Category Archives for "Podcasts"

Nov 26

Reinvention Transcript


This is a software-generated transcript that has not been edited.

Welcome back to UNLEASHED (at work & home), the podcast dedicated to helping pet professionals feel less stress and find more joy in their work and their home lives today. My guest is Karen Sinovich, who is an applied animal behaviorist in Cape Town, South Africa. Welcome, Karen.

Thanks, Colleen. Thanks for asking me to be here today.

I'm excited to be talking to you today we're going to be talking about reinvention and you have a very interesting past for a for a dog trainer and behaviors. Tell us a little bit about what you've done in your career.

I've done quite a few things. And I think, though, yes. The in a prior prior career. I was a potter I used to work in Portland and I had a very successful career for very many years as a as a ceramic artists come Potter. Yes.

And then I stopped, and then I became a dog trainer and a behaviorist so just shows. You're never too old to change and you can teach old dogs new tricks.

And that is such a common thing that we bump up against where people feel like, Well, I've been doing this for so long. This is all I can do. Or I'm you know my options are limited.

And I, I personally don't see a lot of links between being a potter and being a dog behaviorist. So do you see links between them, do you see happening.

I think there are links. And I think you have to be creative, to be a dog trainer or to be a behaviorist, you have to think on your feet.

And being a potter is whilst it's a bit of a lonely profession and you have to do things to get out and and market yourself, you have to

Meet people you have to sometimes take rejection on the show on the chin, so to speak. So a lot of the things I think that just life throws at you.

Are very valuable in any career and they probably show up time and time again in different ones. And you may be just don't realize it.

And I also, I think, with dealing with people you deal with all sorts of people from people who

Really like watch what you do as a potter say for instance, or what you make to people who can be very critical of what you do.

And it's a case and. And again, I think there's, there's, it's the same with dog training and with behavior work. You can't take these things personally. So I think it stands you in good stead. No matter what, what, three, you've got

Yeah, that was a great answer, because you're right there. Those are very common situations. And both of those careers. So, what, what would be a piece of advice you'd give to people for not taking things so personally because we do tend to walk around taking it so personally

We do, we do take things personally and I think I think from dealing with people and also are used to

Just going back to being a potter or to being an artist. When I was one. I also used to teach people. So I think I luckily acquired the skill of

Dealing with people and realizing it wasn't always how

You have to understand where people are coming from. They don't always coming from the same starting point, as you are.

And I think that's why you don't take things personally when you realize maybe they have had a bad day, or there's a lot more going on in their lives than you, then you can imagine so.

I think, yeah, you just develop that maybe a bit more empathy to understand that it's

It's not personal, but maybe there are other reasons and just looking at the bigger picture and putting yourself maybe in their shoes and thinking, well, how would I have responded, If I had been criticized or if this has happened to me, I think, then you start to look at things differently.

Yeah, I think that's really valuable because we are always writing stories in our heads, but our stories are often just the first one that comes up in our head we decide is the correct one. And that's not really true.

So definitely there are

So many different ways we could look at that situation. And that's very helpful advice.

So good.

What supported you as you made the shift from Pottery to dog behavior.

I was very lucky in that because I've worked for myself. I think I always I've always been Self Employed, not employed. So I think in some ways it's, it makes it easier because I think you are.

You're maybe more likely to take challenges and not be worried about the results because if you work for yourself that I think happens on a daily basis. You've just got to make decisions and

And live with the consequences, and I was I was fortunate in that when I started to change over from from one thing to another. I sort of had a foot on on on in both at the time.

And for for a couple of months, or actually for probably about a year or 18 months I actually did both. And in fact,

I'm very grateful that I could be a part of. Because that finance my studies to become an animal behaviorist so I was very, I was really fortunate that I could do that to actually support myself to to actually become educated into what I wanted to do.

Yes, and I, I think, also, they just also comes a time when you decide

If something's got to give and you're ready to actually just take the leap.

That's really important that comes up a lot for people where there's sort of a longing to make a change and it's there for a while, it's there and it's there, it's not the right time, not the right time, not the right time and then you decide. Yep.

Something's gotta give and it's time to go.

Do you think that how common, do you think that is for people that longing.

I think it's very common. And I think a lot of people are afraid of what will happen.

But I think, to be honest. My attitude is being really what's the worst that can happen.

I used to play that game with my children when they were little, and they were worried about things to say, well, what's the worst thing that can happen.

Okay, this can happen. Did you die. No. Okay, this could happen. But did you die. No. So pretty much, that's how we used to sort of

Go through situations that might be scary or might be life changing in that moment. And I think also

If. What's the worst that can happen, it doesn't work out, so then you go back to what you did. You haven't lost anything you've gained something by at least trying and you never know until you try

That's awesome advice. There's a tool and positive psychology that plays that what's the worst that can happen game.

Okay, and it, it goes in both directions. So the idea is you say here's, here's the situation. I'm thinking about, you know, making this decision. Okay, what's the worst that can happen and

Let me just create a scenario. So we can play with it. I'm I am currently a potter and I am going to switch over to study animal behavior. Well, what's the worst that could happen.

I will be bad at it. Okay. And then because of that. What's the worst that could happen will then everyone will be

Angry and feel like I've taking their money for no good reason. Oh, well, then what's the worst that could happen there.

Then I'll feel like a fraud and I'll feel terrible. And then what's the worst that can happen.

Well, then I'll until you go into the really extreme, so then it's like, and then I will have no money and I will be, you know, forced to move out of my home. And then, unless of course they happen like that. I'm just impoverished in all that's terrible.

Really, I should not go from Pottery to animal behavior.

But then you have to play the opposite direction. What's the best that could happen.

And this is where people are really bad at it. So you say, Okay, I'm thinking of switching from Pottery to dog behavior. What's the best that can happen.

I could learn exciting new things and help lots of families and then because of that. What's the best that could happen. And then people get stuck and like

Well, then it's thousands of dogs in South Africa have better lives. Well then because of that. What's the best I could happen.

Well, then those families adopt more dogs and spread more information about how to live well with dogs and more families all over the globe are happier.

And then what's the best that can happen. Well, then it becomes this giant national movement where everybody everywhere is taking good care of animals and there's a better relationship between animals and people

And people are really bad about playing the, what's the best thing that happened side of it and we're really good at, what's the worst that could happen.

So having those two pieces is a really interesting thing. And I love that you played that game with your kids because the at least the downside, because being able to look and go, that's not actually that bad, but

I think that I think so.

Word, sweetheart.

We do, but I think also, if you sort of almost face those fears or those demons in your head, then it's not it's of course you will be worried and they are mean. It's nothing is perfect. And there are days, you think, what the heck. Have I done

It doesn't matter you you decide, well, I'm going to give it a go and going to try. So you only get one chance. I think you only get one life and you, you need to. I don't want to ever look back and say, I shouldn't have done that. I should have. I should have. I should have. I should have. So

I want to look back and say, Well, I'm glad I gave it a go.


Have you always been that kind of person, or is that something you learned

I think I've learned it more, but I think I always was inherently that type of person. I think I'm a Pollyanna type person.

I am i think i love Pollyanna reading Pollyanna as a child. And I think, yeah, I am a bit of a Pollyanna I always try even though I can be miserable and down cost and whatever. Eventually I'll always said but alright let's see what we can, what's good in in a situation

Mm hmm. That's kind of awesome. So what was challenging for you as you made the shift.

Challenging, I think.

Was becoming

Known and gaining experience. I think in the beginning when you do all of these things. You, you go, I think I don't know what that that whole lot is, but you know when you go from

You think you know everything to you realize, you know, absolutely. Oh, you

crash and burn a little and you realize you know nothing about anything. And then you start to sort of gain that little bit of confidence and maybe I know a little bit about something. So that's sort of been how it went.

So, so, yes. I think the way though that I was that I practiced and and the work that I've done with it was all positively reinforced training and it's always tried to be forced free training. So even if things were maybe the best. You weren't doing really any harm. Hopefully, so yes.

And that's like to think I've improved over the years.

So yes, it is a continual improvement thing i i

Had sort of that experience of like learning things and thinking, Oh, I know what I'm doing. And then learning. One more thing, and realizing oh now I have so many questions now. I'm pretty sure I know nothing.

That I've been peaks and valleys of of learning. It is. It's a fascinating thing. And you just keep diving in more questions all the time.


And I think that's the thing, lifelong. Look, I think you're never done. And I think that's I I have that sort of mind where I like learning. I like trying things and again. Yeah, I might be rubbish at it, and a lot of things I truly have rubbish out, but I'll always give it a go.

There's something very freeing about that, that it's a common piece of advice is to try to take a course or something that you're going to be bad at and know you're going to be bad at it but just do it for

And and that there can be something freeing and saying like I am never gonna be great at whatever this is. But wasn't equal to try or or the single experience things where you're like why don't think I'd want to do that a lot, but it was fun to have done it once. Yes.

But there are limits to that as well. Colleen. I'm not the sort of person that say would bungee jump or jump out of an airplane.

I have to say those sort of things are for other people. I find walking in a straight line challenging enough. Some days I that's for me an extreme sport. Some days.

So yeah, I

I don't think yeah so something's I don't think I'll ever try, but I'll be the one on the ground, holding your handbag while you jump.

cheering you on.

Yeah, I'm not, I'm not certain. I'd have the courage to do that either. I was speaking to a man this weekend, who said he loves doing that and that recently as part of a charity event he was

bringing attention to the Girl Scouts. So he was rappelling down the side of a building and agreeing to to, like, you know, real men.

Girl Scouts or something like that. And I was like, Huh. No, I don't think I could repel down the side of a building.

Think I would just be

Frozen at the top going, No, no.


So the idea of reinvention that's a really big word like it. The complete pivot, which is what you did. But for lots of us, it can be just like opening a door to something new.

And what comes up frequently in my conversations with pros is that they feel stuck. They feel like nothing's going to change and that they don't have a lot of power to effect change what ideas do you have for starting small where you are.

Try something different or new

Um, that's a really good question. I think just doing one small thing at a time and looking at things in bite sized chunks is possibly the way to do it. If you are stuck and

Thinking maybe what what you are unhappy not unhappy with that work. Why are you feeling, sort of in a rut, or whatever. So just changing one small thing and it might not even be about Korea, it might be just something else that you do in a day, and instead of

You know, getting home from work and going for a walk or just taking a short moment to, you know, read a book or do something else for yourself or just doing one little thing often just helped spark change. I think

So I think just one tiny little thing can can affect it. It doesn't have to be necessarily a whole career change.

But I think as well. If you like look at reinvention I think we reinvent ourselves on a day to day basis. And in many ways, I think we do so.

Mean, whether it's just getting your hair cut. That's reinvention often wearing a different color shirt to what you would normally wear or trying florals versus stripes or it can be anything, couldn't it so

Yeah, it's that's a way to start. And maybe you find that, yeah, I really like that color and I never thought I could like it, or no, it's not me, but

I think there's lots of ways to to start without it being a big investment or a big change or yes and I think find people that maybe you can talk to

About things like that. And even if they're not immediate family or relatives, I think, I don't have a lot of those people around me either, but

I'm very lucky. I have a daughter and a son and my husband who are quite supportive, my husband's not keen on listening to all of this stuff, but it's

Sort of not at the right time and but I think that's why where the internet and all these communities are great because you can find people you can find so much these days. And it's actually pretty accessible. I think for everybody. Yes.

It is amazing how the internet has made the world smaller because whatever your interest is you can find someone else who shares it

Definitely. I mean, look at us.

Boys always admired all your work. I mean, I recommend your book so often to people. In fact, I actually just sent a report this week with read that book.

So, so yes, I think. And here we are talking. I never in my wildest dreams thought, I thought I'd ever speak to somebody like you. And yet here we doing it so it's

never in my wildest dreams.

Thought someone in South Africa would have read my book.

I think that. But getting back to things. I think that's where you don't realize what an effect, you can have on on the world.

And it might not be yes, we might not be Nobel Prize winners and we might not be whatever but all those little things, it is a it is true, you put cost that pebble into water and it ripples outwards and you, you never know where it's going to end. Yeah.

That came up for me this weekend I was at a conference and I saw someone I had seen at the conference two years before. And she and I had had a conversation

That changed my thinking a little bit on something. So I was like, oh, thank you so much for that because you just gave me a new way of thinking about it and she said, really.

I never I you know like never thought about that conversation again after it was over, and that's how so many of these things are

Then three hours later, someone came up to me and said, I love your book and it changed my thinking about something and I was like, really.

And I thought, it's that ripple effect that Melissa didn't realize that she had had an effect on me and I didn't realize I had had an effect on this other person. And we can never know. We never really know where things go

And that's it's it's powerful to think about from that perspective and in a previous podcast.

Veronica Sanchez was talking about how often we feel that we failed when we have a conversation with a person and

We're you know making a suggestion or offering advice, particularly in a professional role and they don't seem to adopt it. He said, But what you don't really know if

An hour later, or four weeks later, or four years later that all the pieces. Finally, click into place and they go, Oh, now I understand. Yes. And she said, it's easy for us to kind of beat ourselves up and go, oh, I failed today. When in reality, all we know is we dropped a pebble.

Today I dropped it.

I think so. And I think we're very hard on your own ourselves and to say, oh, I failed today. You didn't fail because you went out and you saw somebody who who who reached out to ask for help and you went and you gave them.

The best advice on what you could on that day in that moment, so you don't fail. I think you you try each and every day and I'm sure that's

The same for all of us, we, we really do try our best. It's not that we we go into things, and we do it half heartedly. I think most of us really really do.

Give it our all which is possibly why we do get so down costs here and there, when we think that people aren't taking our advice and we're very quick to criticize ourselves. I think so. I think you don't fail. I think we were actually doing okay.

So from the perspective of reinvention, what would you say is a circumstance for client, where you have felt like things were changed enough that you could save this one's kind of a reinvention of a relationship or a situation

Think I see relatively often I think because often when people contact you and especially if you're doing a behavior consult. First of all, people will

See you, or call you, because there's been a crisis. I think that's it's usually an emergency or some crisis that propels them to reach out and find somebody like me to say, Come and help me with my dog.

And often, at that time, I think they relationship is

Often on often it is on shaky ground. I've seen clients in the past where it's really fractured that they don't like that dog that they actually are considering we homing, or even worse in certain situations.

And just by labeling them events, letting them talk and saying, but this is good, this is good that you actually can start to glue it back together and often

I think I've been very lucky in that a lot of the clients that I see when I leave if even if things don't change radically they always say, I feel so much more confident now.

And I always think that is already a huge, huge reinvention because instead of feeling powerless or useless or whatever the words. They've used in their heads. They can now say, actually, I can do this. And I think I always feel then I've done my job because I have empowered them to try

I think that was really beautiful. I loved how you said that the whole idea of giving someone confidence is a reinvention and and that that is the role that you serve for the client. I love that very well.

Thank you.

So do you have any, any final thoughts or suggestions that you would offer to pet professionals who are are eager to

Just make a shift.

Yes, I think if you want to make a shift, you should give it a try. And as, as I said to you earlier on, what's, what's the worst that can happen.

Yeah, if it doesn't work out, you've had the experience, you know, then it's not for you. And that's also not a bad thing is some things aren't for all of us.

And I know I'm not for bungee jumping, for instance, airplane.

It's not, it's not for me. But there's lots of other things that are for me that I can try. And I'll say, that was great. It was a great experience.

I mean, I'll give you a quick example of something I did try the other day, something I did. I've always wanted to do was go mushroom foraging. Okay, so I joined this course they were doing mushroom foraging my daughter and I went off on it. It was the biggest waste of my time.

I could not find in fact clean. I found one mushroom. It was the poison mushroom that nobody else wanted. I was the only one I found so

I know I will never be a mushroom foraging, from now on, and I will just go to the market or to the shop and I will buy my mushrooms. So

Yeah, but it wasn't a bad experience. It was nice to be out in the morning in the forest, etc. But I did get very sloppy with feet, which I wasn't keen on but

Aside from that,

It was it was okay. So, yeah.

Yeah, that's the spirit to like your now I've done it. I have done mushroom foraging and it's not for me.

I think just trying something that's may be completely different.

And seeing yes it's good or no, it's not because I think otherwise, we do we, we, we can just focus one step in front of another just to get through our days. And before we know our days of change two weeks, two months, two years.

And you look back and say, Where did all that time. Go and otherwise you can. If so, if you have

I think the thing is, whilst people say, I know I'm rambling a bit. But whilst people say, Follow your passion. Passion isn't enough that I would have loved to have done a lot of things, but you also have to have a reality check. I think to know that.

Yeah, I wasn't going to be an astrophysicist, I wasn't going to be a ballet dancer, a mushroom foraging therapy.

I could be a dog trainer, I could be a behaviorist I was a good Potter. So all of those sort of things I could be

And there's probably another I still love to maybe one in one life be a florist, for some reason, or have a nursery a garden center love John's. Interesting. Yeah, so I think just being an enthusiast and trying stuff. There's nothing nothing lost by trying. Yes.

That's perfect. That sounds like a great place to wrap up our conversation here today.

So, Karen. If you want to learn more about you and your work. How could they do that.

Oh, they can probably find me out on Facebook. I'll give you the link if you like afterwards or just it's just under my name Karen's I think it's Karen center which animal behaviorist

So I'm on Facebook. I'm on Instagram. You can see what I get up to you can laugh at all my bloopers because yes I do make a few and that's that's about where you'll find me. Awesome.

I will link to those in the show notes so people can find them. Thank you so much for talking with me today, Karen.

This has been really fun.

Thanks, Colleen. It was lovely. Thank you so much for having me. It's been really a great experience.

Dog running on beach for grace episode of UNLEASHED (at work & home) podcast
Nov 21

Grace: Julie Fudge Smith, CPDT-KA


Extending grace to yourself and others

"Grace" is a complicated word. It conjures images of elegance, finesse, and fluidity. It's endowed with goodwill, kindness, and generosity.

Grace sounds effortless, but it's not!

Developing requires great self-awareness. Grace asks you to accept the reality of the moment just as it is, while also looking for the good in it now and the good that can come from it.

Julie Fudge Smith, CPDT-KA, and I have been friends for about 17 years. We've had lots of conversations about the highs and lows of life, and Julie has taught me a lot about grace. 

The simple truth is that no one's life is easy. Each of us will experience moments of heartbreak, loss, and misunderstanding. No one is immune. And no one should feel alone.

Grace is the art of recognizing our common humanity, seeing the bigger picture, understanding that someone else's experience of the same event may be very different than your own, and trying to always behave in a way that aligns with your core values and beliefs.

Julie Fudge Smith, CPDT-KA, and her puppy, Clementine

Grace is an active decision

Your mindset and intentions matter most. Being clear about how you want to show up in your life will give you clarity about which choices to make.

It's easier to extend grace when you are feeling healthy and strong. When you're exhausted, overwhelmed, and just trying to make it through the day, it can be hard to extend grace to yourself or others.

What will support you in giving yourself and others grace? Share your thoughts in the comments.

schedule a free call with Colleen Pelar

Links worth clicking

Note: I may earn a small commission on any books or products recommended on this page. I only include products my guest or I have used and recommend. UNLEASHED (at work & home) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Erik Hofmeister, DVM, DACVAA, DECVAA, MA, MS, talked with Colleen Pelar about grit and how consistent effort helps pet professionals get better results than natural talent. Eager to develop your own grit? You’ll discover some simple strategies in this episode. www.colleenpelar.com/52
Nov 07

Grit: Erik Hofmeister, DVM, DACVAA, DECVAA, MA, MS


What is grit and why should you care?

Grit. Everybody's talking about grit. The word itself sounds uncomfortable, doesn't it? There's a sandpaper, chafing vibe associated with it. In the context of psychology, grit is your stick-to-itiveness. It's the combination of your passion and your persistence in pursing your goals.

You should care about grit because it's a more powerful indicator of your success than almost anything else--and it's a skill you can master when you want to.

Erik Hofmeister, DVM, DACVAA, DECVAA, MA, MS, is pretty gritty. (Anyone who has that many letters after their name must be!) He and I explored the topic of grit in depth.

Erik Hofmeister, DVM, DACVAA, DECVAA, MA, MS, talked with Colleen Pelar about grit and how consistent effort helps pet professionals get better results than natural talent. Eager to develop your own grit? You’ll discover some simple strategies in this episode. www.colleenpelar.com/52

One helpful framework Erik offered is asking yourself, "How do I respond when I fail?" 

Failure is part of life. It means you tried and fell short. And it can hurt. But it can also help you learn, improve, and grow. How you think about failure has a lot to do with grit.

Perfectionism is a common trait among pet pros 

Many try to avoid failure at all costs, which means they're less likely to dive into things they may not be good at. The thought of failing sparks anxiety inside. When they pursue difficult goals, they focus more on the gaps between where they are and the finish line than how far they've come. (I'll do a future episode on fixed vs growth mindset. This is a concept I wish I'd understood at a much younger age.)

Playing it safe doesn't teach you anything. We've all heard the adage, If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. 

Trying again, that's grit. 

Grit is deciding what's important to you and sticking with it. It requires you to develop an awareness of your choices, to make deliberate decisions, and to accept the consequences as the worthwhile cost of getting where you are going.

Grit isn't about steamrolling others or demanding your own way. It's about deciding, down deep inside, to reach your goals. Once you've made the decision, you just keep going.

How much grit do you have?

Curious about your own level of grit? Angela Duckworth is the foremost expert on grit. Use her grit scale to find out. Then watch the video below to learn about the elements of grit and how you can develop more of it.  

What areas of your life do you have grit? Where would you like more? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Would you like some support making progress on your goals? I'd be happy to help. Schedule a free call to find out if coaching would be a good fit for you.

Links worth clicking

Note: I may earn a small commission on any books or products recommended on this page. I only include products my guest or I have used and recommend. UNLEASHED (at work & home) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Oct 24

Grief: Kristin Buller, MA, LCSW


Who wants to talk about grief? Who wants to even think about grief?

Grief is something most of us want to avoid at all costs, and yet it's unavoidable. People are wired to connect, to care, so we all experience the emotion of grief.

Veterinary social worker Kristin Buller, MA, LCSW, joined me to talk about grief and how you can give yourself grace to move through it in your own way.

People often feel pulled under by their grief, surprised by the enormity of it, and derailed. It can be hard to go through the motions of normalcy.

There is no "right" way to grieve. In fact, the way you grieve one day may be very different from what feels right the next.

One challenge many people face while they're grieving is that they think they should be doing something differently. Kristin says you need to trust your heart more than your head and do what feels right to you.

I'm curious, what has given you strength when you're in a period of grief? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Links worth clicking

Note: I may earn a small commission on any books or products recommended on this page. I only include products my guest or I have used and recommend. UNLEASHED (at work & home) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Oct 10

Turnabout: Colleen Pelar interviewed by Tina Spring


UNLEASHED (at work & home) is on it's 50th episode! 

Over the past two years, I've had so many amazing, insightful conversations with pet professionals about resilience.

My goal has always been "real conversations about real life." I don't want the guests to be experts; I just want them to be authentic, to share their personal truths.

It's been an awesome experience. Every episode has provided strategies and suggestions for other pet pros to try, so they can manage their stress, focus on what really matters to them, and find more joy.

I've loved every minute of it. As we're heading into our third year, I've got a great lineup of guests and topics ahead.

We're on a roll!

When I was thinking about who should be the guest for the 50th episode, a listener challenged me to be the "guest" and to ask someone to interview me. 

I resisted the idea at first. I love interviewing my guests and didn't want to give up the fun. And besides, I reasoned, I'm not nearly as interesting as they are. (See, we all have that negative voice in our heads.)

But we've all heard the phrase, turnabout is fair play, and after considering it a bit more, I decided to give it a go. So the next hurdle was finding a guest host.

How do you ask someone to interview you? 

That's such an odd request. "Hey, let's get together and talk about me!" Awkward.

Fortunately for me, dog trainer Tina Spring has a gift for embracing awkward moments and making them fun. (You've got to listen to her episode on authenticity.) She knows that life has many layers and nuances, and there's something to be learned from each.

Tina agreed to take on the challenge, and what followed was a rollercoaster of an interview. It was truly a "real conversation about real life."

In my work as a coach and trainer, I've seen that pet professionals of all types are searching for ways to make their lives easier, simpler, more joyful. The work is difficult and draining, but there are tools and strategies that can help.

If you're a pet pro seeking support and connection, check out the free Facebook group, Circle of Resilient & Thriving Pet Pros.

If you're ready for a deeper dive into your own personal growth with interactive learning and the warmest, most supportive group of pet pros you can imagine, join us in the UNLEASHED Resilience Community when the doors reopen on October 28th.

Sep 26

Service: Veronica Sanchez, MEd, CABC, CPDT-KA


What service do you provide? How do you measure your impact?

Pet professionals are all in service professions. 

Every day, you make a difference in the lives of animals and other people.

But do you feel it? Does it stick with you?

Do you walk out at the end of the day feeling satisfied by a job well done? Or do you feel exhausted and drained by all of the demands on your time, attention, and expertise?

Far too many, pet professionals feel weighed down by their work, not energized and excited by it. 

The oft-cited crisis of veterinary suicide has roots in the need to be of service and the difficulty in feeling acknowledged, supported, and valued. It's not just veterinarians who are struggling.

I hear similar stories from vet techs, kennel staff, shelter and rescue personnel, dog trainers, and pet sitters. Across the board, pet pros are struggling to find the boundaries between their service and their own wellbeing.

Veronica Sanchez of Cooperative Paws joined me to talk about service. Veronica teaches other dog trainers how to train service dogs. We wrestled with the word "service" because it has so many negative connotations.

As Veronica said, it's closely linked to servitude, which isn't far off from what many pet pros describe when I talk with them about their jobs.

Do you give joyfully or from a place of pressure? Do you feel obligated to meet your clients' every need? Do you feel guilty when you turn someone away? Do you ever beat yourself up for not doing enough, knowing enough, being enough to meet the constant demands?

I loved that Veronica emphasized a very important point. She encourages all of her students to remember that they cannot see the full effect of their work. It's impossible.

Think about it from the perspective of your own life.

  • What's the best advice you ever got?
  • Who helped you understand something from a new perspective?
  • Who inspired you to develop your talents?
  • Who made a suggestion that you didn't adopt until much later?

Does the other person in these stories know the effect they had on you? Probably not. For them, it was just an ordinary moment in an ordinary day.

But for you, it changed the way you see the world.

Ripple effects are powerful--and subtle. 

This conversation with Veronica is sure to give you lots to think about.

What impact would it have if you could stop measuring your effectiveness by the changes you see immediately, and instead adopted the perspective of planting seeds? 

You may not be present to see grow; your job is simply to sow with care and good intentions.

Sep 12

Financial Freedom: River Lee, CFMG


How are you doing money-wise? Are you feeling flush or struggling to make ends meet? Does the idea of financial freedom seem laughable?

For many pet professionals, money is a huge concern. Across the industry, pet pros of every kind are overworked and undervalued.

River Lee, CFMG, owner of Savvy Groomer, joined me to talk about money. She's had her own share of financial challenges and now she's on a mission to help groomers find their way to financial security.

Budgeting is like dieting. We all know the basic principles, but implementation trips us up.

In this week's episode, River and I discussed practical tips that will help you 

  • Set a budget ... that you'll actually stick to
  • Create an emergency fund
  • Explore your values to ensure you're spending your limited funds on the things that really matter to you

What's your biggest money challenge? What steps are you taking to address it? Join the conversation over on the Resilient & Thriving Pet Pros Facebook page.

Aug 29

Acceptance: Grisha Stewart, MA, CPDT-KA


What would your life look life with more acceptance?

Life is beautiful ... and challenging.

There's an unavoidable polarity in all experiences. It can be uncomfortable at times. 

This week, ugh, this week has been a perfect example for me. A challenging situation arose on the personal front, and it sapped my energy and diverted my focus from my work.

That's to be expected. It's normal. It happens to everyone!

And yet, I'd catch myself thinking that I should be more productive. I fretted about this podcast post in particular. 

The incredible Grisha Stewart joined me on UNLEASHED (at work & home) to talk about acceptance, about leaning in to what is, and about letting go of the struggle for perfection (or even for something different).

It's a great episode. You've got to listen!

And, even though I'm well-versed in acceptance and resilience, I still had moments of struggle. I had to remind myself that fighting against what I cannot change weakens my ability to enjoy what I have (and change what I can).

Here's the thing: 

Resilience is not a merit badge. You don't achieve it.

You are already resilient. Look at what you've already overcome. Look at all the challenges you've faced. No one makes it through life without learning to bounce back.

But ... you can learn to bounce back better, quicker, faster, more easily. You can learn to shake things off and move on. You can learn to reset your emotions and find peace, contentment, and even joy in moments of struggle.

Resilience is a mindset and a skill set. It's something you practice.

It'd be great to be happy all the time, to never experience fear, anxiety, regret, loss, anger, frustration, or disappointment. Great, but not realistic.

Uncomfortable emotions are a normal, natural part of life. Every life. Even yours. (And, as I've been reminding myself this week, even mine.)

The trick is to learn to lean into what you're feeling with a measure of acceptance, peace, and calm.

When you're happy, allow yourself to really feel it. Notice what happens in your body. How does happiness show up inside you? What can you do to feel this way more often?

Similarly, develop some curiosity about the things you wish were different. What about the situation is causing you distress? How would things be different if you were able to accept the current reality without trying to change it in any way?

Simple, but not easy

The real truisms of life are often like this. There's nothing particularly profound about encouraging you to explore your feelings, to really notice what you notice, and pay attention to the stories you tell yourself about why you feel the way you feel.

But this simple strategy takes effort and commitment. It's not easy. 

Fortunately, you'll get lots of ideas in this episode that will help you keep growing and developing your gift of acceptance.

Links worth clicking

Aug 14

Positivity: Becca Keiser, MSc, ICBP


What’s good?

It’s such a simple question: What’s good?

Don’t be fooled by its simplicity.

This question is a really powerful tool.

In this week’s episode of UNLEASHED (at work & home), Becca Keiser of Blue Heron Consulting and I talk about rewiring your brain to notice and appreciate the good.

Becca Keiser
A surprising number of people don’t actually know what they’re thinking and feeling in any given moment. They get caught up in the situation and respond reflexively.

Taking time to stop and mentally check in with how you are feeling right now is a great way to develop self-awareness. Ideally you should do it multiple times of day.

But what if every time you check in, you discover you are cranky? Or discouraged? Or sad?

What do you do then?

Who wants to develop greater awareness of uncomfortable emotions?

Well, you do. Trust me on this.

Honoring your emotions—the full gamut of them—helps you navigate the world more effectively.

Positive emotions broaden your perspective and build connections between you and others.

Negative emotions narrow and focus your attention. They help you identify problems and inspire you to take action.

All emotions serve a purpose. All emotions have value. It’s good to feel them, understand them, and appreciate them.

HOWEVER … there’s a catch.

Your brain has a negativity bias. It’s constantly on the lookout for danger and threats.

Evolutionarily speaking, this is awesome. It keeps you alive.

Those people who didn’t wonder about what went bump in the night? They didn’t survive to become your ancestors.

You come from a long line of worriers who were great at spotting potential problems before they became life-threatening.

Most of the issues they worried about weren’t life threatening. They were just ordinary situations that didn’t require any special attention.

But their brains, and now yours, believe it’s worth sending 999 false alarms rather than miss one serious threat.

Again, from an evolutionary standpoint, this is awesome.

But the problem is it creates a lot of unhappiness and stress.

Your internal wiring is designed for survival, not thriving.

To move yourself north of neutral, to fully experience joy on a regular basis, requires some deliberate action.

And that starts with actively seeking the good.

There’s always something good in every situation. It might be something small. Microscopic even. But if you look for it, you’ll always find something good.

Being able to induce positive emotions when you want them gives you a secret superpower. Positive emotions help you generate more creative ideas and inspire better communication and collaboration.

Listen in to learn a variety of simple strategies you can use to not only notice what’s good, but also to spread positive emotions in your encounters with colleagues and clients.