The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training

Delegating Within Your Business w/ Malena DeMartini

May 02, 2023 The Leashed Mind by Woof Cultr© Season 1 Episode 5
Delegating Within Your Business w/ Malena DeMartini
The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training
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The Leashed Mind Podcast, Mental Health & Dog Training
Delegating Within Your Business w/ Malena DeMartini
May 02, 2023 Season 1 Episode 5
The Leashed Mind by Woof Cultr©
 On today's episode, I speak with Malena De Martini author of Separation Anxiety Dogs and Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs. Malena is also the founder of the CSAT certification course where dog trainers can become certified to become separation anxiety specialists.

Obviously Malena has plenty of experience with compassion fatigue, working around catering to client's & their emotional needs, while still being able to prioritize herself and her mental health within her business and how she passes that on to her CSAT students and her staff so that their mental health is still being taken care of and prioritized within their business

Malena wouldn't have been this successful if she didn't see where she needed to delegate and change certain systems within her  business to take care of herself. So get comfortable and let's dig into this new episode together!

“None of us. Not a single one of us can be the best at every single thing and leaning into someone else's ability to promote and pull out whatever, whatever strengths we need in other aspects of our life, is super important.”  —Malena DeMartini

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Show Notes Transcript
 On today's episode, I speak with Malena De Martini author of Separation Anxiety Dogs and Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs. Malena is also the founder of the CSAT certification course where dog trainers can become certified to become separation anxiety specialists.

Obviously Malena has plenty of experience with compassion fatigue, working around catering to client's & their emotional needs, while still being able to prioritize herself and her mental health within her business and how she passes that on to her CSAT students and her staff so that their mental health is still being taken care of and prioritized within their business

Malena wouldn't have been this successful if she didn't see where she needed to delegate and change certain systems within her  business to take care of herself. So get comfortable and let's dig into this new episode together!

“None of us. Not a single one of us can be the best at every single thing and leaning into someone else's ability to promote and pull out whatever, whatever strengths we need in other aspects of our life, is super important.”  —Malena DeMartini

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!

Ep. 5 Malena DeMartini


[00:00:00] Hello and welcome back to the Leash Mind Podcast, mental Health and Dog Training. I'm your host, Mandy Boutelle. On today's episode, I speak with Malena de Martini author of Separation Anxiety Dogs and. Treating separation anxiety in dogs. Malena is also the creator of the certification course where dog trainers can become certified to become separation anxiety specialists.

[00:00:31] Obviously Malena has plenty of experience with, compassion fatigue working around, you know, catering to client's, emotional needs, and still being able to prioritize herself and her mental health within her business and how she passes that on to her CSAT students and her staff. So, Their mental health is still being taken care of and prioritized within their business because I, I, I [00:01:00] feel like yes, dog trainers as a whole, we do not prioritize our mental wellbeing, whether it be in our business or our day-to-day, but I, I, I think it's, you know, it's dog trainers and then it's also the aggression and separation anxiety trainers that anytime you specialize in something, you're going to take on more of an emotional. Role from the owner's perspective because these, uh, dog guardians owners that are struggling with these, you know, whether it be severe reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety, these are life altering things, not only for the dogs, but for the people and the people that are going through that.

[00:01:42] As someone who has had a dog with separation anxiety, it is very, To, you know, not bleed that onto other people because you just want to have that support. And so, again, the dog trainers that work in these specific niches of [00:02:00] aggression reactivity, separation anxiety. They are hitting a whole other level of compassion fatigue because they are essentially a rock for their clients when they are going through these really big behavior things that are going on.

[00:02:14] And so Malena and I kind of just really delved in on. Prioritizing yourself within your business and, and making sure to have boundaries with clients and how to make sure to take care of yourself with your work so that you're not just constantly drowning in work like Malena and I kind of do. We did commiserate on how, you know, we're not the best at prioritizing our mental health when our, within our businesses.

[00:02:41] So it's very refreshing to hear that. You know, we aren't alone in these feelings, especially from someone that is so successful with their business. Malena wouldn't have been this successful if she didn't see where she needed to delegate and change certain systems within her [00:03:00] business to take care of herself.

[00:03:02] So again, it always goes into taking care of yourself so that you are taking care of your clients in the long run. I'll stop talking about it cause I never explain these things as good as they sound. So, Let's just get into the episode right now. I'll stop talking. Welcome back to the Leash Mind podcast. I have Malena D Martini with me, and I'm so excited to dive into all things mental health and CSAT trainers. Mena, I am so excited to have you on the podcast. Aw, thank you so much for having me, Mandy. I really appreciate you asking. Of course. I think that there's so many CSAT trainers out there and I think it's so important that they do prioritize their mental health because it's quite the undertaking.

[00:03:46] Um, especially, you know, I know my husband has gone through it. He's gone through your course and been on your staff, and I have seen how working with sep anx can just be a lot on one's mental health. It certainly can. I [00:04:00] think that, I mean, a. Types of behavior modification that we work with as dog trainers can be really taxing.

[00:04:07] But I, I don't know, I think there's like an extra little oomph, um, when we're working with separation anxiety clients because there's a lot of emotional rollercoaster time, um Oh yeah. With these day-to-day tiny little increments that we're working on. And not to mention just kind of being the emotional soundboard for the clientele.

[00:04:29] Absolutely. It's one of the interesting things about working with separation and anxiety clients is that most of them feel particularly isolated for, for the reasons of their, you know, they're not leaving their dog alone. and unfortunately it is really misunderstood in so far as your average person.

[00:04:48] Thinks what? You're not leaving your dog alone ever. And what it's been a month and you're only at four minutes. What? This is crazy. Can't you drop him at daycare? Exactly. Or [00:05:00] just leave him alone. He'll get over it. You know, all that kind of, those kinds of, uh, recommendations. And so it's hard because I think there's a lot of naysayers that just don't understand what the client is going through.

[00:05:10] So we're kind of this lifeline for the client where we're like, no, you're doing exactly what you need to do in order to help improve the welfare of your dog. And you're kind of an advocate for them. You're reassuring them like, no, it is okay to feel this way. You are not alone in like, here, I'm going to make you feel okay with having to do this.

[00:05:32] Yeah. There's a ton of really important empathy and validation of feelings. Like I really see a lot of clients that. You know, pieces of the, the protocol, we can't make go any faster. We can only go at the pace of the dog, but they need to not only hear that we're gonna do everything that we can to realize success, but they also need to hear that it's [00:06:00] okay for them to feel overwhelmed or frustrated or disappointed on certain days, or, you know, those sorts of things.

[00:06:07] And those are normal feelings that are absolutely appropriate for them to be able to express and to, to share and, and know that we're, there's no judgment there, you know? Mm-hmm. They, they, they can, they can go on that emotional roller or coaster and we'll be right there with them. To an extent because we do need to prioritize our own mental health.

[00:06:27] Yes. To an extent. I mean, we will be there with them certainly supporting, uh, and guiding the training protocol and, uh, allowing them to, to feel the the highs and the lows, the celebration and the cheerleading when needed. Right, exactly. So I'm excited to go into that whole topic with you, cuz I know we're just gonna spiral off on that.

[00:06:51] Um, but I do wanna know kind of just how you even got started on establishing a CSAT course. What [00:07:00] attracted you to separation anxiety and kind of where your mental health played a role in that in the beginning. Yeah. So those are, those are, there's multiple answers in those questions. Um, I, I suppose. I'll start with why I was, uh, attracted to separation anxiety in the beginning.

[00:07:17] And, and it's kind of funny because I typically tell people that separation anxiety chose me. I did not choose it, you know? Oh, really? Yeah. My, one of my very first cases was a separation anxiety case. I was a fresh, brand new green trainer out of the academy for dog trainers. And I got a call, back in the day when you just picked up your phone when people called, you know, no caller id, no caller id, nothing.

[00:07:45] Yeah. 22 years ago now. And, and, um, and she was just crying and overwhelmed about what was she going to do, and I was very transparent and said, you know, gosh, I'm a really green trainer. I would [00:08:00] like to, I think it, you would be best served to work with another trainer. And she said through her tears, she said she understood, but if I was going to give her a name or two of another trainer, would they be able to work with separation anxiety?

[00:08:15] Because I was the seventh trainer that she had spoken to that had turned her down. And Exactly. I can't even imagine where she was emotionally. I just felt that in my chest. Exactly. And you know, in an instant, not only did I have tremendous empathy for obviously what she was going through with her dog, but also just the perseverance that she was like, I'll just keep calling and I'll keep, I'll find someone, you know.

[00:08:42] Um, and so I said, well, I'm willing to, I said, you're absolutely right. I'm gonna probably give you two or three names, and they're probably gonna say they don't work with separation anxiety, and I don't wanna see that happen to you. So, I told her I would work with her, um, and if it got above my head that we would find other resources.

[00:08:59] And that was [00:09:00] sort of the beginning. And, I just started to really fall in love with the process, with the dogs, with the people. And it became something that I was really passionate about. It's, there's nothing like seeing a dog that is originally just terrified and struggling and seeing them however long, like they're just so, and sleeping on the couch and just okay.

[00:09:22] About things. That is beautiful. I love that. Just that one client kind of steered that for you. Absolutely. And really what ended up happening was, Once people heard that I had resolved this dog separation anxiety, everyone was like, you were the person. Yeah. It was like, I immediately, everyone was like, well, we don't wanna take it, so we'll give it to you.

[00:09:45] Uh, and so, funny bit about that though. Uh, talking about self-care and where, where I was mentally that case, while it was very successful, was the beginning of a long string of [00:10:00] realizing number one total imposter syndrome. Right. I'm like, I've done one case and it happened to be successful, but I don't know what I'm doing.

[00:10:07] it really propelled me to make a commitment to really helping these dogs and sort of researching along the way. because. we didn't, was there anything there? There was, there was nothing able stuff a food toy and use the co, uh, crate and, you know, there were all things that, that we didn't, we didn't do separation anxiety this way back then.

[00:10:29] Right. And so it was about 10 years of working with clients and saying, I'm gonna work with you in full transparency. I'm not sure what exactly is going to be the most efficient and effective for you and your dog, but we'll go through this together. And those first 10 years were very much figuring out which pieces of the puzzle were the most important for these dogs and which ones were not needed or not very effective.

[00:10:54] but that brings me to the question that you said, you know, and how did all of this come about? How did the [00:11:00] business, you know, piece come into play the CSAT program? Yeah. So, Fast forward to 2013. So I had already been, exclusively working with separation anxiety since, around 2001, 2002. Oh, wow.

[00:11:13] And I actually, this, I owe this so much to Veronica, Veronica Boutelle, which of course, you know, Veronica quite well. I reached out to Veronica, in a, just quite a not good place from a self care and mental health perspective because Were you just overwhelmed and kind of I was, yeah. What had happened was I had finally really developed a protocol that was very successful.

[00:11:42] Um, we're starting to realize pretty impressive progress with the clients that I was working with. But I didn't know a single person that worked with separation anxiety, the, the way that I did. Mm-hmm. And so people were referring and referring and referring, and I was just, bring it on, bring it on, bring it on.

[00:11:58] Well, that's so much [00:12:00] for one person. It was a lot. And I look back at the number of cases that I was carrying at that time, and I think, how on earth was I working these 12 hour days, seven days a week kind of thing? You know? I mean, I really was, yeah. Burning the candle at both ends and, but I didn't know anyone that I could refer to that they, that I felt, because they were like, well, stop a fu toy and use a crate.

[00:12:24] You know? And I'm like, well, I know that doesn't work. Right. so I talked to Veronica and I said, I don't know what to do. I'm so overwhelmed and I can't maintain this kind of caseload. And we kind of brainstormed a little. And she said, you know, you should consider hiring an an apprentice, bringing on an apprentice.

[00:12:40] And teaching them so that you have something to refer to. And I was like, wow. Yeah, that's a, that's a really good idea. Sure. Give me one more thing I need to do, Veronica. Well, that's exactly what I thought in the moment. That's so funny, right? Cause you were so trigger stacked, I'm sure. Yeah. And I thought, what, how on earth am I gonna find the time to train a [00:13:00] brand new apprentice on this?

[00:13:01] Right. Right. And she's like, we'll, you know, that, that we'll get there, we'll get there. So we ended the call and I thought, okay, let me think about developing some sort of, you know, curriculum for an apprentice. And a few days later we talked again and I said, you know, I'm gonna fill that apprentice's dance card in like a hot second.

[00:13:20] And she said, well, maybe you could, you know, train two people at the same time. Oh. And it was like, at this, at that moment, the light bulb went off for both of us and we were like, oh wow. Of course. Oh, oh. And uh, Talk about imposter syndrome. I remember telling Veronica and she said, I can't wait to tell you.

[00:13:41] I told you. So one day she loves that. She loves bringing that up. She loves it. She loves it. And uh, and she loves, I mean, and she does it so kindly in the best way possible, right? Yeah. But I kept saying, it's just desensitization. Everybody knows how to do this. I don't have anything to teach anybody [00:14:00] that's new.

[00:14:00] Oh my God. She said, oh, she said, I think you'll be surprised. Uh, and so we started out with the first five students. And when was that? That was the end, the beginning of 2014, I think. Okay. Yeah. Wow. Or maybe it was the end of 2014. and boy, the program has evolved and we've got over 200 C SATs and obviously there's a.

[00:14:23] Tremendous demand for, um, for what CSATS do. oh yeah. So that's where it started and boy was I overwhelmed and like, how can I do this? And so scared to teach people and teach, you know, people something that was different. things really started to grow after we started to graduate.

[00:14:43] The first couple of classes at CSAT s I thought, oh, maybe there's really a, need for this. Oh my God, I just. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that you were doing this for 10, 11, 12 years and then all of a sudden you have, you know, [00:15:00] 200 graduates and a full staff and you're not like swimming this whole thing on your own and you're able to refer out.

[00:15:10] That has to feel incredible. Like that is quite an accomplishment. Thank you. You know, I wish I could say I planned these things really effectively or I, but I didn't, you know? No, that's how the best ones happen. Yeah. Yeah. And I, at this point in time, I feel like I have such a profoundly supportive network of people.

[00:15:35] That you grew though. Well, yeah, you did it. Uh, but I mean, I have really been able to surround myself with some incredible, incredible human beings. and while there's still challenges, because that's just part of running a business. Oh, yeah. I think that, the support that I received from, and that, that we share with so many incredible csat s is, is just [00:16:00] really life altering.

[00:16:01] Truly. I feel like it goes without saying, although it does need to be said. Um, just to give a shout out to the csat s that I feel like it really, it's so important to. Some type of empathy and tenderness within yourself to be willing to help people and do this and, and know that they are going to be in an emotional state and you are that rock for them while they're working through it.

[00:16:26] Because I don't, and maybe that's just because I know you and I, my husband was on your staff, he worked through all the CSAT stuff, so I saw firsthand, but I don't think you can go in to be a CSAT without having that tenderness and open understanding of what these people are going through and how much it really is impacting their lives day to day.

[00:16:48] I, I completely agree. And it, and it is a large element of our program is talking about that empathy in combination, of course with some important boundaries, [00:17:00] uh, and considering our ability to help. Only, is as good as our ability to care for ourselves as well. Right? Yes. It's very, very much, you know, secure your mask first.

[00:17:13] Right? Um, yes, I love that. How do you go about kind of, do you really break that down in the course of kind of, you know, help your clients, but, you know, put your own mask on first and make sure you're not burning yourself out? How do you go through that in the course without divulging too much of the course to people?

[00:17:33] Right. I think it's, it's very much sprinkled throughout the whole course where each and every aspect that we're talking about with, with the training and the protocol and all the, all the pieces, We have a reframe about how we can approach all of these training elements from an empathetic standpoint.

[00:17:53] Um, but we also take a lot of time. For instance, we have the amazing, Jessica Dolche does a, [00:18:00] webinar for us on compassion fatigue and nice. And it really breaks down like where, which aspects of what we are doing need a particular attention from us so that we can uphold that self-care, that kindness and, awareness of what we are able to give and where our boundaries need to, reside.

[00:18:21] Nice. I love that. That's so important and so overlooked. Not even in the training world, just day-to-day life. I feel like that gets overlooked. Great. I so agree with. Building the course out. And with taking on your clients and figuring out how you even wanted to grow the business, was there a certain point where you knew that you had to have steps in place to help grow, but also keeping yourself grounded and prioritizing your mental health throughout the process so that you wouldn't fall apart at the end of it?

[00:18:57] There were, there were a lot of, [00:19:00] and I'm very lucky in this way, my mother, who, is just a funny character. She used to tell me every time I got a cold or every time I, you know, scraped my knee, she would say, be thankful, because if you get a bunch of little things in, it might be better than having the big thing.

[00:19:18] Right. Oh, I like that perspective. And I always, and I was, you know, as a kid I was like, whatever, whatever. Yeah. Uh, but I look back at that and that's been a process in this, in growing this business is that I have always been, and it's been, you know, fairly constant. Like, oh, there's a new challenge, but none of the challenges.

[00:19:39] Yeah. But none of the challenges have been so insurmountable that it all falls apart. Right, right. It's all been those little challenges that cumulatively are, we're able to handle. and I think it, I don't remember exactly the year, but we had grown, in number of csat s and we were [00:20:00] taking on clients and we had a building some structure in the business, and I realized pretty quickly that it was time to get some help.

[00:20:07] Oh, really? How far into that were you? I think it was only about a year and a half after I started teaching the CSAT program that I brought some staff on. Not only staff for working with separation anxiety clients, but even just administrative support and Oh, I bet. And we continue to grow with that administrative support.

[00:20:28] And, and if I, you know, I, boy, I sure have my faults and foibles with respect to not maintaining self-care to the utmost perfection, but if I would, if I were to say one of the things that I have been successful with in keeping myself. Sane most days, uh, is, is really delegating and leaning into the support that others can offer.

[00:20:53] And it's amazing that the difference between being okay with saying, this is you, you [00:21:00] know, you got this, uh, person A or person B or person C, and knowing and trusting that they do indeed have it as opposed to jumping in there and micromanaging because I, I really think that that is stuff that makes people really overwhelmed and it, and overwhelmed on both sides, right?

[00:21:21] Micromanaging that individual is going to make them a little nutty and micromanaging the individual that is doing the micromanaging is going to get a little nutty. And so it's, it's a lose -lose. So I think delegating appropriately. Has been something that, I've been lucky to be comfortable with and it's made a really big difference for me 

[00:21:43] Now I know so many trainers that are listening to this right now are just like, but I don't have the money to delegate, or, I don't want someone to take over this aspect. It's gonna be too stressful. Is there something that you would say to [00:22:00] someone that is on the fence of possibly just, you know, getting someone to check their emails or do intake for them?

[00:22:07] What is one piece of advice you would give for someone that's debating it? Well, I think first is, oh, I don't have the money for that. , or the, the resources to, to spend on that. , I understand that. I, I, I, I feel that to my core, um, same cause Yeah. I, I understand how the dollar doesn't stretch nearly as, as far as one would want it to.

[00:22:30] But I think starting somewhere, starting somewhere to delegate that one, even if it's just a small thing. Just someone like once a week, even just once a week, a couple of hours, you know, a month or something where someone is able to take just one, just one thing off of your plate. And I think.

[00:22:55] Trusting and believing in the fact that if you find that right [00:23:00] person, that they will actually virtually pay for themselves. I mean, I really believe that. And you know, not to mention in our industry, we have so many hungry, hungry people, uh, by with, I mean, I mean emotionally hungry too, right?

[00:23:16] To do more, to do more work within our industry. and I, really feel that finding excellent, excellent people to support us is quite available, , particularly when we're saying, Hey, let's, let's see what a couple of hours a month can be. and just that, just starting with that one thing.

[00:23:34] And I think. Developing the ability to delegate effectively is a, is a skill. It is a skill. Oh, absolutely. I'm still learning it. And you gotta, yeah. And I think we all are, and you've gotta start with that one thing and feel comfortable with that one thing before you can start to feel comfortable with the two things or the five, five thing.

[00:23:54] Right. Right. I mean it's basically a separation anxiety protocol, gradual and systematic.

[00:23:59] [00:24:00] Right. I love that. That's a great way of approaching it. Cuz I feel like, and I know for me included, as someone who is neurodivergent, I have a very hard time thinking of the one thing. I can't think of everything under the umbrella and then I can't weed through what I need to work on, what I need to delegate.

[00:24:18] I just get overwhelmed by the umbrella of all the tasks. And I think being able to just say, okay, this is one thing that is. Not my skillset, and it's a little mundane for me to do. I could afford to have someone work on this, you know, two days out of a week or two days out of the month. And you're right, I think that does eventually pay for itself because your time is going into something that's more valuable and that's going to help you in the long run while they're helping, keeping the wheel turning so that you're not getting triggers stacked.

[00:24:50] Very much so. And, and I love that you pointed out particularly like this is not necessarily my strength or my skillset that I'm, that I'm [00:25:00] best at, because that's where having support does really pay for itself. Yes. Cause the strengths that we do have, if we use those and capitalize those, those are the ones that expand our business or bring us more clients or, you know, all that stuff and, Clocking away at a spreadsheet to figuring out the, you know, accounting thing.

[00:25:21] Oh God, no. Not the best use of many of our many people's time. Right. When we're so good at working with clients and, and working on our businesses. Exactly. Exactly. And I think, you know, these people, they, they wanna be dog trainers, they wanna help owners and better their careers and better their knowledge.

[00:25:41] You know, that's, they run a business, but like they are not meant to know all the business happenings. You are not meant to do it all. That is not how successful businesses work. And I feel like I am beating myself in the head saying that because I am in the same boat. It's taken me years [00:26:00] to learn to delegate and not do everything Right..

[00:26:03] And, and there is a really interesting phenomena. I bet there's a. There's probably a psychological term for it, but where we get to the point where we, we are holding on so tightly to every little aspect in our business that we're actually creating, an emotional and even logical or, or, um, dysfunction in, in, you know, by just holding onto it also tightly.

[00:26:28] and so learning how to let go, whether that's that one piece for a couple of hours a month that can develop over time. Um, I think, I think it's, an important emotional road, not just a business success road. Right. 

[00:26:41] It's funny you said that there's probably research there is because I was speaking with, Malena you referred me to Annie Phenix of Midnight Dog Walker so that I can have her on the podcast and I was actually messaging with her and she said that there is actually, uh, the US Census bureau [00:27:00] said that the maximum amount of, you know, bandwidth and years that someone is a dog trainer is two years I am that category.

[00:27:07] I was taking clients for two years and then I tapped out because I was so overwhelmed and I was running the business with my husband and it was still too much for me. But just learning that, that we're losing so many people within two years because they are overwhelmed by the business aspect.

[00:27:23] They don't know what they wanna focus on. That just blew my mind. I had no, I, I mean, I assumed it was, it makes sense. Yeah. I assumed it was pretty staggering, but I didn't know it was quite that staggering of two years. Wow. it's amazing to think about how many truly qualified skilled and empathetic people fall into that category.

[00:27:45] When, when, if we could just provide the appropriate resources like Annie is starting to do, like you are doing in this podcast, so that people don't feel so alone and they don't feel that they have [00:28:00] nowhere to turn. I think it's exactly, it's so important with your csat, grads, and staff. Do you guys have moments where you just kind of vent and let it out and commiserate and talk about, you know, what's weighing on them to kind of help just have more community?

[00:28:19] I we do. Um, we, we meet monthly, which is typically more educational, but it does ha we do have time to just talk about what is, what is happening in, you know, in the world of being a csat.

[00:28:31] we also, I I feel really lucky that we have such a sense of community. we have a closed Facebook group where we celebrate and we commiserate. It's, there are so many in both of those buckets that, that we need to address. Um, and I think having that community and having that sense of, availability of, people and their, their wisdom, makes a big difference.

[00:28:56] This is a hard, this is a hard issue to work on if [00:29:00] you're out in, you know, in the middle of the ocean in your own boat. So that's, yes, not, not gonna happen. It's not gonna happen. So, yeah, I, it's, we're really lucky that, that we have such a, collaborative group and, now you, now you've made me think that we should increase and have, well, I'm not giving you more work.

[00:29:18] No, no. I mean, increase the, and increase the number of times that we meet, cuz right now it's only monthly and I'd love to see people have a, you know, another touchstone somewhere in there. All right, so let's talk about burnout, because I literally am coming off of being burnt out. So how, I know it's inevitable and it does happen to the best of us.

[00:29:41] Sometimes we just, we get too excited, we work too hard and we hit a wall. how do you try to prevent it if possible? And I'll have a follow up question for after. It's a great question. It's also, I think it's also a very personal que, I don't mean personal for me, I just mean it's a per, like It's different for everybody. It's different for everybody. [00:30:00] What each individual needs to help, , stave off that burnout is going to be unique to that individual. I joke with my husband all the time about one of these days I , need to come up with a hobby and what I don't have time. Yeah, their time.

[00:30:17] But what I mean by that is I have a lot of colleagues that have something that is completely separate from their dog training and their business. That they're passionate about, right? Mm-hmm. And, um, I think that having something that is very separate from the business, running day-to-day stuff, and the client interaction stuff that fuels you is just so important.

[00:30:43] and that's where I think it becomes so individualized for each person. You know, it could be knitting for one person, it could be riding bicycle for, yeah. Gardening, cooking, right? And it doesn't have to be any one thing. It can be multiple, multiple things. I think for me, I have [00:31:00] not, Particularly great at staving off burnout.

[00:31:05] And I will work, work, work, work, work. And then I'll go, wow, I just hit a wall and then I'll crash, crash, crash, crash, crash for, you know, however long. And then as soon as I'm rejuvenated, I'm like, time to work, work, work, work, work again. You know? Uh, so I, I'm probably not the best example, but I, I, I do work on it and I do try.

[00:31:27] and one of the things that I had recently done, that boy talked about delegating. This was one of the hardest ones for me, was have someone take over my calendar. Oh my God, that's so hard. And trusting It's hard and it's, it, you feel very vulnerable. But I bet sometimes I open up my calendar and I'm like, look, she blocked off the whole afternoon for me.

[00:31:50] How did that happen? And it's, you're like, I wouldn't do that for myself. I would never have done that for myself. Yeah. and that's, I, I understand that's not for everyone, but for [00:32:00] me it's been helpful to have a little bit of a gatekeeper. Yeah. Who says, you know, you don't need another appointment on a Thursday afternoon.

[00:32:08] Nope. You don't. I love that. That's so awesome. So that's also just kind of like a way for you to learn to prevent burnout too. They're, they're making you right? No, for sure. it's funny because, I work out with a personal trainer and I have had this conversation so many times with him, and I'll say, why is it that.

[00:32:30] I am so motivated to, to get things done in my business and, you know, with my students and with my clients and all this stuff. And why is it that I have to pay you to tell me to work out, uh, you know, always in a joking way. But he, and he, I love it. And he's so kind that he, every time I bring it up, he reminds me, none of us, not a single one of us can be the best at every single thing.

[00:32:56] And leaning into someone else's ability [00:33:00] to promote and pull out whatever, whatever strengths we need in other aspects of our life are super important. And for me, that's the personal trainer for me. That's my colleague that takes over my calendar for me. You know, some things I'm just not really great at.

[00:33:16] And so I can have others help me. excel. I love that. That's such a great answer. And I feel like you are just, in my head because that is exactly how it feels for me as well. And just, I don't know if you encounter this, but when I do try to give myself rest days, I'll still try to be productive.

[00:33:34] And my husband Josh, he'll be like, you don't need to be doing things. Can we just rest? And I'm like, no, I need to like clean the house. We should do DIY this. Do you wanna go work in the backyard? And he's just like, sit down. Like Right, I can't do it. Or it's tough. It's so hard. And or especially if I hit a wall and I'm burnt out and my husband, he's very good at making me take breaks.

[00:33:56] I don't listen, but he's very good at trying to tell me and he'll [00:34:00] just be like, okay, so do you have things you can move around, switch the days, move them around, take this day off. And I'll be like, oh, okay, I'll do that. But I won't take the day off and I'll just work on something that isn't as important, but it's something else productive.

[00:34:14] I just have to be productive. But then I never rest. you'll laugh at this. I, um, in December, after not only, you know, graduating a bunch of CSAT and then back to back conferences in person for the, for the first time in, first time, I was like, oh, wow. I am tired. And so my husband was like, we're gonna take five days and we're gonna go, we're gonna rent this house.

[00:34:36] We're gonna go away. And he and my administrative colleague, like they schemed, they took away my phone, they took away my laptop, they took away my iPad. Everything. I love it. Oh my god. And then, but what was so interesting is I am like, you too. Like, oh, I have time off, therefore I'm gonna be productive in some other capacity to try and get ahead.

[00:34:56] It's so frustrating. Ahead of what, right. I don't know. Right, [00:35:00] exactly. so the first day that we, that we went away and I had no laptop, no phone, no anything. It was really fidgety. I mean, I was, that's hard. Like, I dunno what to do with myself. By the second or third day I was like, I don't ever wanna see a laptop or a phone again in my life.

[00:35:17] This is great. You know, so there's that, that time to, to decompress. It's like you have to have a vacation in order to take a vacation, you need to decompress and then enjoy your time because otherwise if we're just constantly flipping that, you know, through that phone and, and answering those emails.

[00:35:36] And so, and there is never a moment of, of stillness. Oh, never. No. And I think that's why, I don't know how it was for you, but I feel like that's why for so many of us during 2020, we kind of just, were like, whoa, everything is front and center and we can't get away from it. We were stuck at home. I, for one was just like, oh, I need to like learn how to manage [00:36:00] this better.

[00:36:00] I think you're right, like in order to actually give ourselves a vacation, we need to like remove the distractions that will keep us engaged. I cannot bring my laptop with me on vacation. I barely bring my phone with me and oh my God, if I go stay, uh, with Veronica and her husband, uh, they have a nice riverfront property and they don't get the best cell service.

[00:36:24] So I know like I'm just not gonna be on my phone. And if I try to work when she has her time off and she wants to hang out with me, it's like, no, I can't. And I, it's helpful being in a family that like takes, play so seriously because I am not one to do that. I am not either. So I have solidarity there for sure.

[00:36:44] So when you do get burnt out, it happens. It's inevitable. And, we're hard workers. How do you bounce back from that? Because I know for me personally, I need, you know, when I burn out, it takes me a good, like three [00:37:00] days to be in the burnout funk.

[00:37:02] Right? Yeah. I would say I'm pretty similar. Whether it's a day or two or three, of sort of riding in that funk, I don't know. I guess I'm very lucky that there's, I have a lot of inspiration to continue to, to do. stuff with my clients inspire me. Their dogs that inspire me, the CSATs inspire me.

[00:37:22] and so after sitting in the funk, which I don't think is a wrong thing to do, or at least it isn't for me, no. Just sort of sitting with it. then just very, gradually I start to go, gosh, what a lucky life I live and what amazing people I work with. And it's just that it's like we just need to rejuvenate all of the things that bring us joy.

[00:37:45] Um, and it's okay if part of what brings you joy is your work. It's okay. You know? That's why we do it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that shows that we're in the right field if it brings us that much joy. That's [00:38:00] right. And I think that. It goes without saying though, but with imposter syndrome and, and the burnout, it's because this job, this career, it makes you feel so full, like mm-hmm.

[00:38:11] Training made me feel like that. But Woof Cultr and The Leashed Mind, like I just feel like my heart just went from like, has it, I just get so excited to do it and I get imposter syndrome all the time. I get burnt out all the time. But I think that's a way, not that I'm encourage any, any of that, but I think that's a way for you to acknowledge like, oh, this is good, because I feel so passionately about it.

[00:38:35] Yeah. I absolutely agree. I, don't think that you can have that level of passion in the, in the same vein of not. Caring. Right. This is is why we're so passionate, because we care so much. Whether that's about the people, about the dogs, about the business, about the, the, we're, we're, we're so invested because of all of the intrinsic, wonderful things that, that come back to us.

[00:38:59] [00:39:00] Exactly. And I that point you made about just, it's okay to sit in the burnout and feel it. I feel like social media in general, I, I feel like it's, you hear so much of, you know, don't get burnt out. Prevent the burnout. But I mean, I agree. There's nothing wrong with sitting with those feelings and saying, wow, I worked really hard.

[00:39:20] I'm overwhelmed. I'm over stimulated. I'm hitting a wall because I worked so passionately. I need to take a second, sit with it, acknowledge it, whatever you gotta do. But then, You know, I, I feel like there's a shift and it makes you grateful for what you do and to feel so intensely about something and, and know that you are helping so many people, and I don't think a lot of people acknowledge that part of the burnout.

[00:39:44] Yeah. I, I actually are, I really agree. I think it's so important. Um, I think we're, we're sort of programmed to like, push a lot of our feelings away, um, and not acknowledge them. Not acknowledge them. And sometimes all they need is [00:40:00] some acknowledgement and some recognition and some validation because that's, they're there for a reason.

[00:40:06] Uh, you know, and burnout is also there for a reason. And so acknowledging how we're feeling in, in the moment or for a few days, or however long it may take, um, I, I think it's, it's super important, I think that we can't. Only do that. No, I think we do have to take some steps of whether that's reorganizing our calendar so that we don't have to, you know, be productive for, days on end, even if we're feeling burnout or, you know, those sorts of things.

[00:40:34] Right. I mean, we do have to take other steps, but I think acknowledging and sending in with those feelings is super important too. Exactly, and, don't beat yourself up if you do get burnt out cuz it happens to the best of us. Like Absolutely does. I think the getting in our own heads and beating ourselves up of just, you know, oh, I did this too much.

[00:40:52] I'm too exhausted, I can't do it. And then you get in your own head and then you just, it's a shame spiral. It's okay to have that, but [00:41:00] you know, remember why you're doing what you're doing and it does get better. And this is happening because you care so much. But now let's move on and have steps in place to maybe prevent this from happening so intensely next time, I, I feel like the more I get burnt out, there's like a little like break off and then I'll go, okay, so next time I won't do that.

[00:41:21] oh my gosh, I absolutely agree. I, um, this la I was saying about in December that taking that time, I was, you know, starting at that time to turn over the, my calendar. And it was interesting to me because normally when I'm gone at a conference for three days, five days, whatever, I am all, oh my gosh, I have so much work to catch up on the day I get home, kind of thing.

[00:41:45] Right. Oh, right. I was pleasantly surprised, although I didn't feel it in that moment, um, that the next day, couple of days after I returned from the conferences were blocked off of my calendar.

[00:41:57] And I was like, but I'm so behind you [00:42:00] can't block off my calendar. I have so much catch up to do, but it, I really needed it particularly, you were mentioning like in 2020, right? We all were home and, and so many different things presented to us, but because we haven't been in person for a long time that.

[00:42:18] Social interaction for four or five days. It's, it is a lot of simulation. Like, we're just not used to it anymore. or I'm not, anyway, and so I just, I needed a, a total break from like, wow. I have been interacting with hundreds of people for the last, you know, five days and I need a, I need a, like nobody talked to me kind of day.

[00:42:42] it's funny you say that because before I was a dog trainer, I did hair and. Josh, my husband was a dog walker at the time. So I would come home from work and I would just want silence because I would be talking from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM all the time. Go, go, go, go, [00:43:00] go asking questions. I don't care about other people's lives, but it was my job and right.

[00:43:04] I would come home and Josh would just talk my ear off incessantly because he was with dogs all day. And he'll be like, are you mad? Why don't you wanna talk to me? And I'm like, I have been talking for like eight hours about shit. I don't care about. Like I, you can talk at me and I'll listen, but like I don't have words to give you.

[00:43:22] Yes, I totally. And so it's the same thing and like working with clients all day, like the last thing you wanna do is go on your social media and get random questions from strangers of, Hey, how do I stop my dog from pulling on leash? Yeah. Oh my gosh, a hundred percent.

[00:43:40] So we've talked about burnout, we've talked about imposter syndrome, delegating all that fun stuff. What does your typical day look like? How, I wanna know how you kind of set yourself up to move throughout your day, starting with like, you get outta bed. Wow, that's a big question. Um, oh, is it? I'm [00:44:00] sorry.

[00:44:00] No, in a, in a sense because, I don't, I think if there were any pattern that I have in my life, it's the lack of pattern is my pattern. Um, I love that. That's interesting. And it, it's, and I've, I've been this way since I was a young, young, young girl. Whereas every single day is, to me, is just a brand new opportunity to do things maybe different than I did the day before.

[00:44:25] Um, so there are days that I hop outta bed and get the dogs out for a walk and go do a workout and, you know, start the day that way. And there are days that I roll outta bed, throw a ponytail holder in my hair and put my nose to the grindstone and just work straight away. Right. Oh, same. Yeah. One of the things that I think is cool about what we do in our industry, I used to work in corporate America gajillion years ago, and it was the Monday through Friday thing, you know, and we had Saturday, Sunday off, and I can't imagine, not only do I have no, just don't have any passion for going back to corporate anyway, [00:45:00] but I can't imagine having a Saturday and a Sunday off only.

[00:45:04] Um oh God, no. What I, what I think is so great about what we do is the flexibility. Like maybe I don't take these, big blocks of like two, three days off at a time, but what I do do on a Wednesday afternoon is go get my haircut, between clients or go to go work out with my personal trainer or, so I have these ways to break up my days.

[00:45:24] I love that, that, that are, it's not like, oh, it's Saturday and I'm just taking the day off. And I do that sometimes too, but Right. For me it's that flexibility of some days, some days I will completely be in front of my computer for, for probably far too long. Uh, and other days I'm like, you know, I think I'll work out with, you know, the trainer and I'll go get a haircut and I'll take the girls out for a walk and, just, uh, and it all balances out.

[00:45:50] It reminds me of how, uh, a colleague of mine, um, when she had her children, the children were really young and I remember having dinner at their house [00:46:00] and she had like little bowls and like, one of them was dessert and one of them was vegetables and one of 'em was the protein and they were all sort of in front of the, the, the kids.

[00:46:11] And I said, well, why don't they just eat the chocolate pudding every time? You know, because, and she said, you know what's interesting is they're given a choice. Maybe one day they will just eat the chocolate pudding for dinner, but then we know we will see that the next day or within that week. They're like, I think I really want the vegetables today.

[00:46:30] I love that. Oh my god, that's awesome. And that's kinda how I feel like my schedule is, right. There are days you have your chocolate pudding, I'm gonna just have my chocolate pudding. There's days that I'm definitely leaning into the broccoli. You know, that is such a good way to explain that. I love that. And I love how transparent you are that, you know, it, it varies day to today.

[00:46:55] Cuz I feel like there are some people that are just like, this is my routine and, and that works [00:47:00] for them. But I love that there's that wiggle room and variability based on, you know, how you wake up. Cuz we don't always wake up in a good mood. Right? Yeah. And for me, it, it really works. Uh, and my husband is the exact opposite.

[00:47:13] Like he has a very strict routine first thing in the morning and the way in the way he maneuvers through life. And it's wonderful. I mean, we, we compliment each other beautifully, but, um, but I can, so I know very well personally what it, what it's like for someone that does need that routine, in order to, to have a sense of, sense of, control maybe, uh, of, of their environment.

[00:47:36] I don't know if control's really the right word, but its predictability, maybe predictability, right? And that, that, that brings this a certain type of person that brings them peace, where, yes, for me, that is, whoa, routine is just not my thing at all. I love, I, I wanna touch on how you, you know, you'll go work with your trainer, you'll go get a haircut.

[00:47:57] Those are ways you implement [00:48:00] self-care and prioritize yourself within your day-to-day. And that's so important. As I say that. I haven't gotten a haircut since October.

[00:48:07] That's so important. and those are just little ways to take care of yourself. I agree. I agree. And I don't, you know, I don't feel like it has to be a, a grand gesture. I mean, certainly no, no problem with getting a massage now and again or whatever, but, but it doesn't need to be like, I am doing exclusive self-care today.

[00:48:28] Like, I think sprinkling me anyway, sprinkling those throughout the week, in, in big and small ways, it completely keeps me, um, sort of sane and just doing it when you feel you need it before it gets, before you get the burnout. Yeah. Cause absolutely. You know, I think you can see all the sunshine, which is very rare in Oregon.

[00:48:49] And so this week we've gotten sunshine and, you know, I was gonna start my day the other day and I was just like, you know what? It's a good time to go to the park. I'm gonna go with Fern, I'll come back and get back to work. But like, her and I both [00:49:00] need to get out and it was the best walk we have ever had.

[00:49:03] And it felt so good. Oh. But it was exactly what I needed to fill my cup. And you know, that's not how it is every day. Some days I'm just like, I need to do a little yoga. I wanna read, I wanna drink my coffee. Don't talk to me.

[00:49:15] Yeah. But I think acknowledging that, you know, every day is different and it is a start of a new day. And it depends on how we choose to move through it, which I know can be a lot with our mental health. And you know, going through depression and anxiety, it all adds up. But I think just learning to be a little kinder to ourselves is so huge because we extend that kindness to our clients, but we rarely make it back to ourselves.

[00:49:41] And I am in that boat. I would say that I'm in that boat as well. I love that. Some meme, or I don't know who said it, but about, speak to yourself, the way you speak to your dog. Like, you're such a good girl. You're so beautiful. You're so perfect. Right. And, and we, we don't do that enough for ourselves.

[00:49:59] [00:50:00] No, we don't. I come in to, you know, fig and fern and I'm like, go, do you need a treat? You're so cute. And I'm like, why can't I say that to myself? Like, oh, do you need a cookie, Mandy? Like, yes, I do. Yes, as a matter fact, I really do. I'd like to take the day off early too. Exactly. Well, okay, so on the note of just, you know, having these boundaries what is something that.

[00:50:27] You kind of always drill with your students and your staff as far as just like, these are the boundaries that you should have set within your business if you could pick a couple. Yeah, I think with my staff as well as my students, putting a cap on the amount of time that you devote to say daily client notes or something like that.

[00:50:48] Like I tell my clients that I will write their training plan between that I work on training plans for clients between the hours of 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM period. And [00:51:00] they know that if they email me or you know, nobody has my number, so then very few people text me. But, um, But, uh, you know, if, if they try to get in touch with me outside of the seven to 9:00 AM they know they probably won't hear from me until the next day at seven or 9:00 AM Like those are the times that I'm devoting to giving feedback, giving notes, giving, support, et cetera.

[00:51:24] And, what that allows me to do is concentrate really my energies and my time on all of what I need to do in a way that's not just like email barrage 24 7, you know? Right. Or checking in intermittently throughout your day, breaking you away from other things. Right, right. And so, and some people are morning people.

[00:51:47] I am, some people are night people that that works too. Right. But, or, or whatever. But you know, having a devoted amount of time to various. Projects, particularly clients, I think is really important [00:52:00] because it can become so overwhelming to be like, I'm just gonna check on that, oh, email one more time.

[00:52:06] Or I'm gonna just look in their spreadsheet one more time. Or I'm gonna see what happened with their mission. Just to, it's tempt, it's tempting. It's tempting. And I think it's, I think if there's one boundary that I try to express to, to my students and my staff and try to uphold myself, it's to maintain those parameters for various aspects of my business.

[00:52:27] And that's true for, you know, I have an hour on a certain day that is just admin staff or just working staff. Same. Yeah. And I think that that really helps. Was there the reason you set that in place, was there a reason for that or did you notice some kind of over bleed into the other things for that?

[00:52:47] There was definitely a reason, you know, before I, um, started teaching csat s when I had all of those separation anxiety clients, I was just pulled in every single, I had no boundaries. So I learned [00:53:00] Yep, very, very, very much the hard way, what it's like to not have any boundaries in place, and to just be like pulled between this client and that client and oh no, this dog and oh, I need this.

[00:53:12] And, there's some sort of emergency here. And, you know, I always, my husband was the one that, cracked me up years, years, years ago that, you know, I was getting calls and texts and emails and oh my gosh, this happened today and that, and I was like, I can't. I can't. And he said, honey, there is no such thing as a separation anxiety emergency.

[00:53:30] Just don't leave the dog alone and there is no emergency. Right. Yeah. And he, why are these clients reaching out to you as though this is emergent and they have to speak with you right at this moment? And, um, what's so cool is that we, because we work with our clients so regularly, you know, for five days a week, even something that is emergent is going to, um, be addressed within a day because we have a system Yeah.

[00:53:57] Protocols. Yeah. Yeah. We have a system of [00:54:00] communication where people know exactly when to get ahold of us, how to get ahold of us, and when they can expect a response. I think it's important with those boundaries that you have in place, which I think are so necessary. Do you ever experience or have you experienced pushback from clients with that?

[00:54:16] And how do you typically handle that pushback? Because I know there, there are some people, there are some people, I think some of it, I don't get a ton of pushback. And I think some of it is the way, setting expectations from the very beginning and then not breaking your own boundaries. Right. So that's a hard one I have then.

[00:54:37] That's a hard one. Uh, right. Uh, so when you get the text at three o'clock in the afternoon and you've stated clearly that between the hours of seven and whatever, or when you can be contacted, you have to either not respond or you have to say, looking forward to talking to you about this in our shared workbook tomorrow between the hours of seven and nine.

[00:54:57] and it's hard. It's hard, but I think when, [00:55:00] when you start out with good boundaries in the beginning, people just kind of, they know what to expect. Know what to expect. Yeah. And I think that's why we don't get a lot of pushback now. I do. know, that, I mean, everybody works in a different way. I know that there are, plenty of C SATs and several of my staff that are like, just text me if you have a question.

[00:55:19] but, but they have boundaries in their life in a, that are in place in, in other aspects, right? Uh, that they, they have some flexibility of time to be able to put out fires and so forth. So, um, but that isn't me. That is not me. Yeah. That's so awesome. I love that you're just like, Nope, that that's not what we're doing.

[00:55:38] Not what we're doing here. God, it has been so awesome. Talking about mental health with you and picking through your brain. I feel like every time I do these interviews, it's like it helps me move through my own day and remember to prioritize my own mental health. So thank you so much for that. before I let you go, I wanted to ask, do you have any books, [00:56:00] self-help business or the related kind that you found beneficial that you might wanna suggest to others?

[00:56:07] There's so many, you know, and nothing in a way, nothing really comes to mind because, funny enough, here's another little bit of self-care for about a year, maybe two, maybe almost full-time of the pandemic. I have been committed to reading totally non. Important total fiction And, and it's funny cuz I mean, like, I can understand your question, like, what's that great book that helps you with self-care and boundaries?

[00:56:39] And I'm like, you know what? My self-care is reading about, you know, something that gets you out of your head. Something that gets me outta my head. So I haven't really been reading the hard stuff, if you will, for a while. So I can't, that's not a bad answer, but, you know. Yeah. it's fun. It's fun. And you know, you can be transported pretty quickly, and reading a couple of chapters of a book, [00:57:00] right.

[00:57:00] And, um, yes. And I would take that any day over watching television. That, but that, I mean, that's just me. I'm not, not a big television person. I'm in an occasional movie and stuff like that, but, Yeah, I'm, I'm a definite reader, and, uh, it's been fun. It's been a fun journey just reading about random, enjoyable things.


[00:57:17] That's the thing, it's the more immersive books. I love that. And I love that we're talking about reading cuz I feel the same way because my routine I've created for myself because I am a highly anxious person. I most mornings my head cuz I, so we, my office is like a railroad kind of room. So you walk through my office from the bedroom to the living room, I always have to walk through work and I hate it.

[00:57:40] when I start my day. And so my brain will just start going of everything. And so I tell myself I need to read at least one to two chapters of whatever book I'm reading. in the morning when I have my coffee. That is what I do and it helps me set the tone for my day cuz I'm not getting in my head.

[00:57:57] Whereas when I notice, when I don't [00:58:00] read, I am just a mess the rest of the day. Good for you. I love that. Yeah. I love that. Well, this has been such a lovely conversation.

[00:58:08] I hope that so many of our listeners find value in this and find ways to start delegating and prioritizing themselves within their business, whatever works for them. It's just been such a pleasure having you on and getting your insight on this topic. Well, thank you, Mandy. It's been, oh, it's been a lot of fun for me too.

[00:58:26] It's so, it's exciting to, talk about something non-work related, even though it is work related. I understand. You know, uh, I'm so used to doing podcasts and stuff and talking about separation anxiety, dogs, and, you know, this is a, different, topic that I think is so important in our industry.

[00:58:44] Good. Well, I hope to have you on for more future episodes because I'm sure there's so much more I could pick through your brain with. I would love it. 


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