Category Archives for "Podcasts"

Jun 20

Creativity: Victoria Schade, CPDT-KA


I've known Victoria Schade for more than a decade, and I always marvel at her innate creativity. She's always throwing herself into something new--and rocking it.

She writes novels and also nonfiction books and articles. She dances. She podcasts. She creates videos. And she composes ridiculous poems on the fly.

Together we explored creativity and how allowing yourself the joy of doing something just for fun can be a great pick-me-up as well as a source of inspiration and productivity.

Allowing yourself space and time for creativity produces measurable improvement in problem solving, feelings of purpose and accomplishment,  and your ability to focus.

What can feel like a waste of time may actually be what you need more than anything else.

So next time you're feeling boxed in by all the "shoulds" and other people's ideas of what is right, appropriate, or worthy, ask yourself, "Who made these rules and why do we have to abide by them?" Carve your own path by trying something new.

Here are two of Victoria's silly poems to brighten your day.

Caught off guard,
on our daily stroll,
I used twig chopsticks,
to grab a poo-poo roll.

An Ode to Olive's Mouf
i would like you to meet
these four little teef
four in the front
and two underneef

What feeds your soul creatively? Do you sing, dance, write, paint, build model airplanes, garden, doodle, make up stories about strangers, create math problems based on road signs? Share your favorite creative outlets in the comments.

Want to keep the discussion going? Listen to this episode on critical thinking with Ginny Price!

Jun 06

Boundaries: Marie Holowaychuk, DVM


Boundaries. It's another one of our popular buzzwords. People talk about needing good boundaries, but it can be hard to know exactly what that means. 

As Marie Holowaychuk, DVM, and I discussed, boundaries are the limits you set--and enforce--related to your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.

Boundaries are your path toward wholehearted living because they keep you in alignment with your values and priorities.

UNLEASHED (at work & home) guest: Marie Holowaychuk, DVM

It's tempting to avoid setting clear boundaries because you want to be nice. Most veterinarians and other pet professionals are people pleasers. 

You want don't want to inconvenience anyone. You don't want to make waves. You think it's easier to do everything yourself rather than take the time to delegate, teach someone else, or simply say no.

And then you start feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, irritated, resentful. All because you're being nice to others at the expense of yourself. Hmm, that's not a good plan.

I'm curious: How would your life change if you committed to being as nice to yourself as you are to others? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below or on my Facebook page.

How to find Marie:

If you liked this episode, you'll enjoy this episode on trauma and adverse childhood experiences with Samantha Clarke!

May 23

Honesty: Sharon Garland, LVT


Honesty is an amazing character strength. It's associated with closer friendships, greater trust and confidence, and lower stress and anxiety.

But it can be tricky too. As your goal is always to improve your relationships with others, you've got to find a way to communicate what's important without harming the relationship.

When I was growing up, I was known for being "honest to a fault." Clearly I needed to work on my communication skills.

My mother had three questions she encouraged me to use before sharing my opinions. Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? She told me to shoot for all three, but always have at least two.

Three questions for communication

I struggled with those at times. We all do.

My guest this week, Sharon Garland, is a licensed veterinary technician and former practice manager. We talked about the benefits and challenges of honesty in our professional roles.

Our goal is always to provide pets with the best care possible. To do that, we've got to improve our human-to-human communication! Listen in for some great tips.

UNLEASHED (at work & home) guest Sharon Garland, LVT

Regarding honesty, I've found two main challenges for pet professionals.

Saying too little. You don't want to rock the boat, so you don't speak up. But then problems begin to fester. You become more and more irritated because things are not improving. Eventually you wind up in a much worse situation, and your relationships with your clients or colleagues are strained and fragile.

Saying too much. The flip side of the coin is letting it all hang out and sharing the truth as you see it without regard for other people's perceptions. There's no ill intent; you're not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. But that seems to happen anyway.

So how do you speak your truth with honesty and tact? Well, it takes practice, that's for sure. But there are techniques you can use for to make it easier. Download the free guide below.

Download your free guide:

Find the courage to address issues and the words to convey your thoughts.

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    Eager to develop your listening skills? Check out this episode with Laurie Schulze, DVM

    May 09

    Community: Molly Sumridge, M.A., CDBC


    What makes a group a community? You've been a part of groups before that didn't feel like communities, and you've also had that feeling of connection that's a hallmark of community. Where's the line? How can you foster a greater sense of community with others.

    A true community makes you feel welcomed, supported, acknowledged, and seen. It's a safe place, a place where you can be yourself without pretense or apology.

    I invited Molly Sumridge to talk with me about community. She runs a popular facebook page (or rather, community!) called the Humanity of Pet Professionals​​​.

    Molly Sumridge

    A community meets emotional needs. The members lift one another up, share burdens, and provide encouragement.

    A community also helps you meet practical needs. There are people who will share ideas and lend a hand when you need one.

    Being part of a community gives you a broader view of life. It offers you new perspectives, helps you develop more nuanced ideas, and keeps your focus on the greater good.

    Molly and I had a great discussion covering topics like how to foster a sense of community with the people you work with, how to make it comfortable for others to share their struggle, and how to share your own truth--the good, the bad, and the ugly. All of it is part of real life.

    Links Worth Clicking

    Apr 25

    Worth: Kathy Sdao, M.A.


    Kathy Sdao always makes me laugh and she always makes me learn. Honestly, what more could I ask for?

    I invited Kathy to talk with me about worth because as the author of Plenty in Life is Free, she's done a lot of thinking about the topic. 

    In coaching sessions and workshops, I've talked with many pet professionals who struggle with their own sense of worth and a feeling that they need to earn their place at the table. I can relate; I've felt that way too.

    Do you ever feel that way?

    It's not true. It can feel true, but it is not true. 

    You--with all of your imperfections and flaws--are worthy of love and acceptance. Period.

    But your busy brain is always making judgments and comparisons. Everywhere you look someone else is doing better or worse than you--and you notice it. 

    This kind of thinking doesn't bring you peace and joy. It leaves you scrambling in pursuit of perfection--and none of us will ever get there!

    Rather than striving to be perfect or worthy, let's strive instead to be mindful, aware, and compassionate.

    You are going to struggle with this. We all do. Having a sense of humor about it helps!

    Noticing the moments you struggle, giving yourself some self-acceptance and self-compassion, and then practicing "leveling up," responding a bit better each time, is a lifetime practice that will lead to greater peace and joy. 

    We're all in this together. We're all doing the best we can. It's hard work, and it's easy to get swept away by our emotions.

    Imagine how the world would change if each of us could be just 5% kinder and more compassionate with ourselves and each other.

    Let's all try to level up on this. 

    Take Action Today

    #1. How can you help the people you interact with feel seen, heard, and respected?

    #2. What can you do this week to demonstrate to yourself that you have worth just as you are? 

    For many pet professionals, #2 is harder than #1. It's a key piece for making significant changes in your life. If it's hard, identify a baby step you can accomplish. Celebrate your approximations! (Check out the UNLEASHED Resilience Groups if you'd like to have some support in learning new behavior patterns.)

    Apr 11

    Purpose: Zach Mercurio


    When I talk with pet professionals about their work and why it matters, one phrase comes up over and over: 

    "I help ..."

    That's no surprise. Part of your brain is wired toward helping others.

    When you help, your brain releases the "happiness trifecta," a combination of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, which boosts your mood, movement, and motivation.

    Perhaps you say, "I help pets stay healthy, so they can have long, happy lives," or maybe, "I help people better understand their dogs, so their training is more effective." 

    Whatever it is that you do, odds are that you are helping improve a situation for someone else. That's your purpose.

    Now to be clear, I don't think it's your obligation to help others. Having a purpose fills you up; feeling obligated drags you down. It's important to understand the difference so you can make real-time adjustments to protect your mood, motivation, and boundaries.

    Zach Mercurio, author of The Invisible Leader, also distinguishes between "being purposeful" and searching for your magical, mystical, capital-P Purpose.

    It's okay to not be fully clear on your Purpose right now.

    But it's worth thinking about.

    Start with this question: What is my contribution?

    Purpose often reveals itself in moments of stress or crisis.

    When things are challenging at work, what do you do that helps make them better? How does your participation change things? What problems do you solve?

    When things don't turn out as you hoped, take time for reflection to uncover learning opportunities and opportunities for growth.

    Zach recommends a simple strategy for getting started. Take 2 minutes in the morning to answer these questions:

    1. If I were feeling my purpose, what would I be doing?
    2. If I were feeling my purpose, what would I be thinking?
    3. How can I do that today?

    The create a simple scorecard to track your progress. These two minutes of thought and intention can reframe your whole day.

    If you enjoyed this episode, you'll be sure to like this episode with Fiia Jokela on empathy!

    Mar 28

    Trust: Alexandra Kurland


    When I thought about the topic of trust, the person I most wanted to talk with was horse trainer Alexandra Kurland. It seemed to me that establishing trust would be a primary goal for any trainer working with an animal that outweighs you by a thousand pounds or so.

    Right at the start of the conversation, Alexandra challenged the idea of trust as an inherently good thing. Trust can simply mean that something can be relied upon, which could mean reliably good or reliably bad.

    So true. That was just the start of our meandering conversation through the world of trust, poisoned cues, mixed consequences, and shifting emotional responses.

    In the end, it came down to "trust the process" of effective training. Know that by using positive reinforcement, you are increasing certainty, predictability, control, and stability--all of which will help you change your responses.

    Alexandra is known for her ground-breaking work with clicker training horses. She' s a a member of the faculty of ClickerExpo, and you can learn more about her work--and her courses, books, and DVDs--on her website.

    If you found this episode engaging, you'll love this episode on second chances with Kim Imel!

    Mar 14

    Control: Casey McGee, CPDT-KA, CSAT, CTC


    Control is a sticky, tricky subject. To be called "controlling" is bad. Yet it's normal to want to exert some control over your life and circumstances. Where's the line? ​How do you know when you are trying to control too much? Can you tell when you're straying over the line into wanting to control something that you don't have the ​ability--or right--to control?

    I invited Casey McGee, owner of Upward Hound Dog Training and administrator of the Academy for Dog Trainers, to talk with me about control.

    Before she became a dog trainer, Casey ran court-ordered groups for men convicted of felony or misdemeanor battery. ​As she describes it, control is "a means to an end that I feel entitled to." 

    It's the entitlement piece that can trip you up. It implies a very clear definition of a desired outcome, one you really want to hold onto.

    What will you do to get it/keep it? What permission will you give yourself to achieve it?

    In the case of abusive spouses, ​they ​feel entitled to control their partner's behavior. 

    In dog training​, there are trainers who use heavy-handed techniques because they "need to ​know the dog will always do it right."

    Willingness to use pain, intimidation, or fear changes us internally. (Check out the Tea Consent video for a simple analogy about how and when to back off.)

    ​Abusive partners and force-based trainers are more extreme examples of control. Smaller ​instances crop up in your day-to-day life.

    ​Have you ever worked for a micromanager? Met a person who needs to have everything just so? Dealt with a client who made unreasonable demands? Control, control, control.

    ​Perhaps there are a few areas in your life where you are attempting to control things that are out of your control.

    The truth is, you don't have nearly as much control as you might like, but learning to use it wisely will lead to greater peace of mind and better outcomes.

    Puzzle image of things you can control

    If you think that you are teetering on the edge of being "controlling" in certain areas of your life, learning to hear your judgments and reframe your thoughts is a great way to turn things around.

    ​If you cross the line into behavior you don't like, ask yourself, "​What made me think it was okay to do that?" That will help you identify the entitlement piece of the puzzle.

    From there, identify ​an alternative behavior and practice it!

    And the flip side of this is, if you find yourself dealing with a ​person who is trying to exert control over you in safe but annoying ways, carefully consider your options and establish boundaries. An UNLEASHED Resilience Group can help with that. Small changes in how you respond can make a big difference.

    (Note: If you are in danger from an abusive person, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline​ online or at 1-800-799-7233. Help is available.)

    Casey McGee with Rocco

    Enjoyed the discussion on control? Be sure to check out​the episode on play with Rise VanFleet! (And you'll also love this older episode on consent with Leslie Stewart, but be aware, this one is ​from before my business was focused exclusively on pet professionals so the language is more vague.)

    Feb 28

    Judgment: Sandy Weaver


    Do you judge yourself more harshly than you judge anyone else? Are you aware of the judgments as they occur? Do you hear the things you are thinking and saying about yourself?

    Often you don't. Often you spend your day noticing everything that went wrong--both what you did wrong and what other people did wrong. But you aren't consciously noticing the harsh judgment of your mind chatter.

    Our brains have a negativity bias. They're wired to be perpetually on the hunt for bad stuff. And guess what? They find it!

    ​Sandy Weaver talked with Colleen Pelar about judgment and its effect on our lives. Sandy works with organizations that want to ​help their employees grow because that improves the profitability and performance. And she's also a dog show judge. She's a perfect fit for this topic.

    Judgment is not inherently bad. It's great to have a set of criteria that you can measure performance against.

    But you need to be sure that you are using criteria that feels meaningful and appropriate to you.

    Which means you need to become aware of your mind chatter (and your brain's incredible ability to make stuff up!) and evaluate it. ​

    Ask yourself if the judgment thought helps you learn, grow, or feel better? Has the judgment pointed out something that is against your core values?

    ​The the judgment doesn't help you move forward in a positive way, then it's likely that you are using the wrong criteria.

    Taking time to explore your core values and how you want to show up in the world ​will change your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

    It'll give you greater self-compassion and greater empathy for others. And it will help quiet that negative judgy voice in your head. What a relief!

    If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to check out the one on ​self-compassion with Michele Gaspar!

    Thanks for Listening!

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    Feb 14

    Scarcity: Jean Donaldson, CTC


    ​​Scarcity. What happens when you feel there isn't enough of something? When you want to grab hold and not let go? When you are constantly seeking more-more-more or anxious that someone else may try to take something from you?

    Feelings of desperation and overwhelm can swamp you and leave you feeling cranky, exhausted, and depleted.

    ​When I was thinking about scarcity, the person I most wanted to talk with was Jean Donaldson, BSc, CTC, of the Academy for Dog Trainers, who is known for her work with resource guarding in dogs. (Her book, Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs, is the best-selling book on the topic.)

    We talked about how easy it is for vets, veterinary nurses, dog trainers, and other pet professionals can be come drained. You get sucked into a vortex in which there's a huge demand for your time and attention--just so much NEED!--and there's not enough of you to go around.

    ​Too often you prioritize others' needs over your own, but it's vital to make sure you are giving yourself what Jean described as "rock-bottom basic care." Making sure you are eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise, and ​strengthening the connections with people who support and energize you.

    Next you need to find the resilience activities that fill you back up. Ideally something completely unrelated to animals. This gives your brain a chance to process and generate new ideas. 

    ​​Don't have a hobby? No idea what to do? Here's a link to a handy assessment that can help you figure out what's most likely to work for you.

    Then you need to look at what pieces of the work you thrive on. Focus your energy and efforts on those. That's where you'll get the biggest bang for your buck.

    Thanks for Listening!

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