I did it and it became the best decision I ever made. When people were literally and figuratively pointing at me and laughing, it fueled me to get better and make it not just a hobby, but a career. I met amazing people who helped me gain the courage to stick with it and eventually met one of the most important person in my life today, my partner Sara Koonar. In a back patio of an Italian restaurant, we decided then and there to create an agency. An agency of our own to elevate the digital content industry and simultaneously break Sara free from her own corporate leash. We were both hungry to carve out our own path and nobody and no health benefit package was going to stop us. We created Platform Media.
So here I am. Partner to Platform, blogger, father to two fat little bulldogs and still doing everything I can every day to overcome the little things that scare me. To take myself and my projects to new heights. I am the happiest and the most driven when I am constantly reinventing myself and today, I do a little of that and give myself a new look. It’s not going to make me a different man but it is another small dose of me flipping the bird to fear and trying something new. Why? Because I want to.
Over the next few months, I am going to experiment with a few different looks with my friends at Clairol and their new collection of Color Crave hair colouring. A line of semi-permanent formulas to show your colourful side and #flauntyourfearless. The lineup is made up of 17 shades from metallic hues to vivid colours and in two intensities. A one wash out for that special day or a 15+ wash version for a fortnight long new you. As a man who encourages being chameleonic with style, this is a game-changer to add to the mix. I’ve chosen Shimmering Platinum (grey) for my one day colour and Daffodil (blonde) for my two week adventure. So…here we go and be sure to check out Clairol.ca to pick your favourite colour.
5 minutes later…
Pretty blown away by how quick the process was. It didn’t take a second more than 5 minutes and definitely gave my hair that grey vibe I was looking for. In theory, it would take me longer to trim my beard than colour my hair…Pretty happy with the results, let me know what you guys think in the comments below.
Disclaimer: I partnered with Clairol to create this post but all my opinions are my own, and I only partner with brands that I truly believe in.