Episode 196 | Being Offended

In this episode, Dr. Cari Wise discusses the concept of getting offended, particularly when clients do not follow veterinary recommendations. She emphasizes the importance of detaching from outcomes beyond one’s control to avoid frustration and offense. 

She highlights the need to separate ego from the ability to serve, as clients are not obligated to follow recommendations, challenges the belief that success is tied to external validation, and stresses the importance of self-confidence and courage in professional interactions.

She advises listeners to recognize and address feelings of offense, which often stem from personalizing others’ behaviors. She encourages focusing on controllable aspects such as beliefs, emotions, and actions to achieve wellbeing.

Key takeaways:

  1. Detachment from Outcomes: Dr. Wise emphasizes the importance of detaching from outcomes beyond one’s control, such as client decisions, to avoid frustration and offense.
  2. Separation of Ego and Service: It’s crucial to separate one’s ego from the ability to serve, understanding that clients are not obligated to follow recommendations.
  3. Self-Confidence and Courage: Success should not be tied to external validation. Instead, self-confidence and courage in professional interactions are essential.
  4. Addressing Feelings of Offense: Feelings of offense often stem from personalizing others’ behaviors. Recognizing and addressing these feelings is important.
  5. Focus on Controllables: Focus on what one can control, including beliefs, emotions, and actions, to achieve wellbeing.
  6. Self-Acceptance and Compassion: Self-acceptance and compassion are powerful tools in overcoming insecurities and fear-based emotions.
  7. Responsibility for Wellbeing: Interrupt the narrative of blaming others for offense and take responsibility for personal wellbeing.
  8. Personal Growth and Fulfillment: Leveraging the space within oneself is key for personal growth and lasting fulfillment.



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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

Hi there. I’m Doctor Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach, and certified quantum human design specialist. If you’re a veterinary professional looking to up level 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 friend. Welcome back to welcome to the Joyful DVM podcast. Today I want to spend a few minutes talking about getting offended.

So I have a question for you. When was the last time you were offended by something that somebody said or something that they did by the way that they behaved? You could think about this in all different contexts of your life. It’s pretty easy for us to think about it when it comes to work, though. We probably don’t even realize that’s what’s happening. Think about the last time a client did not follow your directions for the things that you recommended for their pet.

You probably recognize that you felt a little bit frustrated, but I want you to go a little bit deeper. Could it be that you were actually feeling offended? Here’s why I asked the question. If we hold onto the outcomes, if we are really attached to the outcomes, meaning attached to the decisions that our clients make day in and day out, then we will feel frustration and even offense when they don’t follow through with the things that we recommend.

The key to enjoying your life as a veterinary professional is to learn to become detached from the outcomes themselves. Because the truth is, my friend, those outcomes are something you will never control. We have a lot of knowledge, obviously, because that’s how we ended up in this profession, with the credentials that most of us in this profession have. And that knowledge base is the beginning of the relationships that we build with the clients and the pets.

And that knowledge base is important. They come to us because of the knowledge that we hold. They ask us for help, they buy our services. However, they are never obligated to do anything that we recommend. This is the part where we really have to work to separate our ego from our ability to serve. When our ego is completely tied up in the outcomes, when we believe that they should do what we recommend, because otherwise why are they coming to us in the first place?

When we hang on to that line of belief, then it is going to be inevitable that we are going to feel frustrated. Being frustrated will then just add to this pulling down of our overall well being. Our net emotional state is the way that I often talk about it. Who wants to feel crappy all the time? Now what’s so interesting about this is that when we recognize that we are frustrated or that we’re unhappy and we ask ourselves why, or somebody asks us why, the first thing that we do is we point to an interaction with somebody else or to some other circumstance that is also beyond our control.

So we might be frustrated, and somebody says, why are you frustrated? And we say, because misses Smith just came in and wasted all of my time and did nothing that I recommended. Have you ever said something similar? Well, take a second back, step back, and start to analyze it a little bit. You’re frustrated because another human didn’t do what you told them to do. But why does it matter?

Why are you feeling offended? The only way that we can feel offended with the decisions and behaviors of other people is if we are personalizing them, if we are believing that the way that they are behaving, the decisions that they’re making, what they are doing, or what they are saying is about us and is directed at us. And here’s the best part. It’s never true. This is so important for us to realize, because the way that people behave, including the decisions that they make when recommendations are offered to them by you in a professional setting, all of those behaviors are never going to be controlled by you.

They are never driven by anything other than what is going on within the individual human themselves. And my friends. That is something you will never control. However, if you only evaluate your own sense of success through the external validators, like people who agree with what you say and who follow your advice, that’s where this emotion of offense really starts to build, because you’re also hanging onto a belief, even if you don’t realize it, that if they don’t follow your recommendations, that somehow you have failed.

This is a belief that we have to learn to let go. And it’s a very deeply anchored one, because this belief that if you’re doing it right, then people follow your advice, that pets get better, that clients are happy. Those external validators are so integrated into the experience of veterinary medicine for so many of us that we keep reinforcing that belief without even realizing it. And we reinforce it, not only for ourselves, but for others as well.

My friends, patient outcomes and client behavior are never things you are going to control, which means they are never things that you are responsible for. And also, they can never be things that you measure your own success against. When something happens, when a decision gets made by a human that stands in the way of what you believe is going to be a certain outcome, including client deciding to decline your services, just notice that that offense is coming from a belief that somehow they are messing up your ability to do your job.

You’re taking it very personally when they say no. When you’re detached from their decision, then you’re able to make those recommendations courageously and strongly and confidently without being tied to what they actually decide, without their decisions being an external validator for you. The key here, the opportunity here, is to learn how to be confident in what you do for yourself. Learn to be confident in the way that you practice medicine and the way that you present treatment plans and what it is that you present.

Be confident in the way that you interact with your pets, with the pets that come to you, with your clients, with even your coworkers and your staff members, with everybody around you. If you’re first anchored in self confidence, then you will not be so easily offended. When we get offended, it’s just a little flag that says, hey, I’m hanging on to something external here, and I’m using that external thing as the only means of making myself really believe in my confidence, in my abilities and my adequacy.

Use those moments of offense as little indicators that there’s something there for you to work on. Letting go. Because, my friends, you never needed anything external to validate your worthiness. You never need something external to reinforce the idea that you’re making a right decision. And by all means, you do not need the behaviors of clients to validate whether or not you are good enough in this job. Now, it is true, clients are going to have all kinds of opinions, and there will be clients who tell you that you’re doing a terrible job or that you have done a terrible service for them and their pets.

They get to have whatever opinion they want to have. Your job is to not get offended by it. Your job is to stay detached from it. Because if you interact with that client from a place of confidence and courage and your own sense of validation, if you believe in what you have recommended, if you have done your best, meaning you have simply made the best choices and the best decisions and made the best recommendations with what you had available to you at the time, my friends, that’s all you were ever supposed to do.

As soon as you start to feel offended by what happens next, that’s just a little indicator that there’s still some insecurity hanging on there, and that’s human. This is not a moment to be judgmental toward yourself. It’s an opportunity for clarity and for you to actually start to build in more compassion and self acceptance for your own journey. This is the greatest gift you can give yourself, to become completely detached.

What happens next? Because, my friends, if you can’t control it, do not give it power over your well being. So many of us are stuck in this exact trap. We are working so hard to try to outrun the way that we feel. And we are believing that if we are better, if we work harder, if we do more, that somehow, magically, we are going to feel more safe, we are going to feel more calm, we are going to feel more successful.

And that is never going to be the way that you achieve well being for yourself. Well being is achieved by actually slowing down, by being curious about the experiences that we have, by noticing intentionally the way that we feel emotionally, and by starting to understand that the negative emotion that we experience is almost always rooted in some type of fear. When that fear is rooted in self judgment, when that fear is rooted in beliefs of inadequacy and lack of self worth, then there is not enough effort in the world that is going to be able to overcome that for you.

It’s simply a decision for you to realize that you already are enough, that you already know enough, that you’re already good enough. And you can stop trying to compare yourselves to something outside of you. You can stop trying to meet an expectation that you’ve set that is so high that you can’t even define it. And you can certainly stop letting all the people you interact with be the ones to decide for you whether or not you’re doing a good enough job.

So as you go through the next week, I want you to start to pay attention to where you’re getting offended. And I want you to try to interrupt that dialogue that says it’s their fault that you feel the way that you do. Because I want you to know that 100% of the time that is never true. That does not mean that people aren’t going to do shitty things, because they absolutely are.

But the amount of time that you give thinking about it and creating your own negative emotional storm from it is optional. You can notice their behavior and disagree with it, and then shift your focus back to what you can control. Because at the end of the day, the only thing you control is you, including what you believe, how you feel, and what you do as an outcome of that.

Everything that we do in our lives, our actions, are always driven by our emotions. And our emotions are always created by the perspective and the stories that we tell. So you have to start asking yourself a better question. Are the stories that I’m telling myself, empowering or disempowering. And when you start to notice that your stories are always abdicating responsibility for the way that you feel to something outside of you, to some circumstance, to some person, that is your opportunity to take all of your power back.

Being offended, recognizing when you are being offended is a little doorway into that story that you’re telling. So be courageous. Walk through that door, take a look around, notice where you have given responsibility for your well being to something that you will never control, and then just make a decision to take that back. My friends, if you need more help in this, you know the place to go at Vetlife Academy.

This is where we dig into all this and you learn this skill of what I call leveraging the space. To learn more about it, jump over to joyfuldvm.com vetlifeacademy. I promise you, learning to leverage the space is the most powerful thing that you can do that will serve you for the rest of your life. I hope you have a great week and I’ll see you soon. Bye for now.