Many of us don’t speak out or take action in our lives not because we don’t agree that change is needed, but because we are afraid of doing it wrong.
The fear keeps us living small and accepting the status quo.
Our human brains rationalize those choices.
It seems very logical…
But we forget, the best part of our human brain provides the capacity to evaluate our own thought patterns and to purposely develop new ones.
This is the skill we learn and practice every day at the Vet Life Academy.
It is this ability that will create the change we desire in our individual lives, and the greater change that the world needs.
We are resistant to examining the thoughts we aren’t proud of, so we push them aside and ignore their existence.
In doing that we give them power… the power to keep us from taking action.
What we don’t understand is that our thoughts are not a direct reflection of who we are as moral and ethical humans, they are just sentences offered to us by our human brain.
“Our thoughts don’t have moral value”. -Kara Loewentheil, J.D., Master Certified Life Coach
Our thoughts don’t define us.
Our actions do.
Shaming yourself for your thoughts will stop you from taking action.
We must be willing to be uncomfortable as we examine our own existing thought patterns if we are ever going to intentionally focus on what we truly value.
Without deliberately teaching ourselves this skill, our lives (and the world) remains at the effect of unintentional thinking.
We remain passive.
We support in silence.
We don’t grow into who we are meant to be.
The world doesn’t change.
“When you are clear on your values, the decision making comes easy.” -Stu McLaren, Consultant, Founder of Tribe
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Tiny actions repeated over time create massive results. Whether we're working to change our own lives or we're working to change the world, many of us are afraid to take action because we're worried we're going to get it wrong. That's what I talked about recently on a Facebook live. And that's what I'm sharing here in the podcast in bonus episode number one. Welcome to the Joyful DVM podcast. I'm your host veterinarian and certified life coach Cari Wise. Whether you're dealing with the challenges of 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. I'm Dr. Cari Wise veterinarian certified life coach and founder of joyful DVM. And today I want to talk about being willing to get it wrong right now in the world. We are in unprecedented times, we have a level of chaos with a level of pandemic and opportunity for change is all around us. I think that we would have agreed a month ago that the world was going to be vastly different a year from now. I think the opportunity for that to be even more different than we ever anticipated is in our hands. We already know that change is coming and now with the events that have happened, and the senseless death of our black brothers and sisters, now is the time for us to stand up and to say something, if this is not what we agree with. Many of us don't consider this to be our fight. We don't recognize that we may be contributing to the problem. And I know that this part of this for sure was me. As I have watched and listened and been very open to considering why I think the things that I think, I've recognized that simply being somebody who would consider themselves not to be racist, isn't enough. That being non-racist is safe. For sure. I don't consider myself to be actively a racist person. I believe in the value of all human beings, I believe in the opportunity for everyone. But just because I believe that, if I don't then speak out or take action in situations where there's opportunity for me to do so, I'm not anti-racist. And there's a difference. That term, anti-racist, is not even one that I was aware of, and it makes so much sense, especially for those of us who really believe that we have empowered choices in our lives. Anti-racism means being willing to say, "I don't agree with racism in any form" that I'm not going to be passive and allow it to continue if I have an opportunity to influence it, even if it's in the smallest ways. What we forget is that when we take action, there's always a ripple effect. We will take action in different ways. Some of us will use our platforms to have conversations like I am, and my platform is small. There are people who are, have broader platforms than I do, who will use their platforms, and we will continue to spread the word and the opportunity. For others of us, it might be something as simple as just extending kindness, kindness in situations where we feel uncomfortable, just because it's uncertain. And that's what I want to talk about. It's that willingness to feel uncomfortable. Are we willing to feel uncomfortable in order to create the change that we actually believe is necessary? Or are we going to let this pass on by, like it has so many times before, and go back to the status quo? As I've been listening and learning, and I'm going to be the first to admit, like I do not understand all the complexities of the racial diversity in the United States and in the world. I do not. And I am willing to learn it. I have asked in our groups and on this page that our colleagues, our veterinary colleagues of color, please let me know how I can help. Please help me to understand what your experience is like in veterinary medicine. That's just one small spot. That's where I have just a little bit of influence. So I want to understand, but it's bigger than that. And as I've been listening to my mentors, other life coaches, master life coaches, people who are in like, who are mentors of mine, like on a business perspective, so people who have I've learned from, Stu McLaren, for example, who I've learned from as far as how to build some of the technical aspects of what is now Vet Life Academy and things like that, like that technical platforms and things, as I've listened to them, and I've continued to learn, and there's been some key pieces over the last couple of days that I think are really important that I wanted to share. So here are the key points that I want you to think about that I, that really hit me. Kara Loewentheil, who is a master certified coach, she's also a trained attorney. She's amazing. So you could definitely follow her on Facebook. She did a great Facebook live yesterday that talked about this, and I was listening to what she had to say. And the thing that really grabbed me that she just put so eloquently is that our thoughts don't have moral value. Our thoughts don't have moral value. And I think this is so critical to understand, because at least for me, and maybe for you guys, at least for me, I have the ability very easily to be ashamed of thoughts that come into my mind. I forget that I'm just a human with a human brain, that the sentences that my mind offers me, were not intentionally created. I have the ability to do that for sure. But when the thoughts just come, what happens is that many of us then feel guilt and shame because we recognize they're not useful thoughts. We recognize they're not thoughts we're proud of. And we actually take those thoughts and we use them as a reason to feel shame and guilt over having them at all. We think that they make us bad humans because we had these thoughts that we're not proud of. And we miss that our thoughts don't have any moral value at all. They're just sentences in our minds. It's what we do with them, or not do with them, that matters. So what I think happens to a lot of us is that we have these thoughts that come up, that we're not proud of. And those thoughts create guilt and shame. We feel guilt and shame for having had thoughts, which leads us to then believe that we aren't good enough or worthy enough to be the person who steps up and says something because we don't have minds that always have the best thoughts go through them. We miss that we're just humans with human brains, and the thoughts are going to happen. And what we miss more than that is that we have the ability to adjust our thought patterns. If we intentionally work to do it, if we stay just allowing the thoughts to come and they will come, we can't stop them from coming. Let me just be clear. We can't stop some of the thoughts from coming, but we don't have to make them mean anything. If we allow them to continue to mean something. If we continue to guilt and shame ourselves over the sentences that bounce around in our heads sometimes, what happens is that we live a very small life. The feelings of guilt and shame will never lead us to take action, ever. And I don't care if we're talking about taking a stand on what we believe about equality, or if we're talking about taking a stand on what we want for our own individual lives in the veterinary profession, it's all the same. I think that's, what's so amazing as I've really considered this is that the things that I value and the reason that I created Vet Life Academy. Ultimately, yes, like my vision is to decrease anxiety, depression, and suicide, in the veterinary profession. I want to stop that belief, that, that it's just inevitable consequence of this profession. For sure. That is my vision is that we change that belief. But how do we do that? We ultimately do that by learning to become empowered. That's what this is all about. That's what Vet Life Academy is all about. And that's not different then what's happening in the world right now. The things that we've learned here are universally applicable and they are the things that are going to make the difference. It's how we learn to become empowered. Empowerment is an emotion. And when you feel empowered, you're willing to do the things that are scary. If we allow the sentences, the unintentional thoughts that bounce into our minds sometimes, to create self judgment, to develop fear and anxiety and shame and guilt, those things will keep us from taking any useful action in our life, whether it's on an individual personal goal level or whether it's something that makes a bigger impact on the entire world. The opportunity is to recognize that first off the sentences don't define you. They are, they do not have moral value. As Kara said, they do not have moral value. They're just sentences. You're just human with the human brain, but the most beautiful part of the human brain is the part of your brain that allows you to think about what you're thinking about. It's that part of your brain that allows you to step back away from your own thoughts and to analyze them and to consider them and to decide are these useful for what I want to create in my life and how I want to impact the world. When they are not, and many times they will not be, we don't then need to shame and guilt ourselves over their existence. We just need to deliberately decide what we want to believe instead. Do you know what you stand for at the end of the day? I don't care if you're trying to just fix your life or fix the world. If you don't know what you stand for, you're going to have a very, very hard time doing that. So this is a question that I asked myself today. Yeah, I know what I stand for when it comes to Joyful DVM and when it comes to what we're trying to do here for the veterinary community. But, why? Why does that even matter? There's another level of why there. And ultimately for me, it comes back to everybody learning to become empowered, for everybody to recognize that they have value because they exist, that you are worthy because you are a human being, and that is all. It doesn't matter the color of your skin. It doesn't matter your socioeconomic background, you are worthy. Your life as it is right now is just a bunch of circumstances. But what you create first starts with what you believe you're capable of. We have to be willing to stand up for what we believe in. Stu McLaren said today on a, on one of his calls, that "when you are clear on your values, the decision making becomes easy". When you're clear on your values, your decision making becomes easy. And I thought that was so eloquently put because it's something that we talk about a lot inside of Vet Life Academy. I've talked about here on Joyful DVM, if you know what you stand for, then the decisions are easier. They don't necessarily feel better, now don't misunderstand, but they become easier. I've talked about this in reference to veterinary hospitals and missions. And I've talked about how, when I owned my veterinary hospital, we had a very clear mission statement, "to celebrate and support the human animal bond by coupling excellent veterinary medicine with compassionate, personalized customer service". That was our mission statement. And here over a decade later, since I closed that practice, I still know it by heart. And every time I was up against a tough decision, I went back to that and I'm like, that is what I do here. My decisions were easy, even if they weren't comfortable, because I always decided in alignment with that mission. Do you know what you believe? Do you know what you value as a human? Because if you do the decisions become easy, they don't become comfortable, don't misunderstand, but they become easy. And it's that willingness to be uncomfortable as you make the decisions that you know are the right decisions for you, that's what changes your life. That's what changes the world. And that's the opportunity that we all have as we go out into our lives and as we see, and we witness, people not being treated equally, as we see the racial bias that is there as we act and within our own organizations, and we make decisions there. If we know what we value as part of the human race and what we want for our world, some of those decisions become easier. And we just need to learn to be willing, to be uncomfortable. Discomfort is just an emotion. And I've talked before. How many of us really feel, myself included for the longest time, felt very entitled to feel happy all the time, or to feel comfortable all the time? We've acquainted feeling comfortable with meaning we're doing it right. But that is absolutely not the truth. Absolutely not the truth. There is no way to define doing your life the right way. You've just got to know what you stand for and what you're working toward, and then be willing to show up in that way every single day, even when, what you want is different than what somebody else wants for you. Even when your opinion is against the people that you care about in your life. We're going to have clashes of opinions with the people that are close to us. That's okay. That's okay. The worst thing that happens is an uncomfortable feeling. You can still decide for you every single day. You guys hear me say that over and over again. You always get to decide for you. My final thoughts with this is that as we navigate this, there are going to be so many opportunities. And if you don't know where to start, because many of us look at what other people are doing, we are big comparison people, right? Like this is just how we figure out if we're doing life, right? So we look at what the other people are doing. And we think we could never do that. Or we don't want to do that. What I want you to see is I don't want you to focus on what the other people are doing. I want you to focus on what you can do when the opportunities present themselves to stand up for somebody to make a decision that is anti-racist in nature. Not just non-racist, anti-racist in nature. Just do that. Just do the one thing. If ending this long seated fabric of discrimination that we have and the way that our world exists today, if that is something that you would like to see different, that you believe should be different, then just do your one small part. When the opportunities exist, just be willing to speak up and it's going to be terrifying. I'm not going to tell you any different is absolutely going to be terrifying, but like everything else, the first time is the worst. And then you do it again and then you do it again. And if all of us collectively we'll do the small things that we can do, the change will be huge, tiny efforts consistently over time, create massive change. There has been no better time than now to do this. The world is changing. Everybody expects things to be different. It's not going to be easier than it is right now. It's not going to be comfortable. But it's not going to be easier. So just be willing to listen, be willing to hear the other side, be willing to consider that maybe, maybe you've had part of it wrong. Maybe you haven't understood. Maybe you aren't as enlightened about the whole thing as you think you are. That's the perspective I'm trying to take on it. I just want to learn. I am the first one to admit I'm a white girl. I do not understand the black experience. I have black friends. I live in a primarily white community. That's just where I live in the middle of a country. I haven't always lived here. I've lived in lots of bigger cities, where I've had more opportunities to be with a more diverse population. That's just not where I live right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in learning. That doesn't mean that I don't care. It doesn't mean that I don't have opportunities to do small things in my daily life as I move forward. Those are the things that I'm committed to doing. And I think that we all have that opportunity to do that. So just please consider just staying open to learning. You don't have to jump up and do something huge right now. Just stay open to learning and just allow yourself the very, very first step. Just allow yourself to stop shaming and guilting yourself over the sentences that sometimes pop up in your mind. Because if those sentences are allowed to create the dominant emotion that you feel, and those emotions are shame and guilt over what you're not doing, over thoughts you've had, then you will never move forward in your own life or in any way that meaningfully changes this world. All right, my friends, that's going to wrap it up for today. I would love any comments you guys have. And for my friends of color out there, please, if I can help, let me know, let me know how to do this better. I'm going to get it wrong, but I would rather get it wrong than not doing anything at all. So please help me. I'm willing to figure this out, to use this platform, the best I can to support all of us. Have a great week, my friends. I'll see you soon. Thanks for listening to the Joyful DVM podcast. To check out additional episodes or grab a copy of our latest free resources. Please visit our firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you enjoyed this podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes and sharing it with your friends. We can change what's possible and Vet Med, together.