Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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47 October/November 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM "Surrender has been an im- portant concept in my faith journey over the years. I was recently rein- troduced to it in a new way through a post by Ipek Serifsoy, Ph.D., pres- ident of the Deep Coaching Insti- tute. In her post, available at http:// bit.ly/2MzG0Fy, Dr. Serifsoy notes that 'The ego knows itself through efforting while resisting what it cannot control.' Yes, that would describe me! She goes on to say that 'Our habitual egoic patterns take us away from presence and into reaction and suffering.' That definitely got my attention since it was consistent with my current experience. Thankfully, there's an alternative possibility: surrendering. "Surrender has nothing to do with weakness or being passive and lazy. In surrendering, we're not waving a white flag and giving up. Instead, we're allowing the natural flow of life. And we're being honest with ourselves by acknowledging that most of what we think we can control is really an illusion. "Dr. Serifsoy summarized it this way: 'Life has a mysterious way of unfolding moment by moment — and we're a participant in that unfolding! Our choice is to say 'YES' and trust the unfoldment, to be fully present to what's really happening, to show up for each moment in the creative way it's meant to be met. Or we can say 'NO' and let our egoic tendencies dominate our response.' "I don't know about you, but I want to say YES and trust the pro- cess. For me, surrendering means letting go of striving, accepting the rapidly changing and uncertain (i.e., 'complex') circumstances around me, and adopting an attitude of curiosity and a spirit of experimen- tation. Instead of blaming myself or others for not having a tried- and-true strategy for dealing with complexity, I can accept the fact that we're in a totally new game and there is no strategy to be had." Being Present to "What Is" Do you ever find yourself respond- ing to "How are things going?" with some variation of the answer "Busy"? In our Western culture, we seem to wear busyness as a badge of honor, somehow thinking that busyness is the path to success and happiness. It makes sense that we would think that way since strong unconscious value systems of "no pain, no gain" surround us and are reinforced in many ways. However, as Silsbee and Dr. Serifsoy have alluded to, the secret sauce needed to more effectively navigate complexity begins with being present, not with being busy. Gandhi put it this way: "There is more to life than increasing its speed. Speed is irrelevant if you are going in the wrong direction." Have a Presence So, let's explore an alternative to busyness: presence. Presence is an internal state. It's being fully here and being fully present with reality as it is, not as we would like it to be. Silsbee offers, "Pres- ence requires us to stay with even what is uncomfortable, so that it becomes tolerable and so that we can organize ourselves towards what matters, rather than away from discomfort." Presence is how we: • Stay with whatever is arising in the moment. • Recognize and inhibit old habits, allowing new choices. • Access multiple perspectives. • Settle our inner state to be calm and creative when our context feels challenging. • Extend that calm resourceful- ness to others. • Develop greater capacity for adapting and responding well to complexity. The good news is that the ex- perience of presence is a doorway into both personal growth and professional development. The bad news is that it's not always comfortable and is often accom- panied by feelings of rawness and vulnerability. Get used to it. In the spirit of surrender, that's a good thing, since being present to "what is" is always new, real and useful. How to Become More Present What are some practical ways to develop a greater sense of what's really happening in the moment and strengthen your ability to be fully present? In "Moving Toward Mindfulness," an article in the Inter- national Coach Federation's 2016 Coaching World newsletter, David Clutterbuck, Ph.D., says it all starts with awareness — greater aware- ness of what is happening (and not happening) around us and greater awareness of what is happening within us, physiologically, emotion- ally and intellectually. When people are more aware, they make better decisions, are more empathetic toward others, and act more in alignment with their personal values and beliefs. They are better able to connect with their internal and external worlds and explore and understand the connections between them. It's important to create the time and space for allowing insight and wisdom to occur. Here are self-coaching questions to help you get started: • What am I doing and feeling right now and why? • What emotions or concerns am I trying to hold under the surface? What's causing me to do that? • What's truly important to me right now, and what is just a distraction? • How can I become more internally aware of my emotions, physical feelings, assumptions and intentions? • How can I become more externally aware of what is happening around me and within other people? • What kind of space am I creating for reflection before action? • What kind of space am I creating for reflection during action? • What kind of space am I creat- ing for reflection after action? • What are the triggers that push me either toward or away from self-awareness? • What unbidden associations or comparisons am I making right now? Am I being truly non-judgmental? • Am I letting what I think is important overlay what's important to the person I'm listening to? As veterinary professionals, we are being challenged to respond in new ways to the complex envi- ronment we find ourselves in. And yes, we are up to the challenge. Individually and collectively, we can rise to meet it by surrendering to the present and seeing it for the gift it really is. Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, But today is a gift. That's why we call it THE PRESENT. Go With the Flow co-columnist Trey Cutler is a San Luis Obispo, California, attorney specializing in veterinary business matters. Co-columnist Dr. Jeff Thoren is president of VetPartners and founder of Gifted Leaders, a Phoenix company offering leadership and coaching services. "For me, surrendering means letting go of striving, accepting the rapidly changing and uncertain (i.e., 'complex') circumstances around me, and adopting an attitude of curiosity and a spirit of experimentation." — Ipek Serifsoy, Ph.D.

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