Enter PROJECT Ü; a new, and timely self-development project-in-the-making by Jack Morton.
The goal? To build self-esteem, knowledge and self awareness among creative professionals; all while fostering authenticity, empathy and a deeper connection with others.
All universal constituents of our shared human experience; values that, given the current state of unease and economic uncertainty, are of the utmost importance to our collective, spiritual survival.
The man behind the mission? AHFA lauded colourist – slash TONI&GUY Technical Director… slash Wella Professionals Colour Director slash FAME Team frontman (wowza) – Jack Morton.
A gentleman renowned as much for his creativity and technical prowess as his experience-honed leadership, authentic education style and an acute knowledge of what it means to be human.
Insights he hopes to impart on a new generation of creatives through this new and timely initiative, Project Ü. “For as long as I can recall, I’ve been drawn to the identity aspect of our industry,” starts Jack.
“As a teenager, I was drawn to the world of hairdressing through TONI&GUY. I saw the bright lights of a global super brand (with a strong brand identity) and felt an instant affinity.
I quickly realised that hair could be an amazing canvas for self expression – an invaluable means for individuals to explore their identities – and in this space I could help to foster this expression.”
As for Project Ü’s beginnings?
“It started with research into emotional intelligence, sharing experiences with peers and mentors, and before long blossomed into helping others on their own self development journeys,” says Jack.
“Having spent years working on my own self knowledge and personal growth, I realised there was very little framework (or structures in place) to help tackle self development in the creative sphere.
By this I mean the the emotional and personal aspects of self-development (outside of skills based training). From empathy-building through to goal setting; what I call the ‘heart-work’.”
“I’m so fortunate in that I’m involved with TONI&GUY, Wella Professionals and of course the Australian FAME Team (where much of Project Ü’s inspiration was born),” he continues.
“I derive so much inspiration and education from these avenues and I’m ultimately share these learnings with my peers.”
“The biggest shift we’ve noticed with consumers is that people are spending more time and money in areas where they share a common value or where they feel authentic human connection,” he adds.
“Staff are needed to be seen and respected for the unique individuals they are, but due to an ‘influence overload’ many are often confused as to who they are and who they want to be.”
At the core of Project Ü? A thorough exploration of identity, coupled with holistic, exercise-based efforts to encourage and nurture human intelligence across all facets of the creative industries.
“The objective is to build more ‘authentic’, emotionally intelligent, grounded, empathic and self-aware staff and to help foster a greater human connection with our clients and colleagues,” says Jack
“Project Ü is all about focusing on YOU and building yourself up through self knowledge and increased awareness,” says Jack. “It’s a true labour of love that I hope to grow with time.”
While the nuts and bolts are still to be defined, Jack’s long-term goal is to establish a succinct course structure culminating tailored education modules, group discussions and self reflection work.
Thus far, aspects of the program has been run internally through TONI&GUY and Wella Professionals respectively, with scope for additional rollout as and when demand beckons. Watch this space.
As for Jack’s tips for keeping creatively inspired, connected and (relatively) sane during these times of change? The exuberant creative shares his top five suggestions below:
- Ever the knowledge seeker, Jack can’t go past a good read. His key recommendations to get you through #iso: ‘Who Am I’ and ‘An Emotional Education’, by the School of Life, ‘You Do You’, by Sarah Knight, ‘The Rules of Life’, by Richard Templar, and ‘Empathy’, by Roman Krznaric. Get reading.
- With a plethora of online resources at our disposal, Jack suggests tapping into only that which serves to enlighten and inspire. His top picks: Julian Baggini’s ‘Is there a real you’ Ted Talk and ‘How to make hard choices’ by Ruth Chang. Looking for an online Masterclass? Jack suggests signing up for Anna Wintour’s Masterclass on leadership or RuPaul’s Masterclass on authenticity and self-expression. Likewise, any number of riveting articles on psychologytoday.com are perfect for consumption.
- Jack’s third tip to keep inspired and connected? “I love hearing peoples’ life stories… regardless of their backgrounds. It’s a vital part of understanding the life journeys of others.” If you’ve maxed out your daily Zoom or phone call quotient, have a listen to the ‘Desert Island Discs’ and ‘Happy Place’ podcasts or check out past interviews on ‘Parkinson’.
- Talk to your clients. For those who are still in service (we salute you!) Jack suggests carving out time to really get to know your clients. “My greatest source of education comes from the conversations I share with my clients,” he says. “I always ask the big questions…”.
- Finally, if you need a little industry-professional-to-industry-professional intel, reach out to your peers. Jack has graciously offered to listen and offer insights to hairdressers needing advice, simply head over to his instagram, and drop him a DM.
You may also like…