Pet grooming is an amazing career, but as artists we struggle to consistently appreciate our own art. As a result, we simultaneously become our biggest fans and our own worst critics.
I am still on my journey of becoming a Master Groomer, and every day I have moments of glory that make me proud of myself, as well as moments where I realize how much I still do not know.We are all on our own journey, and I believe a lot of us self-sabotage along the way. However, each day in the salon is an opportunity for us to grow.
For instance, here is a story about Fluffy. Fluffy is a regular client, and every four weeks she comes in and receives her routine grooming. Her owner is extremely grateful and loves your work. In her eyes, you are the greatest groomer in the world.
While you are grooming Fluffy, you feel proud as you snip away at that cute round face and stick a bow on her. You then post a photo to your Facebook page, which gets 52 likes! You are so happy in that moment where Fluffy’s owner shares your picture and tells all her Facebook friends that her groomer is the BEST!
You continue to scroll, scroll, scroll through your newsfeed and you see another groomer’s photo of their own “Fluffy.” You portray this groomer as someone more skilled than you (#groomergoals) and immediately compare their Fluffy to your Fluffy.
Let me stop you there. Grooming is art; it’s subjective. You have been trained to clean and groom that dog like a pro—and a pro you are! Your skill set is yours, just like your handwriting. No two people write the same and no two groomers groom identically. You can train yourself to learn breed standards, but each dog has its own unique structure and it takes so much time to master those angles and bevels. We are pet grooming, and in a world of designer dogs, each dog is a new work of art.
Back to comparing yourself to the other Fluffy…Take a moment to get back in your own lane. Go back through your old photos and see how far you’ve come; how much you’ve grown. Write down your goals and what you want to work on. Maybe that other Fluffy has a straighter ear so, you need to work on your stretch-drying. Maybe that other Fluffy has a cuter face so, you need to study up on round faces or bathing techniques. Or, maybe that Fluffy has a neater finish so, you need to strengthen your skills by practicing your scissoring technique. Lastly, your Fluffy and their Fluffy aren’t the same dog. You and that other groomer aren’t the same and are on two different journeys.
Comparing yourself to other groomers can help you realize that you still have goals to reach. But comparing yourself to you is where you’ll be able to focus solely on your needs and stay motivated to achieve those goals.
Remember, as you gain more experience and skill, you will have waves of confidence and waves of insecurities. We are all in this together, on our own journey to become better groomers as an industry. Never stop learning and keep up the good work. Take those moments of victory with your “Fluffy” and let them fuel you with assurance that you are on the right path. ✂️