038: Processing A Career-Ending Tragedy & Identity Crisis w/ Kristin Gablehouse


We all know that things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes life’s curveballs result in unexpected opportunities, and sometimes devastating consequences. How can we plan for these unexpected challenges and setbacks, and how can we move forward after them? Kristin Gablehouse shares her amazing story of how she lives life to the fullest after an accident that changed everything.

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Show Notes: 

Kristin wasn’t always sure she wanted to be a veterinarian. But she decided to get into it when her mother asked her why she didn’t want to be a “real doctor.” Her tenacity took her on a path full of unexpected twists and turns until a biking accident forced her to reluctantly stop practicing. Never one to be told she can’t do something, Kristin did the only logical thing next, she ran a 100-mile race!

In this incredible episode, we discuss the path Kristin took to becoming a vet including how she went from equine surgery to small animals emergency care to day practice. We also talk about what it’s been like coping with an injury that has forced Kristin to leave veterinary medicine and the mindset required to deal with it.

Yes, Kristin’s accident prevents her from doing much of what she used to, but I am truly impressed with what she does now and the meaning she finds in the perseverance and persistence that she embodies.

Have you ever been forced to make a drastic life or career change because of an unexpected event? What did you learn from the experience? Let me know in the comments below.


In This Episode

  • Kristin’s path to becoming a vet

  • The importance of having supportive mentors when learning the ropes of veterinary medicine

  • What it’s like to change career paths midstream

  • Coping with a life-altering incident that impacts your career and your daily life

  • Finding and recognizing gratitude in the face of a difficult situation

  • Why you should set personal goals so you can recognize your growth and improvement



“I ended up quitting. I’d never quit anything in my life and that was devastating. To just feel so defeated and to feel like the bad guys won so to speak. I felt like I had worked so hard to get there. It was the whole reason I had gone to vet school and now I was facing this. If I don’t do this, if I don’t finish this, what am I going to do with my life?”  [17:10]

“It’s hard to get into vet school. You jump through a lot of hoops. You work really hard. You get good grades. You're used to being the smart kid. And you identify as being someone who is intelligent and high performing. I was very much type A. And you find yourself in this place where suddenly you feel like an idiot and you can’t figure out how to do the simplest things...it’s devastating. The loss of identity and loss of direction is incredibly difficult.” [36:46]

“Initially I felt very guilty about feeling sorry for myself because there are those people who have it so much worse. And I finally realized that, yes maybe they have it worse, maybe they have bigger problems, but my problems are still real and have still greatly changed my life. And I was giving myself permission to grieve over those losses.” [53:23]

“From an emotional standpoint I was not in a good place and I was really struggling and I knew that I needed to do something for myself. I couldn’t fix my brain, but I could set this goal for myself and I tell myself you know what, I going to try to get back and I’m going to try to run that race. Setting that goal, giving myself something to aim for was really life-changing for me.”  [59:03]

“I never did all this to be amazing or to be inspiring. It’s really just what I needed to do for myself to give myself that goal and to give myself a reason to get up and get out of my pajamas and do something.” [1:11:16]



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John Arnold1 Comment