Fear - What I Learned In 2017

We are coming to the end of 2017. I can't believe I'm saying that. I graduated high school in 1997. Crazy! And somehow my Mom never ages a bit. :) Hi Mom! 

Every time I sit down and unconfidently press the lit up keys of my MacBook Pro, I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to present the most valuable piece of content I can for you. I hope in 2017 I accomplished that, even if it was just laughing at the errors I've made over the years. If there is anything in 2018 I can do better, hit reply and let me know. 

Here is what 2017 taught me: 

I wish I could tell you that before the year began, I made some grand gesture to the fear gods. I wish I could paint a picture of a magical weekend meditating by a fire on New Years Eve 2016, drinking moonshine, smoking from a peace pipe, taming wild wolves in Yosemite on a frosty dark lonely evening like in the movies. Frosty breath and all!

Ahhh, but I didn't. 

I didn't rise abruptly from the fire, tearing off my blanket, raising my arms in the air with the meaning of life.

I wish I could tell you about a book I read, or a seminar I attended, that would prepare me for what 2017 humbly provided. It was a convergence of many life experiences, good and bad behaviors exposed. 

I didn't start the year thinking I would do anything I did. Actually, quite the opposite. Fears, displaced anger, and insecurities all kept me from sharing in a constructive way that provided value. 

So, how did the year start? What changed? You always ask such good questions. :) 

I was angry at the industry, frustrated with peers, confused, and doing everything I could do to continually push people away from what for me was common sense, but to them was the aggressive rantings of a scary bearded man yelling on Facebook.

Gary who? Don't play fetch. What? 


An important person in my world at the time, who may even be reading this, said: "Hey man, you know - I know - that you know your shit, and I love you, but when you rant on video it makes me feel angry not passionate. I wanna leave, not stay."



That was not my intention at all. I was crushed, but I knew it came from a good place, so as my great friends in Wisconsin say: "Ahh I gotta soak on that for a minute. I'll get back to ya."

I regrouped. I reprioritized the information in my world that would embody the change I wanted to be. And that's when I found my wife's friend Paul Jarvis. This cat! Man, this cat. And no he's not a dog guy. :) 

Paul put out a challenge to his mailing list to create a podcast. I accepted it, accomplished it. Five months later than the deadline, but whatever, timelines aren't real. I only compete against me.

With the support of my brilliant wife, it was on like King and Donkey Kong combined. 

So what could I have potentially missed out on in 2017 by staying in my anger/fear bubble? 

- I Took up photography and videography to increase production quality of my content. In this day and age, we all own media companies. We have to stand out.
- I increased the frequency of The Dog's Side blog and have made some amazing friendships along with it.
- Launched my ebook for aspiring entrepreneurs in the pet space. It's been amazing getting emails back about how my experiences have helped them. 
- Soul Mutt Foundation and The Dog's Side Apparel launched. I'm excited for them to grow even bigger in 2018. 
- I started a dog daycare with my great friend Teresa. My West Coast Mom. Love her and learn so much about myself from her own personal growth. 
- We raised over $4,000 dollars for Soul Mutt Mobile App launching in 2018.
- Finalized the plans for a 500-mile electric skateboard ride for Soul Mutt in 2018. Shhh that was the first time I mentioned it in public!
- Started sharing behind-the-scenes videos on Instagram and Youtube of everything I believe in, and how we run our daycare for naughty owners and their dogs. :)   
- And there was more...

What did I learn? With each challenge I was scared shitless. But I didn't die, and it got easier each time.

I came to grips that I wasn't going to be for everyone. If I make it to age 85, some random ignorant comment will be the last thing I remember about the journey I was on. 

I realized I could accomplish some pretty cool things and create real change, or I could be affected by something someone might possibly say. I will no longer live my life in fear. As I've learned fear isn't real. It's just a perception.

At age 85, am I going to care that k9dogguru72@gmail.com unsubscribed from my newsletter, or that John.the.best.damn.dog.trainer@gmail.com left a bad comment? Hell no.

With the support of all of you wonderful people here, I learned what to do with that information. 

What I found this year by veering into uncomfortable territory was amazing people like Artem, Stephanie, Kim, Teresa, Becca, Callie, Chloe, Joanna, Joe, Elias, Adam, David, Elisa, A.J. - and the list continues to grow. All people who have connected with me, my mission, and what I am trying to accomplish for dogs. I'm honored to know them all. Could you imagine if I chose not to do just one of those things? All the oppurtunies I could have missed out on and new relationships I made because of something that isn't real...FEAR. 

Would I do it again? Let's put it this way: 2017 was small potatoes to the plans I have for pushing my fears for 2018. 

In 2018, if their is something you would like to accomplish and need some help staying accountable know that I'm chasing down fears right along with you.

-People will have opinions, but those opinions are none of your business.
-Think about who you want to help, instead of who will be a problem for you. They won't matter in the long run! 
-The uneasy feeling is usually not as bad as we think. It won't last forever.

You will survive.

'Off The Chain' Resources For You

My favorite videos of the year:
Are we training our dogs to death?
Dog Trainers industry secret
Whats' Vinny Thinking?
Why Do We Judge Dog Owners. Muzzles explained.

Here is the direct link to all the articles for the year if you missed any. 

Thank you all for an amazing year and sharing your personal stories and journeys with me. It's changed me so much.

For the last time of 2017...

Head Rubs and Belly Scratches