Episode 179 | Leaving Your Mistakes Behind

In this episode, Dr. Cari Wise explores the topic of mistakes and how they can hinder our progress if we don’t learn to release them. 

Dr. Wise explains that mistakes should not define us or restrict our potential for the future. Instead, they should be viewed as opportunities for growth and learning. 

She emphasizes the importance of forgiving ourselves for being human and not carrying our mistakes from one experience to another. 

Dr. Wise challenges the concept of imposter syndrome and encourages listeners to leave their mistakes in the past and not allow them to define their identities or limit their potential. 

She discusses the negative effects of carrying the weight of mistakes and urges listeners to let go of the shame and regret associated with mistakes while also suggesting listeners replace the word “mistake” with “lesson” to foster a culture of compassion and support for ourselves and others.



Website: https://joyfuldvm.com



Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay


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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

Hi there. I’m Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach and certified quantum human design specialist. If you are a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM podcast is absolutely for you. Let’s get started. Hello my friends. Welcome back to the joyful DVM podcast.

Today we’re gonna be talking about our mistakes. And before you jump off of the podcast episode, I want you to hang with me here and really be open to what I’m saying about mistakes that we’ve made in the past because many of us keep packing them around into our future and the ability to release them is what we’re going to be talking about today. So most of us can identify times in our lives where we’ve made a mistake.

These mistakes could have been in our veterinary career, so they could have been anything from giving the wrong medication dose to having an accident during a procedure that injured an animal, to giving the wrong information to a client. Like there’s just an unlimited number of opportunities to have made mistakes and the severity of those mistakes in the veterinary field could go from minor to truly life and death.

But we don’t only make mistakes in our veterinary careers, we’ve also made mistakes in our lives. And if we look back to our lives, look back to our childhoods and consider the mistakes that we made, then the things that we are identifying now as adults as mistakes from the past. I want us to consider how those things are also still being carried around with us today.

Now, you’ve heard me say probably many times before that there’s actually no such thing as mistakes. There are wins and there are lessons, and I think there is a lot of truth to that. Obviously, I say it all the time, I think there’s always opportunity whenever something doesn’t turn out the way that we anticipated or wanted, for us to reflect on that and to identify what we have an opportunity to change or do differently the next time around.

So there’s always value in these things that we’re labeling as mistakes, but where these mistakes really hold us back is when we can’t leave them behind. So many of us notice when we make mistakes. Maybe it’s when we’re in a new job, in a new position, we have new responsibilities and we are failing. We believe we’re failing, we just aren’t getting it yet.

We’ve tried. We’ve got all these responsibilities, we’ve got these things we’re supposed to do, but we mess it up and we start to believe that we’re just not cut out for the role that we’re in. This can happen really anywhere in our lives so we can believe that we aren’t cut out for where we actually are. Now, this can be labeled as imposter syndrome,

and I have all kinds of strong thoughts about the concept of imposter syndrome, which side note isn’t actually a diagnosis. It doesn’t actually exist as a real diagnosis from a mental health perspective, but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. We can use imposter syndrome as maybe the label to excuse or explain what we are feeling, but it doesn’t actually get to the heart of the matter,

which is that we just aren’t forgiving ourselves for being human. That’s the heart of all of this. When we keep carrying our mistakes from experience to experience, to experience from in fear that we are going to repeat them, that actually increases the chances that we will do exactly that. When we’re so afraid of making a mistake again, it’s very likely that we will,

because of the way that the brain works, what we focus on, we create. If we would instead recognize the mistake as an opportunity to learn something and focus on what we learned, then it’s much less likely that we are going to repeat that mistake in the future. But many of us, like I said, we focus on the mistake and then we continue repeating it.

But what’s even worse than that is we accept an identity of being a person who makes that mistake, who can’t do that thing. And as we accept that identity, we start to limit what is possible for ourselves. This is why it is so important for us to learn how to leave our mistakes behind. When we look back in the past, whether it is our childhood or just last week,

when we look back and we can recognize these things that we are labeling as mistakes, it is okay to leave them there to just at this point, let them be neutral because my friends, they actually are, anything that happened before this moment in time has zero ability to create any kind of emotional experience for you outside of the story that you’re telling about it today.

So the story that you’re telling yourself about those things that you’re labeling as mistakes, that story is creating your experience of it. And so simply labeling it as a mistake has you probably feeling some spectrum of bad. We’ve been taught that mistakes are bad, that if you continuously make mistakes, then you are a bad person. This actually isn’t even true. The truth is that we’re not gonna win a hundred percent of the time,

but we are going to learn in every single situation. And if we can start to remember and really embrace this idea that everything happens for a reason and that every challenge is actually there as a catalyst to move you forward in your own growth and evolution, then we can stop fighting with the existence of these quote unquote mistakes. So much, many of us don’t do that.

We don’t even know that that’s an option. And so as a result, when we have these goof ups, we identify with the goof ups, we identify as a person who goofs up, and then we carry that with us forward, which just makes us more and more insecure in our own abilities and the potential that we have for the future. It really can stifle us and keep us stuck.

I wanna encourage you to take the lessons from those events and then just intentionally leave them behind whatever experience that you had as a young adult. Whatever experience that you had in the jobs that you’ve held so far does not limit what is possible for you in the future. But many of us think about the jobs that we’ve had. Let’s talk about this in a,

in an occupational kind of perspective for a few minutes. We look at the jobs that we’ve had, we’ve looked and remembered situations where perhaps we received feedback about how we needed to improve, how we could do things differently, where we weren’t doing things the right way for the organization. And we have hung onto those things as weights, as negative ticks against us in the opportunity bucket of what’s possible.

We get to the point, some of us that we’re even afraid to apply for new jobs because we believe that these past mistakes are going to follow us everywhere. We start to believe that we are not hireable because of the goof ups that we’ve had in the past and my friend. That is just never true. There’s not a single person on this planet who hasn’t messed up and probably messed up quite royally at some point in their lives.

And when you start to have conversations with people, they will actually share those experiences with you from a com place of compassion and from a place of understanding. But we get so caught up in our own shame spiral around mistakes that we wanna hide them. We definitely don’t want anybody to find out about them. We’re really not gonna go out exploiting them so that others can learn from them.

Instead, they’re just going to quietly build and stack and keep creating and fostering the story that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t capable, that we can’t possibly do anything more because we’ve made mistakes, because we have messed it up in the past. And I want you just to consider that maybe that’s not even true. So what if the mistakes that you’ve made in the past,

what if they have no impact on what’s possible for you in the future? Think about that for just a second. What if I’m right about this? What if the mistakes you’ve made in the past have no impact on what is possible for you in the future? How does your opinion of you change with that perspective? How does your opinion of the jobs available to you change without opinion?

How does the pressure that you put on yourself ease? I think all of this can really shift in a swift manner toward the positive. When you start to really release the idea that making mistakes is a problem, it’s not a problem, it’s just part of the human experience. And every single one of us make mistakes. The difference between those who make mistakes and move on with their lives compared to those who make mistakes and hide and stay stuck in the same pattern is simply choice.

There isn’t anything magically different around the people who choose intentionally to leave their mistakes in the past and to move forward focused on what it is that they want to experience. And those who don’t do that, there’s nothing magical about those people. It’s just simply all intentional decision. It’s an awareness that the mistakes themselves don’t even have to be labeled as mistakes. That they were simply events at one point in time and they probably carry with them the compassion and the understanding that even if their actions resulted in what we would label as a mistake right now,

that at the moment when that event was happening, when they were taking those actions, they were doing it from a place of good intent. They were doing it believing they were making the right choices. And when we can look at things that don’t turn out the way that we want them to, the mistakes that we’ve made, and we can be very honest with ourselves that we did not do any of it intentionally.

None of it was from a place of trying to hurt somebody or someone or to mess something up. When we can come back to that truth because it is true, it is true. I don’t think there’s a mistake out there that was intentionally created because it wouldn’t even be considered a mistake, right? Like if you intentionally did something to harm someone or something or some system,

that wouldn’t even be a mistake. That would be an intentional outcome. And that’s not what we’re talking about here is it. We’re talking about accidents, we’re talking about just goof ups because you just didn’t know any better. That’s not something to have shame about. It’s something that we have to look at. And just remember that in the moment, that thing that you’re calling a mistake right now,

you didn’t realize it was a mistake in the moment. There was a massive lesson for you there. And only through our experiences do we really start to to hone in on our skill sets and our abilities to communicate well and our opportunities to be really efficient and effective. There is a learning curve to everything new that we do in this lifetime, including the practice of veterinary medicine.

That’s why it’s called practice my friends. Perfection was never the goal. And so if you’re looking at the way that you’re interacting with your veterinary career and you’re identifying every lack of perfection as a mistake, you are creating for yourself a shame spiral that will keep you stuck in an experience that you are not enjoying. And over time that is gonna compound. And along with it,

the lie about it is going to compound. And so not only will you move from being somebody who’s carrying around mistakes from the past, you’ll start to identify as somebody who screws everything up, who doesn’t have the opportunity or the potential or the ability to create anything different in the future. You’ll accept that you just aren’t good enough and that everybody else is better,

my friends, I don’t want that for you. And it’s all based in lies. No matter how you look at it. It is all based in lies. The truth is, every one of us screw things up from time to time. Sometimes those screws screw ups are little things like forgetting to put the milk back in the refrigerator overnight. Sometimes those screw ups are bigger things like giving the wrong dose of a medication to a patient.

But regardless of the level of severity of the mistake, none of those things are done intentionally. And when we can come back and have compassion for ourselves and really be curious about what was going on when that occurred, what was happening around me that led me to leave the milk on the counter overnight, why is it that I gave that animal two times the medication that it should have had?

Did I mess up the calculation? Was I distracted? Was I looking at another patient chart? Did somebody else calculate for me? And I didn’t double check it? When we can get curious around the why for the things that we’ve done that we’re now labeling mistakes, then we enhance and speed up that learning process. We teach ourselves what it is that that experience was there to teach us,

and we have more of an ability then to let it go. And what’s really fascinating about this concept of compassion for our mistakes is that a lot of the time we have more compassion for when other people make mistakes and what they’re going through in those moments than we have for ourselves. Now, I’m not gonna say all the time because for those people who are in any kind of leadership position,

who have a lot of their own self-doubt and fear and insecurity, and are really trying to force the perfection of veterinary medicine on everyone, then when somebody messes up, they come down on them hard. There’s a lot of judgment, there can be a lot of yelling. There can be a lot of passive aggressive behavior, snarky remark, remarks, and it can even go forth,

you know, forward into a lot of tangible retribution. It could be even firing people for a first offense. I don’t think that’s really useful, quite honestly, because it is completely absent of compassion. Now, I’m not saying that there are situations when somebody just simply isn’t meeting the expectation of their job and we’ve given them opportunity, we’ve given them feedback and opportunities for improvement,

and they haven’t continued to improve. And so it just becomes clear to both parties that this is not the right fit for a job. And so they’re terminated. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about somebody who is so hotheaded and so much in fear and perfectionism and hyper respons responsibility and a control freak nature. That one mistake unleashes their, the wrath of them against another person and often can lead to just firing.

Just get outta here, you. You’re not worth it. You’re terrible. Like just name calling. All kinds of things like that. That is not ever the fault of the person making the mistake. That kind of experience is created by a leader that should not be in a leadership position in my very frank opinion, because they have way more personal growth to do,

to be in that kind of authority over others. If we stay in compassion though compassion with ourselves, compassion for people who make mistakes, then we all become more effective. So just notice if somebody messes up, where do you go? Do you go to judgment and anger and frustration, or do you step into compassion and help them work through their own judgment,

self-judgment and anger and frustration to understand what happened? To come back to the reality that very few mistakes are truly life and death. And to actually learn the lessons together that that mistake presents because there is always a lesson. The other thing I would encourage you to do is to stop using the word mistake. There are wins and there are lessons, and that is all.

So if you’re carrying around anything, looking back with so much regret over what you did or said or experienced, I want you to consider just letting that go. Let it just be neutral. It has no impact on you today, aside from the story that you carry about it. There’s no upside to carrying a story that keeps you repeating the shame and the regret and the guilt over those things.

There’s no upside to that. Instead, notice it. Let it be neutral. Yes, this happened, and at that time I felt that way and I learned something from it. And then you move forward. If we keep stacking our mistakes into a satchel and carrying them with us as we move forward in our lives, it will weigh us down. It will stop us from pursuing opportunities that we would be really,

really good for, that are even created for us. It will al also keep us from self-compassion and extending compassion to others. And it can actually lead to increased judgment, both self-judgment and external judgment against the people who are around us. It can have us feeling very bitter and jaded when really all we need is to forgive ourselves for whatever things that we have done in the past that didn’t create the outcomes that we wanted to remember that in those moments,

we were doing the best that we could with the information and resources we had at the time. And none of those things that outcome, that negative outcome was never intentional. It’s not what we had hoped for. And if we can remember that we can have compassion for the person who was still learning, take the lessons, but leave the drama of it behind.

As we practice that ourselves, we have the increased capacity to practice that with others. And when we start to cultivate this culture of compassion and support for ourselves and for everyone around us, not only does our experience completely change, but the experiences of the people around us begin to change too. So my friends, as you go through the next few weeks,

I want you to really pay attention to what are you carrying around in your mistake, satchel, I want that satchel to be empty. Give yourself permission to just let those things go. Take the mistakes, take the information. I mean, take the lessons from those mistakes and leave the rest behind because you do not need it moving forward. And it will only limit you to the extent that you believe it will.

All right, my friends, that’s gonna wrap it up for today. I’ll see you next time. Bye for now.