The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training

Burn out & Boundaries w/Michael Shikashio

April 25, 2023 The Leashed Mind by Woof Cultr© Season 1 Episode 4
Burn out & Boundaries w/Michael Shikashio
The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training
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The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training
Burn out & Boundaries w/Michael Shikashio
Apr 25, 2023 Season 1 Episode 4
The Leashed Mind by Woof Cultr©

In this weeks episode I have a chat with Mike Shikashio from - if you have been feeling like you are wearing all the hats lately, you don't have enough time in the day, can't remember the last time you took a vacation or asked someone for help with your business tasks - then you're going to want to listen to this conversation Mike and I have.

It's hard to pin down a specific "topic" we cover in this episode! We discuss the good and bad in imposter syndrome, prioritizing your downtime within your business,  social media, burnout (preventing it and bouncing back from it) and finding the good in all aspects of being a business owner.

Books mentioned in the episode:
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown

Support the Show.

If you are new to The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training then please don't forget to like, follow and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!
@theleashedmind on Instagram
@theleashedmind.pod on Facebook
@theleashedmind on YouTube

Support the show & help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere - cancel anytime, no commitment!

Think you might have some great advice, experience or story you'd like to share with our audience? Head on over to and scroll down to our guest application!

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Show Notes Transcript

In this weeks episode I have a chat with Mike Shikashio from - if you have been feeling like you are wearing all the hats lately, you don't have enough time in the day, can't remember the last time you took a vacation or asked someone for help with your business tasks - then you're going to want to listen to this conversation Mike and I have.

It's hard to pin down a specific "topic" we cover in this episode! We discuss the good and bad in imposter syndrome, prioritizing your downtime within your business,  social media, burnout (preventing it and bouncing back from it) and finding the good in all aspects of being a business owner.

Books mentioned in the episode:
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown

Support the Show.

If you are new to The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training then please don't forget to like, follow and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!
@theleashedmind on Instagram
@theleashedmind.pod on Facebook
@theleashedmind on YouTube

Support the show & help us continue making great content for listeners everywhere - cancel anytime, no commitment!

Think you might have some great advice, experience or story you'd like to share with our audience? Head on over to and scroll down to our guest application!



[00:00:04] Mandy: Hey, welcome back to Leashed Mind Podcast. I'm your host, Mandy Boutelle. On today's episode, I talk with Mike Shikashio from aggressive, and we have a really good conversation about a few different topics. Actually. We dig into self-doubt and imposter syndrome. We talk about prioritizing yourself within your business and how that might look for.

[00:00:29] Anyone really. So without further ado, let's dig in.

[00:00:34] Thank you so much for joining me, Mike. I'm so excited to have you on and just get into this whole discussion about mental health with you today. Thanks for having me, and thanks for, um, bringing an important topic to our community. So I appreciate, having this opportunity to chat with you.

[00:00:48] Absolutely. I'm honored to have you on as one of my first guests for this season. Before we even really dive into anything, I am curious what has your mental health kind of been like just from [00:01:00] the beginning? Cuz I know for myself growing up, um, that was never a focus and then leading up to the dog training industry, no one ever talked about prioritizing mental health.

[00:01:11] So I'm curious how that journey has been for you before you even got started. Yeah. You know, that. It's a, I guess I can give a longer answer to this because I think that my childhood actually impacted a lot of what I'm doing now, and I've been talking about this more recently, but, you know, growing up in a very non-empathetic family environment.

[00:01:33] So it was, you know, being an Asian kid in a, in a mostly, you know, non-Asian town growing up mm-hmm. Was, uh, Interesting dynamics. Of course. And I can, I'm sure the listeners can kind of imagine what that's like, but empathy and, you know, emotions were like, not a thing for my family. Like, don't talk about it.

[00:01:53] Just be a model citizen. Just, you know, study hard and everything else will be good in life. And so I never really learned the, I had a very poor [00:02:00] eq, you know, they talk about IQ and eq. Hello, my EQ is, Nonexistent, like had a tough time. That's all stuff I had to learn. Mm-hmm. And I think it really impacted my journey as I moved into different career paths and into what I'm doing now.

[00:02:14] And I think a lot of us as trainers, Get into working with dogs cuz we like working with dogs and we're getting sick of people. So I came from a career where I was getting very sick of the people I was working like in the casino industry with a lot of, you know, materialism, flamboyant, like throwing money around gambling.

[00:02:32] So not, you know, not a very wholesome environment. And, uh, certainly not one where you can imagine all the different personalities and how it's, it's, uh, it's very difficult to navigate those conversations. I, I can see that being draining. Totally. Yeah. Uh, and not very, you know, rewarding for me, you know, it was good money.

[00:02:50] It was good way to, um, you know, support my family at the time. But , from a mental health aspect, it wasn't doing me any good. So, so I got started working with dogs, you know, thinking, okay, let me get away from the [00:03:00] people for a little bit. But it evolved into recognizing, especially in aggression cases, just how much we work with people and just how many emotions are involved and just how much you have to learn to be empathetic to be an effective consultant and trainer.

[00:03:13] Yeah. So all of that kind of grew on me and it's something I had to learn over the years. And acquire as a skill because I hadn known a fit before. I mean, it was embarrassing. Like if you, if you sat in on some of my conversations in my early days of training, it would just be, it's like go, oh, same would be, be comedic.

[00:03:31] It would be very funny to like listen to those conversations or even see some of my online chats like way back in the Yahoo group today. So it was just awful. Oh wow. Yahoo Group. We're, we're dating ourselves now. Yeah. Way back in the day. Right. So, so yeah. That's, That's why I've recognized where, you know, mental health, compassion, empathy, understanding are so crucial and it's what's formed and shaped my career even.

[00:03:56] So, yeah, sort of a long answer to your question. No, that was a [00:04:00] great answer. Um, To go back to where you said, just noticing that you needed to have more compassion and empathy for the owners outside of the dog aspect, especially with aggression cases. Um, I'd love to dive into that a little bit more. Yeah.

[00:04:17] So. You know, my mind has always been analytical, mathematical. Um, and so what I would first start talking with a client, it would just moral, it was kind of just do like, okay, here's your formula. You know, here's the antecedent, here's the behavior, here's the consequence of so talking in a very dry way. Oh, the, after they've just said scientific jargon.

[00:04:37] Yeah, and this is like literally after they've just bawled their eyes out talking about how they're done, I'll just spit somebody that they love and I'd be like, okay. And I would say anything to like recognize their emotions. I'd be, okay, let's move on. This is how you're going to, you know, teachers sit, this is what a clicker is, or this is how, and I was completely oblivious to understanding their emotions and being empathetic and having that is such an important tool because that's how you get to.[00:05:00] 

[00:05:00] That rapport and trust. So they do participate more in the future and they do listen more. and, you know, it's a skill that again, just had to be developed over time cuz I recognized that I needed to be more of an effective consultant. Cause sometimes I wasn't getting through to my clients at all.

[00:05:16] Was there a specific moment where you recognized. Like, or a specific case or anything? I, I, I don't think there was any specific moment. I think I just started to recognize in the clients, cuz one of the, one of the best things a trainer consultant can do is on that drive home. Mm-hmm. Or if we're still driving home from Oh, you pick it apart.

[00:05:33] Yeah. You definitely, it's the best time to think about what you did and I started to focus on my conversation. So I, because the training, as we know, if you're focusing on one thing, it's with the dogs, it's like the same thing over and over most of the time. Right. It's with the clients that. Think about your conversations, how could it have been more effective?

[00:05:51] So that's one of the best tools. So I don't think there was any one particular moment. I think it was just a culmination over time. Like, darn it, what did I do wrong? Like, why is this client like giving up? [00:06:00] Or what did I say? Or is this something I could have said better? Or could I have communicated that in a better way?

[00:06:05] Could have been more empathetic or listened more instead of interrupting them? And that all. Building and building and I just started to, I actually started to dive into, you know, learning more conversational skills, more techniques. Um, same here. Yep. Because I was not good at it. I was not good at it all, so I was terrible.

[00:06:24] Terrible. So it's good. We have these humble beginnings and it really helps us shift. I don't know if you know this, but I came from a hairstylist background, so I was chatty. I knew how to get people to talk, but I didn't. It was all surface. Yeah, you never, I like, and then getting into the training atmosphere and learning like, oh, I need.

[00:06:46] Get on your level and understand you and help you process this. Cuz I feel like with, and correct me if I'm wrong, but specifically with aggression cases, it's traumatic for not only the dog but the guardian. [00:07:00] And they're needing to have this time to process. Okay, did my dog bit somebody? Where do we go from here?

[00:07:07] Is this trainer gonna support me? So it's, it's a, I'm sure that's just so much on the trainer having to realize they have to come in and really get through the weeds with everybody. Yeah, yeah. And, and creating a safe space for them to Yes, to openly talk about what's going on in their lives. Because if you don't create that, then they're not gonna tell you all the information you need.

[00:07:29] Uh, especially when it gets down to the, the bite incidents and the bite history. I mean, some clients vomit that information out actually, but other times they. Withdrawn. Or they might be embarrassed. They might be frustrated. They might, there's, there's reason, feel ashamed they might not be shame.

[00:07:41] Yeah. Or they don't want to get their dog in trouble. Mm-hmm. Um, and so if we don't create that safety for them where they can open up and tell us all the details, then we might be missing some really crucial information to help that dog and that client. So, uh, I, I think. In order to do that, we have to establish that trust.

[00:07:57] We have to establish that relationship just like we do with our [00:08:00] dogs. We have to establish it with the client as well for them to feel safe to, to open up to the behaviors we're looking for. Right. That information. Yes, that communication. I love that you just like blew my mind with that. So with.

[00:08:13] Everything you're doing with the aggression cases, with your master course, with the conference, with the podcast, you are a busy man. burnout is Inevitable. how do you reset from being burnt out? Do you get burnt out? I do. Yeah. Um, I recently just got burnt out actually, you know, with oh the end lots of, you know, having to navigate all the social media conversations.

[00:08:38] But, um, so it just, for me, it's making sure I schedule time off. It was something I was also terrible about. Um, I was very much into the hustle culture. So work, work, work, work, work. Uh, part of my, again, my upbringing as an Asian kid, um, in the US was, it's very much hustle culture. Just study, work hard and life will be good kind of mindset.

[00:08:59] That's [00:09:00] definitely something I've steered away. Just layer it down, don't talk about it. Exactly. And that's a, that's a problem because that's, that leads to burnout without recognizing mental. Yes. So for me it's, I've learned to schedule time off, so I, okay. I, I schedule massive amounts of time off, uh, with knowing when I do hustle, so I have days of hustle, so I work sometimes a 12 hour day on some days, and some days I decide I'm not gonna do anything.

[00:09:23] Mm-hmm. I gotta look at email. I'm not gonna open social media. And I might do that for weeks at a time. Or even like in this summer, I might, I'm scheduling pretty much all of July and August off completely. Good for you. Pretty much anything work related other than. Maintenance stuff, I'm still gonna, or yeah, maintenance stuff, but also just more of creative time.

[00:09:42] So creating content, creating, you know, I haven't decided what I'm gonna do yet, but, but it's just, you have that time though. It allows you Yeah, it allows you that. Yeah, because it's really tough to be creative and create content when you're so busy doing the other things. So, um, but that's how I reset, you know, you need to, to, to, I prioritize time off.

[00:09:59] Uh, [00:10:00] probably about seven or eight years ago, I started to be like, wait a second. I need to give myself some time off, some breaks, because especially when you're doing aggression cases, it's almost always an emergency for clients, right? Oh, can I, can I, when can you see me? And you're like, you're scheduling and you, you get busy and you're making money, you feel successful.

[00:10:15] And then things are, but then, then you look at your calendar, next thing you know, you don't have like a day off for like three months, which is not, not good for anything. So, um, so to reset, yeah. Ti time off is, is important. And what you do, of course, in that time off is, is important as. That's how I recharge when I get burnt out.

[00:10:32] So Awesome. Yeah, I just recently got back from Cyprus, got a nice little few days to recharge, go see some sights and enjoy the warm weather. And that for me was my recharge. So, and that was also a work trip too, so you kind of. You did a double whammy there. You got the best of both worlds with that. Yeah.

[00:10:49] Almost all of my trips are work trips, but, but I always schedule extra time if I'm, especially if I'm going somewhere like cypress. Right. I wouldn't you. So it's like two day workshop and then then you know, four or five [00:11:00] days of just, just all you get to decompress. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That's awesome. I love that.

[00:11:04] I need to do that. I need to take that advice. Cause I'm horrible. I haven't had a vacation in years. You mentioned, social media and burn out from that. being the public figure you are and just with how long you've been in the industry, you are someone that will have conversations with.

[00:11:22] Anyone, because I think it is a great point to have these conversations so that we are keeping things open and giving others opportunities, for sure. Mm-hmm. And with that, there is always some negativity going on, especially in the realm of social media when we can't control how people take things.

[00:11:41] Um, even though we try to be really good about how we word them. And I know that that is something that you got hit with recently after being on Ivan's podcast. so I would love to dive into that with you if you were wanting to. Yeah. Yeah. So for the listeners that might not be aware, very few [00:12:00] listeners, I think.

[00:12:00] Good point. At this point, um, Uh, so I was on Ivan Balabanov's podcast who's, uh, sort of, uh, if we were to label trainers, which I hate doing mm-hmm. But if we were to label trainers into certain, uh, methodologies, avenues of kind of well-known balanced trainer, and he invited me on as sort of this well known in his mind force free trainer.

[00:12:17] But I don't, again, give myself that label. I tend to just look at. Try to look at everybody as a trainer first and then hear about tools they might or might not use, but Right. Um, so that caused quite an uproar because it's, um, almost like sleeping with the enemy or stepping foot into enemy territory with a bouquet of roses.

[00:12:35] Right. So, it can seem, z to show that, you know, we can debate methods without calling each other awful names or making death threats or all these awful things that can happen on social media. Mm-hmm. Uh, but my goal is always to just with the audience that person has. There's always somebody that's in that audience that's looking to learn more.

[00:12:55] Yes. And that's my goal is be like, Hey, I'm here too, guys, and if you wanna learn [00:13:00] about positive reinforcement based methods to work with aggression cases, I'm here. So, it gives the exposure to somebody they might not have heard of. And it works every single time. Every single time.

[00:13:09] Exactly. We appear on somebody's podcast that's a, might be a balance trainer or speak at a conference or do a workshop where there's balance trainers. There's always at least one or two, if not many more, that will reach out to me like, Hey, I want to know more. And that's the change I'm looking to make.

[00:13:23] That's one more person. Yeah. Right. And that's, I think that's difficult, again, for some people. Like, why should we reach out? There's plenty of education available for these people. Well, that's. That's true, but it's not always easy to get out of your own echo chamber or sort of your own camps. And I only do that because I've, I'm a perfect example of it.

[00:13:41] I was that person using shock collars using prom collars early on in my career. But it's only because somebody opened that door for me where I was able to learn and move forward in doing what I do now, which is positive based methods. so yeah, that's the backstory, huh? Um, and then thank you for that.

[00:13:59] [00:14:00] Um, so there's history there but the difficulty for me, that start happens, of course, you know, I, I got a lot of backlash from it. and I'm not gonna, I won't even label it trolling. I think people have the right to have their criticisms. I think people have the right to express their opinions.

[00:14:14] I think they should express their concerns. I think they should reach out to me and be like, Hey Mike, I have this concern. That is totally fine, and I'm open to that. Publicly gave out my email. Oh yeah, yeah. And people could message me. And so, um, and every received some messages, some really. Tons of messages of support, uh, and some really nice, uh, nicely worded and kind messages be like, Hey, this is my concern.

[00:14:38] And I was able to reply to people. The tough thing though is when you have, um, a small group that will, it, you know, they're attacking you no matter what you say. And it's the, I guess the hardest part for me was it's, you know, people that you would've considered your allies or somebody that supported you before, or somebody you.

[00:14:54] Like work for did, you know, presented it for or did like a, a podcast or something for Right. And [00:15:00] suddenly they're, turning on you. That's, that's the part that hurts. So that's the hardest part you know, cuz I, I'm a human. Everybody's human. That's so, it's hard not to, how can you not take that in?

[00:15:08] but I also have to recognize, you know, there's, there's deeper layers to that. And so when somebody, you know, expresses their opinions in a very strong way, or maybe that's cons would be considered by others as an attack, or even me as an attack, often they have an underlying reason or their own trauma or their own views is why they're expressing it that way.

[00:15:28] And there's that mental health aspect. I have to recognize when somebody. Maybe experience trauma or abuse in their life, and maybe they're seeing the dogs treated in the same way they were treated. And so how could I, as you know, the person that's, you know, representative of this community go reach out to the abusers or to those, and I can completely understand that, that's their view.

[00:15:50] So it wouldn't be ethical or kind of me to tack those people back, you know, in that moment. I can try to respond. [00:16:00] Explain my point. Uh, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But I have to recognize that, um, everybody's going through their own journey and their past experiences and their, their views.

[00:16:10] So, uh, that's what helped, what's helped me kind of navigate this and, and work through this situation, is that recognizing that people say mean things, but they don't. It's not always because of me. It's because of what they might be going through in their, in their time of life. Everybody's going through something at some point in their life.

[00:16:27] Everybody is, and, and to, to say everybody's life is perfect would be a complete misstatement. So, um, so once we recognize that, then we can, it, it does takes the sting out of it. It takes, it helps us empathize. It helps us understand why people like, can be like that, especially on social media. Um, and it helps you move forward, you know?

[00:16:46] That, and of course the support of a million different people have been amazing. that was such a good answer and you touched on a point that I don't think a lot of us even think about for me, even. Um, I know like [00:17:00] before the pandemic when I was training, I was very reactive in my response. I always thought that I needed to be on the defense, and that if someone had something negative, like with Woof Cultr, so many people had negative things to say about some designs I made, and I immediately took it as, oh, you're saying this about me, it's personal about me.

[00:17:22] Mm-hmm. I finally started doing my own healing and trauma healing journey and I realized like, oh, this isn't, they have something that's unprocessed and that's not to say that like, oh, you're screwed up and that's why you're taking this out on me. It's, I can acknowledge that someone else might be hurting and they still have healing to do so I'm not gonna lash out at them cuz I know what it's like to be in that place.

[00:17:48] Does that, Absolutely. Absolutely. And, and so we recognize why they might be responding in that way. And there's others, of course, there's other people that may not be coming from that place. They might be coming from a [00:18:00] very strong advocacy standpoint. They really believe in, you know, not. reaching across the aisle or building bridges because those people should know in their mind, and that's okay.

[00:18:09] They don't have to, they don't, nobody's asking them or telling them, Hey, build bridges with everybody, right. With that. For people that are the what, that wanna do it, do that. Yeah. Or are open to doing it. Um, just don't attack them for doing it. You know, I, it, you know, it's, everybody has a choice to have conversations with who they want to.

[00:18:25] I understand the difference between that and then like, Platforming or giving somebody that stage of saying, Hey, it's like, so if I was like, say Ivan, come on my podcast, and let's talk about shock collars and how great they are for aggression cases. Yeah, totally gimme backlash for that. But you know, there's a difference between me appearing on somebody else's podcast.

[00:18:43] I don't think that gives validity to that person of saying, oh, now Mike is supporting balance training. It's no. I'm trying to change the minds of a few listeners on his side that might be open to change. That's it. And I know it works and, people sometimes don't think about that or don't believe that, but I know, and I [00:19:00] am.

[00:19:00] Uh, and it's in my heart. I know that it works. I know that I've seen, I've gotten so many, so many messages that, um, that really are my reinforcement good for this behavior. Right. I love that. So on the topic of social media, one question I did get asked, and I think it's a great question for you, is when is it appropriate to respond to negative comments?

[00:19:24] Or when do you decide, okay, I'm just gonna block and delete? Great question. Um, I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt at first. So if somebody responds or comments negatively, I can't think of an example. I've, I haven't actually responded at least once with some sort of message of, Hey, thanks for your comment.

[00:19:46] and you always, that's the way to respond. Doesn't matter. Thank them. Call you. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for your comment. Thank you for your, uh, concern. I'm trying to understand, um, here's my explanation. You know, you give your response, but [00:20:00] without the same vitriol or fuel back and you're gonna get. A few different responses.

[00:20:04] Sometimes they're just gonna respond in the same way. You know, it doesn't matter what you say, you're still a jerk, basically. Yeah, exactly. And that's one type of response. But sometimes you'll see, you'd be very surprised what you see, like, oh, you know what, uh uh, they respond with that same kind of tone and then it turns into a conversation.

[00:20:21] A conversation, yeah. And again, that initial comment from them might have come out of a place of emotion or what they've, um, It's fueled by in the past. And what fuels them, of course, is their, the likes and the, reinforcement for their comments often. and that's the nature of social media.

[00:20:36] You know, there's lots of, there's lots of this reinforcement that's happening without us often realizing it for our comments. So you have that. But if somebody continues, and especially if it crosses that line of threatening, you know, uh, behavior or abusive language, I draw the line there, I'll say.

[00:20:52] Okay delete and block, because that also affects the people that are reading along. And I don't wanna create an environment of hostility completely [00:21:00] all the time. I do wanna show though that you can respond in an empathetic way with kindness and compassion first. Mm-hmm. And then leave it up to that person.

[00:21:08] If they continue on, then it's time to also protect yourself as well as those around you. And that's the time I will delete the post or delete the comment and block. It's been very few times I've had to. In. Right. You know, 20 years of training and being on social media or Yahoo groups or MySpace or something, you know, all the old stuff we used to do.

[00:21:27] It's, it's been, you know, such a few amount of times. So that just goes to show it's really, it's, there's not, the vast majority of trainers are good people. We just get caught up in some of these conversations sometimes. Most of us are gonna be very nice, especially if we see each other in person. Right?

[00:21:41] Right. Exactly. I feel like a lot of the comments we get, if someone was to say it in person, Would be taken completely differently. And that's the thing with exactly the day and age we're in. Text can be misdirecting. Um, social media comments like you never know how it's meant to come across. [00:22:00] Exactly.

[00:22:00] There's no, there's no nuances of conversation are gone. There's no facial expression. We get emojis, we get, but other than that, you get no body language, no tone of voice. Yes. You know? And then to top it off, imagine if like you're at a conference and you're talking to like somebody and you guys are, you're like having a, a debate over some tool and then suddenly everybody who's agreeing with you comes up and starts like patting you on the back and like Yeah.

[00:22:20] You know, during the convers. That's what's happening on social media, which then ends up influencing, you know, that and reinforcing that person for, for making those comments. They may not see that the tone or the the way they're communicating is not being very effective, in your role and how you started aggressive, how you even went and just blew it out of the water with aggression. And training in general. Have you ever experienced self-doubt, imposter syndrome while you've been building all of that? All the time.

[00:22:54] Really? All the time. And it's a, it's an important thing, I think. Imposter syndrome is a good and a bad thing. You [00:23:00] know, it has a second guessing ourselves has us kind of like doubting our abilities. And, uh, it can affect our mental health as well if we absolutely, if we're constantly, uh, feeling like we're not enough.

[00:23:10] However, it does help us check ourselves at the door first, right? So it helps us. Be like, am I giving the right information? Especially when you start speaking and, and doing, you know, um, and of course it matters in every aspect of training, but especially when you get on a bigger stage and you really want to check what you're presenting.

[00:23:26] Yeah. Cause you're influencing a lot of people, uh, and some in some, uh, venues. So that's where you imposter syndrome can be good because you're like, wait a minute. Do I really know what I'm talking about here and am I like this? And you start, you know, so if you have like other speakers that have been like around the industry for a long time and like you've learned from Oh, right.

[00:23:44] That really hits hard. You're like, oh, like the first time I was speaking it was like at, uh, at the AP D T conference in Australia. It was, uh, there was a, a number of speakers, but Ken Ramirez and I were kind of going like, Sort of back and forth [00:24:00] stage time. Talk about imposter syndrome. I mean, this guy's talking about like getting butterflies to migrate and getting elephants to take different paths in Africa.

[00:24:09] And here I am. I like, why do I top that? How do I even compare, you know? But I had a great time. Ken was super supportive and, um, sat in and all, all my talks and it's just like, you know, and I could play off of him. Like I would call on him and like we'd joke around, but that was, that was imposter syndrome at it's finest.

[00:24:26] But it. Like had me thinking about my presentations more in detail. So yeah, imposter syndrome, has its benefits and its pros and cons I should say. But, um, you know, it's a good thing to have. I think when we don't have imposter syndrome, it's a problem. It's a problem because we don't, so that dunning Kruger effect, right?

[00:24:45] Yes. So, um, yeah. Yeah. So, and the way I deal with this, I just like, check my sources, check my, you know, double check my work and even bounce ideas off a colleague. Be like, Hey, what do you think about this? Or, um, and what do you, what are your thoughts? Is there anything I should [00:25:00] improve? Or anything you think, and that can be really helpful to, to solidify and just be prepared if anybody's out there, you know, preparing a talk or getting a webinar ready, just rehearse, rehearsing, um, takes a lot of that imposter syndrome away.

[00:25:13] Um, and cuz you add more too as you go along. Right. Um, Yeah, I think you're right. It is a good thing to kind of fuel things with, and I've been learning that myself as well, especially with the podcast. I've been like, oh, there's so many people doing podcasts. I, everyone's doing it. I don't Anyone can talk about mental health, like who the heck am I?

[00:25:34] But I think it's a good thing to fuel you. You wouldn't be feeling that way if your heart wasn't in it and if you weren't excited about it and if you didn't know that it was going to add value to somebody out there. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. So on all this mental health rainbow that we are covering right now, um, what.[00:26:00] 

[00:26:00] Do you have like set in place that is just, it's a firm. This is how I am prioritizing my mental wellness. Aside from having like lots of determined breaks and scheduling that out, are there any certain systems you have in place just within work so that you're not running yourself ragged? Yeah, it's something that I've learned to put into place over the years.

[00:26:23] So again, going from that hustle culture of just work, work, work, work, work. Mm-hmm. Um, and very little family time is to, this kind of goes along with scheduled breaks, but it's making sure that my schedule does take into account spending time for my own, you know, improvement my own health. So working out, you know, time for exercises, typical things that we do for keeping ourselves, uh, the best.

[00:26:47] The reason for that is because to be an effective consultant, trainer, company owner, whatever it is, we have to be our best selves. And especially when we're talking with clients or working with clients or students, it's unethical not to show up your best self. [00:27:00] So first thing you need to do is take care of yourself.

[00:27:02] And if you don't, then you're not serving your clients well. You're not serving your students well, you're not serving your business well. So, um, that's first and foremost. So I always kind of have that mindset around, let's make sure I'm setting enough time to do that. Um, and I've been reading, or I listened in on this, great book actually while I was away in, in Cypress, this book called It's Essentialism.

[00:27:20] But, uh, so let's go to like, you know, the term we hear essentialism, you're kind of thinking, is that like minimalism or is that like, so what does it mean? And what it is, is really more about the tasks in your life, so what you do in your daily routine and helping you prioritize things.

[00:27:35] Because when you first start out, especially if you're starting to get into different areas of training or speaking, Is you say yes to everything. You're like, yeah, yeah. Oh my God. Yeah. Okay. I'll write an article for this. Yeah, sure. Yeah. And your next thing you know, your schedule's completely full of yeses.

[00:27:49] which means that you're, that's something you have to say no to eventually. Um, and so, and it gets harder. It gets totally harder, yeah. And it gets more and more opportunities, which is not a [00:28:00] bad thing, but you have to learn how, cuz then what happens? Pushes aside the other parts of your life that you need to be paying attention to, whether it's your family, whether it's your dogs, you know, whether it's your personal health.

[00:28:11] You need that time. You need to think about those things. And so essentialism is all about that. It's like prioritizing what's really important. What you really need to do, and the busier you get, you have to start saying no to things. and that could be whether you're doing, you're in training or if you're getting into other aspects of the dog training industry, whether you're speaking, creating, webinars, whatever it is, there's a point where you have to say, start saying no to things and decide what is most essential for your health.

[00:28:37] Yes. And um, And it just, it's amazing. It's, it's a great book. And I mean, it even talks about things like sleep, like, you know, it's making sleep an essential thing. It's so essential, right? And think about mental health, right? Like, so, right? So that hustle culture has you, like if you're, you're sleeping more than five hours a night, then you're a slouch, you know?

[00:28:55] And that's awful advice because that impacts your sleep, which impacts your productivity, which impacts [00:29:00] your mental health. Yes. So it's all like this, it's all related. So, um, so yeah, that's, uh, that's kind of what. Focusing on sort of like in terms of systems, like in my own thinking system is just, that's great.

[00:29:11] Focusing on the essential part of things and it's so crucial when you get to certain stages, you have to, you have to think that way. Have you noticed that starting to kind of bleed into other parts of your life and just where you've learned to start prioritizing that and where it started to ease things out in some.

[00:29:29] Definitely. So I, you know, I've kind of been practicing it for a long time, uh, uh, without really knowing about this concept, right? The concept just sort of really validated everything that I've. Trying to do and reminded me also like, Hey, you gotta remember to stick to this. Great. And so, yeah, things like, you know, getting help, like finding help for certain tasks.

[00:29:49] So my previous job, I was at a casino. I had like 80 employees. I was like, left that job. I'm like, oh my gosh, I'm never going to have an employee again in my life. I wanna just work for myself. I'm gonna be this dog [00:30:00] trainer that just sees cases on his own. No employees, nothing. But that changed. So things start to grow, things get bigger again.

[00:30:06] And so you, you find you need help. And it's, it's just like leaving a career. You're worried about the money. You're like, all right, am I going to be successful enough to support my family if I go into dog training? Leave this. You know, well paying casino job. So that's a big thought.

[00:30:21] You're like, oh, that's nerve wracking. That's stressful. So then you get to the same thing when you start hiring people or having contractors work for you. You're like, oh, am I gonna be able to support this? Am I gonna be able to afford this? But let me tell you, it's, the hardest decision in the sense of finances when you think about it.

[00:30:36] But it's the easiest decision when you look back at it and you're like, why didn't I do this before? Oh my God. Yes. It just makes things so much easier when you have, um, whether it's a pay, you know, like a actual W2 employee or a contractor doing things for you. Um, so I started, probably about six, seven years ago, started adding.

[00:30:53] Contractors to work for me and employees, but, uh, where they do certain tasks, whether it's just handling something like [00:31:00] CEUs or, you know, uh, conference stuff or whatever. And it's the best thing I ever did because now they, free up that time for you to do what you're good at. So whatever it is, like content creation or, um, seeing clients, whatever it is that you're, that's making the money, uh, or supporting your business and that what you actually like to do it frees up that time.

[00:31:20] it's, it's hard. So anybody that's listening in that's at a point where like you're working your butt off, you're like 50 - 100 hours a week, There's no end in sight. I'm like always going. And you don't have anybody working for you yet. You're ready for it. Yes, you're ready to find somebody.

[00:31:33] Like even if it's a five, 10 hour week, fiver type of contractor. Get that person. They can do simple things, answer emails. Respond to clients, do your marketing, do your website, whatever it is. It starts at a bookkeeping. Let me tell you. Oh God. Yeah. Say bookkeeper person accountants. I had sticker shock when I had my accountant, uh, gimme his plan.

[00:31:52] But it's the best thing I ever did and the best money I ever spent. Cuz not only has he saved me more money than he actually costs in taxes. [00:32:00] Yep. But he actually has just streamlined, took so much off my plate. And I'm sure a lot of listeners right around this. Tax season. Oh, I know exactly. I'm relating so hard to this bookkeeping.

[00:32:11] Imagine like not having to like add up any kind of receipts and all that. I mean, it's just such a time saver. So yeah, keep adding as you can, as you can afford it. Just keep adding those services and next thing you know, you're gonna have tons of free time to do the stuff you actually like. So that's been another aspect of the growth, that it's been really important for my own mental health.

[00:32:30] So again, back to the mental health aspect, it just frees up the time for me to do that. Well, yeah, cuz then you're able to focus on the thing that you are most passionate about, what you're best at, so that you feel better, your mental health is doing better because you're not stressing about all these things in the background cuz it's taken care of.

[00:32:47] Yeah. Um, have you ever read the One Thing by Gary Keller? I have not. Oh my God, it's so, so good. I will link in the podcast notes for anyone that's listening, but it's essentially about finding [00:33:00] your one thing and then. Breaks it open in, okay, so if you're gonna do your one thing, you need other people doing things in the background so you can focus on your one thing.

[00:33:11] And you can't see my whiteboard right now, but I have it. So it's year, quarter, week and day, and it kind of funnels down into what my one thing is that I work on that day. Yep. So I have my goals and they just get chunked down into the one thing. And do you do it at a certain time of day? Do you do it at like a certain time where you know you're gonna be most productive?

[00:33:31] Oh yes, always. Of course, my mornings, so like before I started with you today, I wrote out everything I needed to do today, and then I just keep looking at it and. That has worked. And another thing from that book that you touched on with just kind of finding the balance with everything, he talks a lot about counterbalance.

[00:33:50] So if you're gonna work hard, you need to play just as hard. Mm-hmm. You need to reap those benefits and soak that in so that you can come back stronger and [00:34:00] recharged because. And this is a whole reason I left the training industry is because I was so burnt out in, I'm a people pleaser, so I was trying to accommodate all my clients all the time, answering texts at 11 at night, and it's just, you get run ragged.

[00:34:16] You can't prioritize other people, especially when it's not during work. Yeah. Yeah. Those boundaries are so crucial. I, and I kind of forgot to talk about that earlier. It was like the boundaries, especially in aggression cases, because it's almost always an emergency, guys. Oh, right. I bet you're always in contact with them.

[00:34:35] It's always, always like, yeah, like people are just like, it's like the dog bits somebody or a new client or you know, something happens and it scares the client and you're constantly almost on call. So yet you do have to set those boundaries and you can do it in a way that you're. Um, they still feel like if they have you on speed dial in a way, you just set the times.

[00:34:53] You just set the days. You just set expectations about how long it might take you to respond, but let them know you're there for them. [00:35:00] Um, but it's just, yeah, if you don't set those boundaries, then you. You risk getting those 3:00 AM texts. Right. Or you know, the people getting upset cuz you didn't respond in like an hour.

[00:35:09] So Right. Boundaries with your clients, with your colleagues, you know, with your, with your contractors, everything. Whoever you're, yeah. It's so, so crucial now. With the boundaries. Did you learn that from the get-go that you needed to set those expectations or did you learn that after some boundaries were crossed?

[00:35:28] I think I got lucky. I, um, you know, I had, I had to set some boundaries, but I don't. I don't think I, it's like I hear some horror stories from some trainers that poor trainers are like getting oh, just unbelievable. Like harassment from some of their clients. And if they don't respond in like 10 minutes, they have clients like leaving a bad Google review and it's just, oh gosh, some ridiculous things that can happen.

[00:35:50] Um, it never got to me in that point, but I did have to set some expectations in. Like how often I would be responding. So I'd be like getting multiple emails from the same client of a day. [00:36:00] So I ended up, you know, explaining, you know, that how often I would respond and what the frequency is, or if they need more help, it would be at their certain rates.

[00:36:09] So, um, so any trainers listening in, again, especially for the aggression cases, be. Very forthcoming with what your policies are in terms of the number of communications or contacts, your hours and all of those things, because it is gonna save a lot of headaches later on. Trust me. Uh, it saves a lot of headaches and we don't think about it, especially when we first start out.

[00:36:26] So I need newer trainers listening in. When you first start, you're like, you just want all the business and you want to Yes. People please, you say yes to everything. Yes. Yeah, and that's fine in the, in the beginning, but make sure I, you're constantly thinking about. Eventually setting those boundaries cuz it sneaks up on you, right?

[00:36:42] Oh yes. You don't set it and then suddenly you're super busy cuz everybody hears about how nice and open and available you are, right? Then next, you know? Yeah. Instead of one client doing, you have 40 clients all doing it at the same time. So set the boundaries ahead of time or like think about them before it gets to you.

[00:36:57] I think we have covered so many [00:37:00] beneficial topics for trainers right now, and I hope they're able to take just even a smidge of advice from everything we've delved into. Um, one last question before I let you go. One piece of advice that you would have given yourself five years ago.

[00:37:15] That's a good question., I think it's, it's not about the destination, it's about the journey is, is the way I would sum it up. Because we have goals and it's important to set goals where we wanna be in, in, in terms of business, in terms of life. In terms of our family, in terms of our own personal journey and health and mental wellness.

[00:37:32] but sometimes if we do that and we're setting our sights on that goal, especially if you have your own business, entrepreneurs are very, very, uh, under kind of exposed to this as we've set our sights on a goal. We forget to enjoy the journey along the way, and we forget to learn from our experiences along the way, and we forget to give ourselves time to process.

[00:37:50] The learning experiences along the way. so remember that , take those moments to reflect, where you're at, while also keeping your eye on the goal that you've set. But, uh, don't forget [00:38:00] about those moments and enjoy it. Enjoy those, those times, even in the bad times. there's gonna be enjoyable moments.

[00:38:04] There's gonna be those people that support you, that, uh, reach out to you and, that, that makes it all worthwhile, right? The difficult moments along that journey. So yeah, respect the journey. It's a good thing. And I think that applies just to even training as well. You gotta enjoy the training journey.

[00:38:20] Mm-hmm. Such a good way to look at that. Well, thank you so much for coming on the Leashed Mind podcast. Mike, it has been an absolute joy talking through all of this with you. I feel like you've been giving me all this advice, like I've been taking it in too. It just feels good to talk through this with you.

[00:38:36] It's awesome. Well, I appreciate it. Again, thanks so much. 

[00:38:39] Mandy: if you found this podcast helpful, you like what we're doing here at The Leashed Mind, leave a comment, subscribe, like tag us on social media, just give us a little R plus and we'll be back with another episode.


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