In part one of this blog, we talked about why you might want to reach out to other Animal Trainers & some approximations you could take to get started with this procedure. In part two we want to talk about what can happen after you send the message to the animal trainer you would like to hear from or learn from?
Firstly if the person replies – excellent! Engage with them!
However, if the person doesn’t reply, you might:
You might be wondering – ok, it all sounds great, but how do I write the message in the first place?! Let me share with you a few tips that I believe worked for me:
1) Find the reasons you appreciate the person you are reaching out to
Take the time to appreciate the animal trainer you are reaching out to. There is a reason you would like to hear this person’s advice/opinion, so share with them this reason! What is it that you value in them or their work? Be as specific as you can! I feel there is a big difference between:
“I love what you’re doing!” and “In the podcast episode number x, you said this (…) – I found this message incredibly inspiring, and it helped me with my problem [describe problem]”.
If you can’t think of anything right now – that’s ok! I’ve been there too! Let it sit for a while and come back to it as many times as you need to. You will come up with a reason eventually!
2) Start by just appreciating the person you are reaching out to
It might be good to start by sending the message with your appreciation to the animal trainer you value without asking any questions. I often did that when I wasn’t sure if or what I would like to ask about. There will be time to ask questions later if the person decides to engage with you.
3) Offer them the choice to say “no.”
When you have a question in mind, my advice is to be fully open to not receiving the answer! I would even encourage you to share it in your message. For example:
“Hi [name], I would love to hear your thoughts about (…)? But so that you know, it’s ok if you don’t have time to reply – I know how life gets, and I fully understand busyness!”
I find value in stating that they can say “no”. So when I ask, “Can you help me with (…)?” I will then add:
“Please know that “no” is an entirely valid answer to my question – feel free to use it!”.
Why do I do that? In the past, I’ve been in situations when I thought that I HAVE TO say “yes” (even when technically I didn’t). It’s not a good place to be. I like to feel that I have options, and I didn’t always feel this way [which sucks]. Even if the person I’m talking to has no problems saying “no”, – I can’t know that about them. I would instead assume they might struggle just like I do rather than unintentionally put them in a situation when they feel forced to say something (which I feel can lead to avoidance). I also think that honesty and openness will likely be appreciated more.
Do your best to be ok with them not replying (or saying “no”), and be okay with the relationship not forming. It might happen, or it might not, but you don’t really have control over it.
It’s been my experience that giving people the choice and ability to not reply to me made a significant difference. It made me appreciate the time they decided to spend with me even more – no matter how little time that would be! I also received no’s or simply didn’t hear back from people, but I didn’t let it stop me from reaching out again. I tried with another person or reached out to the same person after a few weeks or even months. Some of those people came back to me years later anyway! The more you learn not to expect anything from them – the more you will be able to celebrate even the shortest message they’ll send back. And being genuinely grateful can take you a long way!
I hope you find this blog post helpful! I also want to ask you one last question – if there were someone you would like to reach out to, who would it be? You can leave your comments below – I would love to read your answers!