Category Archives for "Podcasts"

Aug 01

Curiosity: Zazie Todd, PhD


What are you curious about? What intrigues you enough to dig deeper, learn more? How does curiosity benefit you?

These were some of the questions on my mind when I invited the passionately curious Zazie Todd to talk with me on UNLEASHED (at work & home).

Zazie is the author of the Companion Animal Psychology blog, which I love because I'm interested in the science, but can't force myself to read dry reports of academic studies.

Instead, Zazie does the hard work of reading, distilling, and translating important findings into clear, relatable language. So grateful!

Zazie Todd

Your brain has a surprising paradox. It craves certainty and predictability, but also delights in novelty and change.

Your curious nature helps you learn new skills, identify solutions, and find ways to thrive.

But sometimes, you fall into a rut. Over time, it's easy to slip into comfortable routines that no longer challenge or interest you. And when you think of something new you could explore, you sigh and say, "Ah, it's too much trouble."

This is dangerous ground!

Becoming complacent (and often, bored) diminishes your opportunities for pleasure, growth, and mastery.

Every time you encounter something new, your brain lights up with dopamine and other feel-good chemicals. When nothing's new, it's hard to get excited about much of anything--even the things you once loved.

Dorothy Parker curiosity quote

So I offer you a challenge: Identify one thing that you'd like to learn a little more about and spend an hour exploring the topic.

  • Perhaps you'll read a book at the library about it. 
  • Or sign up for an introductory lesson.
  • Or find yourself clicking link after related link.
  • Or call someone to ask them questions.
  • Or go visit a museum, training center, art school, or wherever is best for you to learn more.

The more you open your eyes, even a little, to the questions that run through your mind, the more you open yourself up to joy, exploration, and re-invention.

So, I ask again, What are you curious about?

Link to UNLEASHED Resilience Community page

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.

Jul 18

Self-Care: Tabitha Kucera, RVT, CCBC, KPA-CTP


Self-care is a touchy topic. It's become a bit of a buzzword that has overtones of self-indulgence. Like, who has time for "self-care" with its yoga, essential oil massages, and meditation cushions?

Well, yoga, massage, and mediation are wonderful tools for building resilience. Chocolate, hot baths, and dinner dates with friends are nice too.

Why should you feel guilty about those things?

Let's imagine you spent your weekend hiking and then napping in a hammock.

Why is it that you'd be more likely to get a snarky comment from your friends and coworkers than a show of support?

We're not in a contest. No one is going to win the gold medal in toughing it out. 

And what's particularly interesting to me is that those warm, restorative elements of self-care, while very nice and definitely beneficial, are only half the picture.

There's a deeper, more difficult side of self-care that requires facing uncomfortable truths and taking action on them.

All the movie dates in the world aren't going to help you if you aren't looking reality in the face and making choices that serve you.

I invited Tabitha Kucera to talk with me about self-care because she made me laugh when we had a previous conversation in which she said, "If one more person suggests I try yoga, I might scream. I've tried yoga! It's good, but it isn't enough."

Ah, an honest, forthright realist. My kinda person.

Tabitha is a registered veterinary technician who specializes in behavior and focuses on reducing fear, stress, and anxiety--in cats, dogs, and people.

You are in for a treat. Listen in as Tabitha shares hard truths, boundless compassion, and tried-and-true strategies.

Get ready to lean into both the yin and the yang of self-care. 

Self-care is not selfish. You matter. It's time to make some tough choices.

Tabitha Kucera

Links worth clicking

Want to continue the discussion on self-care and colleague compassion? Check out this episode on self-injury and suicide with Sally Foote, DVM.

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.

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.

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.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    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.

    Join the UNLEASHED Resilience community for pet professionals

    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.

    Casey McGee with Rocco

    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. The UNLEASHED Resilience community 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.)

    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.)