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Read to Lead in Your Veterinary Practice: We’re here to get it right, not be right

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Jun 2nd 2022 - By Paul Ainsworth, Founder & Director, Lincoln Institute
Read To Lead In Your Veterinary Practice Were Here To Get It Right Not Be Right

How much time do you spend thinking about your regrets?

Have you ever found yourself in a quiet moment of reflection, thinking about something that you did or didn’t do and wishing that you could turn back the clock and approach the situation differently?  

I have – and for a long time, I found that even thinking about what I regret most in life would leave me feeling uneasy. Uneasy in the knowledge that within my grasp was the opportunity to act or behave differently, and I didn’t take it.

It’s not so surprising that we think so much about our regrets – it’s the number one emotion felt by humans, followed by love.

What people most regret in life

In a recent study of 16,000 individual responses looking into ‘what people regret most in life’, Dan Pink discovered some surprisingly helpful truths about regret.

Firstly, he found that all forms of regret relate back to the same thing: a failure to take a chance – or more precisely a lack of boldness. Apparently, this becomes more prevalent as we get older!

What is interesting about this study of regret is how it relates to motivation.

Pink’s research points to our regrets being a photo-negative of what inspires us. The feeling of regret that you have for having got so upset with your team during a recent procedure that didn’t go well, reflects how highly you value your relationship with your team.

The regret that you feel for having to constantly work back late, reflects the inspiration that you get from spending time with your loved ones.

According to Pink, it is from this correlation between regret and values that we can draw inspiration.

Talking about our regrets is therapeutic

Not only this but talking about our regrets rather than bottling them up is therapeutic, enabling us to move beyond them with deeper insights into who we are and what inspires us the most.

I find this simple idea very helpful. We have enough burdens to carry in our life, so making the shift from an uneasy feeling about a regret to one from which I can draw inspiration – I’ll take that!

However, I don’t feel that this conversation about regret is complete without drawing in the role of guilt (and shame).

Regrets and guilt

I found it useful to understand (more recently in the work by Brene Brown) how these two close cousins work together, particularly in framing up things that I have done in the past for which I feel regret (could have chosen a different path and didn’t).  Do I also feel guilt for having done the wrong thing (and take my punishment) or do my actions define me - a far greater burden to carry?

Recidivism rates in prison go up when prisoners, punished for a crime, feel shame rather than guilt. This makes sense to me as being defined by one’s crimes is far more invidious and quite likely leads to self-loathing and repeat offending.

Acknowledging that our feelings of guilt are important for us to live in a civilised society (we just have to take our punishment and move on) and that the ‘crime’ doesn’t necessarily define us is helpful in putting boundaries around something that otherwise, might easily consume us.

It is also helpful to acknowledgment that we are here to get it right, not be right. 

We're all a work in progress

We’re all a work in progress and there is much work to do. So as you move through your day today with your team, or go home to your family, do the work that needs to be done, try to understand yourself a little bit better and judge yourself a little less harshly.

If upon reading this, you feel that you’d like to reach out to someone, please do so. This is a part of the work to which I’m referring. Of course, Lincoln is always here for you – there is no group of people, more invested in your wellbeing.

This post first appeared on the Lincoln Institute Blog: Read to Lead – We’re here to get it right, not be right

Would you like to know more?

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in Lincoln Insitute's 2-Day Live Event: Veterinary Leadership Foundations - Your Journey to Mastery begins with this first step...

When: Wednesday 10 - Thursday 12 August,

Where: The Fremantle Hotel, Perth WA

For: Veterinary Practice Owners, Managers, Lead Vets Head Nurses and front of house Team Leaders - If your role involves leading others – this is for you!   

Through experiential learning, you will explore the challenges our industry faces daily, providing proven strategies to ensure your team of talented people enjoy long and fulfilling careers within your organisation.

The 2-day event will focus on 4 key outcomes for your veterinary practice:

  1. Resilience

  2. Team retention

  3. Sustainability

  4. Learning how to make your business thrive, not just survive

Click HERE to find out more...




About Paul

Paul is the founding principal of the Lincoln Institute and is a highly sought after executive coach, facilitator and key note presenter with a focus on stimulating organisational team and individual leadership potential.   Paul is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy, University of New South Wales, the Royal Military College Duntroon and was awarded the prestigious Sasakawa Leadership Scholarship by the Australian Graduate School of Management’s Executive MBA program.

Click here to visit the Lincoln Institute website





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