You know what they say about assumptions…
It holds true in Vet Med as well.
There is a collection of broad-sweeping beliefs that many of us have about our lives as veterinary professionals.
The most influential beliefs are about the impact of our career choice on our time and income potential.
Through the normal course of our veterinary careers, we’ve absorbed these beliefs from those who have gone before us.
The perspectives are common.
We’ve accepted, without question, these conclusions as truth.
Together they become the lens through which we see our lives and what is possible…
… and what is impossible…
In this episode, I peel apart the assumptions, examine how these assumptions have led us to draw conclusions that hold us back, and share how you can put your own mind to work to find the solutions that will result in fulfilling Vet Med’s life and career.
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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos. Hi there. I'm Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach, and certified quantum human design specialist. If you're a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career, or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM Podcast is absolutely for you. Let's get started. Today we're gonna take a look at some of the broad sweeping beliefs and assumptions that many of us hold when it comes to our thoughts about VetMed and our lives and our careers and what's possible. I've been thinking about this a lot as I've been talking with my students inside of Vet Life Academy, and even though I've known for a long time that these broad sweeping assumptions existed, I hadn't really dug into it to see exactly what it's creating, and that's what we're gonna do today on this episode of the podcast, broad sweeping beliefs and assumptions about our lives and careers in VetMed. Some of these beliefs are our own, but most of them are the beliefs of the people that came before us. They're the words that we've heard spoken as we've gotten into our careers. We've kind of absorbed those truths as if they're absolute. We see our own lives through the lens of these beliefs, and this influences our own thinking and creates some generally accepted but unintentional mantras. The problem with these mantras is that they're not helpful mantras, which are usually just repeated thoughts, things that are chanted intentionally. When we think about a true traditional mantra, these repeated thoughts lead us to draw conclusions that are often very binary. They're very all or nothing type thinking. What results is a settling in of thought patterns and behaviors, many of which we aren't even consciously aware of day in and day out. What we miss is how this sequence of events left unexamined and unquestioned is actually the very thing that creates the unfulfilling lives that we have, both in VetMed and outside of VetMed. Most of us have an awakening of sorts at some point where we do recognize the need and the desire for change. The solution for many of us is to change jobs or change career paths, and those of us who have done it can share that the change does usually provide some help, but that help and that relief doesn't last long-term. It doesn't become the long-term solution that we'd hope for. So here, over the next few minutes, we're gonna take a look at these broad sweeping assumptions and beliefs that we have about our veterinary careers and our lives as part of the veterinary profession, and we're gonna recognize the thought patterns that have been created. We're then gonna look to see how those thought patterns have influenced our own behaviors and how those behaviors have created a lot of the reality that we're unhappy with today. But don't worry, I'm not gonna leave you in all doom and gloom. I'm also gonna show you the opportunities to adjust the results you're creating in your life by just backing it all up a little bit and adjusting the thought patterns that you've accepted. So let's go ahead and dig in as we get started. It's probably not gonna be any surprise to you that the majority of the broad sweeping assumptions and belief patterns that we have around veterinary medicine and the challenges of veterinary medicine really boil down to beliefs and thought patterns around time and money. So what are they? Time? It really comes down to work schedule time off and the way that things are scheduled. So we have our own thought patterns and broad sweeping assumptions about work schedules in veterinary medicine. Basically, it boils down to this idea that when you work in veterinary medicine, your work schedule's gonna suck. So what does that even mean? We are often unhappy with the days of the week that we work, the hours of the day that we work, or the number of days per week that we work. Some flavor of that is typically true for us. And so we have this assumption that when you work in the veterinary profession or we've drawn this conclusion, I should say that when we work in the veterinary profession, we're not gonna have a desirable work schedule. Time off is another one. We have time off technically right? But many of us believe we don't actually have those days to ourselves, and so that leads us to draw a conclusion that you never really get time off when you work in the veterinary profession. Then we have the appointments. Many of us are unhappy with the way that our organizations schedule appointments, whether it's too many appointments per hour, too short of a timeframe per appointment, whether it has to even do with the number of staff to the number of appointments. We typically have something about the appointments that we're unhappy with, and so we have this conclusion drawn that the appointment scheduling is terrible. That is just not good in our veterinary profession, that we could do better there. Now, what about the money side? The money beliefs all come down to salary and debt. Again, no surprise there. So what are the assumptions that are there? What are the broad sweeping ideas that we are grabbing onto as truth when it comes to salary? Many of us believe there is a cap to how much we can make in veterinary medicine. There's a limit to it. Along with that, many of us also believe that we can't work in veterinary medicine and have a salary that actually sustains our life. I know this is really, really true for a lot of our veterinary technicians. You believe that if you're working as a veterinary technician, you cannot make enough money to be able to afford to live. That becomes the lens through which you see your job, but it's not just the veterinary technicians. There are many, many veterinarians and practice managers out there as well who have the same belief. Then there's the debt side of it. We have our beliefs about debt. Some of us have just the general broad sweeping belief that having any debt is bad. That's going to influence the actions that you take and the decisions that you make. But along with that, we have specific thoughts and opinions and beliefs about our student loan debt and how that's a really bad thing, how it's evidence of a bad decision that we made and how it actually keeps us from being able to live the lives that we want. When we look at our student loan debt as if it's keeping us from living our lives, then the only path to living our life is to get rid of the student loan debt. That thought is very disheartening because for many of us, we don't see a path to getting rid of student loan debt anytime soon. So the conclusions that we draw from that is that we're gonna have to wait to start living our lives. What's so interesting when we take a look at these broad sweeping assumptions and these thought patterns that are so common inside of the veterinary profession, what's so interesting is that those thought patterns lead us to draw conclusions, and we've gone through some of them, but there are some very binary or very all or nothing conclusions or decisions, if you will, that we associate with these different thought patterns. We're not even aware of it, but it's happening. For example, a lot of us are believing that we can either do more so see more appointments, work more days, or we can be less frazzled. We can be less tired, so either work more and see more and do more, or you're less tired, you're less frazzled, you're less stressed. It's an all or nothing kind of situation, and when it's an all or nothing type situation, the only path to becoming less frazzled and less tired and less stressed is then to do less. We're also many of us believing that we're either spending time working and focusing on work and focusing on our careers, or we're putting our focus on our hobbies and our outside interests, one or the other. We don't see any path to having both. Similarly, when it comes to the money side of things, we are thinking we can either pay down our debt so we can put all of our resources and pay down our debt, or we can live comfortably. So we're either gonna focus on paying down our debt or if we're gonna focus on living a comfortable life with the money that we have. It's an either or situation. And kind of along the same lines, when it comes to pay, we think that we either work where we currently are and accept the low pay, or we leave to find a job that pays a higher wage, so stay or low wage or leave for higher wage, very binary, very all or nothing type decisions. Whenever we believe that we're up against these all or nothing type decisions, what results is a lot of just discomfort that part. We're usually aware of that we're uncomfortable, that we're stressed out, that we're irritated, but why is that? Many of us actually start to begrudge our jobs, and so we start to look for different ones. So we think that all of this is happening because of the jobs themselves, because of the career itself, and so we start to look for a new one. We start to maybe look for a better schedule. If we're thinking specifically about what we're believing about poor scheduling, they do a terrible job scheduling here. I'm gonna look for some place else that does it better. We also start to believe that we're trapped, so we're trapped in the job and we're trapped in the life that we have associated with the job, and because of that, we start to approach every single day with resentment. This really comes into play when we are believing that we can't find an alternative that an alternative that pays better or provides a better work-life balance doesn't exist, and so we believe that we're just trapped, and because many of us believe that work-life balance and financial abundance are not available to us as veterinary professionals, that's really where that victimization and feeling very, very trapped comes from. Because if you view the entire profession as being one that does not allow work-life balance or financial abundance, and this is the career you chose and you feel like you can't do anything different with your life because you've committed to this and you've got this debt, then you are gonna feel very trapped and you are gonna feel very much like a victim of the profession. This all sounds pretty miserable at this point, right? But just stick with me because we're just kind of picking our way through what's been happening so far. All of this together ends up being a bit of a settling in, so it's kind of like when this reality that we have becomes accepted. So by reality, what I mean is like what we, our opinion, like what we have decided reality is, and again, like I said, a life without work, life balance, a life without financial abundance, a life with terrible work schedules and poorly booked appointments and salaries that are limited. All of those things, those sentences that just keep going over and over and over in our minds, those beliefs, those things we keep telling ourselves, the things we keep talking with our colleagues about. Those things become the absolute truth, and we kind of settle into those as reality as if they are absolute truth. When we settle into those things as reality, what that means is that you believe that it's your reality, and when we're believing that this is just the way that it is, it blocks any opportunity for our brain to find alternate solutions. Here's the deal. When it comes to the brain and the way that your thinking works, when you present the brain with information, it is going to seek evidence to prove it true. It's gonna look for the evidence all around you to support your thought. It's also going to offer you actions and options for actions to continue to prove that true as well. If we go into this and we start to absorb all these broad sweeping assumptions from the people who have gone before us and then we tack on a few of our own and they're not helpful, we are going to continue to gather information to try to convince us that it's true. It's not malicious, it's just the way that the brain works, but we have allowed it to get very good at showing us why these assumptions are correct, because the brain just does that, right? The brain just looks for evidence all around us and will point it out to you to prove that it's true. The only way that we kind of stop this is to intentionally consider alternatives. This is the other amazing thing about the brain. When you give your brain a problem to solve, it will go to work solving it, but once you've settled in to these assumptions as being absolute truths for the veterinary community, you are not even offering it the option to find different alternatives. It really can be as simple as asking yourself, what if this isn't true? What if this isn't an absolute truth? What if my assumptions have been wrong by simply offering up the option that maybe just maybe these assumptions and these broad sweeping beliefs that we have about veterinary medicine might not actually be absolute truths that allows your own very intelligent brain to go to work trying to solve the problem without offering it this opportunity to do that, we settle in to these absolute truths and we stop looking for solutions. We stop exploring possibilities, and we really shut off the bright side to everything. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to look at the bright side when you're really deep in the darkness of this profession? Once we actually though open up that door and provide an opportunity for the brain to go to work, it will do that. It will go to work finding solutions. It's gonna show you how you can earn more money. It's gonna show you how you can spend less money if that's what you wanna do. It's gonna show you ways to intentionally use your time in a better way. It's also gonna show you your opportunities to say no. Those binary decisions, those binary conclusions, stop being binary. They were actually never meant to be binary work or do other activities. No, my friends work and do other activities, pay down debt or live comfortably. No, pay down debt and live comfortably. Do more, see more appointments or be less frazzled? No, do more, see more appointments and learn to do it less frazzled, low pay in this job or higher pay at another. No. How about this job and higher pay? If we start to insert the, and in all of the places where we currently have the ORs, I can do this or I can do that. If we can instead consider, I can do this and I can do that, then our brain will go to work helping us to figure out how to make that true. If we leave it as, or you are gonna always be in an all or nothing decision kind of situation, and all or nothing, no matter which side of the sea you land on isn't fulfilling, it isn't creating what you want for your future. Instead, if we can just allow ourselves to consider that the broad sweeping assumptions about veterinary medicine and about life in veterinary medicine, about the time available to us and the way we spend our time as veterinary professionals about the money that we can make and the debt that we have, the resolution of that debt, and the ability to have abundant incomes. If we can just allow ourselves to consider maybe all of that is also possible, then our brain will go to work helping us to find the solutions to bring those things into reality for us individually. But if we never shake it loose, if we stay settled into these assumptions of veterinary medicine, we will just continue to create more of the same. We will never tap into the power of our own minds to find solutions that are available to us. Instead, we settle into the beliefs that these things just don't exist for us because we've decided on veterinary medicine as our career. This is why my friends, many of us decide to leave the profession. It's because we have really bought into these assumptions about what is possible for us here and what life as a veterinary professional looks like. We've bought into those assumptions as absolute truth and on their own. Yeah, it's miserable. It's no wonder why many of us wanna leave, but what we also don't see is that there's many, many of us that choose this profession intentionally day after day after day, and we have found a different way to do it, a way that affords us more time to pursue the things other than veterinary medicine that also fulfill us a way to earn more money than the the people would say is possible in this profession. It's possible, and the main thing that differentiates those who go on to create fulfilling, happy, abundant lives as a veterinary professional and those that don't is simply the ability and the willingness to consider alternative perspectives, and then to do some of the work required to set some boundaries and to learn how to say no. That's a whole nother can of worms, but those boundaries and learning how to say no and learning how to say yes to the things that are important to you, those are the keys to help you starting to move forward. But you can't even do that until you shake loose these long held belief patterns and consider maybe just maybe you were wrong about what you believed. It's totally fine to be wrong. It's totally fine to change our minds about what we have long held as the assumptions in absolute truth about lives in veterinary medicine. Let's do that work. Let's start to wiggle it around and consider the alternatives and give ourselves the benefit of the doubt that we can actually figure this out, that we can have veterinary professions and have fulfilling abundant lives. That's gonna wrap it up for this week, and I'll see you next time.