Looking Forward & Taking the Lead

The end of any year is a time for reflection, but of course this hasn’t been just any year. Let’s just say 2020 has provided an awful lot of reflection fodder.

If last year has taught us anything, it’s how much is not under our control. At dogbiz it’s also reminded us of one very powerful thing we all do have dominion over—mindset.

As we work to wrap this year and look toward the next, we find ourselves thinking a lot about mindset. We’ve been reflecting on the role we’ve seen mindset play in helping individual trainers, their businesses, and our industry survive the opening months of the pandemic and emerge all the stronger for it.

And we’ve been thinking about the role of mindset in setting all of you up for your best year ever—because we believe 2021 can be exactly that. Here’s what’s got us thinking so:

We could have rolled into a fetal ball
When the pandemic hit and all business screeched to a halt, we dog pros could have individually and collectively rolled into a fetal position for the duration. But we didn’t.

Now we’ll be honest—here at dogbiz we all had days that staying under the bed covers looked pretty good. But we knew we had to find a way to serve this industry we’ve loved and nurtured for the last 20 years. So we kept moving, thinking, brainstorming. We took action that included launching Survive & Thrive, a free support program which eventually became our new favorite way to support R+ dog trainers—our THRIVE! group coaching membership program.

And we watched dog pros go through a similar process of looking for new ways to serve dogs and their people. We saw dog walkers and daycares find ways to stay in touch with clients and eventually resume services. We saw dog trainers practically reinvent the industry together by taking services online nearly overnight.

This mindset of service and determination has propelled the R+ dog training industry decades into the future, making it far more flexible and able to withstand future surprises and curveballs. It’s also produced a cadre of trainers who are learning to set down fear and comfort in favor of stepping outside the box of how things have always been done. It’s created a mindset of creativity, innovation, and exploration that serves not just individual businesses, but our industry at large and, most importantly, the dogs we all love so much.

We could have panicked
It would have been easy to throw our hands up and throw in the towel, but of course all of us care too much for that—you about the dogs and your clients, and us about you. Again, the mindset of service that we all share kept us moving.

There was also a temptation in the early days to give in to the fire with a fire sale—to lower rates and give services away for free. We jumped in and asked you not to do that, to recognize that your services continue to have value and to be careful not to suggest otherwise by panicking. So many of you who read us here, who work with us individually, who learn from us through dogbiz U, and who work with us and each other through THRIVE! heeded that warning. The results have been stunning.

Every day we hear from dog pros who have stood their ground, cultivating a mindset of self-belief, of self-value, of courage. Just as always, that mindset has led to success. We’ve watched your businesses rebuild, your schedules fill, and even your waitlists fill, too. Some of you have even told us that you’ve had your best months ever—all because you stepped into a positive mindset in the midst of so much chaos.

We could have turned on each other
Stress and fear tend to bring out the worst in our species. It would have been easy to take the stress of the pandemic out on each other. It would have been easy as business dwindled to close ranks even tighter, hold our cards even closer to our chests, and gnash our teeth in a glorious resource guarding display. But that’s not what happened.

Industry leaders joined forces, reached out to each other, asked for and offered help in the effort to support dog pros.

That was fairly normal. The surprise was watching dog pros, especially trainers, reach out to each other. In THRIVE! we’ve watched a new culture emerge—one of fearless openness, sharing, and support. Again, the results have been stunning.

With everyone’s cards face-up on the table, our creativity and innovation have reached heights we couldn’t have climbed alone. So has our mindset. Turns out fears aren’t as scary when they’re shared. Turns out confidence grows in a group and courage is a socially facilitated behavior.

In short, we’re simply better together—smarter, stronger, bolder. Positive mindset is easier to cultivate and protect when we do it together. We are blown away by what our THRIVE! members have achieved—overhauling rates and policies, improving their websites, launching new marketing projects, creating new training packages and classes, learning new ways to teach online and in person. Members are reporting classes and private training and class spots filled, clients and students happy, income up, stress down, more time for themselves and their dogs and families.

Taking the Lead in 2021
Seeing all that’s been accomplished by so many of you in 2020 has us convinced that the possibilities for 2021 are endless. They are limited only by mindset.

We don’t want to imply that cultivating a positive mindset is simple or easy—especially not in times like these. But we do want to inspire you to believe it’s possible—possible to master easier, more successful ways of running your business, possible to build your confidence doing so, possible to make more money doing what you love, possible to achieve a smooth and sustainable work/life balance, possible to serve dogs and their people to your fullest.

In short, we want you to take the lead in 2021, whatever that means for you.

And we want to help you take the first step: If you don’t have the benefit of being a THRIVE! member, we invite you to join the THRIVE! waitlist