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  • Josh Vaisman

I Lost My Shit.



Last week I lost my shit.


Before I tell you about it, a confession. From the launch of Flourish Veterinary Consulting I've been driven by a desire to share the science of human thriving with the veterinary community. I want the information to be accessible, applicable, and easily digestible. Thus, this blog.


To help me stick to the plan I set a never-ending calendar reminder to write a blog post every two weeks. For over 2 years I stuck to that agenda. Until now.


It's been more than 3 weeks since my last post.


Now, to be fair, big whoop, right? It's a minor delay for a small blog read by a tiny percentage of people. So, why am I confessing to something you likely wouldn't have even noticed?


Because, like so many of you, I'm struggling too.


These past few months have challenged my resilience and it's impacting me in unexpected ways, some of which I'm not proud of.


Which brings me to last week.


Rage


With COVID relatively well-controlled in Colorado, some facilities have been granted permission to open under certain restrictions. The indoor soccer arena where my over-40 men's league resides is one such facility.


We get our temperature checked as we enter the building and are required to wear masks, even on the field. Our roster size is limited and no spectators are allowed.


The team we played last week typically plays in the highest division but, with fewer teams registering this session, ended up in our league.


They were crushing us. And, as a team accustomed to a higher level of competition, playing far more physically than we typically encounter.


The physical play and growing deficit on the scoreboard combined with my general exhaustion and increasing quarantine-induced malaise were finally too much for me to endure.


Down several goals with around 10 minutes left to play, I sprinted for a 50/50 ball. As I took possession a defender abruptly shouldered me off the ball. In an instant, this was the internal dialogue in my head:


"What the fuck?!? God, what an asshole. I mean, you're up by a million goals and we are clearly not going to catch up. Jesus. You know, we all need to go to work tomorrow and it's not like we get paid to play here. This isn't the pros. I'm gonna show this dickhead...."


I couldn't tell you this guy's name and I'd likely fail to pick him out of a lineup today. But, in one moment I had fully defined him as a threat, an enemy, and the potential target of my rage.


Resilience


As an expert in things like Positive Psychology and Positive Leadership I've been busy these past few months.


Between the ongoing pandemic, economic uncertainty, social movements, and a future as clear as a blindfold, our community is struggling. Add to this the unique challenges we face in VetMed - sometimes overwhelming client demands combined with incredibly edgy people - and it's clear we need support.


It's been a real privilege and, if I'm being honest, a source of energy for me to provide some of that support by way of consulting, coaching, and dozens of webinars on resilience skills for individuals and leaders alike. One of my greatest joys these days is helping veterinary leaders develop the skills and practices of Positive Leadership.


What I've been seeing echos what the research suggests. Collectively, and as individuals, we are more stressed, filled with worry, and angry than we've been for a long time.


And folks, I'm human too. I feel it as well and it impacts me.


Response


Last night I facilitated a webinar on leading resilient teams. One of the key messages I try and convey when I teach about resilience is that it isn't about a life without struggle. Rather, resilience is the ability to respond productively to the inevitable, often unavoidable struggles we all endure.


No joke, there was a brief moment I considered running this guy down and plowing through him. My amygdala was in full hijack mode and I wanted to teach this dude a lesson.


Which would have been a very UN-productive response.


So, I stopped and took a deep breath. Then subbed off the field and walked out of the facility.


Truthfully, that wasn't the most productive response option I had either. But, in that moment, is was the most productive response I could muster. And it certainly was loads better than getting into a fight.


Reality


For many, possibly most of us, it feels difficult to be our best selves these days.


I get it. I feel it too.


And that's OK.


Of course we feel drained. Of course we feel exhausted. Of course we are worried and anxious and angry and on the verge of rage.


Of course we stumble and scrape our knees.


Of course we do, because we are beautifully, wonderfully imperfect humans living in a time none of us have experienced before.


And.....AND....even in the darkness always exists some light.


I got hot. I could have exploded. I didn't. That's a win. That's some light.


And tonight I get to try again, playing the game I love with teammates I enjoy. It's an opportunity to be just a bit better version of me.


Just a little bit better.


Well, would you look at that. I wrote a blog post!




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