This week on the Uncharted Podcast, practice management geek Stephanie Goss takes the reins and invites her close friends Tyler Grogan, CVT – Director of Creative Marketing at Uncharted and Eric Garcia, CEO of Simply Done Tech Solutions to cohost the episode. In case you haven't heard Tyler and/or Eric on the podcast before, you are in for a treat. Tyler Grogan is a Certified Veterinary Technician with experience in specialty, emergency and general practice. A total Hufflepuff and Scrabble enthusiast, Tyler brings her experience with brand building, marketing, storytelling across multiple digital platforms, and exploring new ways to elevate the client experience to the Uncharted community, events and team. Eric Garcia is an IT expert, digital marketer and veterinary industry thought leader when it comes to social media and marketing. Eric was voted VMX 2020 Speaker of the Year by conference attendees and he speaks regularly at conferences all throughout the world. With all that travel and living his work life online, Eric has made it part of his lifestyle to regularly unplug from technology and the internet.
This week, Stephanie, Tyler and Eric revisit their experiences unplugging since Uncharted podcast episode 195. They talk through some of the major wins and some of the not so shining moments for each of them in learning to unplug. They also dive in to a discussion on why social media can be problematic within our industry and how creating healthy technology boundaries can contribute to a better overall well-being. Let's get into this…
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Stephanie Goss (00:00:00):
Hey everybody, I am Stephanie Goss, and this is another episode of the Uncharted Podcast and it's a little bit bittersweet to be closing out 2023 without my partner in crime, Dr. Andy Roark.. But I wanted to put this episode in before the end of the year because it means so much to me. You all have met both of my guest co-hosts for this episode before. My dear, dear friend Eric Garcia from Simply Done Tech Solutions and the one and only Tyler Grogan. Tyler is a partner in my team at Uncharted. She is an amazing technician and a wonderful person, and I just love spending time with both her and Eric. And we did an episode talking about going unplugged. And if you have heard Eric speak at an industry conference or an event near you, you've probably heard him talk about the concept of unplugging. And if you listen to the podcast, you know that Tyler and I didn't do so hot. Our first attempt at really, truly unplugging, and I think it's been at least a year, if not two at this point since we did that first episode. And so we wanted to close out the year and come back together and talk about, Hey, did we do better than last time? And so I am super pumped to share this episode with you to cap off 2023 and set some goals for what new and exciting things we want to try in 2024. And now let's get into it.
And now the Uncharted podcast.
Stephanie Goss (00:01:43):
And we are back. I'm so excited today to have a little bit of a different episode when I started thinking about the end of the year and how we wanted to celebrate it with you all. One of the things that I thought about was kind of a look back on this last year, and I wanted to do it in a particularly fun Stephanie fashion. And so I invited my friends, my dear friend, Eric Garcia and my coworker and dear friend, Tyler Grogan to come back on the podcast because over this last year we got a lot of feedback about a podcast episode that the three of us did together previously about unplugging and the idea of unplugging. And it's been more than a year later. And so I was talking to Eric and Tyler and said, Hey, I think we should do a follow up to that episode and talk about how we have improved and where we've gone on our journeys since then.
And so I asked Eric and Tyler and I thought this would be a great way to wind down the year with all of you. And so we're going to talk about all of that today, and as we do, we're going to have some fun and shenanigans I'm sure. So I thought we could start today. Eric, do you want to talk? Because last time we got so excited about how things went that we kind of jumped into it without really talking about the backstory behind what is unplugging and how did you get to be down this rabbit hole in a good way?
Eric Garcia (00:03:13):
Yeah. So first off, super, super excited to pick this back up because I'm particularly interested in hearing how the both of you have evolved after your first experience and just having kept up with the both of you knowing that now this is something you do often. So I'm excited because both of you thought you couldn't do this and now you're pros yourself, which is amazing. But yeah, my story from plugging really comes from a few years ago, I almost want to say it's been at least 10 years now, if not, but slightly over 10 years, where I realized very quickly with working in today's day and age are constantly connected with our jobs, but then when we're not connected to our jobs, we're constantly connected in this digital world, which is mostly known to be social media, but it could extend to text messages, message and other platforms as well.
And what I recognized at one point, I was on a trip to Paris first time going there, and I remember one night before we were getting ready to go out, I said, “I just need to check email real quick. I need to just check in on things and then we'll be good to go.” And that real quick turned into a multi-hour thing. And what I recognized was that even though I was working on whatever I was working on for a few hours, that when I finally got go explore the city that evening, I was really thinking about the things that I was working on during that hour. And so I was never truly able to experience being in the city, seeing The Eiffel Tower the first time in this completely relaxed state of mind where I could actually focus on what's in front of me and the people that I'm with.
And then recognizing as well that in between that trip of working, it was just being constantly connected to social media. And what I realized is– I was, and I think as a society, we all spend more time living in this digital world and connecting with people in less than meaningful ways, quite honestly, than really focusing on the people in front of us. And so I read a story on Fast Company where there was a gentleman who said he unplugged from technology for 24 hours and he shared his experience and it was rather cool. And I said, I want to do this for 10 days straight. To your point, to define what unplugging is, is it's building boundaries with technology. So a few ways to look at it and to do it to fully unplug means that you are going to dramatically limit your access to technology.
So this means no social media, no text messages, no email, very, very, very limited in how you're using it. It was interesting. I remember Tyler sharing her experience, her first experience, and she's like, I didn't know if I could use my GPS to go somewhere. And using technology in that way is acceptable, but it's to say that whatever glues us to our phones, which is often anything based with communication technology or social media, that we're going to completely limit that. So in a perfect world, when you're unplugging for an extended period of time, you're not picking up your phone except maybe to figure out how to get to the coffee shop that you want to go or to switch the music playlist that you're listening to, otherwise will limit it. And then the other aspect to unplugging is we don't have to do it for extended periods of time, although I challenge everyone to do it because you have to feel the extreme of being constantly connected to not being connected at all. But then to find moments where it might just be an afternoon, a day, a weekend where you kind of set your own rules. Maybe you want to take a break from social media, but texting's okay, but finding a better balance of whatever it's that you tend to often do on your phone that we're going to say, we're not going to do that thing. So that's unplugging in a nutshell, but I often find that it means something different to everyone just based off of your own relationship to the technology that you engage with frequently.
Stephanie Goss (00:07:57):
And so I love that you brought up the GPS because when Tyler shared her story last time, Tyler, you, I loved it so much. You really, I love watching the way your mind works. And do you want to tell us or refresh us because you were in Canada and you were going to be doing some traveling, and so you were like, I know I'm going to need my phone for some things, but not for others. And what are the rules? And Eric, please tell me what the rules are. I want to follow the rules.
Tyler Grogan (00:08:28):
Yeah, it was a very me response to the whole thing. So yeah, the first time I was traveling in Canada, going to the Rockies thinking I was going to be very easily out of cell phone service. So this whole unplugging thing was going to happen anyway, so I thought that that would be fine. And so I planned on a week, I was with our friend Saye, and we were going to just be out there in the mountains hiking, and I thought it was the perfect to give this a shot, but to your point, there were questions. What about the GPS and what about music? And I want to take pictures and all of these things. So this time around this year, I asked myself a lot of the same questions, but I gave myself kind of what Eric was saying, those boundaries that made sense for me for where I was going this time and I was traveling again, but in a much different way. So it was a whole different experience this time, and I'm excited to dive into it, but the first time was what does this mean for me? And I think that that was something that I learned from it was defining what unplugging is for me and also finding out what was good for me and what I needed to make it, the experience that it was, which was very, very, it was a really great one. So yeah, defining it first was important. I think you and I both had very different definitions, Stephanie, when we started.
Stephanie Goss (00:09:46):
Well, and I was going to say, so in true me fashion, I just dove headfirst and was like, I didn't go to the extreme of let me go to some center where I don't talk for seven days, but anybody who knows me, I dove in the deep end and was like, now let's figure out how to swim. And it did not go so well last year. And if you have not listened to this episode, we'll drop the link to it in the show notes because we had a great time and you should definitely listen to the shenanigans that were had, both Tyler and myself and Eric as we kind of talked about some of how we started with unplugging. But I think back to it, and we started, Eric, you asked us about how we would grade ourselves, and both Tyler and I were just like, we did horribly. It was a failure, we're failures.
But I thought it was the perfect way to kind of start. And I'm super curious thinking back because I think all three of us did things differently this year. So we're doing this episode towards the end of the year because Tyler and I both were like, oh, okay, we got bucked off that horse, but let's get right back on and let's try it again and maybe set up some different rules and some different boundaries and try and tinker with it. And so intentionally, we talked to three of us earlier this year and said, okay, what's on our schedules? What are we doing on unplugged time? And so we planned to record this after each of us had done a period of unplugging for different things kind of over the summer and early fall. And so I'm curious, looking back, I think we each had some goals for unplugging this year. How do you think you would grade yourself this year? I'm super, super curious.
Eric Garcia (00:11:35):
Yeah. For me, I don't think I would grade myself as well as I have in the past. If I'm being completely transparent here. I did better with certain things and not so well with others. And I'll give you an example. I think I did well at setting the timeframe of, okay, this summer I unplugged, I think maybe it was somewhere between 10 to 14 day period. And as we kind of talked about a true unplug, I think everyone should experience a few times, which is just no social media, no texting, no email, and ideally no browsing on the web. Interestingly enough, and I'm kind of working through this personally right now, is I actually did find myself breaking my own rules and checking the news. And I think a lot of that is just because of everything that's happening in the world and feeling this need to stay in touch.
And I think if I'm being critical of myself, I think I shouldn't have done that because that's part of why I unplug is to escape from that. But then going through the motions of is ignoring it, that's not a healthy thing, ignoring the realities of what's happening in our world. And so I didn't do so well. Now that being said, I've learned with some assistance that consuming small amounts of that is okay, but just looking back at my experience this summer, I think I did well with everything out. But I think that breaking my own rule and feeling this need to check the news and succumbing to it was probably not something that I'm super happy about. But that being said, I'm not perfect. No one is. And so I'm looking at it as a, okay, I'm getting ready to unplug at the end of the year. I know I can't do this again. That's not something that we're going to do. But yeah, so I think, yeah, I would definitely say that that's somewhere I can improve upon. But I did set the dates, I did that thing because in 2020 I just had one brief period of time unplugged, so definitely kept up on doing it for sure. Okay. What about you guys?
Tyler Grogan (00:14:09):
What about you, Tyler? Well, I think it's interesting what you said, Eric, because I kind of think what I realized with unplugging this year was that I noticed what I gravitate toward in technology that I feel like I rely on a little bit or that I feel really like I need to check it more. Yes, exactly. So I think that part of the unplugging just to make it a learning experience is just some of that For me, it was just learning more about how I use technology on a regular basis and exploring why do I feel like I need to check these things or why do I feel like I'm disconnected here? I also traveled when I did my unplugging this year, I did another week, like a full week, and I set the dates. I even this time posted on my social media before I went a list of my rules so that I could keep track of, I just tell everybody, Hey, you guys-
Stephanie Goss (00:15:04):
Tyler Grogan (00:15:06):
Right, I'm not going to be here. I'm doing these things. No social media. I was definitely going to listen to music and use my navigation and my camera because I was traveling. But aside from that, try to turn it all off. And it was a completely different experience than the first time for a multitude of reasons. Partially was one major thing I learned was that if you're going to go on a spontaneous trip where you have zero plans of where you're going to stay, what you're going to do or where you're going to be for the entire week, unplugging is very, very difficult because you need to look at where you're going or look at what towns are around, what's there to do, what's there to see, or I guess you could just show up places, which I kind of did, but not in the way that I think a largely loose plan, at least I would recommend if you're trying to unplug while traveling.
Because what I was doing was I found myself just on, I was trying to really hard with the social media, so I stayed on just the internet and I was looking at hotels and different places and just my Expedia app to try to figure out where I was staying that night. And so it was still limited, but I learned a lot about how many businesses are not, they don't have a website, they just are out there on their Facebook page or especially Instagram, small small town outside of Nando National Park in Virginia. They don't have a whole website set up for themselves. So I learned a lot about that. But I would say in terms of success for unplugging, the condensed experience I had this summer was not as successful as it was last year, but I think last year set me up for this entire year to have a completely different relationship with technology because it was completely easy for me not to be trying to check work things or being on social media just because my relationship with my being connected has changed so much. So yeah, overall through this year has been a completely different year as far as technology for me. But that condensed experience, I didn't set myself up to succeed. I didn't do that well this time.
Eric Garcia (00:17:26):
I just have to say real quick. So I was so proud of you though because I received a text message on August 19th from a mutual friend of ours, bill Schroeder, where you were in attendance at a wedding together. And for everyone, what I'm showing Tyler and Stephanie is a picture of Tyler in this wedding that someone else took of her because she again was unplugged and was setting boundaries and focused on being in the moment. And he said, so I'm at a wedding with Tyler who's so unplugged that she didn't know that you posted her list. Unplug. I love that. I was so happy for you to know that you were so dedicated to that mission of just saying, here are my rules, here's what I'm going to not do, and here's what I'm going to do. So well done. Well done.
Tyler Grogan (00:18:22):
That was the funniest moment we were sitting at this table because that was the goal was I was just going to drive up and go to this wedding and then I was going to drive back and there was no plan in between. And so I got there and we're sitting at the table together with a few people from our industry, and someone says to me, I said I was unplugged. And I said, yeah, and I had a list of my rules and Bill was talking about how he wanted to try it, and then he's like, wait, that was your list. And I was like, what do you mean? That was my list? And our other friend said, yeah, your list. Eric shared it on social media, went viral for viral. I was like, what are you serious are? And so then he snapped the photo and I was like, genuinely, you're going to have to tell Eric. I had no idea what was happening. I was definitely not on social. It was very funny.
Eric Garcia (00:19:21):
It was great. I thoroughly loved seeing that message and just, yeah, that was so funny.
Stephanie, how did you do?
Stephanie Goss (00:19:35):
I did great and I feel spectacularly in other ways. It was a mixed bag. I'm going to say if I was grading myself, for those of you who don't know, I got a crown earlier this year from Uncharted. I was blessed to be awarded Speaker of the Year, and I have been teasing Andy since I started working for him that when I do things really well that I will work for Starbucks or he could just give me a crown. And after almost seven years of telling him that Jamie Holmes and the team made it happen, and my speaker of the year award was a crown, and if you guys could see me, I would put my crown on right now because I think I did a really great job in some ways. And so I would say if we split the difference between a D and then A+ overall, it probably felt somewhere in the B- range.
So it's funny because when we started getting ready for this, Eric was like, now I just keep seeing your signature and your next time off. And so I took last year doing this, not only doing unplugged in the lessons that I learned about myself and my unhealthy addiction to my phone and to technology, I really went to work doing some really hardcore personal work because when we did our episode, we talked pretty honestly about some of our failures. It brought up a lot of things for me that I didn't even realize that I was feeling. And so I took a really hard look at myself and my boundaries and realized that a lot of the time when I was feeling really overwhelmed, it wasn't actually anything that anybody else was putting on me. It wasn't that I had too much work, it wasn't that a lot of it had to do with myself and the fact that I had no boundaries.
And so a lot of the lessons that I learned in unplugging last year and in having the conversation with you guys and continuing to focus on it have been around my own boundaries. And so I have made a lot of great strides and I'm excited to talk about some of those with you. Mine was a lot different. I think I did my unplugged time this time. My goals were to be more like Tyler when I grow up. Tyler did a spectacular job last summer I felt like of getting things ready from a work perspective and really clearly outlining the plan for everybody. This is what I've got going on, this is who's in charge. And I thought that I did it okay last year. And then I was like, oh, I want to be Tyler when I grow up. And so this year my focus was on being more prepared and looking further ahead.
And so I went further out in the calendar and started planning better and communicating better. And so that was really big focus for me. And then I think my most significant achievements were not had to do. So I was planning to go unplugged and I was planning to do similar to last year, I was going to go off the grid camping with my family. And so I was like, great, there'll be power but with a generator. But I like Tyler, I'm thinking I will be somewhere where I just won't have the time or energy to use my phone. And that was true. And at the same time last year, it was the same scenario last year, but I let myself, I chose to not have boundaries and I chose to stress and worry about things that were happening that even though I was getting messages or emails, I was the one who read them.
I didn't have that boundary and that filter recognizing the fact that the world on and people are going to send you emails and people are going to call you and they're going to send you text messages and it's up to you to have that boundary. And I was really like, that was one thing that I remember. I have been in awe of it with you, Eric, because we've been friends long enough now that I know when you're unplugged, you're really unplugged. And there have been times where something has happened and I have sent you a message and I know that you're unplugged and I know that I'm not going to get a response from you. And I love that boundary and I have always thought I couldn't do that. And then when Tyler told us about what she did and she really meant it and she was like, here's my rules and this is what I'm going to do.
And I think looking at my own journey last year I was most disappointed in some of my failure with the boundaries. And so I really worked hard at that. And I also hadn't made big leaps before I went unplugged. And so something else happened completely unrelated, and I was just like, I need to. So I went and I was unplugged and I had a great time with my family. My rule for myself was I could use technology in that I brought my Kindle because I wanted to read. And my goal for myself was I have an unhealthy reading obsession. And I was like, I'm here for five days and I'm going to read 12 books. I was like, I'm going to sit by the pool, the kids can run amok, it'll be great. And I did it and I was super, super, super proud of that.
But honestly, the biggest strides for me I think came after that first unplugging when I really started to focus on my own relationship, not dissimilar to either of you with social media and with the technology itself and how I'm consuming that technology. And so this year has been a big year of growth, so not as great with setting up for success as I would. I think there's always opportunities to improve and thinking further ahead about the calendar. And this year has been a year of trying to get ahead as a team and as a company. And Tyler and I have been focused on how can we think further ahead and let's plan further ahead. And so I think I'm just going to keep trucking along and working on those things. But I think this year was really successful. And I have to say Eric Garcia, I am addicted now in a good way, in a really healthy, because when we talked last year, I was addicted in a very unhealthy way and I have made some really, really great changes in my own life and I'm excited. I'm excited.
Eric Garcia (00:26:30):
Can I ask you a question about that though? And I think the perspective that I would share now, because I've done it for so different than you Tyler, are newer at it. And what I can speak for with you is I've known you for a long time and you've known that I've done this for a long time, but there was a very long period of time where the idea of doing something like this was awful. And I had a lot of people, and you probably have a lot of listeners who feel that, who are like, never. This sounds awful. And I guess what I would love to ask you is what do you say as someone who is a new believer in the value of doing this and who for years didn't ever think that you could do this? And it's interesting because let's use Bill Schroeder for an example here. Bill for many years also said the same thing, but it wasn't until recently where he's like, I dunno, the idea of this seems interesting. So I guess what would you say to someone who would say, no way, I could never do this. It would make me miserable. What would your advice to them be?
Stephanie Goss (00:27:45):
It's funny because I think I was the ultimate example of someone who was saying no, but who desperately needed it. I think back to being in the clinic and I was the manager that was like, oh, you can call me twenty four seven and I got to be there for my team. And the definition of success as a manager for me was being connected, overly connected. And I remember taking my phone on vacation and answering, I've been in the hospital and have answered the phone. I was that person who believed that I was failing my team if I wasn't connected. And I think the biggest lesson for me this year has been about the fact that I fail my team more when I'm too connected and it slides. It's a very, very razor thin edge between being there for your team and being burnt out and overly committed and overly involved, and you don't make room for other people to have success if you are connected all of the time.
And I think that that was one of those lessons that I wish that I had learned a long time ago because I could have made so much more of a difference for I think my teams and in particular doing the reflection and looking back, I recognizing some really toxic and unhealthy behaviors in myself and it was all my own doing. And so I think the thing for me, Andy has always the whole idea of Uncharted, and one of the best lessons that I think Andy has ever taught me is the idea that we have to take care of ourself, that we cannot be all things to all people, and that if we don't take care of ourselves, that we won't be there to take care of other people. And as someone who has had training in a crisis response and in, I know this logically in my brain, but you think about it for everybody but yourself when you're a people pleaser and you're a giver and a do-er, you just think about how can I keep helping everybody else?
And so I think that that was the biggest thing for me was recognizing that being so connected is actually not healthy, not only for me, but for my team, whether it's in the hospital or my team with Uncharted. You've got to take care of yourself and we talk about it and we say it, but this year was honestly a lot of lessons for me and humility about walking around talk and saying all of the things. And I remember vividly having a conversation with two of my best friends who are Uncharted members, Jen and Charlotte, and both of them were like, what would you say to any one of the community? And I would say they were like, and don't answer us. Sit here and really think about it and then tell us what you would say. And they're like, because we're going to look at you and call BS on you if you try and bss us right now.
And I was like, no, I know what I would say. And they were like, then you know what you have to do and it's take care of yourself first. Put your oxygen mask on first. And as a people pleaser, that is I think one of the hardest things to do. And so I think for me, the thing that I would say to people is, it's going to be hard. But I'll tell you on a personal level, the rewards for me have been so great. And I think Tyler, your experiences is similar. And Eric, I know that you have traveled and have gone places and seeing the worlds, and that is a gift in itself, but also I'm doing unplugged time at home. And that has been, I think as rewarding if not more rewarding because I'm actually engaging with my kids and I'm engaging with being present and taking pictures.
And that was one of the things I was like, okay, Tyler rule, I'm going to use my camera. It's okay to use my camera. And what I realized is, and Tyler, we had this conversation last time because I think you talked about being at the airport and having downtime and you had said, I'm going to use my camera, but then you were like, there's downtime at the airport. And so, oh, I could just pop open Facebook and scroll through the things. Right? And I'm curious to see for both of you guys, if there were changes that you made. For me, one of the things that I recognized, and Eric, you helped point this out for me is that this is an addiction for me, and I very needed to put up bigger boundaries. It wasn't enough for me to say, oh, I just won't do the thing. I had to actually put barriers in place. And so for me it was about taking things off of my phone and turning off notifications and actually making barriers. And I think Tyler, you did something similar for yourself.
Tyler Grogan (00:33:03):
Yeah, I had, one of the mistakes I made was I forgot a couple of push notifications to turn them off during this last trip, but I tried to take the notifications away. I don't even have push notifications on a regular basis for most things now except for calls and texts that'll come through just because I know that when I have the mental space to address what I'm looking at, that I will open it and look at it. So that's been something that I've changed over the course of this year that I think was one of the things I recognized was a shift in my relationship with technology in general. I even was able to put Slack back on my phone because I was able to not, I don't check it unless I'm actually going to engage with it and do what I need to do there.
So that's actually been a really big shift for me. But it was funny that you brought up the downtime in the airport, Stephanie. I kind of had forgotten that part of that first experience a little bit, but that was a question I had for Eric today was because this trip that I took this year was so low. A lot of the time I spent was just driving in the car, and so I found myself, I would call my friend and just talk with my friend and have a good one-on-one conversation. And I felt like that was a meaningful use of my time, even though it required technology. But as an introvert, and I think that this might be something that people start to dip into unplugging a little bit, especially if they intend to do it while they travel or something like that, or just spending time on their own as an introvert, I think the hardest part for me this time was being at a restaurant or being somewhere on my own and not being on my phone, and I was sitting there realizing exactly how difficult it was for me as just personally, I know this already, but I'm not the person that's going to easily strike up a conversation with someone next to me.
It really pushed me out of my comfort zone because I knew if I picked up my phone, what was I going to do on it? Write myself a note. What am I going to put on my own music and sit there and listen? I don't know what I was like, what am I going to do? Those were the hard moments for me was when I realized one of my goals was to be present and to actually be bored. Because one of the benefits that Eric talked about with unplugging last time was expanding your ability to get to a creative thinking place. And that was really one I wanted to explore with this. And those downtime moments I think is probably where that is most likely to happen, but they're the hardest ones to commit to not being on your phone, especially in an environment where you're your own in a world where people are on their phones when they're on their own. I was curious because Eric, you've traveled on your own, you've done things like that before. What do you do? You're a much more extroverted person than I am, but what do you do in those moments?
Stephanie Goss (00:35:56):
I can't believe we're here friends. 2023 is about over, and I am so looking forward to all of the fun and amazing things that are coming from the Uncharted team in 2024. We have got so much happening. 2023 saw us reimagine a lot of things. It saw the launch of our first certificate and we are only leveling up in 2024. We are hitting the road. That's right. We are going on tour, if you will. We are going to have some what we are affectionately calling our roadshows where we take some of our things, including our certificate content and go out on the road in areas around the country. So we may be coming soon to an area near you. We have got some live events happening. We're going back to Greenville in April for kind of our last big hurrah for a while at the menu that we've been at for years, downtown Greenville at the Westin Poinsette.
We're going to be having our Practice Owner's Summit again in December. We have got so much happening both in terms of events and over in our community. We are working on pods, we've got new events, we've got exciting books picked out for book club, all kinds of things. So now is the time more than ever for so many reasons. But you've heard me talk on the podcast about how the math makes sense just for the workshops alone that we offer through Uncharted. And now because our Uncharted members get access to our Leadership Essentials Certificate, now is the best time to head on over to Unchartedvet./comcommunity and check out all that we have to offer as far as membership goes, come join us. We have got so much going on. And if you're thinking, Stephanie, I don't have my new CE budget yet, I can't join the community, head over to Uncharted vet.com and put your name on the newsletter list because you will get first dibs info after our community. Of course, in terms of anything new and exciting that is coming from us. And believe me, 2024 is going to be our year. You want to be on that list and now back to the podcast.
Eric Garcia (00:38:14):
Yeah, so first off, I thank you for calling me an extrovert. That means a lot to me. I'm actually an introvert, but all introverts can be extroverted as long as they have that recharge time or even time to anticipate encounters with that. I'm great at small talk, but I don't always enjoy it because it's small talk and I'd rather engage in meaningful conversations. So yeah, Tyler, so usually for me in those situations, and they do happen a lot when I'm unplugged, I'm sitting somewhere eating something or doing something where people are doing other things. So either if I'm with someone, I'm having a conversation with them, and if I'm not with someone and I'm by myself, usually I literally just sit there and I kind of just let my mind wander. It's sometimes I'm focused on just people watching and observing things that I wouldn't normally observe.
And it becomes entertainment for yourself. Sometimes that becomes, that's what starts to lead into boredom. But what I've noticed for me is it doesn't take one time sitting doing nothing for that boredom to come out because you're so hyper-focused going on around you that it takes becoming bored with that situation. Where then this is where I tend to have a notepad, or again, the rule with unplugging is you can use your phone, but we're not just engaging on social media texting. So I'll use my phone for notes and this is where I'm like, alright, I'm bored with what I'm seeing. And then this is where I'm like, oh, I have this idea to do this thing. And by the time I come back, I have just all of these things that I thought of that I wouldn't have been able to do, but or I read. I do, to Stephanie's point, I will get the most reading.
I will not get 12 books done, but I'm on good reads and I'll hit my reading goal for the year, and it's the only time that I sit there and no one by the way should look me up on goods because that's what I read on my own time is my own time and you won't be able to find me anyway. But point here is I get to read the things that I enjoy reading. So it's finding other things to do at that time. And I think something important that I'm not really always good at explaining, because sometimes when we talk about unplugging, we become hyper-focused on the work aspect of it. It's like, here's how we find better balanced work. And that is, I would argue a massive part of unplugging is to have better boundaries with work. To say that when I leave and I'm on vacation or I'm taking time away, that it is just that. You're taking time away.
But I think second part of unplugging is that okay, when you're taking that time away from work, that we're not choosing it to fill that time by being connected in the digital world, so consuming too much social media content or I did, just obsessively read the news. It's be able to say that when we're not working and when we're disconnecting from technology. Tyler also to your point, having moments where you connect with people on the phone or even FaceTime, a hundred percent, that's what unplugging is about. It's about being able to have conversations that you are fully immersed in so you can connect with that person in a way that's meaningful. If I were to have a call with either of you later today, am I going to be engaged in the call? Absolutely. Am I also going to be thinking about other things that I've got to work on or other things that I'm dealing with in my life because there's just all of these things that I'm consumed in?
Absolutely. Are we going to connect in the same way than if I were completely disconnected? No. And so this is where it allows us the opportunity to not fill capacity in our brains with just that other noise. So any way that you can engage with someone meaningfully. And yeah, that usually means having a conversation with them, not messaging them on social media. It's been studied that we're not engaging meaningfully on social media. We're not like, oh, I'm celebrating someone who's on vacation, or I'm celebrating someone who's getting married, or I'm celebrating someone who got a new job or a car. We're passively consuming that content in the middle of a chaotic day that we're not really taking that to bond with each other because I'm not saying, you got a new job. Let's talk about that. Why are you looking for a new job? Tell me about this new job. What does it mean to you? Or you just got married, that's awesome. Tell me about the wedding. I want to hear all the details. And that's where we start to meaningfully connect with people. And so it's just finding that opportunity to, okay, maybe we saw something that someone shared on social media, but we are actually building the time in to truly connect with that person. So I think that's an important aspect to it to consider.
Stephanie Goss (00:43:31):
Yeah, I love that. And I think that, excuse me, that was part of it for me. So I did, I was with my family and that was important. And I think that trip in my head was a little bit about finding some of the boundaries. To your point, Eric with work and Tyler, you were just like, I'm going to go on my own and I'm going to just not have a plan and do the thing. And I did a second unplugging trip and this time for me it was like, I want to do something for me in my brain. And so it was with friends and my goal for that Eric, was I don't, it's so funny how much I have allowed myself to frame everything through the lens of social media and where I have been. We'll be doing something even like we're at a conference and we're hanging out and it's like, oh, let's take a selfie because we want to post it on social media, not because I want new, not that I don't want new pictures with you, but the intention is there.
And so it was interesting because I did this trip with friends from work and we had a conversation. We did not talk about it ahead of time, but then we were all there. We rented a house, we were beautiful scenery, and our goal was just hang out and relax because we're all busy women and kids and work and stress. And we were just like, let's just take three days to just hang out and kind of unplug. And we had a conversation as a group about we're having so much fun and we're taking all of these pictures, and we were just like, are we going to do this? Are we going to do the social media thing? Or is this really, are we really going to make that step and is it going to be about being together and just for us? And so we kind of talked about it, and it's funny because there's multiple people there who shall remain nameless, who Eric social media is their life.
And we were talking about it and it was funny how quickly we all were just like, let's change, let's change it. We can talk about it, but the goal is not to have the experience so that we can display our lives on social. And that was never conscious intention for me, but I realized how much unconsciously that had started to become the intention for myself when I would be having experiences. It was about documenting it so that I could display it through the lens of social media. And I really did not, even just the things that I do with my kids, it's like, oh yeah, I should take a picture of this. It would look great on social media. And that was a big thing for me this year in wanting to change that because on a personal level, I just was like, I want to get back to the just hanging out and having the conversation.
Eric Garcia (00:46:36):
I love that. That's been studied to be a real thing we do where we take photos to share with others the life that we live, not because we want to document that moment for us, but that we want to document it to be able to share with the world. And I wish you could feel the joy inside me right now that you acknowledge that on your own, where you're just like, yeah, we don't need to do that. Let's just be here for us. And we don't need to document this for anyone other than just us to maybe look at later because I'm sure there were pictures taken. But with that framework of let's enjoy the craziness or whatever we're doing becomes again, another benefit of unplugging, because again, it's been studied that people will take pictures, they call it the post moment where you're not taking pictures of what you're experiencing to remember it yourself. You're taking pictures and obsessing over taking the right picture just so you can share with others. And that becomes a little bit problematic in the longterm and how and why we do things. So I love that so much.
Stephanie Goss (00:47:57):
But I really love that it created the opportunity. So when Tyler had been gone and she came back, I was genuinely excited to just have a conversation with her and hear, how was your trip? How was the wedding? How was seeing all of our friends? What did you decide to do? Because I knew that she was going to have no plan and who knew what that adventure was was going to be. And so I was just really excited and I was really, it was so fun to just engage. And I think it's interesting, and Tyler, I'd be curious to see what you think, but I love how our relationship has changed over this last year. I think as an unintended benefit of this experience, for me, it has been, we used to call each other and if I knew Tyler was calling and it was about work, and now I know if I'm getting a text or I'm getting a call, it's about us. It's about our lives and just humans and we're calling, we're texting each other to nerd out about video games or just other things that we enjoy.
Tyler Grogan (00:49:04):
The new kitten.
Eric Garcia (00:49:05):
Stephanie Goss (00:49:08):
And that feels really, really good. I think I really like feeling, and it has also shifted with my friends as well. I got an email today from Jen, and I knew that it was work related. It was email, and if it was friends, it would come through on my phone. And I really like that shift for myself, and it has been really, really healthy, I think. But Tyler, what do you think about your experience?
Tyler Grogan (00:49:40):
What you both were saying about the postal moments and just deeper connections with people when you're not focused on those things? I look back at some of, and maybe you guys remember when the pre cell phone days when you had a digital camera, your little cannon or whatever, it was an icon, cool pics that was like, mine was me, but that was when selfies were like, you turned the camera around and hoped for the best, you know?
Stephanie Goss (00:50:09):
Tyler Grogan (00:50:11):
I have to admit, I already had the selfies skills, I'll say.
But my favorite things from those hundreds of pictures that you took because you classically were only able to get one good one because what was happening, my favorites were the blooper reel where you accidentally are taking a video and you're like, what's happening? The flash isn't going off. I keep those and those are my most favorite.
Eric Garcia (00:50:40):
Oh, I love that.
Tyler Grogan (00:50:41):
Those versions of the memories that I have are the ones that were the not planned at all. And so I think that some of looking at social media now and looking at how we're engaging with technology now and taking pictures even is, I think those are the better ways to capture moments just for you because you're not worried about how does my hair look? And our friend Jamie Holms is really good at reminding me of this. Just take the picture. Just take the, don't worry.
And I think that has been a benefit. But in terms of just generally all the changes and what unplugging has done for me, I don't know about you guys, but I think that you might experience this too. I crave that stillness now. So pause between the distractions and I feel like I am able to be a lot more intentional about where my mind is because turning off the push notifications or doing one thing where you just walk away and leave your phone in another room for a couple of hours, those things, even those little things just make you that much more in the moment of what you're doing. And I crave that feeling now because the week long experience of being there on your own and driving across the biggest bridge you've ever been on, terrified for your life, things like that, but you're fully immersed in it.
Those memories are a lot more vivid and important to me now than the ones where I'm also trying to rush and get through and do the other things that I'm thinking about on my mind. So this is, like Stephanie said, she's addicted. It's true. Her email signature always now has something about when her next record is, I need to figure out when mine is to add to my calendar as well accountable. It does, but it truly is a really good way, even if it's something small, just to really connect with what's important to you and then realize that those moments when you're not distracted are moments that are the ones you're going to want after a little bit. I think it's an addicting, it is really a feeling that I feel like I look for now and a lot more, I try to be more intentional about finding it all the time.
Eric Garcia (00:53:02):
Can I also add just a very veterinary medicine perspective about why it's important to unplug, especially when it relates to social media? And I've called attention to this before and I think it's important. It part of the reason that it's important to unplug is because of how we just consume everyday content on social media, but specifically within the veterinary industry, how we consume the kind of veterinary industry content that we do on social media for quite some time now. There's just kind of been this veterinary social media world that has become a little dark. There are now a lot of people who tend to be vocal about other people in the industry, and either there, they're doing this on their own personal pages that they're sharing with everyone that they're connected with. Or more commonly they're doing this in groups. And a lot of times it's as simple as someone that called out a work and someone's mad about it because it left everyone short staffed.
And so then they go on their personal page and they're like, oh, I had to work an extra hard day today. It was awful because so-and-so called out again, or in a social media group where people are often talking about colleagues. I've seen general practicing DVMs call out specialists. I've seen specialists call out general practicing DVMs. I've seen veterinarians calling out other veterinarians in their community. I've seen people calling out key opinion leaders. And I think that when we think about how we consume social media content and we think about the struggles that we're having in our profession, if you're engaging with that content, first off, let's just kind of frame it in the sense that when we wake up, that's what we're consuming.
And you might consume it and think, ah, it's what it's, but subconsciously it's there and you're carrying that around. But the challenge with this is that these are real human beings that are being called out. And I think we've started losing empathy for one other, for each other when I see this happening. Because someone's calling out or someone is calling a particular person out, we're so quick to jump in and not be nice to that person. And then it becomes this snowball effect where everyone's starting to engage and we're failing to celebrate the good that we do in our profession and unfortunately it just leaves for a lot of negative content that people are consuming about our own profession. And I think it's really important that if you are consuming a lot of content in veterinary medicine that is not contributing to your life in a positive way. I think it's really important that you set boundaries even just as simple as not being a part of a group, or maybe you can be friends with someone but you unfollow them, but that you're more aware of it.
I got to tell you, it's an awful thing because I talk about this in my reputation management lectures, and the reason this is fresh on my mind is I was just talking about it at a conference that I was at. People will say things briefly at the end of the lecture, but it's when I get home that I start seeing the emails from people that either have been a victim of that attack or have witnessed it. And by now, I usually have, in the time that I've been talking about over a hundred emails from veterinary colleagues of ours who are suffering because of that. And I don't think that's fair. I think that we are so upset that pet owners do this to us, that we stopped to fail short or we stopped to think about the fact that we're doing it to each other.
And so part of unplugging is setting better boundaries about that and helping you see the good that we do in our profession instead of just seeing all of the bad that's going on. And so I just challenge people if you're upset about something or someone, this goes back to what Tyler was talking about. Okay, yeah, it's great to connect with a friend over the phone, but someone, if you're mad about someone, we've lost a common decency to talk to that person just to say, “Hey, there's something that might be going on with you. Let's have a conversation.” We're just so quick to call people out. And I think that's unfortunate. And so I just want people to be aware that if you're consuming this content, it's often not contributing to your life in a positive way. And that we need to set better boundaries and we need to be better stewards for our profession.
Stephanie Goss (00:58:38):
It's funny that you bring that up, Eric, because I, part of my work this year was removing some things from my phone and removing notifications. And I have always been involved in a bunch of groups in the veterinary space for the reason that I believe I am a happy person, and I believe in the power of connecting as colleagues. And for me, it has always been about helping. And I agree with you. I have definitely seen some shifts. Things are hard, and as we go through ups and downs, you see the shifts in the emotional state, I guess, of our industry. And I was seeing that a lot for myself. And I'll tell you, my goal always was to go into groups and contribute positively. And I found myself thinking more and more negatively. I was still acting positively, but I found myself reading things and then thinking snarly about it.
And I was like, this feels really unhealthy. And part of what I did this year was turn the notifications off. But I will tell you, I turned the notifications off and then I unplugged and I kind of forgot about a lot of things. And like Tyler now when I go into apps, it's intentional. And so I still go in regularly into some of the groups in Facebook because I don't get any notifications. I am intentionally going into, I'm going to find one way to interact with somebody and I'm going to spend 10 minutes in this group and then I'm going to piece out for the day and I'm so much happier and there's a that I miss and there's lots about, I had to reconcile that because my brain immediately is like, well, if you're not in there, you're going to miss connecting with people and you're going to miss all those opportunities.
But I have found that figuring out some of those boundaries for myself, I believe you, because it has been really, really true and healthy for me, even within our own Uncharted community, which is so positive and is really the heart of our, I mean, it's one of our core values is positivity and helping one another. And I think, Tyler, you would agree with me. I love our community. I always feel lifted up when I go in there. And at the same time, I realized how much, I hate to say mindless scrolling because it was never mindless. I was always engaging and I was always, I love our community and I hate to use those words, but I would find myself skimm reading. And that hurt me because I don't want to skimm read any of the people in our community. I love our community and I want to be intentional about it. And so I did the same honestly, with our Uncharted community. I turned off the notifications and now when I go in, I'm going in intentionally because I actually want to read through the posts. I want to engage with people, I want to have those conversations.
Eric Garcia (01:01:44):
I love that.
Stephanie Goss (01:01:45):
And it has made me, it has renewed my excitement for connecting with one another as colleagues and believing in hope and positivity in our community. And so it has been a really positive experience for me. I don't know how you feel about it, Tyler, but Well,
Tyler Grogan (01:02:05):
I was just going to say, this kind of brings us back to the beginning of our conversation about unplugging and what it's done. And I think when you are a part of social media groups or things like that and you're engaging on a regular basis, even in the most positive ways, when you give yourself a chance to step back from engaging so much, you realize I think what your true limits and boundaries are as far as what energy you have to give and where your energy is going and what's taking from you rather than giving to you maybe the thing that's stuck in your head that you can't forget about that was on social media is something that you realize when you take a step back from it a little bit, even if it's not a full week of unplugging, even if it's just a couple days of stepping away and realizing what that was doing to affect you can be a really great tool to just, and I think this is what I mean, Eric, you've brought to us as a profession and talking about this topic has been, even if it's just taking a little bit of space to realize what you're consuming and the effect that it has on you and technology and also taking a pause and realizing what you're contributing to that too.
So I think that Eric's done so much great work in bringing this to light for all of us. And I think that just even having that space and understanding that that's an option is really great first step to finding out what your boundaries are and then making healthier moves for you as far as what you're consuming on social and other places. But I mean, Stephanie, Goss's, kitten pictures are also out there. We all need more that I'm not give that up. I'm never giving that up.
Eric Garcia (01:03:46):
That's the point. When you're consuming good content, we need to just be more aware of what we're consuming. And Stephanie, I like what you said because again, the whole point is if you're part of a group and it's not contributing to you in a positive way and you're feeling more drained, then that's not the community for you. But if you're in a community where people are supporting one each other and they have the mentality that Stephanie has where our goal is, how can I positively contribute? That's what the goal is. Communities are really important to building each other up, to improving mental health, to know that there are people that have got my back and that exists out there. And frankly, it does exist online. It's just that if you're a part of a community or your feed is not doing that, then it's to say, let's maybe make some alterations to that.
And this kind of ties to what you're saying, Stephanie, there's this great quote, and if I were the kind of person who was comfortable with needles and would like to get a tattoo, I'd probably get this tattooed somewhere, but it's a long quote, but I'll probably settle for framing it. But it's a quote from Young Pueblo who's just an amazing poet and just thought person. And I would like to read that quote because I think it just helps us think a little bit differently about how we contribute to this content. And so the quote says that “saying less is incredibly helpful. Every thought is not valuable. Every feeling does not need to be voiced. What is often best is slowing down to spend time developing a clear, more informed perspective that ego tends to rush and react, but peace moves intentionally and gently”. And I love this because it's challenging us all to just sit back and think about what we're going to say before rushing to say something without thinking.
And sometimes we're quick to say things because we want to make a statement, but maybe it's not the statement that's going to positively contribute to the conversation. And so I think this just sums up Stephanie, what you're saying is let's be a little bit more intentional on how we choose to engage with this content. And let's be aware that if this content that is being put out there is about an individual, that individual is one of us, and that there are human who processes feelings and emotions and that they're dealing with the same struggles that we all do and that even though we don't agree with them, that we seek to find empathy to be able to work with that person to understand what's going on and where they're coming from so we can find a happy medium. And that's all I'm saying is that we need to think about how we're contributing and the repercussions of that so we can all be better stewards. So yeah, Stephanie, that ties beautifully into what you're saying. Just be more intentional.
Stephanie Goss (01:06:44):
I love it so much and I'm going to do the exact opposite, which is rush us. I am because I can sit here and talk to the two of you all day and we are out of time for our episode today and I want to set us up for next time, so I'm going to rush us to each throw out there, what are we going to try next year? I think the common thread is that this has become something that we're seeking to improve. And Eric, you've been doing this a really long time and you still set goals for yourself and try different things. So what are we each going to try next year, just even if we just keep having this conversation between the three of us? What's our goal for 2024 as we look to the new year and look to the future?
I'm going to start with mine and I'm going to because it's a challenge for the both of you. There is something that is new for Tyler. I threw out a hair-brained idea to her, and it was last minute this year to participate in a vacation and she was just like, this is too much for me and it's last minute, but I'm going to throw out the challenge for her that we do something together, unplugged this year. And Eric, my friend, my challenge for you is we have been talking now for five years about spending some time doing an activity together and you know what I'm talking about and I am going to tell even if we just get 10 hours, eight hours a day to unplug and do the thing that we've been saying for five years that we're going to go and do, 2024 is going to be the year. That's my goal. Unplug, do a thing together and connect with both of you because you both have given me so much in going on this journey with me. I want to do, that was not what I was thinking about, but I could get down with that.
Eric Garcia (01:08:40):
That's where my head is at. That's where my head is at.
Stephanie Goss (01:08:43):
I love it. Tyler, what you thinking?
Tyler Grogan (01:08:46):
I mean, I am 100% on board for your goal to count in, and I think mine is going to be to, I think I'm going to take a week again, I think because a good period of time for me and going to just, but I'm going to do it at home. I'm going to be still this time. I really want to see if I can do that. I dunno if I can.
Stephanie Goss (01:09:12):
I love it. I love it.
Eric Garcia (01:09:15):
That's so beautiful.
Stephanie Goss (01:09:15):
Also, I want to challenge you, Tyler, because I want to start to see some unplugged things on your email signature.
Tyler Grogan (01:09:24):
I'll plan the next one, the end of the current one, so that I will hold accountable.
Eric Garcia (01:09:29):
I'm not going to shoot you an email and I'm going to give you time to do it because when I shoot you an email and you respond back, I want to see
Stephanie Goss (01:09:38):
What about you Eric Garcia?
Eric Garcia (01:09:40):
Yeah, so I think two things. A little thing is just to get back to being better at it. And when I say better at it, like I mentioned, I messed up this summer. I consumed news, I broke my own rule, and so sometimes for me it's just as simple as a minor course correction like that. So as I go into the new year, I just want to be more conscious of that and just continue to figure out new approaches. I think what's interesting is that every time I do this and that boredom hits, I always just find a new way to approach it. But also I must say in listening to Tyler, I think Tyler takes such a bold approach to unplugging where she'll do things by herself for extended periods of time. And I think if I think about a goal for next year, I think I want to be a little bold, like Tyler, admittedly, when I unplug, I usually have people around me, not always, but often and and there have been periods of time where I've unplugged and I was by myself, but I think I'd like to challenge myself to unplug for maybe a weekend or a few days where I'm just by myself and maybe it's just here at home.
I did that during the pandemic, but not by myself. So I think I'm going to go channel some Tyler and be a little bit more bold about how I do it. I love that. Yeah, it'd be interesting to see how that goes.
Stephanie Goss (01:11:10):
We all want to be Tyler Grogan when we grow up.
Eric Garcia (01:11:13):
I know. Seriously. Need this on a shirt. Yeah.
Stephanie Goss (01:11:17):
I love it. Well, as always, I mean talking to you too is so much fun. Thank you for sharing yourselves with me and with the podcast. This has been fun. I'm looking forward to our next check-in and talking about changing, and I'm looking forward to hearing the stories that hopefully come from other friends who are like, maybe I'm going to try this thing looking at you, Bill Schroeder, Andy Roark, and seeing how it goes. But this was great. Thank you. Thank you both so much for being here and joining me, and thank you all for listening. I hope that you make big plans, whether they're for unplugging or for your practice or for yourselves, that you're making big plans for 2024, and we'll see you guys all in the new year. Take care, everybody.
And that's a wrap on another episode on the Uncharted Podcast. Thanks for joining us and spending your week with us. If you enjoyed this week's episode head over to where you get your podcasts and leave us a review. It's the best way to let us know you love listening. We'll see you next time.