Episode 35 | How Facts Create Emotional Freedom in Vet Med & Life

We often experience an emotional rollercoaster in veterinary medicine.

There are extreme moments of happiness, relief, and appreciation…

And there are also extreme moments of grief, regret, and fear.

However, the framework of our veterinary careers, and entire lives, actually creates no emotion for us at all.

Life has two components:

  1. Framework
  2. Experience

The framework is created by facts… data points, actions, words, and events that the entire population would agree to occur.

Facts can be proven… facts can be captured on video, audio, or in written form.

Facts are not disputed. 

Facts are not right or wrong, they just are.

Experience, on the other hand, is entirely subjective.

Our experience is created by what we believe about the facts, and the emotions that those beliefs create.

Therefore, the emotional rollercoaster is simply a reflection of our experience…

… a reflection of what we believe about the facts in any given moment.

Changing our experience doesn’t require the facts to be different than they are.

Changing our experience only requires us to identify the facts, and then to intentionally decide what we want to believe about them.

What we believe moment-by-moment determines our emotional wellbeing.

Our level of emotional wellbeing produces our life outcomes.

Controlling our own story creates life-fueling freedom.

Ready to dig more into these types of concepts? Join me in my next webinar:

Subscribe to The Joyful DVM Podcast on
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or TuneIn to stream this episode through your smartphone or tablet




How facts create the framework and story creates the experiences in our lives, that's what we're talking about in Episode 35.

Welcome to the Joyful DVM Podcast. I'm your host, Veterinarian, and Certified Life Coach, Cari Wise. Whether you're dealing with the challenges in Vet Med, struggling with self-confidence, or you're just trying to figure out how to create a life and a career that you actually enjoy, you'll find encouragement, education, and empowering concepts you can apply right away. Let's get started.

Hey, everybody. Welcome to Episode 35. Today, we're going to talk about the framework we create in our lives through facts. So facts create the framework of our lives and it is our story that creates our experience.

Oftentimes in our lives, we experience the up and down of emotion - the emotional roller coaster. So there's an emotional roller coaster that we go on every single day, right? Day in, day out, as we experience our lives, the emotions - they go up, they go down, they go up, they go down - and in any given period of time, they may be more down or they may be more up. And what I want us to think about is where that actually comes from and where we have the ability to create some freedom from the emotional roller coaster for ourselves.

See, our life is created by a series of facts. There are facts that happen, and those facts create the framework through which we live our lives. Our story, however, creates our experience, and this is such an important distinction. It may seem that the things that happen - the facts of our lives - create the way that we feel. The facts are the reason why we go on this emotional roller coaster - up and down, up and down, up and down - but it's never the facts that do that for us. It's truly just our beliefs about the facts, and this is really an important skill that we can develop for ourselves is to intentionally identify the facts.

So when would this be useful? So anytime that you find yourself being very frustrated or very angry or very sad or feeling very guilty or very ashamed, anything like that is creating for you some degree of emotional suffering, it's such a good opportunity for you to just go on a fact-finding mission. Let's just find the facts of the situation. If we can find the facts for the situation, then we can decide what we want to believe about that. And we can start to understand why it is that we feel those emotions that are popping up.

So I walked through a couple of examples. Let's just say that you're feeling very, very frustrated because you believe that you should be getting out of work on time. So you're not getting out of work on time. You're getting out of work late. That can create a lot of frustration, especially if that tends to be the norm, it tends to happen over and over and over again. If that's happening and we're frustrated by it and we start to feel a little bit of despair around it because we're also thinking it's just never going to change, we can actually find a little bit of relief in that in identifying the facts. So what is the fact?

Now, many of you guys would want to say that the fact is that you get out of work late and I want you to slow down because that's not the fact. That is your opinion about your experience. So what is the actual fact? We're looking for data points here, guys. Whenever we're looking for facts, we want to make it so clear that everybody would agree that it is factual. So perhaps if the fact you're looking for, when you're thinking about getting out of work late, the actual fact is, you left work at 7:00 PM when the shift ended at 6:00 PM. Those are data points. It's a very factual thing. We could prove that, right? You left work at 7:00 PM; the shift ended at 6:00 PM. Those are the facts. If we think about those facts independently, without any opinion about it, the fact doesn't actually create emotion. You telling me that you get out of work at 7:00 PM, when you were scheduled to leave when the shift ended at 6:00 PM, doesn't create any emotions for me, and it only creates emotions for you because of what you believe about it.

Now, here's what's really interesting. Whenever we're talking about the experience of negative emotion - feeling frustrated or feeling angry - there's always a should in there somewhere. So what are we believing about the situation? So we've got the facts -you left at 7:00 PM, the shift ended at 6:00 PM. So what is the "should' there? I should have got out on time. I shouldn't have worked late. I shouldn't have had to work late. So somewhere in there, whenever we have a should or whenever we have a shouldn't, what that tells us is that we are believing that things should be different than they are. And it's that, that disparity between the way we believe things should be and the way that they actually are, that creates the frustration or creates the irritation or the annoyance, or overtime the despair.

So despair, where does that come from? I always get out of work late, right? So this broad sweeping conclusion and those things, they seem so factual because we've thought about them so often and because a lot of people might agree with us that when you leave work at seven o'clock when the shift ended at six, that you're leaving late. We all miss that it's actually still just a thought and it's not a thought that's very helpful for us. If we focus on, "I should have gotten out of work on time", then what happens is we blocked all opportunities for a solution to the actual problem. We have to peel all of it back to find the fact - the very neutral data points - for us to be able to objectively evaluate whether or not what is happening is something that we want to continue to have happened in our own lives. If we just look at what we think should be different or what we think is wrong, then we blocked that opportunity to see the opportunity.

So here we are, back in our example, we're believing we get out of work late, we're looking for the fact because we're mad that we're out of work late, that we worked late. I'm right there with you. I mean, I would also feel angry. I would also feel frustrated. So getting out of work late, we feel emotions. We have to find the facts. The facts are we left at 7:00 PM when the shift ended up 6:00 PM. Those are just the data points.

So now we can look at the opportunity here: "How do I want this to be different?" See, when we get rid of the "shoulds", we can tap into the "I wants". So what do you want to have happened here? If the fact is today or yesterday that you left at 7:00 PM and your shift ended at six, then what do you want instead? Do you want to leave at 6:00 PM when your shift ends? It also gives you the opportunity to consider why? Why is it that you left at 7:00 PM when the shift ended at six? When we get all stuck in the "shoulds" and just being frustrated about being out, getting home "late" and I put that in air quotes because "late" is just our opinion about the time that we got home and not everybody would agree that when we get home at seven and the shift ends at six, that we got home late. I know it seems like we would all agree to that, but it's actually not true. It's just an opinion. I'm not saying like you don't have to change your opinion. Let's just let it be the opinion. Right? It's just a thought. But if we get so stuck in that piece of it, then we also don't look at the why. So we don't look at the want - so what do we want instead? We don't look at the why  - why did that happen this time? And if we don't look at those two things, then we block all the opportunities to adjust it moving forward.

Now, what we might find is that the why was because of a reason that you actually liked. So the reason you elected to stay past your scheduled shift was a reason that you liked the choice. And so we often forget that we just look at the end game, which is getting home later than we thought we were going to. So that discrepancy between what we believed would happen and what did happen the way we think it should be in the way that it is, creates frustration, and we forget why we made the choices. We might also find reasons that we don't like and that's okay too because when you find the reasons that you don't like, then that opens up one more time, that opportunity for you to identify what it is that you want.

Frustration always comes. Anger always comes. All of that always comes when we think something should be different than it is. And that something might be our schedule. It might be our salary. It might be the behavior of other people. It's often the behavior of other people. We want other people to be different than they are. I'm not saying it's wrong to want people to be different than they are. But what I want us to recognize is if we spend too much time focused on how people should be different than they are, we give away all of our power. Because as we focus on people who are not showing up in the world, the way that we think that they should be, like clients who are being rude, we think they shouldn't talk to us disrespectfully; we think they should show up on time for their appointments; we think they should value our time; we think they should follow our advice, things like that, all seem like pretty normal stuff to want, right? But as we focus on that, what we're focusing on is how they should be different than they are, and every single time the only thing that's going to create for you and me is frustration and anger and maybe disappointment and annoyance and all of these negative emotions. That net negative emotional state will have a net negative impact on our lives because the way that we feel emotionally drives our outcomes for ourselves.

So all the actions that we take and the things that we produce in our own lives come from our own net emotional state. If we give the responsibility for creating our net emotional state to something outside of us, like what other people are doing, then we're also giving them the outcomes of our lives.

Do you see that? So if we're putting all of our focus on how things should be different than they are, your little litmus test here - the little indicator that this might be happening - is when you're feeling a lot of anger and frustration and disappointment, things like that, that's your first, first clue.

So if you're feeling angry, if you're feeling frustrated, if you're feeling disappointed, that is such a great indicator for you to ask yourself, "What do I believe should be different here?" Let's at least identify it. So we identify what we think should be different here. We give ourselves the opportunity then to identify the actual facts - what's actually factual here versus what is the story - because what I think should be different is our story about the facts. If we spend all of our time in the story about how things should be different then we just keep regenerating anger and disappointment and frustration and annoyance, and all of that dissatisfaction. That together influences our net emotional state which is going to influence our net actions and ultimately our life outcomes. It doesn't really seem like it's all that related until you start to look at how it all is connected directly.

There are just things that happen in the world, the facts, and then we have a story about those facts. We have opinions. We have beliefs. We have conclusions that we draw. All just thoughts. All of those thought processes create our emotions and our emotions then prompt us to do things and not do things which creates results for us in our lives. If we don't like the results that we have, we have to back it all the way up, not to the actions that we're taking, because the actions are just a reflection of emotion. We have to back it up even further to the thoughts that are creating the emotion in the first place. And this is why you find freedom when you find the facts.

The facts require, when you go searching for the facts, it requires you to slow it all down a little bit. It requires you to say, "Okay, yes! I am super frustrated right now because of this thing." What are the facts here? You're like, literally just ask yourself the question, "what are the facts?", and we're looking for the data points. We're looking for the things that everybody would agree to. You left work at seven when your shift ended at six. Your appointment showed up at four o'clock when it was scheduled to be there at three-thirty. These are factual points. Somebody said something to you. So the words that were spoken to you are the facts. So Claudia said, "you should've been here on time." That could be a fact - Claudia said, "you should have been here on time". The context or that the words were spoken is the fact. What you believe about what she said now, that's the story. Claudia was mad at me when I was late. Now, that's not a fact. It's so subtle, but the difference means everything. So if you showed up, you were supposed like you and Claudia had agreed. Let's go to another example here. If you and Claudia, whoever that Claudia is, if you and Claudia had agreed that you were going to meet at seven o'clock and you arrived at seven-thirty, and Claudia said, "you shouldn't have been late". The way we might tell that story to somebody else later in the day was, "Claudia was mad at me because I was late". But that's not a fact. We need to just really; we want to peel this apart and find the fact. That's not a fact - "Claudia was mad at me because I was late" - that's what we believe about the situation. The only facts there are, you arrived at seven-thirty, you had agreed to a seven o'clock appointment, which we could prove, we could go back and find a text message, or we could find the conversation if an audio recording had captured it. At some point, we could prove that you and Claudia made a plan to meet at seven o'clock. So we could prove that - we want to think about what a camera or an audio capture, what we could find in written form - so we could prove that at some point, you and Claudia had decided to meet at seven. We could prove that you arrived at seven-thirty. We could prove that Claudia said, "you should have arrived on time", because if the audio was capturing that, we could have heard her say, "you should have arrived on time". Now those are just the facts. We've taken Claudia's words to mean that she is mad at us, but Claudia never said that she was mad at us. But if we're believing that she's mad at us, we're going to feel what? We're probably going to feel guilty. We're probably going to feel irritated or annoyed, right? Whatever emotion is going to come up for you when you think about that. But believing that Claudia is mad at you, it's going to create probably some kind of guilt, some kind of a shame, which is a big hint for us that we think we should have done something different. See, once again, the uncomfortable emotion -  what is it that we're believing should have been different than it is? We're believing that we should have been on time. So we are feeling bad about this encounter not because of words Claudia spoke, but because of ultimately what we believe about ourselves and what we're making those words mean, right? "You should have been on time". We are agreeing with her. "Yeah. I should have been on time". I was a bad human for not being on time, whatever the version of that story is. We could also it'd be like, "Claudia has no right to be mad at me for being late because she's always late", right? So we can jump straight to judgment, which whenever we judge, there's always a mirror effect that reflects something that we probably also beating ourselves up about.

So the whole point of this is to start to recognize how the way that we tell the stories of our experiences creates the way that we feel all the time. It's the way we tell the story. If we can slow down the dialogue of the story because the stories - many of those conclusions and opinions - they're very well shared across populations of people like people in your own circles would totally agree with your opinions, and this is why it's so important for us to slow it down and find the actual facts. Because just because a whole population of people would agree with you on your opinion of a situation, doesn't make that situation - the story that you tell about the situation - affect, and the power of your wellbeing lives in the facts because then you can deliberately decide what you want to believe with them.

Most of the opinions that we have are knee jerk opinions, knee jerk reactions, knee jerk conclusions, just very well-practiced over time. And if we could slow it down and just say, "Okay. Recognize first the emotion" because that's usually how we realize, "I'm feeling stressed. I'm feeling anxious. I'm feeling angry. Okay. I've got some kind of negative emotion going on. What is the story that I'm telling myself? I don't know what the story is. So I'll just start and find the facts." That's the best way to do it. Because when you peel it all apart, you find the actual facts - the actual data points, the actual things that you could prove and that everybody would agree occurred - now you've got the framework. Everything else is simply your story and it's your story that creates the experience for you. If you don't like the experience, you don't have to change the framework. The only thing you have to do is change the story.

There's always an alternative story available to you where you'd elect to spend your energy thinking, in which perspective is what's ultimately going to create that experience, the net overall experience for you. And if you can intentionally create a better experience for yourself, you're going to have a more positive net emotional state, from there, you're going to take actions and create outcomes in your lives that are much more geared toward what you want to create and much further away from what you have today that may be frustrating for you.

Alright, my friends, that's going to wrap it up for today and I'll see you next time. Thank you for listening to the Joyful DVM Podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the concepts and ideas discussed here, and how to apply them to your own life to create confidence and empowerment for yourself, you'll love Vet Life Academy. To check it out and learn more, visit joyfuldvm.com/vetlifeacademy. And if you're loving this podcast, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with your friends and leave us a review on iTunes.

We can change what's possible in Vet Med together.