When we recognized feelings of dissatisfaction or resentment, find ourselves questioning the state of our lives, or we feel overwhelmed and lost, there is something happening within us that we often do not see.
These seasons of our lives, which we often describe in terms of the challenges we face, have a two-fold purpose.
First, they are the experiences we will look back on one-day as pivotal moments in our lives and necessary stepping-stones along our journey. Eventually, one day, it all makes sense.
As we get older, we begin to see how these seasons were woven together for our good.
But, there is a second purpose, one available at the time of the challenges themselves, that we miss.
We miss this purpose because we simply don’t know to look for it.
The purpose: Intentional Growth Opportunity.
It shows up in four different ways, or as four different Growth Indicators:
- Feeling Lost
When we learn to identify these Growth Indicators when they appear as components of our experiences, we unlock the opportunities being created by the challenges themselves.
In doing this we no longer remain stuck. Instead, we return to active participation in what comes next.
I described this phenomena, and how you can apply it in your own life, in detail in this episode.
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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos. Growing with intention, the four indicators that there's opportunity ahead. That's what we're talking about in episode 99. I'm Dr. Cari Wise and this is the Joyful DVM Podcast. Hello My friends. Welcome to episode 99. Today is the last episode of the Joyful DVM podcast, but don't panic because we're still gonna continue recording episodes with number 100 coming up very soon. We're just changing a few things around here, including the name. But before we get to the details of that, which I will share at the end of this episode, I wanna spend some time talking about growing with intention. All of us are in a phase of growth. That's what it means to be alive. If we aren't continuing to grow, to learn, to expand, to push the limits of our current existence, then life and our life experience becomes stagnant. We were never supposed to stand still. The goal wasn't to achieve something and then just simply stay in there and count out the rest of our days. That's not what we were created to do. That's not who we were meant to be. And there are four indicators that I've found throughout my lifetime that tell me opportunity is ahead. They're signals, if you will, that it's time to consider something beyond what I'm currently experiencing. And I wanna share those with you today because I believe that you are gonna be able to identify these exact same indicators in your own life. And instead of seeing them as evidence of being stuck or of limited possibility, you can start to see them instead as opportunity and the doorway to what's waiting for you on the other side. So growth indicator number one, dissatisfaction. I know this is one a lot of us can relate to. So if you recognize that you are feeling very dissatisfied in an area of your life, I want you to consider that a little bit more closely. In that dissatisfaction, are you blaming external variables for the state of the experience that you're having? So if we think about work, are you blaming the career field itself? Are you blaming people that you work with? Are you blaming the pay that you make or the hours that you are scheduled or even the debt that you accumulated? Are you blaming something outside of you for the and me using that to justify why you are dissatisfied? A lot of us do this in all kinds of areas. It doesn't have to be just work, but it can be an indicator that you have opportunity ahead. And I think that it is exactly that. It is an an indicator that you have a growth opportunity right in front of you. Most of us miss it. I'll be real honest, most of us, particularly with this particular growth indicator, this dissatisfaction growth indicator, we miss the opportunity because we get so tied up in our stories about everything that's wrong with our current situation that we block being able to see how everything can become, right? So one of the greatest growth opportunities in dissatisfaction is not quickly changing our circumstances, which is what most of us do, right? Most of us, when we identify dissatisfaction, we get busy. We have been taught, we have been conditioned to react in exactly this way. If we're dissatisfied, something needs to change. And so we get busy changing things, changing jobs, changing locations, changing relationships, changing our appearance, all kinds of things. And what I wanna offer here is that when it comes to dissatisfaction, the first opportunity in regard to growth is not changing your circumstances, it's changing your perspective. It's learning how to leverage what your mind offers you to create a different experience for yourself in the moment before you actually change any of the variables. Now, it may feel like it's a lot easier and a lot faster to change the variables, and I can't even argue with that because when you change the variables, so if we're gonna go back to our job example, if you change jobs, you will feel better. So that dissatisfaction and frustration that you feel in your current job when you change jobs, you will feel better for a while. There's the caveat, and that's the thing that most of us don't know, don't know, especially not the first time around this merry-go-round. But once you've repeated this pattern, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 times or more, you'll notice the pattern of feeling better for a while and then all the old dissatisfaction points pop up again after a while. If we don't understand what's happening, it's very easy for us then to look at the entire career field as the problem and to start to scheme and plan how we are going to abandon it altogether. This exact same thing can happen with relationships, decide that the partner is the problem. And so we end the relationship and we get another one and we feel better for a while, and then that one goes sour. So we get another one and and it's great for a while, and then that one goes sour. We start to repeat the same patterns until we just decide, you know what we're meant to be by ourselves. We're not cut out for a relationship, we don't know how to do this, or we, it's, we're not good enough. We turn it inward. The growth opportunity, whenever you see dissatisfaction pop up is not in the opportunity to change your circumstances. So it's not in the opportunity to change your job or to change your partner or any of the other things that we talked about. The growth opportunity is for you to learn how to manage what your mind is offering you. And there is a point, I believe that in every single human life we have to learn this. We have to, because otherwise we will continue to go through our lives believing everything that our mind offers us. Just because you think it doesn't make it true until you know that you believe everything that you think and your experiences are then calibrated by that quality of thinking, that low quality of thinking, if I'm being specific. So the growth opportunity with dissatisfaction is to just simply recognize it so that you can start to question it and you can grow intentionally into a greater understanding of the mental processes within you, which are normal and typical of every human. And start to leverage the quality of your thinking to create the quality of your experience. Growth indicator number two is feeling lost. Oftentimes, this comes along with a belief of, I don't know who I am anymore. This one's a really, really common one. I think actually, I think all of these are common, if I'm being honest. But this one, this one can feel really disheartening because it often comes at the end. And maybe I should have done this one as number four, but nevertheless, let's talk about it now. So feeling lost, I don't know who I am anymore. This one often pops up once we've been around the block a few times, we've tried a lot of different things. We have a some age on us. Perhaps we've excelled in our careers, or at least been in our careers long enough that the career itself isn't terrifying. Every moment of every day. We've kind of settled into some kind of routine and a lot of that routine, a lot of that routine is predictable and reactive if they can coincide at the same time. So what I mean by that is it's this constant reacting to the needs around you or there's, those are demands from your job or from your family, from your friends, but constantly being in reaction mode to where there's no white space. And eventually we just feel lost. We stay so busy that we lose touch with who we actually are. And for some of us remembering who we are, remembering a time when we were in touch with ourselves is really hard to even bring up in our memory. Many of us have been on the hamster wheel of achievement for our entire lives, and it started when we were very, very young. Now, there's no reason to be bitter or frustrated about any of that, but we just wanna recognize that when we hit that point, or if we hit that point, a feeling lost of asking the question, I don't know who I am anymore. That's an opportunity for growth and intentionally growing at that. It's an opportunity for you to rediscover your true essence, who you have always been underneath the busyness that has consumed you for a period of time. And for many of us, that period of time of consumption, if you will, is decades. So we're not talking about losing yourself in in a over a period of, you know, 18 months to a couple of years. We're talking about kind of coming out of a season where it's likely been decades of habitual behavior that felt very necessary and was very necessary for you at that time in your life. And realizing now that you've kind of learned how to step away from the fray a bit, that in the white space you're left with you and you don't know who you are, that's an opportunity for growth, that's an opportunity for rediscovery. That's a beautiful opportunity for you to intentionally create what comes next. So if that feels like you, I don't want you, or that sounds like you, I don't want you to give into the feeling of being lost. You're not lost, I promise you that you are not lost. This is just that opportunity, that indicator, that signal, that shove that you need to really rediscover what you want out of this lifetime. And for many of us who hit this point, it feels very uncomfortable. It feels a little bit awkward, it feels a little bit selfish. It's not the way that we've been existing, but the more often that voice comes back and says to you, I don't know who I am anymore, you'll start to listen. Because going forward, feeling confused in the identity of yourself is way more uncomfortable than allowing yourself to explore it and to discover. So that growth indicator number two is simply a question, I don't know who I am anymore, or a statement. And that feeling of lost growth. Indicator number three is resentment. So that resentment usually comes with a bold awareness of that this isn't good enough. So whatever this might be, this might be a job, this might be a relationship. This might be your physical fitness, this might be the amount of money that you make. You can really put any life variable in there that you want to. But it's a, an awareness, a very bold awareness that this isn't good enough and it has with it a flavor of resentment, a flavor of resentment that comes from efforts that you've put in over a period of time that aren't paying off the way that you thought that they would. A lot of frustration can come up with this one. And if we don't catch this one, it can lead to a lot of hopelessness and disempowerment because we, we still believe like that we, if we try hard enough that we'll get what we want, like through the right action comes the right results. But that's not the full picture here. And so when we hit that point of resentment that this isn't good enough, this is what I often call the breaking point. And it's a very useful place to be because for many of us, it takes hitting that breaking point to shove us forward in the direction that we're supposed to go. When we're comfortable, even if we're not happy, when we're comfortable, we're unlikely to make changes. Instead, we're likely to shove down the discomfort that we have, the, how do I wanna say this? We're most likely to shove down the discontent, the dissatisfaction, the creeping thoughts of, you know, this isn't good enough. When we're comfortable, we just push that all away. And that comfort comes usually through either financial security or relationship security. Something that's important to us that of course we do not wanna jeopardize. But reaching beyond it can again, feel selfish. We can paint ourselves into a corner here with a belief pattern that we should just be grateful for what we have and that we shouldn't be dreaming of having something different. And so when that resentment piece comes up, that breaking point in one of the areas of our lives, we often have to battle ourselves into permission to pursue it. So that growth indicator of resentment and that this isn't good enough thought pattern, that breaking point, I want you to just be curious about that. It's just an indicator that you're ready for something different and you want to come back to the reality of what it means to be a human. You are here to grow and to evolve and to expand. You're not here to settle and live out your days quietly to yourself. That's not what the human experience is all about. And so if you feel a pull toward expansion, just know that is a very, very normal thing. And also recognize that as you pursue that expansion, becoming more, doing more, having a different experience, when it's outside of an experience that is already comfortable, you'll face judgment. You'll first and foremost face self judgment. Who am I to pursue anything? Different things are pretty good. Why can't I just be grateful? You might face external judgment, particularly from parents and grandparents who lived in an age where their life goals were to get a good job, stay at it until you got a good retirement. And then only then could you maybe relax and have a little bit of fun, my friends, that is not the life that we live in anymore. Give yourself permission to not try to fit inside of that box. That's part of the reason that you feel that resentment, why you recognize that that isn't good enough for you. Because all the effort that it's taken to stay on that path just simply isn't in alignment with who you are. So it's an indicator that it's time to grow. And number four is questioning. Is this it? Is this all there is? It's this series of questions that just start to pop up about your life when you've worked really hard and you've done all the things, and you've achieved all the things, and you've had the job, and you've had the, the relationships and maybe the kids and you know the dogs and you know all the things, whatever the things are on your life plan. And you've been just, you know, relentlessly and, and intentionally checking the boxes, doing all the things. And maybe you're still midstream in all the things on, on your list of what has qualified a good life in your mind. And as you're checking your boxes, or maybe as you're getting closer to the end, you just start to ask yourself, is this it? Is this all there is? Why did I do this? What did I think was gonna be different? Is this enough? Am I satisfied here? And for many of us, as that questioning starts to come up, like questioning always leaves uncertainty. The world is uncertain though. So we wanna just keep in mind certainty is not something that we actually can create or experience. We don't need to, but the questioning itself can cause some distress without answers. We feel like we're doing something wrong and you're not, remember, we're just looking for growth indicators here. So as you start to question the quality of your current existence, don't judge it. Don't judge yourself. Don't believe that you should be, just be grateful and just keep existing in your current reality. Instead, lean into those questions. If that question is, is this it? Ask a better question, what would I love instead? Is this all there is? Ask a better question. What more do I want there to be? As we get curious about the roots of these questions that come up in our minds, we can actually gain a lot of clarity about our next step. So those questions about is it it is this, it is this. All there is. That could be relationship related, that could be work related, that could be community related, that could be a whole life related. None of these indicators are specific to any one thing. They pop up in all kinds of areas. And because life is a spectrum, it is a journey with lots of different components. It's not something to be mastered in one fell swoop. Just because you feel some discontent in one area doesn't mean you have to throw the whole thing away. You just get to work growing in that area. And as you do that, you fall back into alignment or more into alignment with the experience that you are always here to have. As you grow into alignment with yourself, everything becomes easier. Now, that mindset piece that we talked about is a huge piece of this, but it's not the only piece. And regardless of how you get there, my point today for you is to just recognize that there are points in your life where you are being nudged, where you are being encouraged to grow. And the first thing that you have to do in order to, in order to embrace intentional growth, is to get out of your own way mentally, to start questioning all of the rules by which you've lived, to stop expecting things to be an exact certain way, because that limits you more than you even realize that it does. In order to give you a little bit more of an example of what exactly that I'm talking about, I wanna share with you a little bit about my own journey as as an adult. And so if we kind of go back to the, the very beginning of my adulthood and I think about, well, maybe not the very beginning, let's go back to when I graduated from veterinary school. So when I graduated from veterinary school, I pursued a jobs, an associate veterinarian out of state. So I moved away from home completely to a different state where I didn't know anybody. And I took a job as an associate. And over the next few years, I had several jobs as an associate. So there was some of that dissatisfaction. And that did prompt me then to change my circumstances, to try to feel better. And I did that several times and continued to repeat the same pattern. But eventually I was in a job as an, as an as an associate. And that dissatisfaction that I was experiencing was different. Now I was still blaming external variables. So that part was still there. And in that dissatisfaction, in my blame of external variables, I became more curious about how to change my experience. Because I had repeated the pattern enough times that I knew I had to figure out a different way to exist in the veterinary career. That's around the time that I came across the book, the seven Habits of Highly Effective People that many of you have heard me talk about before. And inside that book was a sentence which was a quote from Victor Frankel who's a Holocaust survivor. And that sentence said that between stimulus and response, there is a space. And in that space is your ability to choose. So between stimulus and response. So the things that happen and the way you respond, there is a space. And in that space is your, is your ability to choose. So you get to decide how you respond is ultimately what that's saying. Things happen and there's a space before you respond and you get to decide how you respond, how you respond creates the experience that you have. And that response is a choice. So that was mind blowing to me. And so I started to practice it. I started to practice it in that associate job where I was feeling dissatisfied, where I was blaming external variables for my misery. And as I started to practice that without any other information, just started practicing that. Practicing that, I started to change my experience of it. And an amazing thing happened. I was able then to see my experience through a slightly different perspective. I still felt frustrated because there was a gap between expectation and reality, the way things were and the way that things I, how I thought things should be. But instead of just staying in that frustration, I started to to kind of catalog what could be better, how it could be done differently. And through that, that whole system, that whole process of analyzing my current situation through what started as that dissatisfaction and blame, I was able to identify how I might do it differently if I owned my own practice growth opportunity. Can you see how this works? It opened up the doorway for me to consider something completely different, owning my own veterinary hospital. Not even just owning it, but starting it from the ground up. But it had to be an intentional decision. I needed to grow with intention there. And I couldn't have even been ready to do that if I hadn't first gotten curious about that dissatisfaction in the first place. And so that catalyzed my growth, that pushed me forward in a way. At the time, you know, I thought it was just kinda survival instinct, but as I look back on it, I see what happened. It was my dissatisfaction that brought me to a place of even considering something different. It was useful. And so through that doing something different, I did ultimately, or considering something different, I did ultimately open up my own business. And I did that for several years. And then I found myself questioning, is this it? Is this all there is? And in that, I felt lost. So at that point I hit lost at that point and it, it wasn't lost within myself. So I didn't have that. I don't know who I am anymore. That came later. But this was like the, the questioning of like, is this all there is? Like I've, I've achieved this thing. I've, I've opened this hospital, I'm doing the thing, I'm in the rat race, you know, so I definitely am exhausted and I'm just questioning like, is this all there is? And perhaps I would, even if I'm being honest, there was some resentment that started to come up. You know, this isn't good enough. This isn't how I wanna continue to live moving forward. And so I began Searchie again. Well, if this isn't it, if doing this is no longer fulfilling, then what would be and why? Like, what's driving that? I just asked myself a lot of different questions. What's driving that? What is it that I want? And in that I realized that I wanted a few things, some very tangible things, like a different kind of schedule was a huge one and a different type of environment. But I also wanted the opportunity to have a bigger impact. And so when I went from associate to an owner, I did see that as an impact step upward, an impact has always been important to me. And so I did see that as an, an opportunity when I went from being an associate to being an owner, because I felt like I could have a bigger impact. That was a belief that I had. But then when I left veterinary practice to go into an industry position, I felt like I had a bigger impact because in that job, I had the opportunity, even at a level, if they never knew who I was, to influence hundreds of thousands of pet owners. And so that felt really good to me. It also kind of helped bring full circle some of the other tangible variables of what I wanted. And then over time again, I came back to, is this it? Is this all there is, is this the way I wanna continue? So I could have very easily said, this isn't the job for me. And I could have, you know, blamed all these external variables about the job, but that I had kind of gotten through that, I'd worked through that, that that wasn't necessary. It was okay for me to, to question is that, is this it? Is that all there is? And to recognize I just wanted something different that this had been great for a while, but it wasn't my long-term deal. And so I allowed myself to make yet another change. Eventually then I landed in education, talk about opportunity to have impact. When you train the veterinary technicians who support our veterinary hospitals, that's huge impact when you then train them across 13 schools, that's a lot of impact. The impact on the students, the impact on the staff at the schools, all of that. So I felt like that was a really good fit for me and it was a very good fit for me for a long time. And then again, here comes that sneaky little question, is that it is this, it, this is all there is because again, the rat race eventually snuck up on me. And when the white space started to show up here and there, I would just be like, I don't even know who I am anymore. I'm doing all these things, I'm doing them really well. I'm making decent money, I'm winning awards, but who am I? And where am I going? Am I just gonna work this job and, you know, get a nice retirement? And, and then what? So the the, and then what kind of scared me if I'm being honest, because that I had never really prescribed to the idea of working a long time toward retirement and then living my life. So I, I wanted to live my life and I kind of believed that I was living my life in the moments. And the, the idea that it was gonna be different once I retired felt a little bit scary. I definitely didn't wanna wait to live my life. And I started to see in those years that the ability to live my life at the same time as I was, I dunno, living up to all the obligations that I had, fulfilling all those obligations, that that was becoming very difficult. So it created a lot of things that I really liked in my life, but the lifestyle itself really just wasn't gonna be sustainable long term. And so I started to question again, but it gave me another opportunity to grow. And so over the years since then, I have moved on to positions of bigger impact. I have gone back to work as my own boss, as you will know, as I started my company back in 2017. And we've helped, gosh, I don't even know, over 20, over 20,000 is the number. But that's a number from like 2020. So who even knows how many people that we've helped at this point? I'd have to go back and try to calculate that again. But the point is not the numbers, it's not the, the vanity metrics of how many people have ever signed up for anything of yours. That's not what's important here. What's important here is the, the intention of growth. So what's important here is intentional growth. The intentional decisions to keep growing, to keep trying new things and not trying new things in a trial and error kind of way, but keep trying the things that feel right, that are aligned with what I want for a life experience. And to be able to do that, I had to first give myself permission. I had to understand that this life is my life and that I get to decide. For me, that took some time to clean up the mental chatter that kept that reality blinded for years, kept me blinded from it for years. Although the conditioning of what the world teaches us that we're supposed to do. And so as I started to give myself that permission, which really started way back in 2002 with that one sentence between stimulus and response, there is a space. And in that space is the ability to choose that one sentence started to expand possibility. It was the door that opened that allowed me to continue to walk through doors that I chose, even if it felt scary, even if it felt uncertain. And as I've continued to do that, to grow with intention, to recognize, when I fall into these places of dissatisfaction, of feeling lost, of excessive questioning, of resentment, to know that those, those four things aren't a problem, they're a signal. That's how I know it's time to consider something different. There's a growth opportunity, there's an opportunity to expand. So if you will look at your own life and you will consider where those growth indicators might be poking at you a little bit, don't be deterred by them. Don't try to solve for them. Lean into them. Ask yourself some better questions. Really explore what the deepest part of you is craving in your life. Is it a different experience? Is it a different identity? What is it? How can you start to explore that? Because as you start to explore that, as you give yourself that permission to explore it, two amazing things happen. Number one, the day-to-day efforts in your life become easier because you're no longer trying to force yourself into a happiness where you are. And number two, you actually do become happier because you're living life on your terms instead of constantly comparing yourself to some terms that somebody else decided that you adopt, adopted without even realizing you'd done it. So this, my whole point of this entire episode growing with intention is really to give you the opportunity to start to consider where in your life have, have you been invited to explore something different, to do something different, to make a change, not to run away, but to grow into more of who you are and what's been keeping you from doing that. How can you get the support that you need to do that? And what we've done over here at Joyful DVM since 2017 and where we're going just will continue to support that exact thing. Because at the end of the day, that's what the most important thing is to me. The most important thing is to help the people who I interact with to become the best versions of themselves and the best versions of ourselves do not fall into any kind of prescriptive formula. The best version is not somebody who makes a ton of money and has a lot of days off and is physically fit and physically healthy and is in a wonderful relationship and has a whole bunch of savings and retires and you know, goes off into the sunset. That's not the best kind of life, in my opinion. The best kind of life is the one that you choose for yourself. And that's what we wanna support here. That's what we've always supported here, and we're just gonna do it with a slightly different twist. So in doing that with episode 100, which is gonna come out next week on Wednesday, so we're gonna go back to Wednesday releases episode 100. You're gonna notice that the Joyful DVM Podcast has a new name and the new name of the podcast is going to be Intentional Joy with Carrie Wise. So not that different. Joyful DVM versus Intentional Joy with Carrie Wise. That's the new name of the podcast. Now, you're not gonna have to do anything special because we're gonna simply change this feed. We're not gonna get rid of the first 99 episodes because I think they're very useful, even as we start to attract people who aren't just exclusively in the veterinary profession. Those episodes are very useful. So I wanna leave all of those first 99 episodes there. Even if there's some marketing guru out there who tells me it's a terrible idea. I know this is an aligned decision. I know this is the right decision for me and the right decision for you. And so we are gonna just simply make a shift with episode 100. We're gonna change the name to Intentional Joy with Carrie Wise, it's gonna be the exact same feed. We're gonna change out the graphic, we're gonna change out the name. So some behind the scenes stuff's gonna change, but it's still gonna show up in your podcast feed. And so next week, on Wednesday, you can watch for the very first episode of the newly Changed podcast with episode 100. And I think that you're really gonna like the types of things that we talk about over here. Here, if you like today's episode, we're just gonna be getting more and more of that. My purpose will always be to help you to live your best life. And I know that that is going to include teaching you the skills to do that, helping you to expand what you think is possible. And you know, I have a heart for that. Anything is possible. Anything is possible. I truly believe that. And any of the things in our lives that we right now believe are keeping us from possibility, those are the walls that we need to break down. That's the place where we have immediate opportunity to grow. So as you go through this next week, I would love for you to consider those four points that we talked about today and start watching for them in your life. Watch for those growth indicators. Watch for the dissatisfaction. Watch for the feeling of lost or being stuck. Watch for the excessive questioning about your own life. Watch for the resentment and don't begrudge yourself any of those things. Instead, use them as indicators. Hey, maybe all you need is just to grow again. Maybe you've just outgrown what you're doing now and it's time to expand and move forward and step into yet another version of you. It doesn't have to be life shattering, it doesn't have to be massively impactful on anybody else, but when you allow this for yourself, the future opens up and your current day experience gets so much better. All right, my friends, as we wrap up episode 99 here of the podcast, I wanna let you in on one little secret. I'm getting ready to start a new live webinar series. So if you just wanna jump over to joyful dvm.com/webinar or cariwise.com/webinar, you can get all the details on when you can sign up to attend one of my new live webinars. It's gonna be interactive, it's gonna be live. Pick a date that works for you. If what I've talked about today is in inspiring, if it's interesting, if it's got you curious, you're definitely gonna wanna check that out. All right, my friends, that's gonna wrap it up for this week. I will see you next week on Wednesday, episode 100 in the brand new Intentional Living with Cari Wise podcast.