I believe that what we do in life is not as important as why we do it. I love Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, Start with Why – I listen to it on YouTube often. Jim Rohn also says that personal philosophy is the major factor in how our life turns out. It’s all about “Why?” What drives you?
We all struggle at times in our careers, but dog grooming really is the most challenging and the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. To keep myself motivated, I always remind myself why I groom dogs. It’s not because I love grooming. It’s because I love dogs!
I’d like to share an email I received recently about this:
My name is Sara. I became a bather/brusher for _____ in July of 2013 and attended their grooming academy in May of 2014. I came into grooming by accident, I worked retail before, but when the store I worked for lost its lease I started at _______ mainly as a means to an end until my old store found another building to open in. I fell in love with it quickly and now I can’t imagine not working so closely with dogs. I learned a lot over the last few years, through blogs and videos mostly, I didn’t know many groomers aside from those I worked with. Finding your YouTube channel was a blessing, especially your mantra to brush more and bathe less. That really resonated with me. The last year or so of working for ________ became an absolute nightmare. Management changed, the company was sold to a buyer who is only interested in making money, and our dogs in the salon became dollar signs instead of living creatures. I was completely disgusted by it, being forced to groom 6 dogs in eight hours, regardless of the dog or haircut it got. As you can imagine, a lot of dogs left our salon unhappy and probably not feeling their greatest. Not to say that there weren’t some wonderful people on our team who did everything in their power to keep the dogs happy and looking beautiful, but it was just not a good environment. It was difficult to coax a dog into being comfortable in a place you felt uncomfortable at yourself. Anyways, I finally left. I quit my job and moved 1,100 miles from WI to CO a few days ago. But now when I think about finding a new salon, I get scared. I feel burnt out from being stretched too thin and pushed beyond my limits for so long. I feel like just giving up. Not on dogs altogether, I am currently enrolled in a canine massage program and have a heavy interest in training and behavior of dogs as well, but on grooming. I can’t imagine a reality where my dogs don’t get scared to come to the salon, despite how hard I try and give them a good consistent experience. I can’t imagine working for someone who has the same understanding and compassion for the dogs that I do, my old manager was a real ass and treated the dogs awful. I just seem to have lost touch with why I once loved grooming so deeply and passionately. I was just wondering and hoping that maybe you had some advice to help me through this tough time. Thank you sincerely for everything you do to educate others. I feel I have achieved a lot in my less than 2 years grooming, I acquired the largest clientele base of anyone in my salon, met some amazing people, and some really wonderful dogs. I miss them. I owe a lot of my success to you and what you have taught me.
Thank you again,
Good morning Sara,
Everything you said in your email resonated so deeply with me. I feel like you completely understand how I’ve felt and sometimes still feel now because you’ve gone through it – and still going through now. It’s hard to express our feelings sometimes because no matter how eloquently we express our feelings, it’s almost impossible for someone else to really know how you feel unless they’ve felt it themselves. My deepest apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I’m kind of going through a chaotic point in my life as well, but one thing stays constant and that is my love for the dogs I groom. I don’t groom because I love grooming – I’m not really passionate about grooming – if that were true I’d be grooming cats and gerbils and so on. I groom dogs and only dogs, and I do it to the very best of my ability only because I love them so much. They deserve nothing less from me. I think you feel me on that 🙂
I’m not big on telling people what they should do or how they should live. But I do like to encourage people to do their best at whatever it is they choose to do. I really would like to encourage you not to give up though. I know you may not want to hear that. I’ve spent many late nights looking for other jobs like working with the shelter or animal control. I thought maybe I’d be good at catching stray dogs 🙂 LOL! It was especially hard because I have two little princesses 7 and 5 years old. When I struggle financially because I’m taking too much time on the dogs that I groom, and therefore not making as much as I could if I were doing more dogs, I feel bad bc I feel like they’re having to sacrifice bc of me. But then I remember that they don’t need a lot of things – they just need my time and attention. I really make an effort to listen to them. So I may not have bought them a lot of things, but I’ve given them a lot of great memories. I may not have made much money over my grooming career, but I have made a big impact.. and so have you! Why do you think you were able to achieve so much in less than 2 years? You acquired the largest clientele in your salon because you made such a big impact on their lives. By doing your best and giving them your best service you were giving them moments of joy and happiness that they feel over and over again everytime they cuddle with their clean, soft dogs. You did that with the work of your own hands. That, in my opinion is why we are all here. To serve others to the best of our abilities, and give of ourselves completely to whatever task is set in front of us.
I remember my daughter running up to me one day while I was grooming in our den, “Daddy, daddy look! It’s an acorn!”
Out of the acorn shell was a skinny green stem with a few small leaves growing out of it. I shouted, “That’s an oak tree!” I was so excited! I was able to teach my daughter an important lesson. Although it’s easy to overlook this little sapling, and mistake it for a weed, it’s still an oak tree even if it doesn’t look like one yet. It’s just a small sapling now, but just give it some time and eventually it will tower over all the weeds and bushes. Especially those who once tried to block the sun. You are an oak tree. LOL! Not literally. But you have greatness inside of you, and I know that you’ve got some amazing talent – otherwise you wouldn’t have had so many regular clients. I’ve only been grooming for 6 years now, and I’ve had my share of hard times where I wanted to quit. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding. Especially when I hear from people like you who tell me that I’ve helped inspire them. Thank you so much! You’ve inspired me as well. 🙂 But in 6 years I’ve come a long way. I’m still growing, but I know I’m no longer a little sapling. The journey has been hard – at times overwhelming – but I can honestly tell you that it’s worth it. 🙂 The challenge is so great because the reward is just as great! Life is supposed to be difficult because it’s meant to be rewarding, and easy is never rewarding. I believe in you. Just hang in there, if you can, and keep doing your best to improve your skills each day. Treat every dog like you’re being judged by award-winning groomers waiting in the next room. I know that if you do, you will one day inspire thousands of people too. You are an oak tree – I recognize it because I’m an oak tree too. Soon you will tower above all the weeds that once got in your way and tried to discourage you. We need more people like you in this industry. More people who deeply care. I need your help. 🙂
Thank you so much for all your support, for encouraging me, and for inspiring me. I needed this because I’m also going through a chaotic time – we have to move again with only a month notice. So I hope you know that you’ve helped me as much as you say I’ve helped you. Namaste, I honor the light in you that is also in me. 😀
Jun the Groomer