Episode 18 | Vet Med Joy Stealers – Part 3

How’s your mood?

Think back over the last several days, weeks, or even months…

How have you been feeling?

These may seem like random questions, but the answers explain Everything about the progress you’ve been making (or not making) toward creating the life you want.

Your mood is a direct reflection of your Net Emotional State.

So, if you’re spending most of your waking hours stressed, angry, or unhappy then there is no reason to beat yourself up for not making progress toward your goals.

It makes perfect scientific sense to me why you are stuck.

But, do you know why?

Curious? Check out Part 3 of this Vet Med Joy Stealers series.

By the end, you’ll understand what’s really been going, and have greater awareness about what you can actually do about it. 

(Your options might surprise you!)

Subscribe to The Joyful DVM Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or TuneIn to stream this episode through your smartphone or tablet.




How the justifications we make for our Net Emotional State when we're at work and when we're at home actually influence our overall joy in Veterinary Medicine, that's what we're talking about in part three of this three-part series on Vet Med Joy Stealers here in Episode 18. 

Welcome to the Joyful DVM Podcast. I'm your host, Veterinarian, and Certified Life Coach, Cari Wise. Whether you're dealing with the challenges in Vet Med, struggling with self-confidence, or you're just trying to figure out how to create a life and a career that you actually enjoy, you'll find encouragement, education, and empowering concepts, you can apply right away. Let's get started.

Hey, everybody! Welcome to Episode 18. Today, we're going to wrap up our three-part series on Vet Med Joy Stealers. And in this third part, we're going to be focusing on the Net Emotional State. So when we're thinking about our careers, day in and day out, we have an overall net emotional state - an emotional state or an emotion that we feel when we think about our jobs. That emotion may be heightened when we're actually in the workplace. But for most of us, it's also very present when we're not at work. It's super important for us to recognize that these emotions exist so that we can start to understand where they're coming from.

When you go to work, I want you to think about how are you feeling during the day? Are you stressed? Are you anxious? Are you sad? Are you happy? Are you peaceful? Are you content? Are you excited? Are you motivated? Are you determined? I want you to just start asking yourself the question, "How do I feel?" We're going to start to take a bit of an inventory on how you feel, day in and day out. This is important because until we identify how we're feeling emotionally, we're going to have a really hard time understanding why.

Now most of us, we are just going to give a blanket emotion to how we feel when at work. We're stressed out or how we feel when we think about going back to work. That we feel dread. And if we just take a blanket, a single emotion, and put it over those things - so when we're at work or when we're thinking about going to work - the natural conclusion that we draw is that it is work that is creating that emotion. So it is our job that's creating stress. That it is the anticipation of going back to work that is creating dread. But we miss what actually causes it. The job is just the job. The place you work is just the place you work. The role that you have is just the role that you have. All of those things are just circumstances. They're factual pieces of information. So if you are a Veterinarian, that is a fact. If you are a Veterinary Technician, that is a fact. So whatever role you have, it's just a fact. Everybody would agree to that. Everybody would agree that you are a Veterinarian. Everybody would agree that you're a Veterinary Technician. We could prove that in a court of law.

Same thing with the practice itself. The veterinary practice is just a fact. Its existence is just a fact. Where it's located, is just a fact. Everybody would agree with that. We could prove that. Your work schedule is yet another fact. So whenever you're scheduled to work, we could prove that. It's written down somewhere. You're not the only one that knows it so we could prove it. Everybody would agree your work schedule is what your work schedule is.

It's important to be able to peel apart the facts from everything else because everything else is just a story. Everything else is just sentences in our own minds. And what's so critically important about understanding that is that everybody's story is different. Not everybody has the same story or the same thoughts about the facts. Not everybody has the same thoughts about the building, about the veterinary practice, about the schedule, about your title. We have our own thoughts about those. Until we give ourselves that opportunity to start to really consider what it is that we believe about those things, we actually don't understand it all, where our emotions are coming from.

When we say, "I'm stressed out when I'm at work!", the natural conclusion is that work is stressing us out. But neuro-scientifically that's not what's happening. When it comes to emotion, emotion is only created by our thinking. It's not created by the things outside of us. So the job, the practice, even the people inside it don't cause stress for you. It's the story that you tell yourself about those interactions, about that building, about the job, that creates stress. I'm not saying this is not a stressful job. I'm not saying that at all. But what I am saying is that it's super important for us to understand what causes the stress actually - so what the real cause is - because we have power when we understand where it comes from.

If the job actually caused the stress, then first off everybody who has the job would be stressed, and not everybody is. Now that may be hard to believe because the people who tend to be the most outspoken in the areas that we see it easily, like social media, tend to be the ones who are super stressed out and unhappy. Not surprising, right? But the conclusion that we may draw is that everybody is unhappy in Vet Med. And I want to tell you that that is absolutely not true.

There are people who are happy in Veterinary Medicine. So how do they do that? They do that by recognizing what they're responsible for and what they're not responsible for. They do that by being willing to stand up for what is a priority for themselves and to not let the opinions of other people change their minds about what they want to do with their lives. They do that by letting go of work when they're not at work.

Some of us who are so hyper responsible, we actually start to believe that if we're not worrying about our patients and clients, when we're not at work, we don't care. It's a very interesting kind of association that we've put together. But it's certainly not a unique perspective. I've come across dozens of you who have said this exact same thing, "I feel like if I'm not thinking about my patients and clients, that I'm not doing my job, that I don't care about them." That's not true at all. And what's more true, was absolutely true, is that all the worry and concern and thought that you put into your patients and clients when you're not at work, they're not even aware of it. So whatever benefit you think that you're creating by doing this, just recognize it can only be self-serving, if it's serving anybody at all, because the other people and the patients have absolutely no idea what you're thinking about when you're not in front of them. Even when you are in front of them, the only way that they know, what you're thinking about is if you actually verbally communicate it. Most of the time when we're feeling stressed out, we're not walking around telling everybody that we're stressed out. Certainly not the clients.

So what we have to really do is to consider, what is causing the stress. What story am I telling myself? What am I believing about the situation that is creating stress for me? If we don't give ourselves the opportunity to answer that question, then the conclusion that we draw is that the job is stressful. And we blame the job for our stress and so the solution becomes leaving the job.

Now, I'm not trying to tell you that Veterinary Medicine and practicing and clinical practice is absolutely the right decision for everybody, because I don't believe that it is. I think there are a fair number of us who get out of veterinary school and we get into clinical practice and it's just not a great match for what we are meant to do in the world. Once we're in practice and we've actually tried it out, it's not what we thought it would be, and it's not in alignment with what the life is that we want to create for ourselves. I think it's totally fine to actually pursue alternative careers, but I want to make sure that we do it from a very understanding and very clear space mentally. That we're not running away from the discomfort and the stress of veterinary practice, because that stress was never actually caused by veterinary practice. It was caused by our thoughts and stories about veterinary practice. We owe it to ourselves to pick this apart and to understand what it is that we're believing about it that creates stress for us because stress is an emotion, which means it's only created by our thinking. And if we just run away from the circumstances, we just run away from veterinary practice in order to feel better, I want to tell you two things. Number one, it's going to work. And number two, eventually it's not going to work.

So number one, it's going to work for a while because immediately you're going to feel better because you're not in that environment where those thoughts are coming back. It's not because the environment's different, it's because your thought pattern changes when you're in a different environment. But if you've never taken the time to understand what was really causing you to feel stress in that environment, then eventually you're going to feel it again. You're taking that unprocessed emotion and you're bringing it with you to the next journey. It's worth it to understand why you feel stressed. If you want to blame things outside of yourself for causing your stress, that is your indicator that you have more work to do, because it's not the things outside of you that create stress.

It's not the things outside of you that create any kind of emotion; very important for us to understand that. That net emotional state is a really good place to start. So ask yourself, "How do I feel when I'm at work?" If that's something on the uncomfortable side and something on the kind of self-defeating side - so a lot of anxiety, a lot of dread, a lot of anger - then there's so much opportunity for you to understand why. I also want to ask yourself, "How do I feel about work when I'm not at work?" How do you feel? What emotion comes up for you? Is it something along the signs of dread and unhappiness, or is it more content and peaceful? I'm not saying that there is a right or wrong way to feel about it, but what I am saying is that if you don't understand why you feel the way that you do about it, then the natural conclusion is that it is that job that creates your emotion. This is why many of us come to the conclusion that this was a terrible career choice and why so many of us become so frustrated once we've gotten into practice and we literally like ask ourselves, "Why did nobody tell us that Vet Med is going to suck the life out of us?" It just seems like it's an absolute truth because so many of us experienced the same thing. But what we miss is it's never been the job that created that for us. It has been our own inability to understand where our emotions come from and to take our power in those situations.

We tend to make decisions, not for what we want, but for what we believe will make other people happy. Whether those other people are clients, bosses, or family members or friends. And as long as we continue to make decisions trying to make other people happy, we will be the ones who suffer every single time. Instead, we've got to develop that skill by which we actually make decisions that are in alignment with the way that we want to practice medicine - the hours that we want to work, the clients that we want to cultivate, the income that we want to generate - we make our decisions from those places because that is true to who we are. And as we make those decisions for ourselves, and we allow the other people around us to react, however, they're gonna react, our self-confidence actually goes up.

What also goes up at amazing speed is our job satisfaction. Because all of a sudden, we don't make the job responsible for our happiness. We take back that power for ourselves. That power has always been available to us. We just misunderstood that it even existed. Nobody ever shared that with us, that the way that we feel is created by our thinking, and not by the things that happen around us.

It is such a powerful understanding. It's such a powerful paradigm shift on what we often have thought causes happiness. Happiness isn't just a byproduct of where we work or where we live or who we know. Happiness isn't at the effect of the things that happen around us: the things that happen in the world, the things that people say, the things that people do, the weather, our geographic location. Happiness isn't created by any of that. Happiness is only created internally. If we keep trying to change the external world to create happiness, we will be frustrated forever. That's why understanding what stealing your joy is so important.

The Vet Med Joy Stealers that we've talked about here over these three-part series, as a quick recap, let me give them to you.

In part one, we talked about patient outcomes and client interactions. That the negative patient outcomes and the negative client interactions are Joy Stealers. That's what many of us believe, but that's not true.

In part two, we talked about how the scarcity mindset specifically around money, time, and clients tend to steal a lot of joy for us.

And now, here in part three, we're talking about our net emotional state when we're at work and where, and when we're away from work. How that tends to steal our joy because of the stories that we're telling ourselves about work and about being at home, getting ready to go back to work.

What's so important about understanding all these different components of happiness is for us to see that we don't need any of those things to change. It's never been the clients or the compensation or the time. It's never been the job. It's never been the location. It's never been the patients that got better that created happiness for us. Always, any time in our lives that we have felt happy and fulfilled, whether it's in this job or in some other realm, it has always only been created by our own thinking. If we can give ourselves the opportunity just to explore that idea, it's amazing what we can create for ourselves. It's so critically important to what you want to create in your life because of this one little relationship - emotion drives action.

Emotion drives action. If you don't understand your emotions, if you're constantly in a negative net emotional state, and you're believing that it's all the things outside of you that are causing it, which then in turn tends to cause a lot of hopelessness, I want you to ask yourself what do you do when you're feeling hopeless? What actions do you take when you're feeling hopeless? What actions do you avoid when you're feeling hopeless? All of the actions and inactions in our life are only driven by our own emotions. And if we don't learn to understand our own emotions, then we will never be able to take intentional actions to create intentional results in our lives. If we continue to wait to feel better before we take action, then we're going to be waiting forever especially if we believe feeling better, can only happen if something outside of us changes. We are so much more powerful than that. Unfortunately, because of the way that many of us come up the academic chain to get into these careers, we have gotten into these careers with a whole lot of academic knowledge and very little life skills. I certainly, for one did not understand that emotion was created by thinking, and it changed everything for me because what that makes possible is that I can maintain my joy no matter what is happening in the world around me. That I can take a moment to feel sad, but understand that sadness wasn't created by what was happening. That it was created by what I believed about it. I don't even need to change my thoughts about it. There are thoughts that we want to feel sadness with. I'm not saying let's fix the uncomfortable emotions. That's not the point.

Life is 50-50 positive and negative. The point is to understand where they really come from so that we stop drawing the conclusion that our lives are happening to us. That our emotions are the result of the things that are happening to us and around us. If we can take back our personal responsibility for our own emotional well-being, then we will be equipped to take the actions that we want to create the things that we want in our lives. That's where joy really comes from. It comes from knowing that no matter what happens, you are well equipped to take care of you. And that's always true.

Nobody gets to ruin your day without your permission. Nobody gets to steal your joy without your permission. Nobody gets to decide your worth. You are worthy because you exist. You are qualified to do these jobs. You're in this position on purpose.

So how can you adjust the story that you tell yourself about Veterinary Medicine and your choice to pursue Veterinary Medicine? How can you adjust that to shift your Net Emotional State away from feeling hopeless and anxious and stressed and burdened, to feeling powerful, to feeling in control of your own life, to feeling like you make a difference, to feeling that you're joyful.

It all starts with what you believe about the situation. It all starts with what you believe about the profession and what you believe about yourself in it. It starts there. And when you can let go of the rest, when you can stop allowing the patient outcomes, the client interactions, the salary that you make, the time that you have in the day, the number of clients that you see on any given day, when you can stop letting those external things decide for you, whether or not you're having a good or a bad day, then that power just multiplies incrementally. Your joy increases right alongside it, and what you create for your life becomes intentional and by design.

Alright, my friends! That's going to wrap up this three-part series on Vet Med Joy Stealers. I hope it has helped. And I can't wait to see you next time. 

Thank you for listening to the Joyful DVM Podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the concept and ideas discussed here, and how to apply them to your own life, to create confidence and empowerment for yourself, you'll love Vet Life Academy. To check it out and learn more, visit joyfuldvm.com/vetlifeacademy. And if you're loving this podcast, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with your friends and leave us a review on iTunes.

We can change what's possible in VetMed together.