I have a confession. I never was a dog person. I didn’t grow up around dogs and never had any interest in them at all. Not until I did. And this happened from thinking about my Future Self and how she was a “dog person.”
In this podcast, you’ll hear about my transformation and how I became a dog person, so that you can see what it takes to change your life, no matter what your journey is about.
You’ll learn how to access wisdom from your Future Self, make confident decisions, process anxiety, manage your default brain, and follow through with what you say you’re going to do. This is one story you don’t want to miss.
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about helping moms live their best lives. My hope with this podcast is you’re more inspired to become the mom you are made to be. I’m Natalie, your host, a wife, boy, mom, dog lover, Chicagoan and former lawyer turned professionally certified coach. If you’re here to grow, I can help. Let’s go.
Hello my friend. Welcome to the podcast. I am so happy to be here with you. Today we’re gonna talk about how I became a dog person and really this is about the journey that I went through and the transformation process. So even if you are not a dog person, I encourage you to listen to this because it is full of lessons that you can take away from my story that I hope you can apply to your life if you want to change in any intentional way. So if you want to, you know, stop yelling at your kids If you want to become just a happier mom, if you want to enjoy your marriage more, or if you want a more tangible result like weight loss, whatever it is that you want to do, it’s all transformation, it’s all journey, it’s all the before and after.
And I was just thinking about how I was never a dog person and I became a dog person. And how I love the kind of neutrality about this topic, for lack of a better word. Um, it’s not something that feels heavy and I think it’s something we can all relate to. We all know what dogs are and kind of, um, understand them as pets here in the, in the states and in our western culture. And um, you may or may not be a dog person, it’s really not the point, but I just thought this way of, um, kind of examining this story of, of my journey to become a dog person may be really helpful to look at because it’s just a lot lighter. It doesn’t feel so heavy and it’s probably not something a lot of people listening or struggling with like you probably haven’t spent decades trying to become a dog person.
Like maybe you’ve spent decades trying to lose weight or fix your marriage or whatever it is. And so sometimes taking a look at lighter examples can be really helpful because you can see the changes, um, and the tools applied in a way that maybe you hadn’t before. And that is always my hope to provide you with some stories and tools and, and kind of, um, just resources to help you navigate those challenges and live your best life. So that’s what we’re doing today. Before I dive in, I wanna make sure that you know about marriage coaching. I am offering marriage coaching because y’all want it. I have been asked and um, have signed up several private clients for marriage coaching. I think sometimes just the nature of it being such a sacred relationship and kind of everything that comes along with that, it’s not uncommon for clients to reach out to me and want to sign up for private coaching.
And in the past I hadn’t really done this kind of for a number of reasons. Um, but for now at least I am loving it. Y’all want it and I’m here for it. So I want to make sure you know the benefits of marriage coaching and you know that you have the opportunity to kind of, um, see if it’s a good fit with me. I’m not the right fit for everyone. I think I am a really good fit for women in this community who are in heterosexual marriages. So you’re a woman, I only work with the women, um, and you are married to a man and you are having some challenges. That is what I’m most familiar with. That’s why I say that’s who I’m best to work with. It’s just because I don’t think I know enough or have enough experience in other types of relationships.
That’s all. Otherwise I’d wanna help everyone. Um, same goes for, you know, working with the man in the relationship. I just don’t think I have, um, the right perspective or experience for that. So if you are a woman in a relationship, in a marriage particularly that you want to work on that you feel like couples counseling isn’t really working, not surprisingly at all, we’ll talk more about that in a different episode. But um, I just want you to know that marriage coaching is something I’m very passionate about it because it works. It only takes one person, I guess sort of think of it like a dance. So if you are dancing salsa with your spouse and this is the dance that you’re currently in and you’ve been dancing salsa for years, you act in one way he acts in another. It’s the way of it. It’s how you always kind of, um, act.
And it’s a pattern and we’ll call it the salsa pattern. If you interrupt that pattern and you turn on some classical music, your spouse isn’t going to continue to dance salsa. That would be weird. There’s no salsa music on. Now your spouse may dance with you to some classical music. He may not, but he has a decision to make because salsa’s not playing anymore. If you think about changing yourself, you are the one changing the music. So you show up differently. So how they respond to you is different. And I think that is kind of left out of the narrative of why it only takes one, but it really does only take one for you to radically improve your marriage. Um, you know, this has really been on a referral basis. There is a form inside Grow You to sign up for this, but for those of you listening who either aren’t in Grow You or maybe you are in Grow You and you didn’t even know there was a form there, if you are, you can go to private coaching page and you get special pricing, you can sign up there. Um, for those of you listening who are not in Grow ou and you want to work with me on marriage coaching, just email us at [email protected] and just let us know you want more information on marriage coaching and we’ll kind of send you what you need to know. I’m feeling really passionate about it in this season of life. I’ve used these tools in my own marriage and just seeing a lot of people lately go through divorces that I sort of, um, have lots of of, uh, experience with and, and have helped. I think that these tools, um, can help prevent that if that is what you want. So email us at the [email protected] and you’ll get the private coaching information for marriage coaching. And if you know someone, a woman who is in a marriage who needs some help right now, send her, um, this information so I can help her.
Alright, now let’s dive into a much lighter topic how I became a dog person. Okay, so transformation is the business that I am in for my life and for y’all and for my clients. It keeps me living intentionally, creating the life I want and serving the world in the best way that I know. How, what does this mean, right? It sort of sounds vague, but it’s not. It is the process of change. So if you just think of a before and after, but it’s doing so intentionally. And so today I want to share with you my personal story of transformation from going from not a dog person to a very strongly obsessed with my dogs type of person. And I want to specifically kind of talk with you about this because I’ve been thinking about my dogs lately and, and how I’ve had them for almost a handful of years now.
And the time is going so fast and it just feels like yesterday that I wasn’t a dog person like the majority of my life. I was not a dog person. And what I mean by that is that we didn’t grow up with dogs. If dogs were around, you know, I was kind to them. I never had a fear of dogs, but I just wasn’t interested. I didn’t want to pet them. I didn’t feel like I had a sixth sense with dogs. They were just sort of there and other people’s dogs. They were not my dogs. And now, I definitely think I have a sixth sense with dogs. I’m obsessed with them. I wanna cuddle with them. I treat our dogs like they are part of our family. They go all on the furniture and on the bed. And some of y’all are thinking, I’m crazy when you’re hearing this, but it’s not the point.
Again, the point is it is pretty black and white how much of a change this was. And you know, you might not be interested in becoming a dog person or you might already love dogs. But as I’m talking about this and the lessons that I’m gonna kind of bring up, I want you to just be thinking about what transformation you want. So if you were someone who is overweight and who wants to lose weight and you don’t think it’s possible for you, and you identify with someone who eats a lot of fried food and sugar and booze and you just can’t imagine not doing that, that is the type of transformation I’m talking about where you lose all the weight and you eat salads. Okay? So, um, it’s really black and white. It’s a, it’s a big transformation. Or maybe you go from being someone who drinks a lot to someone who’s not a drinker and still has a ton of fun.
Or maybe you go from someone who is really pessimistic and kind of negative and feeling overwhelmed and bogged down by her life to someone who just absolutely loves her life and just radiates joy and confidence and, and all of that good stuff. It could be like one of my other transformations. I wanna bring this up here as well. I could do another podcast on this about kinda going from that masculine energy being the driver in your personality to having the feminine energy be more of the driver. So those harder, um, emotions, I don’t mean harder as in difficult, I mean harder as in stronger. It’s like, so if you think of the productivity and doing and getting things done, that side of your personality, for me that was always at the forefront and I really had a transformation in the last handful of years to become someone who still has that.
But really it’s not in the driver’s seat. My feminine energy is much more in the driver’s seat. And of course it depends on what role I’m in. So I pull from more of the feminine, particularly in my personal relationships and kind of how I show up in that way. But it’s so nice that I have that capacity now and I didn’t before. So it’s a transformation. So I think that it is such a privilege that we get to do life and have these transformations and sometimes transformations are thrown upon us by life circumstances in a way that’s not fair. And you still get the opportunity to grow through it, but it’s not something we would wish on anyone. So I haven’t experienced this personally, but I do have a lot of, um, people close to my life who have experienced miscarriages and that has been a transformational journey for them in a way that is pretty, um, unexplainable to those of us who haven’t experienced it.
Or maybe it’s something like a diagnosis or maybe it’s that your spouse filed for divorce and you didn’t want to, and you know, it’s a complete family change. And that results also in you changing personally. So it’s not just kind of what you set out to do. Sometimes life throws us the lemons and we get to choose to make the lemonade. And so as you’re just thinking about what season you are in, whether it’s a challenge that you are facing unexpectedly or one that you just don’t want, or it’s kinda a goal and you’re in a season where you are working on becoming because that’s who you wanna be, maybe you wanna stop yelling at your kids and you are at a place where this is the right time for you to finally get really familiar with calm and showing up in a completely different way for yourself and for your family.
That is a transformation, okay? So be thinking about all of these, or at least just the one that resonates most with you, or the transformation that you know you are in, in your life right now, um, so that these lessons can really be applicable for you. Okay, now let’s dive in to kind of what it’s been like for me and kinda how it all happened. I decided to get dogs because of a personal development exercise that I teach, which is so crazy, but that’s what I mean. I’m constantly applying these tools to my life and it really is transformational. So I accessed my future self and I was writing about what she wanted for her future and in her future she had two dogs. That was it, that’s all I knew. I knew my future self had two dogs. It felt right. It just felt like that’s what my future self wanted.
So I decided that I was gonna start with one, get one dog. And I felt confident about this decision because I had done the exercise, my future self exercise, where I accessed wisdom from my future self. I wasn’t thinking about how I felt in the moment. I wasn’t thinking about, um, the responsibilities. I was honestly just thinking about the vision of the life that I wanted to create. And that meant I was gonna trust myself and be confident in that decision. And so that’s what I did. Now, from the time I made the decision to the time that I got our Penny, Miss Penny girl I call her was about several months, maybe four or five months. And throughout those months, at first I was fine. And then I got increasingly nervous, or shall we say anxious to the point where, you know, Steve, who had grown up with golden retrievers in his life and who is and has always been a dog person, was very concerned, and had me watching, um, videos on kind of how to train your dogs and all of the things that kind of are required or at least highly suggested when you get a dog.
And I, I think I came the closest that I ever had to having a panic attack, my friends, it was not pretty. I was crying. I was like dry heaving. I had to like turn it off. It was just a YouTube video because it felt so overwhelming. Like I was living downtown Chicago in a high rise, living my best life and not really thinking about what kind of changes I would need to make in order to make my future self a reality. Meaning in order to become a dog person and the process of change and what was required to have a dog just seemed like quote a lot. So felt very anxious, very nervous. And this was probably about a month away when I started watching the videos and getting really anxious about it all.
What I love about this, and kind of what I wanna point out here is that I didn’t redecide because I had made the decision from my prefrontal cortex. I made it from my thinking brain. That meant that when I felt anxious, I knew it was my primitive brain just trying to protect me and keep me safe. And to my primitive brain. Safety means do what you’ve always done. Safety means sit at home and don’t change. Because if I repeat the past, my brain knows that’s predictable. Guess what’s not predictable? Getting a dog. But guess what’s not also life or death, getting a dog. This is why brain management’s so important. It’s like a toddler. It means, well, but it can cause a lot of problems. So my brain meant, well, it was trying to protect me and yet it didn’t need to protect me from getting a dog.
I was gonna be fine even though it felt like a very high stress, anxiety producing choice and situation that I was putting myself in. But I knew better. I’ve, you know, was using these tools for a while at that point and knew that my future self wanted this since I was gonna honor her and trust myself. And so that’s what I did. The day before Steve and I went to go get Penny, and at this time Steve and I were dating. So we’re not married yet. So Penny was, you know, my dog at first. And, and that’s why I’m sort of describing it in that way that I made these decisions. Um, he did go with me to get her, which is special and, and cool ’cause we ended up obviously getting married. But I just have to say that, the, I think it was just the 24 hours beforehand before we like drove to go get her, I was a wreck.
I was physically getting like a little bit sick. I’ll spare you the details, but my stomach was completely knot and on the way there I cried. I was, I was a wreck. And, it was fine. I still wanted to go. I just, I really sort of panic right before doing like hard things that my brain thinks are very dangerous. My brain thinks I’m going to die just like when I quit practicing law. And just like when I quit my career as a CFP to run my own business, doing these things takes courage and courage doesn’t always feel good. Now, I think it’s a very kind of obvious why I would feel that way, quitting professions, but not so obvious that I would feel that way getting a dog. But your brain doesn’t discriminate if you haven’t done it in the past, then your brain says, okay, I’m putting off the alarm bells because this isn’t safe.
We can’t predict what’s going to happen. My brain couldn’t tell and calm me down and couldn’t tell me how I was going to be as a dog mom or how I was gonna handle any of it. And so I really processed my anxiety and I allowed it to be in the backseat, not in the driver’s seat. What do I mean by that? I mean that I didn’t change my decision. So just think about this. When you are feeling anxious, do you think that that means you’ve made the wrong decision or that you should redecide? I see this all the time and that’s letting anxiety be in the driver’s seat. Make your decisions from a really clean, clear minded space. And that’s what I did. And so, you know, by the time I was on the way to get Penny feeling all that anxiety, I just allowed it.
I breathed through it. I allowed it to feel really uncomfortable knowing that this was something that I genuinely wanted. So I got Penny and it was magical and it still is magical. But you know what? In the beginning it was hard. I think I freaked out one time because she had diarrhea, like all over a rug. And that was the first time, which is so funny now, right? Two dogs and two kids later like the things that that kind of alarm you changes. And, um, it’s just so fun for me to look back on that because, um, I see how much my capacity has changed and how life with dogs is for sure harder, but it’s also so much better. The love that I have for my dogs, like my heart has grown. I am so grateful that I got Penny and that she taught me how to be a mom, a dog mom.
And then we got the second dog, which, um, I was very nauseous getting, but that was because I was pregnant, not because, um, not because I was nervous, which I had never put together, that I was feeling very terrible getting both of my dogs, but here we are. I love them to death and I wouldn’t change it for the world. And so on the other side of, you know, honoring my, my future self decision and following through with getting two dogs years later, having the dogs feeling like I am so grounded in being a dog mom and just loving, caring for them and nurturing them and, um, just being a dog person to all dogs. I, I love dogs. I reflect and I just think about how I wouldn’t have done any of that or changed my life at all or, or changed me at all internally, but for accessing that wisdom from my future self.
And I wanna point out one thing that’s super important. Whatever comes after I am, you know, that quote, whatever comes after I am, becomes your destiny. I am a dog person is a thought. It’s not a fact. I’m not a dog person is a thought, not a fact. This is good to know my friends because it means you can change it. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the thought. It just means that if you don’t want the thought to be true, it doesn’t have to be. So grounding this in probably a more practical example, do you identify as a morning person or not a morning person? For those of you who aren’t morning people and you tell yourself, I’m not a morning person, but you wanna be a morning person. This is that process. You can become a morning person if you want to remember, you don’t have to do any of this. I just access for my future self that I was a dog person. And so I really wanted it.
Tell yourself what you want to be true about yourself. I tell myself I’m a dog person because I want that to be true. I never let the fact that I would think I’m not a dog person in the past stop me from becoming a dog person. And I don’t know anyone else who is, I would say so drastically gone from not a dog person at all to becoming a dog person. I’m sure it’s happened, I just don’t have any personal examples and that’s why I wanted to share this with you. So you could think about it for yourself with something just as light as, as an animal and a pet and becoming kinda an animal person or as heavy as kind of changing your marriage and, you know, maybe a weight loss journey, especially if you have the story playing in your mind that you’ve, you know, tried year after year, decade after decade to lose weight and been unsuccessful.
You are really consistent because you’ve been able to consistently not lose weight for that long. You just gotta flip it and change your consistency and you will if you keep going. So the journey of transformation is I think an internal journey and an internal process. And then your external results and outcomes change from the way that you change. And I think that is just the magic of it. And I think it’s such a privilege to be able to live this life and transform our lives on purpose. Again, I said this in the beginning, but sometimes it’s challenges that kind of life throws at us, but other times it’s not. Other times it’s the journey that we want to go on. So no one forced me to get a dog and become a dog person instead. This was a journey that I chose to go on and I’m so glad, like for the rest of my life, I get to just love on dogs.
You can love on anything. Did you know that love? Because you want to love. It’s so fun to love harder and deeper and more. I love my puppies even though they are crazy. And sometimes I get mad and the house is dirty and everything has to be washable because we’re constantly cleaning and it’s, it’s harder, but it’s so much better. It’s so much better with dogs. All right, my friends, apply these lessons to your life. I’m gonna repeat the lessons and make sure you got ’em all.
Number one, how to access wisdom from your future self. Number two, how to make confident decisions. Number three, how to trust yourself. Number four, processing anxiety. Number five, how to manage your default brain. Number six, following through with what you say you’re going to do. And number seven, noticing the difference between thoughts and facts when it comes to your identity. Take these lessons and apply them to a transformation that you’re working on and see if you can get any different traction than you have had in the past. I love you my friend. Thanks so much for being here. Talk with you next week. Take care.
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