Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - Survive and Advance with Meghan Blanchette

Red Banner with HOF Episode

In this episode recorded in July of 2018, we interview Meghan Blanchette. We have begun a series of episodes entitled "Survive and Advance" where we look at the lives of survivors of addiction, illness and more. In this episode, Meghan discusses how she overcome homelessness and addiction to enjoy a successful career. Follow her on Instagram @livingthedream2015. Are you or a loved one looking for help with your addiction? Please visit NA or AA for more details today.

Chad Jordan and Meghan Blanchette holding a microphone in front of a water fountain

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
August 15, 2018 Meghan Blanchette Area Coach Victory over homelessness, addiction and suicidal thoughts.

Each episode of the Podcast is also available on iTunes and the Google Play store. 

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Chad Jordan:                Hey everybody, this is Chad Jordan, I'm the director of marketing for digital services here at Sport Clips and today is another special edition of the Sport Clips Hall of Fame Podcast. First and foremost I'm so pleased to have my guest today. I'm joined, my special guest, can I have you say who you are?

Meghan Blanchette:     My name is Meghan Blanchette and I am an area coach in the northeast. I have been with Sport Clips for about two and a half years now.

Chad Jordan:                One of the things that impresses me about Meghan is that she's from New England but she pronounces her Rs correctly. So congratulations on that. I know that probably years of training went into that-

Meghan Blanchette:     Lots of training.

Chad Jordan:                Finishing school and everything, to drop the "ah."

Meghan Blanchette:     Absolutely.

Chad Jordan:                Correctly. So glad to have you, I say this is a special edition because this is another Survive in Advance edition of the podcast in which we celebrate the recovery and the success of someone who's overcome addiction in some way, shape, or form. And so that is Meghan's story, so we're actually going to talk to her a little bit today about how she survived, how she is still here. The fact that she's here and functioning and a success at Sport Clips is a miracle in and of itself and it's one worth being celebrated. What our theory is, anyways, is there are others that might relate to her story and to some of these stories that we're sharing. Others that might need to reach out and get help and they just haven't been able to bring themselves to do it. We're hoping that these podcasts unlock that inner potential, that kinetic, that potential energy will be transferred into kinetic energy and these people can find recovery and success like Meghan has. So Meghan, first and foremost, let's talk about your sobriety and what are we looking at? How many years? How's all that going?

Meghan Blanchette:     So June 4 of 2018 was three years of sobriety for me.

Chad Jordan:                Awesome. And do you, do you throw a party, what do you do every sobriety year, anniversary? Was there a celebration and cake and balloons and unicorns and rainbows, or what are we looking at?

Meghan Blanchette:     Absolutely. Well, so for me, my sobriety date is exactly one week after my birthday, so I sorta do a combined thing. Although, to be honest with you, you know, this year I was 33 years old and my-

Chad Jordan:                You're a Millennial then, let's see, you're just on the cusp of-

Meghan Blanchette:     I'm like right on, I am a Millennial, but I'm like the first couple years of it, so don't hold it against me.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, you don't want to claim it.

Meghan Blanchette:     No.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. Alright.

Meghan Blanchette:     So for me, my sobriety anniversary is a little bit more special to me than my birthday these days and I like to celebrate it with the other people that I'm close to, that I'm in recovery with. And you know, we always find something fun to do.

Chad Jordan:                I love it. Everybody has a birthday. Not everybody has a sobriety or recovery date. So that's a great anniversary to have. So tell me a little bit about what sobriety looks like. How's your life now, in the last three years? What changes have you noticed in yourself ever since you've been sober?

Meghan Blanchette:     So when I first got sober, they told me that I only had to change one thing, and that was everything. And that's exactly what has happened.

Chad Jordan:                Does it seem overwhelming when you're hearing that, or ar you thinking at the time, "no, that's impossible."

Meghan Blanchette:     No, because when I hit my rock bottom I hit such a deep, dark rock bottom that I was so desperate for a different life that I was willing to change everything.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. I'm always fascinated by the topic of 'the rock bottom,' because my personal theory, from people that I've known dealing with addiction, is until they hit that rock bottom it's tough to admit that you have a problem, that you're ever really gonna change anything. So for you, was there a trigger, was there something that, you hit it and you knew it, or looking back you went, "no, that's when I knew my rock bottom but I didn't know it in the moment?"

Meghan Blanchette:     So I knew that I was at my rock bottom. I was homeless, I was living in a tent in the woods, and I was-

Chad Jordan:                Is this in Connecticut?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yep. In Bristol, Connecticut, which is where I grew up, went to high school, all that stuff. I was, you know, stealing from grocery stores to be able to eat. I was, I didn't have access to bathe so I would wash up at Burger King bathrooms and you know-

Chad Jordan:                All the while are you telling yourself, "I'm okay. I got this."

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah. Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Or are you knowing, "I'm in a horrible state." How do you get there, in other words?

Meghan Blanchette:     So at first, I convinced myself that it was like camping, but it's not like camping. Not having access to like running water or things like that unless you go into a store or something is not-

Chad Jordan:                And camping's something you do once a week with your family for fun. Not by yourself to survive.

Meghan Blanchette:     Right. Right. So you know, I knew that I couldn't live like that. I knew that if I continued to live like that that things were gonna get even darker for me. It wasn't even so much about the material possessions I didn't have, or the showers that I wasn't able to take as it was that I was getting to a point where I really did not care whether I lived or died.

Chad Jordan:                What ... had their been something, was there a tragedy earlier? I mean, you're now 30ish, almost 30 ... you didn't wake up one day an addict. Something, this was a snowball effect, so looking back, what are some of the signs that you think, "Man, that's when I should've known that there was a problem or I was in over my head." What started this whole thing?

Meghan Blanchette:     So I believe that I was born with this disease. I believe that I exhibited signs of being a person with an addictive personality way before I ever picked up a drink or a drug. I used to like hoard candy and hide it when I was a kid. And, you know, all this other stuff. I think ... I also have always lived with what I call 'self-centered fear.' And I think that that's the core of a lot of addicts and alcoholics.

Chad Jordan:                Can you explain that to me? What is 'self-centered fear,' exactly?

Meghan Blanchette:     A lot of people when they think of 'self-centered,' they think of like a big ego and they think of like [crosstalk 00:06:48]

Chad Jordan:                Why you looking at me when you say that?

Meghan Blanchette:     "Oh I'm so awesome."

Chad Jordan:                Come on.

Meghan Blanchette:     You know, a lot of people think of that as me thinking that I'm awesome. But when you put the fear in there it sorta becomes something different. It becomes like, "Oh my gosh, doesn't everybody know that I am the most important piece of crap in this room?" Like, that's what it feels like. Or you know, you think that everybody should be thinking about you before they're thinking about somebody else. It's very selfish, but it's not ego-driven, it's more, it's a fear. That's the best way for me to describe it.

Chad Jordan:                And that's something you had recognized child, teenage years. We've talked before off air, theater, so you're performance, you're performance-driven, right? You like the stage?

Meghan Blanchette:     Uh huh.

Chad Jordan:                So had that been feeding into it, that maybe you weren't getting enough attention from this source or that source, so you turned to yourself and tried to feed that area?

Meghan Blanchette:     I think that for me there never could've been enough attention. I think that, if I was standing in the room and, you know, or standing on the biggest mountain in the world and everybody was looking at me, it wouldn't have been enough for me. It was never enough. I needed more. I have the disease of more. More of anything that makes me feel good. So it's something that I still have to be mindful of.

Chad Jordan:                So now you're at the end of your 20s, how quickly did the addiction take over? Was it overnight? Was it years? Something that creeped up on you and before you knew it you were overwhelmed?

Meghan Blanchette:     No, so I picked up my first drink when I was 17. My first drug also when I was 17, and I knew at that period in time that I didn't drink or drug like my friends. I couldn't just put it down like they could. And over a period of 13-

Chad Jordan:                You felt like you had something to prove, like you gotta do it better? Or once you started you just didn't feel like you had the stopping mechanism, the brakes, you couldn't push them?

Meghan Blanchette:     That's basically it. I couldn't push the brakes. You know, anytime I have an allergy that anything that alters my state of mind, so when I put it in my body I am powerless to stop putting it in my body until something outside of me stops me, whether that is a police officer or me passing out or whatever it is. I am powerless to stop it.

Chad Jordan:                So how then did you get to the point where you could stop it? Was it a police officer? Was it somebody just saying, "here's a mirror; look at yourself right now." Was it you? How did that transpire?

Meghan Blanchette:     So I remember walking down the street heading back to my tent and I remember there was a car coming up, you know, I was on the sidewalk, and there was a car coming up, and I remember thinking, "I should just jump in front of this car." And it was at that moment that I knew that I was either gonna get help or I was gonna die. And the things that I was using could have taken my life very quickly.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     So the reality is I didn't even have to jump in front of that car. I knew that it was only a matter of time before-

Chad Jordan:                You were on borrowed time, really, at that point.

Meghan Blanchette:     Exactly.

Chad Jordan:                Had that been the first time ... you mind if I address suicidal thoughts, and kinda that? Because it's, mental health and suicide are obviously something people have to face. So had that been the first time that that had crept in? How, looking back, how did you tell those voices, "No, I'm not gonna do this. I do have something to live for." Do you remember what it took for you to find that strength?

Meghan Blanchette:     So it's not the first time I had the thoughts. I ... when I was 14 I made sort of an attempt, if you will, to end my life. This was before I ever picked up a drink or a drug, but this is what I'm talking about when we were just talking about attention. It was more for attention than it was for anything else, and I'm gonna be honest about that. I didn't want to die. I never wanted to die. It just, when it came to the point that I didn't care either way, that's when I knew that I had to do something. Also, you know, I had been toying with the idea of getting sober for years. I had tried before. This isn't my first attempt at recovery. But every time I tried, I thought, "Well, I'm gonna put this substance and this substance down, but I'm gonna keep this one because I like this one and I'll just put the rest of them down."

Chad Jordan:                And this one's harmless.

Meghan Blanchette:     And this one's harmless, exactly. Or I would say, "you know, I've never really been a big drinker, so I can put down the drugs but maybe I'll just keep drinking." Or things like that. And those things always took me to a darker, deeper place than I had, was originally in, so. It wasn't my first attempt but I knew that I had to make a real go of it and I knew that I just wanted a better life. I didn't wanna wanna die any more. I didn't wanna be homeless anymore. I mean, I don't know if you've met me, but I am like the glitter, sparkle unicorn queen of the universe, and I, for me to not be able to take a shower or not be able to like take care of myself in any way, that was torture for me.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. And it shows what a bad place you were in, it wasn't you. So how then do you go about getting help?

Meghan Blanchette:     So what I did, in the state of Connecticut, we have a helpline at 211. So I picked up the phone and I called 211. First I called my mom.

Chad Jordan:                What's going on with your mom at this point? Does she know where you are? Has she-

Meghan Blanchette:     My mom knew where I was, yep. She knew where I was. It killed her but I was dating someone who was not allowed at her house, and neither was I. Because I had burned that bridge. So she would take phone calls from me but she lived two blocks away from my tent. And I couldn't go to her house. Um, so.

Chad Jordan:                And do you know for a fact that you couldn't go to her house?

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh I had been told.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     You are not.

Chad Jordan:                I wasn't sure if this was in your mind, if you had convinced yourself that it was.

Meghan Blanchette:     No. No.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     It was basically, it came a time, you know, when you have family members that are caught in the grips of addiction, active addiction, you never wanna blame your family members.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     You wanna blame the people around them. So even though my decisions were mine and I was an adult.

Chad Jordan:                I see.

Meghan Blanchette:     My mom wanted to blame my boyfriend at the time.

Chad Jordan:                I see.

Meghan Blanchette:     So she forced me to make a choice. It was either him or her and he came with drugs so I picked him.

Chad Jordan:                Right. Right.

Meghan Blanchette:     At the time, you know.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, that family dynamic is such a struggle when, especially your mother, right? And for all the parents out there, they know, even as they're listening to this, they would do anything for their kids. There's some bond that once you become a parent, it is apparent that you could never love anybody the way you love that child. And so for her to see what you were going through, I'm sure she couldn't rationalize, "No, this isn't her, so I need to blame somebody else."

                                    At the time, can you, for those that have family members that are struggling with addiction right now, can you describe what it meant for you to know that your mom was around and available and at least willing to take, cause you called her, like you said, willing to take your call. Did that, was that a throw away or did that mean everything?

Meghan Blanchette:     No. So I'm an only child and my mom and I are very, very close, so the fact that my mother took my phone call and actually took me into her home for one night before I could get a bed in detox, meant absolutely everything.

Chad Jordan:                So that phone call, you call her and you say what?

Meghan Blanchette:     I called her and I said, "Mom, I'm ready. I need you to come get me."

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     She knew where I was, you know. And.

Chad Jordan:                Could you hear the door slam at the house two blocks away and the tires squeal?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yes.

Chad Jordan:                And you know she had been waiting for this phone call, waiting by the phone.

Meghan Blanchette:     Absolutely. Absolutely. So my mom has CML, which stands for chronic myeloid leukemia. And when she had a stem cell transplant back in 2013, I made a promise to her that if she was going to fight for her life, I was going to fight for mine. And I didn't. I didn't for two year, I didn't.

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Meghan Blanchette:     I said that I was going to and I didn't. And.

Chad Jordan:                So was that eating you up. Like, "I'm lying to my mom and here she might be dying," and all this and so.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, every day. Yeah. Yep. Yep. So when I, you know, I gotta be honest with you, I don't really know what made me make that phone call that day. Now, I believe that it was my higher power, that made me make that phone call and that made me, that brought me to a detox bed. You know I believe that my higher power comes to me in the form of other people, and I believe that my mother, you know, that God came to me through my mom that day.

Chad Jordan:                And you called her, she's there and then you called 2-1-1, is what it is.

Meghan Blanchette:     I called 2-1-1, yep. They did not have any beds available in Bristol, which is where I was. They had a bed available in Bridgeport. So that's about an hour away, like the whole way across Connecticut.

Chad Jordan:                Right. Yeah. Oh my gosh.

Meghan Blanchette:     So they told me I had to get to my nearest emergency room in order to be picked up. So I did. I went to the emergency room. It's a safety thing. They won't pick you up at a house.

Chad Jordan:                Huh.

Meghan Blanchette:     So I went to my nearest emergency room. They picked me up and they brought me to detox. It was a seven day detox and when I.

Chad Jordan:                Was it seven days of hell? Or is it seven days that they're walking you, helping you through this, giving you kinda what you need to survive?

Meghan Blanchette:     For me it was seven days of relief.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     I have detoxed without medication before. That's hell.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     Detoxing in a detox facility with medication and a clean bed and you know all that stuff, was not hell for me. I was so relieved to be there.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     And.

Chad Jordan:                And when you did, let me back up, the seven days of detox with no medication, is that when you were trying it on your own, trying to quit cold turkey kinda thing?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah. Trying to quit cold turkey or had run out of money and steam and couldn't, you know, couldn't get anything.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, I've detoxed many, many times cold turkey and you know the substance I was detoxing from will not kill you, but let me tell you, you wanna die.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     Cause it's painful.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. So after the seven days then what?

Meghan Blanchette:     After the seven days, I honestly don't know what my plan was. I don't know if I thought I was going to go back to the tent. I don't know where I thought I was going.

Chad Jordan:                Do you have your license at this point? Your cosmetology?

Meghan Blanchette:     My cosmetology? Yeah, I got my cosmetology license right outta high school.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     So, you know, I had been working in full service salons on and off for 10 years, maybe 12 years. I'm licensed in three states cause I always thought that a geographical cure was gonna heal my addiction and it never did. So I'm licensed in Florida and Massachusetts and all these other places.

                                    But yeah, I could never hold a job for more than a couple months because either I would become unreliable or they would catch me stealing.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     Or, you know. So yes I had experience in doing hair and I was actually pretty good at it.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, I bet.

Meghan Blanchette:     But I couldn't hold a job. I couldn't hold a job.

Chad Jordan:                And now you start going through the process. Do you, is it AA/NA or do you have some system that you're working through?

Meghan Blanchette:     So when I left detox, I made the decision to go to a 28 day inpatient program.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. So voluntary, you're checking yourself in.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yes.

Chad Jordan:                It's not court mandated or anything like that?

Meghan Blanchette:     Nope. Nope. I had been arrested for buying narcotics in front of an under cover police officer a few months before I got sober and what happened was when I went to court, they said, "Hey we need you to do a couple of drug classes and then we'll wipe this off your record." I was very fortunate that they offered me that. And I did those drug classes, but in my experience with those drug classes and the place that they sent me to, the people were not there to get recovery. Like the people in the drug classes weren't sober. So, that was when I knew.

Chad Jordan:                They were just there to expunge their records sorta thing?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, so that was when I knew, "Like oh my god if these people aren't sober, like, I'm not even sober in these classes. Like how is this helping me?"

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Meghan Blanchette:     So, that was right before I got sober. But yeah, so I went to a 28 day program and when I was in the 28 day program, I found out about an intermediate step down sorta program that was another 90 days. All in the hospital. And I did that. Cause really, I mean, I was still homeless. I had nowhere to go.

Chad Jordan:                So you're taking these things as, "Well at least I'll have a bed, a roof over my head."

Meghan Blanchette:     I'll have a bed, meals, yeah, my insurance was paying for it, you know.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     I had state insurance at the time and it was paying for it, so why not? I mean, this is a healthy for me to be.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     A sober place, a safe place, my counselors are here, like, yeah, why not? So when I got out of the 90 day program, I went to a halfway house in Glastonbury, Connecticut. And when I was at the halfway house, you know you're still in a program, but they're transitioning you back into like, teaching you how to human. Teaching you how to live in society. Teaching you like how to have a bank account and a job and like all these crazy things, that I had never successfully done at 30 years old. And they required me to get a job.

                                    So, I knew that I had a hair dressing license and I knew that I wanted to use it. And I kept going to all these full service salons and everybody was like, "Ah, no we can't really hire you," cause the rules at the halfway house are you have to be home by 5 for dinner. So I couldn't work nights, I couldn't work both weekend days, cause you only get a pass to work one weekend day at the halfway house.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Meghan Blanchette:     So.

Chad Jordan:                Deal breaker there.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, at a salon it is a deal breaker, you know?

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     So.

Chad Jordan:                Too bad they couldn't give like Mondays off, like [crosstalk 00:20:55].

Meghan Blanchette:     Seriously. But that's not how they did it. So I had to follow their rules and there was sign in a window and everybody kept telling me about this sign in the window on Main Street in Glastonbury that a Sport Clips was going to be opening. And I had heard of Sport Clips before because I'm from Bristol and there's already a Sport Clips in Bristol and I remember seeing the Buddy Cards.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     This was way before I got sober.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     I remember seeing the Buddy Cards and going, "Wow, if that play gives free hair cuts, they must really suck." I was like, "I would never work in a place that gives free haircuts." So when I saw the sign that Sport Clips was going to be opening in Glastonbury, like even the people that worked at the halfway house, "They're like, Meghan you should go apply there, it says they're hiring." And I was like, "I am not cutting men's hair, I'm not working in a place that gives free hair cuts. That place must suck." I knew nothing about it, but I was making all these judgments, you know?

                                    I assumed I wasn't going to be able to make any money and I assumed I wasn't going to be able to build a career and I wasn't going to be able to do anything. But the reality of the halfway house is that if you don't have a job in two months, you get kicked out. And none of the full service salons were hiring me.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, I see where this is going. So you're desperate.

Meghan Blanchette:     I'm desperate.

Chad Jordan:                You got nowhere else to turn.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yes.

Chad Jordan:                And whose there for ya but Sporty?

Meghan Blanchette:     Whose there for me. That's right. That's right.

Chad Jordan:                With his big inflatable arms.

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh my gosh. So I finally called the number and I remember I got the manager of the store that was going to be opening up. She called me back in like five minutes, which was incredible. And I answered the phone and her name is Mallory and she was gonna be the manager of the Glastonbury store so she wanted me to come in for an interview. But she wanted me to go to Bristol, which is where I'm from, but I had no car. So it took me three hours on the bus, each way, to go to my interview.

Chad Jordan:                Oh wow.

Meghan Blanchette:     But I wanted this job, I needed this job.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     So I went. And I remember her interviewing me. I remember the technical interview, you know, you gotta do a haircut to make sure you know how to cut hair. And I remember we didn't have any mannequin stands. We had mannequins but no stands, so she literally sat in a chair and held the mannequin head for me to do the haircut.

Chad Jordan:                Oh my gosh. Oh.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, so we bonded over that.

Chad Jordan:                Did she squirm it around like it's a three year old, you know in the chair?

Meghan Blanchette:     No, my god no, because she wanted to keep her fingers. But we bonded over that and we sorta clicked right away, Mallory and I. And she offered me the job. And I had to go to Bristol for training every day for a week.

Chad Jordan:                Taking the bus.

Meghan Blanchette:     So six hours on the bus every day. To train for five. But that showed her and my team leader that I wanted it.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     Like I was, I wanted it. And the more I learned about Sport Clips, the more I was like, "Oh I was so wrong about this place."

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     Like it's so good. So they open the store in January of 2016. So I had gotten sober in June of 2015. In December of 2015 I was hired at Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     So I'm like freshly sober.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     And I am like terrified of everything. I even thought like, "How I am going to cut hair without drugs," because, how am I going to be creative?

Chad Jordan:                You've done it before literally.

Meghan Blanchette:     I've never done it. Funny thing is I'm better at cutting hair now.

Chad Jordan:                Oh I'm sure. You're better at everything. What did you find, what were your coping mechanisms, so you're not turning to drugs, alcohol? How are you getting through those days?

Meghan Blanchette:     So I'm living in a halfway house where I have counselors on all the time.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     But I also work a 12 step program. So I attend meetings and I started doing this in the early, early stages of rehab, I had a sponsor, you know. I was developing a network of other people in recovery around me who were just there and who were amazing. When I first came into recovery, I thought, "Oh my gosh, how am I ever going to have fun again?" But then I started having a lot of fun, like more fun than I ever had before I got sober. So, that's kinda how I got through. A couple people that were really close to me, my 12 step fellowship, my meetings, you know, that's what it was for me.

Chad Jordan:                And you didn't, you were a team member, you got hired on as a stylist, right?

Meghan Blanchette:     I did.

Chad Jordan:                So does that transition into more responsibilities down the road into 2016? How does that look?

Meghan Blanchette:     It took me three weeks to become a key holder.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yup.

Chad Jordan:                Three weeks from being hired as a stylist?

Meghan Blanchette:     Mm-hmm (affirmative). To becoming a key holder. Mallory and my team leader, they saw something in me that I did not see.

Chad Jordan:                And to be clear, they knew you were freshly sober?

Meghan Blanchette:     Mallory did.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     My team leader didn't yet. I hadn't made the decision to tell him yet. I was nervous about it.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     But when they made me a key holder, I knew that I had to tell him. Because they're giving me a key to the salon.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     They're giving me a key to the safe. And I'm going, "Are you sure?"

Chad Jordan:                Right.

Meghan Blanchette:     You know, because, I mean, I didn't have a good track record with this kinda thing.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     But they believed in me, man. Mallory was like, "You are gonna do great things someday." And I didn't believe it then. But I've.

Meghan Blanchette:     Do great things some day. And I didn't believe it then, but I just was along for the ride. I was excited, I was happy, I was sober, I was working. I was able to show up for work, and be there.

Chad Jordan:                You were able to shower, right?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, I was able to shower.

Chad Jordan:                And not live in a tent, so perks.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, I was living in a great place. Yeah, it was awesome. It took me about two months to become an assistant manager. And ...

Chad Jordan:                Are we in Bristol? Are we, where are we?

Meghan Blanchette:     We're in Glastonbury. Because Glastonbury hadn't opened yet when I was training in Bristol. So once Glastonbury opened, it was a seven minute bus ride to work.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, I see. Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     And then, I was an assistant manager. As an assistant manager, living in the place that I was living, I was able to save up quite a bit of money within the first couple of months. And I bought my first, not my first car, but the first car I've ever bought myself. So I bought the car. And after I got the car, my team leader-

Chad Jordan:                Wait, what did you name the car? I'm sure you had to name it something creative.

Meghan Blanchette:     Misty.

Chad Jordan:                Misty. Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     The car's name was Misty. Yeah. It was a Sebring, and it was like a bluish, greenish, silverish color. Actually, my mom named it Misty.

Chad Jordan:                Oh nice.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, yeah. So Misty the car got me to and from work. And my team leader was opening another store. He had more licenses. He was opening up another store in Enfield, Connecticut. And he called me one day, I'll never forget, I was shopping with my friend Brittney at Old Navy. And he called me and he said, "Hey, Meghan, you know I'm opening the store in Enfield, right?" And I said, "Yeah," and he goes, "I really want you to be the manager." And I was like, "Are you sure?"

Chad Jordan:                Did you just say you were shopping?

Meghan Blanchette:     I was shopping.

Chad Jordan:                So did you, then, go out and say, "Well, let me think, well I can put a little bit more on this credit card now, if he's going to promote me to manager."

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh my gosh, I was so excited. And to be able to share that with my friend Brittney who's, you know, another woman in recovery that I was just spending the day with, having some fun, it was beautiful. It was amazing. So I took that job, opened up Enfield. But I told Nico, when I was hired as the manager, I said, "Listen, my goal is,"

Chad Jordan:                Nico being your team leader?

Meghan Blanchette:     Nico being my team leader, yes. My goal is to be a coach. He said, "Well Meghan, if you give me six months to a year, get Enfield up and running like I know you can, then I support you. I want you to follow your dreams."

Chad Jordan:                Which is amazing, because obviously coaches are rockstars here at Sport Clips, but they were rockstar managers first, that it has to pain a team leader to not have them in running a store. Now of course, they're building their geographical region, and training other stylists, they're helping in a different way. But for him to do that, and see that in you, and bless it, is pretty cool.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah. And Nico, I love you, but there was a little pushback when the position finally became available.

Chad Jordan:                Oh, okay, yeah, so he's having a change of heart. Now the truth comes out.

Meghan Blanchette:     It was a lot, but he's like, "Are you sure you're ready for this?" And I was like, "Are you sure you're ready?"

Chad Jordan:                Shouldn't you give it another 5 or 10 years? Before we do this?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah. Exactly, exactly. So I was in Enfield for about a year, and then a position opened up for an area coach position. And I knew I always wanted to be an educator. Like I knew that my technical skills were always there. And my technical skills were not there from hairdressing school. They were there from people teaching me behind the chair. And I wanted to give that back. The way I cut hair isn't only mine, I didn't invent it, I was taught it. And I wanted to teach that to somebody else. So I knew I wanted to be an educator. I had been through a couple of grand openings as a stylist and as a manager, and I knew that that was something that I just wanted to be a part of. I loved the idea of coaching.

                                    So when the coaching position became available, I, with the consent of Nico, after a little bit of talking and negotiating,

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, [crosstalk 00:29:46], exactly, arm wrestling.

Meghan Blanchette:     Right, I applied for the position. And it felt like I was applying for NASA. There were so many interviews.

Chad Jordan:                Yes, it's more important than NASA, let's be honest, come on.

Meghan Blanchette:     It's so much more important than NASA. There were so many interviews, and there were personality tests, and all these crazy things that I had to take. But I remember, at that point, I was completely honest and open about my recovery at work. And I remember when I interviewed with the area developer, or not the area developer, the area director, I was honest with him. And I told him. I said, "Hey listen, here's my story. I'm in recovery."

Chad Jordan:                Because it's not widely known at this point, it's just between you,

Meghan Blanchette:     It's only known in my family, my franchise family.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah.

Meghan Blanchette:     But I wanted to make sure that he knew. And I told him. And I made it through the interview with him, and then I made it through, like 17 other interviews. And then I had an interview with Earl Blood.

Chad Jordan:                17. I think it was 18, if you really were counting.

Meghan Blanchette:     It might have been 23, I don't even know. But then I had an interview with Earl Blood. And I remember Earl saying to me, because my area director had mentioned to Earl, "Hey, this is what she told me. So I just, you know." Which is fine with me, I wasn't offended by that at all. But I remember Earl saying to me, "Meghan, I just want you to know that, you being honest with me about you being in recovery is a true testament to who you are, and it's a true testament to your character." He said, "And I want you to know that, if for any crazy reason, you do not get this position, it is not because of that."

Chad Jordan:                Whoa.

Meghan Blanchette:     And I thought that that was pretty amazing. I really did.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, you slept well that night, no matter what.

Meghan Blanchette:     I did. No matter what happens.

Chad Jordan:                And, so what? You get a call? You get an email? How do you find out that?

Meghan Blanchette:     So the area director calls me and I remember I was at home. So at this point, I had graduated from the halfway house. And I was living in a sober house. I was renting a room in a house full of sober women who, we just all had common areas, you each have your own room, and I was living in a place like that. And I remember, I was in the kitchen, I was cooking. And the phone rang, and I saw that it was him, so I ran outside, because I didn't have service in the house. And I picked up the phone, and he said, "Hey Meghan, this is so and so," He said, "I just, I want to let you know that we want to offer you the position as an area coach at Sport Clips."

                                    And I yelled at him. I was like, "Are you serious?" I screamed at him. I was so excited. This was something that I just wanted so, so bad. And to have this kind of an opportunity, like a career, me, the girl who graduated from high school and was too scared to go to college because I knew I couldn't party as much as I wanted there. So I was like, "I'll just be a hairdresser." And to have the opportunity to build a career in this industry, and it's something that I'm really passionate about, and I really love, unbelievable. Unbelievable.

Chad Jordan:                Yeah. The thing that I just love, as I'm sitting here listening to it, three or four years ago, you're living in a tent. You know? Like you said, in the Burger King bathroom. And to have a flourishing career, I mean, you're a rockstar. The sky is the limit. And you were thinking, "I should just end it." Right?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                And throw away all this, away. So super proud. This is why we call this Survive and Advance. I mean, you're a survivor, and now you're advancing. This is so cool. So I'm going to wrap it up, because you know, we're both talkers, we could be here ... What people don't know is, it's really late. You've driven a long way, we're in a hotel conference room, recording this. And we literally could just exchange stories the rest of the night. But I want to celebrate you, celebrate all that you've overcome. And having the courage to pick the phone up and call your mom, and what that turned into. I hope someone else can find the strength that's listening to this, to do the same.

                                    So, can I finish with these 10 kind of goofy questions, now that we've kind of talked some intense stuff? And then I'll let you get on your way. So question number one, we always wrap up with these 10 questions that I cannot ask follow-up questions to. So whatever you answer, I've got to live with. So number one, which super power would you most like to have?

Meghan Blanchette:     I want to be able to freeze time, that's a no-brainer.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                So okay, I'm trying to think what your name would be, if you could freeze time. I'll have to come up with it, and I'll hashtag it to this podcast.

Meghan Blanchette:     It's got to have unicorn in it. I just have to put that out there.

Chad Jordan:                Unicorn. Time freezing unicorn. Number two, what is your personal motto?

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh my goodness. I would say, I'm living the dream.

Chad Jordan:                Living the dream.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                I like it.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Other than where you live now, where else in the world would you most like to live?

Meghan Blanchette:     I just came back from Aruba, and gifts of being in recovery, I'm able to take vacations today.

Chad Jordan:                Wow.

Meghan Blanchette:     And yeah, I was just in Aruba for a week, and I would totally live in Aruba. Yeah. Absolutely. Sign me up.

Chad Jordan:                Is it white sand and blue, crystal water?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. I might add that to my list. Number four, who is the celebrity you would most like to meet one day?

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh my gosh.

Chad Jordan:                Besides yourself.

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh gosh. And besides Chad Jordan?

Chad Jordan:                Yeah, right.

Meghan Blanchette:     I would say ... That's a really good question. In person, I'd love to meet Macklemore. He's my favorite rapper.

Chad Jordan:                Okay, all right.

Meghan Blanchette:     I just went to a concert of his recently, he's another guy in recovery, he's pretty amazing. I'd love to sit down and have a conversation with him.

Chad Jordan:                All right well, the catch is, it's not a follow-up question. The catch is, if you meet him, because we talk about it on the podcast, we put out in the universe, and all that. I want you to invite me to the session, or give me an autograph or something.

Meghan Blanchette:     Of course, of course.

Chad Jordan:                That's the only thing I ask on these. Okay, number five, which words or phrases do you most often overuse?

Meghan Blanchette:     I say, "You'll have that." A lot.

Chad Jordan:                You'll have that?

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah. Like anytime anything happens I go, "Yeah you'll have that." Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. What sound or noise do you love?

Meghan Blanchette:     Laughter.

Chad Jordan:                Okay.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah.

Chad Jordan:                And what sound or noise do you hate?

Meghan Blanchette:     I don't know. I would say, probably any kind of screaming, heavy metal music.

Chad Jordan:                All right. That qualifies.

Meghan Blanchette:     Yeah, okay.

Chad Jordan:                What profession, other than your own, would you have been good at? Or at least, have wanted to try?

Meghan Blanchette:     Probably, my mom always said that I should be a lawyer, because I fight really well.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. I was thinking you were going to say Broadway star, or actress,

Meghan Blanchette:     No, no.

Chad Jordan:                Okay. All right. Lawyer. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh my goodness, my recover for sure, yeah, without a question.

Chad Jordan:                And then lastly, if heaven indeed exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Meghan Blanchette:     Oh goodness. "Welcome home."

Chad Jordan:                Excellent answer. And excellent podcast interview. Thank you Meghan, for this time together. Thank ... I was going to say, thank you for being here. But I mean that literally. Thank you for making it, and surviving what you've survived. And using this as an opportunity to share an inspirational story that is literally a dream come true. So thanks again.

Meghan Blanchette:     Thank you, Chad.

Chad Jordan:                All right. And that's been another edition of the Sport Clips Hall of Fame Podcast. Tune in next time, we hope to have some more good stuff for you. Thanks again.