Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 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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43 February/March 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Effective approaches to notice more include: • Get out of your head and lean into your senses (e.g., seeing, hearing). The goal here is to consciously let more in vs. filtering stuff out. • Tap into your intuition and notice more about your own body (e.g., what are you ex- periencing at a heart level or at a gut level?). As an exam- ple, we usually experience emotions more vividly in the body than in the mind. Bring- ing attention to the body enables a high-resolution perception of our emotions. The better we can perceive our emotions, the better we can manage them. • In any moment, become inten- tionally aware of whether you are adopting an attitude that is open, curious and committed to learning, or one that is closed, defensive and committed to being right. Noticing more helps you cultivate greater awareness, find new possibilities and see opportunities you never expected. Let Go "Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without know- ing what's going to happen next. De- licious ambiguity." — Gilda Radner We need to let go of baggage from the past and extrapolations into the future because they stop us from paying proper attention to the pres- ent. The present is where we live. How might you and other people around you benefit if you were to: • Let go of judgment and leap- ing to conclusions? Instantly evaluating what is happen- ing through the lens of the past gives you no chance of adapting creatively. • Let go of the stories you tell yourself and the assumptions you're making about people and situations? Projecting in- correct assumptions and sto- ries into the future prevents us from paying attention to what is actually happening. • Let go of your attachment to specific outcomes and in seeking security in plans and accomplishments? Many of us operate from a conscious or subconscious belief that we need to be in control. We think we could never do improv because there is no script. The re- ality is that we likely get ourselves in more trouble when we try to script or control things than when we let go. It's possible that we try to control things because at some level we're afraid. Afraid of being wrong. Afraid of what other people will think. Afraid of failure. These fearful reactions are not helpful. We need to embrace this whole endeavor as a pro- cess of improving, learning and not knowing it all. The goal is simply to be present. Letting go means giving up the need to control outcomes and going where the journey takes you. Not having a script can actually be quite liberating, and we all have the potential to be naturally good at it. To what degree is fear keeping you from letting go? Use Everything "Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life." — Buddha Everything is an offer. Whatever you face, regardless of how inviting or irksome it may seem, is usable in some way. This denies you any excuses and forces you to look harder for what's useful. To apply this principle, consider that: • You learn fast if you view your mistakes as offers. You can see a mistake as a "mis-take," like an actor's flub on a film set, and look at it as another attempt in an iterative pro- cess where you are striving to get better. If mistakes are opportunities, you don't need to make apologies, look for scapegoats or find excuses. You just get on with working out how to use them. • Other people are constant sources of offers. They always bring interpretations, expe- rience and perspectives that you don't have. If someone sees things differently from you, instead of thinking they are wrong, see it as an offer. Ask yourself how their point of view can enrich yours. • You can make it your goal to learn to live with the unre- lenting constant of change, realizing that even good things won't last forever and accepting that change is just the way it is. Putting It All Together If you want to use what you have, an obvious and easy place to start is simply to ask yourself, like MacGyver, "What have I got?" You might be surprised at how much you have overlooked. Unforeseen consequences, ac- cidents and delays can be used to your advantage if you are prepared to consider them as offers. Think- ing in terms of using everything reminds you to let go of judgment and be grateful for what you have. The late improv teacher Martin de Maat noted, "In order to improvise in front of an audience, you have to be accepting, involved in the mo- ment and courageous." Doesn't this also clearly speak to what's needed to be successful as a human being? If every day of your life is indeed a piece of improv on the stage of life, by applying the three simple, interconnected principles — notice more, let go, use every- thing — you can be adaptable and resilient without the need to be in control, which is an unrealistic expectation anyway. And you also will experience more authentic happiness, be more compassionate toward yourself and others, and be able to make the greatest possible contribution in your work by reach- ing your full potential. Go With the Flow co-columnist Dr. Jeff Thoren is president of VetPartners and founder of Gifted Leaders, a Phoenix company offering leadership and coaching services. Co-columnist Trey Cutler is a San Luis Obispo, California, attorney specializing in veterinary business matters. Thinking in terms of using everything reminds you to let go of judgment and be grateful for what you have.

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