Episode 133 | Us Against Them in VetMed and Life

Who are you fighting against?

Where is the need to be “right” popping up in your world?

In what ways do you sit in judgment over others’ choices and actions?

When we stop to consider these questions, many of us can find a list of examples of this type of behavior in our own lives.

It’s become an accepted way of being… a survival mechanism many of us deploy.

It’s also destroying our confidence, our work environments, and our ability to create a different experience for ourselves in the future. 

In this episode I explore the different ways “us against them” is showing up in VetMed, and in our lives as veterinary professionals. 

I share what really drives this behavior, the negative impact it’s having, and why we must identify it and change it not only for ourselves, but for the future of our profession as well. 



Website: https://joyfuldvm.com

Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay


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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 are 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. Hello, my friends.

Welcome back to the joyful DVM podcast. Today I wanna take a few minutes to talk about the US against them mentality that we experience in veterinary medicine and not just in veterinary medicine. It's a mentality or a perspective that is actually bleeding into all different areas of our lives and we don't even know it. So the us versus them mentality. The way that this shows up for us in veterinary medicine is when we automatically think that the way that we do things is better than the way that they do things.

I'm talking about other veterinary hospitals around us. Maybe even if you're a specialty clinic or a specialty provider believing that you do it better than the referring veterinarians. It's quite an interesting dynamic when we actually look at it and it's really, really prevalent. Think about it. How many times have you picked up medical records from a different veterinarian and you're automatically in judgment,

you're taking a look at everything that was done and you're automatically looking at it through the lens of them being wrong and you being right? It becomes us versus them. Why do we do this? The same kind of thing tends to happen and bleed into all different kinds of areas of our lives. It can actually show up in our personal relationships as well where we feel like we are always on the defensive and that the other person is always in the wrong.

Why do we need them to be different than they are? These questions are really fundamental questions that each of us should consider exploring for ourselves because underneath each one of those questions is a truth that a lot of us probably don't want to see the truth that we are just feeling pretty insecure in our own lives and in our own careers, and that we have a habit of looking toward faults in others to keep us feeling okay about ourselves.

Now, I'm not saying this to blame you. I'm not saying this to judge you or shame you because believe me, I've done my share of this exact same thing in my life. But what I think it's important for us to recognize are the patterns that keep us stuck in the places that we don't want to be. Many of us can consider our lives in this present moment,

and we can probably come up with a handful of things that we would like to be different. Maybe we would like to be working in a different job or being in a different relationship. Maybe we want to lose a few pounds or learn a new skill and partake in a different hobby. There's something though that's holding us back from doing any of those things.

What is it now? Just as easily, you can probably come up with a list of external factors for why you're not doing any of those things. There's not enough time. You're too tired, there's not enough money. It's just the way that it is. It is what it is. They're never gonna change those types of things. But what I want you to recognize is that as long as we continue to give our power to a way to external factors,

we will never make the changes in our own lives that help us to become the people that we were always meant to be. This world is based in fear very strongly right now, there are all kinds of things and opportunities to be afraid, and let's face it, when we take a look at the news or we watch social media scrolls, you can see lots of anger and frustration and fear inducing posts everywhere you look.

But my friends, that's not the entire story. That's just a piece of what's happening in the world right now, and the way this is playing out in veterinary medicine is a way honestly, that it has been playing out for decades and decades and decades in this us against them mentality. We feel that we have to be better in order for clients to continue to come to us.

We can't just let practices be different, but if we would learn to let practices be different, to let the practice of veterinary medicine just simply be different from one professional to another, then the pressure that we put on ourselves to perform in a perfection type of way really starts to ease all along the way. When we start to compare ourselves to what other people are doing,

when we judge them for what they're doing in response, that's just a reflection of an underlying beliefs that we have, which is that we are supposed to be perfect, that there is an absolute right and wrong way to do this job and my friends. It is the practice of veterinary medicine. An absolute simply does not exist. The need for an absolute,

however, is an anchor point in giving you permission to believe in yourself. It's what gives you permission to be confident in your choices. It only gives you that permission because the world has taught you that you need it, that you need some kind of actual anchor point, a right way that you can measure yourself against. That worked really, really well when we were in school,

going through all of our academic programs where they actually put a score out there that we needed to achieve, and then we got some kind of grade that helped us to know where we landed. But in the real world, nobody's keeping score, but unfortunately, we continue to keep score against ourselves, and the only way that we can give ourselves more points,

if you will, is if we can identify areas where others are doing things wrong. This cycle of judgment is not useful. It is killing our culture in veterinary environments is creating that toxicity that so many of us talk about and have experienced. But if we instead would just accept people as they are, if we could let this be the practice of veterinary medicine,

if we would let the practice of veterinary medicine from one professional to another be different without having to make one right and the other wrong, this job would be so much easier and my friends, if we could extend that same idea into every aspect of our lives to our loved ones, not judging them so harshly for how they are behaving or for what they are doing and for ourselves first and foremost,

because my friends, at the end of the day, all judgment is simply A, an extension of self-judgment. If we could learn acceptance instead, this job and this life would be so much less stressful, you don't need to prove yourself. You've already done that. If you have a job in veterinary medicine, you have already proven yourself at some level required to get that job.

So if you're a veterinarian or credentialed veterinary technician, you have already proven yourself to a licensing board. You've taken the big test, they've given you the paper, you're good. It's okay for you to believe it, and for those of you in non-credentialed positions, you have the job, you have the job, so that's all the proof that you need,

that you're qualified for it. Now, does that mean that we're never going to have some opportunities to improve within our performance evaluations? Of course not, but why wouldn't we want to know when there's opportunities to improve? The reason that we resist any kind of negative feedback is simply because we make it mean something about our character. We make it mean something about the fundamental truth of who we are and our ability to do this job and to serve in this capacity in the world.

My friends, we're giving those evaluations way more power than they were ever intended to have. An evaluation is simply a a moment in time. It's an opportunity for us to look at how we are meeting the expectations of any given organization Without those evaluations, we don't know how we're performing from the perspective of the organization. Now, that being said, is the goal to get a perfect evaluation?

No, not in my opinion. The goal is not to get a perfect evaluation. The goal is to understand what the expectations are and then to determine whether or not we are meeting expectations. Now, if there's an expectation of perfection out there, that's a whole nother story because nobody is able to be perfect, not in the practice of veterinary medicine. There has to be space for us to be human.

There has to be space for us to make mistakes, if you will. That's just part of this job. But if we're so afraid of making mistakes or we're feeling so much guilt and shame and self-judgment over mistakes that we have made, the way that that shows up in our lives is through the harsh judgment of others. Evaluations turn into judgment sessions and my friends,

those are two completely different things. Evaluation gets to be neutral. Judgment, however, carries a lot of resentment and shame and guilt right along with it. It's judgment that ruins our culture, not evaluation. It's the this us against them mentality that ruins relationships between veterinary hospitals, not the fact that two hospitals exist in the same area serving the same general population of people.

It is judgment and shame that keeps local practitioners from referring cases because of the fear of how that that referral veterinarian and that referral facility may talk about them and the way that they may speak to them on the phone. We've all done it. We've all been in a situation where we've judged another veterinary professional harshly, and what I want us to consider is,

is that even our job? Are we here to judge other veterinary professionals or are we here to serve clients and treat patients? You know my opinion on that? I think we're here to help as many people as we can and to treat as many patients as possible given the resources that we have. I don't think it's our job to judge each other harshly.

I think there are simply already in place parameters and organizations that do that, right? They're licensing boards. There are evaluation processes within any organization. That's where the evaluation piece comes in, but the judgment piece, that's absolutely never necessary. And when you really start to learn that all judgment is simply an extension of self-judgment, that I want you to really pay attention to how often you're harshly judging somebody else for the way that they're acting or the way that they're doing their job,

because that judgment of them is simply a judgment that you're carrying around for yourself. It's an area probably where you're feeling a little bit insecure, and if you can find somebody that's doing it worse than you are, that allows you to feel a little bit better about you. It's a sneaky little pattern of human behavior, and it doesn't have to be one that we continue,

but until we even recognize that we are trapped in it, it's pretty hard to get out of it. And let's face it, it's pretty easy for us to stand around together complaining and blaming and judging each other rather than taking the time to do the work that we need to do ourselves so that we can become healed and emotionally healthy and empowered in our own lives.

It's the most important work that any of us will ever do. Learning to build our own self-confidence because it creates this shield of armor, not one that separates you from the rest of the world, but one that allows you to live in it. When you have your own confidence, when you have your own back, no matter what, it really stops to matter what everybody else has to say about you.