Episode 195 | How Tunnel Vision Negatively Impacts Your Wellbeing

In this episode, Dr. Cari Wise emphasizes the importance of recognizing the diversity of experiences within the veterinary field and advises against generalizing based on one’s current workplace.

She discusses the impact of workplace dynamics on personal wellbeing and encourages seeking external perspectives and maintaining relationships outside of work. Dr. Wise highlights the value of self-reflection and strategic analysis to identify values, misalignments, and explore changes within one’s job. She stresses the significance of personal choice in career satisfaction and advocates for proactive measures to improve mindset, emotional wellbeing, and overall fulfillment in veterinary practice. 

Dr. Wise also warns against negative online environments and promotes seeking support, fostering connections, and envisioning a more gratifying veterinary experience. She recommends Vetlife Academy as a resource for developing skills to navigate veterinary challenges and achieve a balanced, empowered career. 

Key takeaways:

  1. Diversity of Experiences: Dr. Wise emphasizes the importance of recognizing the diversity of experiences within the veterinary field and advises against generalizing based on one’s current workplace environment.
  2. Workplace Dynamics: She discusses the impact of workplace dynamics on personal wellbeing and urges listeners to seek external perspectives and maintain relationships outside of work.
  3. Self-Reflection and Strategic Analysis: Dr. Wise highlights the value of self-reflection and strategic analysis to identify values, misalignments, and explore avenues for change within one’s current job.
  4. Personal Choice and Career Satisfaction: She underscores the significance of personal choice in shaping career satisfaction and advocates for proactive measures to enhance mindset, emotional wellbeing, and overall fulfillment in veterinary practice.
  5. Avoiding Negative Online Environments: Dr. Wise warns against the pitfalls of negative online environments and encourages listeners to seek support, foster connections, and envision a more gratifying veterinary experience.
  6. Vetlife Academy: She highlights Vetlife Academy as a valuable resource for developing skills to navigate the challenges of veterinary medicine and cultivate a balanced, empowered career.



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Music Credit: Music by Lesfm from Pixabay


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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

Hi there. I’m Doctor 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. Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the Joyful DVM podcast. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet with my aligned living integration circle mastermind.

So a group of students that I put together, who we originally met as they went through Vetlife Academy, and then they went on through an align program, which was an intensive kind of personal and spiritual development program. And then we’ve continued together in the aligned living integration circle, and we meet about every other week. So this last week when we were meeting, there was a conversation around the veterinary experience.

And as one of our members shared her own experience with the opportunity that she’s had recently to spend some time away from the clinic, it was a really good reminder of something that I don’t think that I have talked enough about in recent months. And that is how the experience that you have at work when it comes to veterinary medicine isn’t the experience that everybody is having in veterinary medicine, and it’s also not the only experience that you can have in veterinary medicine.

So let me try to explain this. When we have a job in veterinary medicine and we work it with a particular organization, we tend to see the same people, same group of people, day in and day out. Now, this is true of any job, right? The people that you work with are the people who you spend most of your waking hours with, at least during the week. And so those opinions that those people have, the way that they behave, their perspectives about the world, the things that happen during the day, you experience all of those types of things together.

And in doing that, it’s very easy to become frustrated or even bitter or jaded by the opinions and the perspectives of the people around you. And when the people around you don’t share the same values that you have, perhaps they’re on just a different leg of their own personal journey. And so they don’t have an optimistic perspective. Perhaps they just tend to see things through a very negative light.

Perhaps the way that they interact with clients and with your coworkers is just different than the way that you interact with people. When you don’t share those common values, then it’s easy to really feel like an outsider. And this doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is going wrong at all. It’s just an awareness that we want to have. And we want to remember that the humans are going to be the humans.

And so people are going to do whatever they’re going to do. We all have our own opinions about how people should behave. And how they should interact with each other. And we live by the rules that we buy into. We don’t even realize that we’re living by these rules. We don’t realize that we’ve created these rules, if you will. But we have. But not everybody shares the same rules.

And so when it comes to something like veterinary medicine. Which is a high pressure environment. The way that people interact with each other and the things that they do. There may differ greatly between people. Now, again, this is true in all different aspects of the world. So this isn’t just limited to veterinary medicine. But when we are in a high pressure situation. Like a veterinary medical career. Where we are constantly reacting to what is presented to us.

The way that each individual person responds in those moments is going to be individual to that person. Not everybody’s going to respond the same way. And so when you come across a situation. Where somebody is responding in a way that is in contrast to the way that you respond. Or that people are treating each other in a way that just doesn’t align with the way that you treat others.

Or you believe others should be treated. Then it’s very easy to become bitter and jaded. And in doing that, another thing starts to happen. When you stay in that environment long enough. You will start to believe. You’ll start to draw a conclusion. That that kind of misaligned. Orlando, inauthentic kind of situation. Is the way that it is everywhere in veterinary medicine. So if we’re in a situation where we are unhappy.

Where we specifically are unhappy with the culture of the practice where we work. The way that people treat each other within the workplace. It’s easy for us start to start to conclude that we don’t fit into veterinary medicine. And that the way that it is there is the way that it is everywhere. And my friends, that’s just never true. The problem is that because we spend so much time at our jobs.

We tend to unintentionally remove from our lives the other relationships that we have. These relationships. Our relationships with our family. Relationships with our friends who are not related to veterinary medicine. And even our relationships with the people who we know in veterinary medicine. Who were probably our friends at some point. So a lot of these are the classmates that we went to school with. And people that we’ve met along the way, but may not be working in the place where you work right now.

These relationships are very important for us to make some kind of effort to maintain. The reason being is that it’s important for all of us to have some kind of external perspective to consider when it comes to what we are experiencing in our own individual environments. It’s an outsider bird’s eye view. Now, if you’re in Vetlife Academy, that’s a great place to make some of those relationships. And also, you can always bring any of your challenges or your situations to one of our live support calls that we do every single month inside of ATLF Academy.

So we’ve kind of baked in that support system inside of Vetlife Academy. But outside of having a place like that to go for support to go to get another perspective. If we don’t maintain some kind of relationship with people who are in veterinary medicine, but who are not in our current clinic, then it’s very easy for us to draw the conclusion that the way it is in our clinic is the way that it is everywhere in veterinary medicine.

If you’re having a bad experience in your own organization, then the conclusion that you will draw over time is that veterinary medicine is just bad all the way around when it comes to the ability to have quality of life and a high standard of well being. Our friend really had the opportunity to see this for herself because she’s had some time away from the clinic and she just realized, as she connected with some of her friends that don’t work at the same place that she works, that there is more to this whole vet med experience than what she is experiencing day in and day out in her own clinic.

And I thought this was so powerful and such a big reminder because vet Med is just so much bigger than our individual perspectives of it. And it’s not only bigger, but it is better than our individual perspectives of it. It’s completely okay for us to have an encounter challenges and have situations that we’re not content with day in and day out at our jobs. Now, I’m not saying that should be the norm, but what I want us to say is that none of us in any job, in any industry is happy 100% of the time.

That’s not really the human experience. The human experience has both the positive and the negative. So there are going to be moments of challenge, there are going to be moments of frustration, and no matter what job, what occupation that we choose, but the way that we treat each other and the way that we feel in our environments as we face those challenges, that’s something that’s important for us to pay attention to.

Now, not everybody around us is going to be on their a game all the time. You know, we are still human. We are going to mess up. We are going to miss opportunities to support each other. That’s going to happen. But you have to look at the trends over time. And what I want you to consider is, does the environment that you spend your most, most of your time in, is that an environment that’s overall supportive and building you up and really seems to be aligned with the values that you share for your life?

Or is there a major disconnect? Is there a value gap there? Because it’s very hard to maintain any relationship that’s got a massive value gap in it. In addition to that, is there the support that you need? Is there the opportunity for community and collaboration? I don’t know what you want specifically for your job. These are the kinds of things that I want you to consider, because you get to decide where you work and you get to decide what kind of experience you want to have.

But if you’re having an experience that is really a life sucking experience, where you have been in it long enough that you are really starting to question whether or not you should have ever gone into veterinary medicine, you’re starting to buy into the idea that being bitter and jaded and frustrated is just part of the deal, that somebody should have warned you that vet med was going to suck the life out of you if that’s where you are right now.

And so many of us get there. This is what I call stage three in the vet life journey. If that is where you are, I want you to consider what my friend reminded me of during our mastermind, which is that your individual experience in veterinary medicine, where you are right now, is only a tiny piece of what is available to you as far as a veterinary medicine experience, that veterinary medicine is bigger and better than what you’re experiencing right now.

And so if you are not happy where you are, this is an opportunity for you to take a pause, for you to consider for yourself. What is it that I’m looking for? What is it that I would love to experience as a veterinary professional? How is it that I’m not experiencing that right now? Like, in what ways am I not experiencing that right now? And as you start to do that analysis, what I call a strategic job analysis, looking at what you would love to experience, like giving yourself the opportunity to dream about, what would you love to experience as a veterinary professional, from a job perspective, really play into that dream of what is it that you would love to experience?

And then comparing it to what it is that you have right now. As you start to see the gap between what you would love to experience and what your reality is, you can then start to look at each of those gaps and ask yourself, is this a deal breaking value gap? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. If it isn’t, if there are things that you would love to be different, but they’re not deal breakers for you, then the question becomes, how is it that you still learn to enjoy your job even in that environment where there are things that you would like to be different?

Well, there’s a few opportunities there. One, you can always have a high value conversation with somebody in leadership if there are some organizational or policy changes, even workflow changes that you would like to see made. So you have the conversations with the people who have the authority to make those decisions and make those changes, go to them with solutions, and just advocate for the changes that you want.

Number two is you learn how to manage your mind around these things that are different than you wish that they should be, different than you believe that they should be. Excuse me, that I should say. You’ve got to learn how to manage your mind around those. You’ve got to learn how to not be triggered by all the things that you think are wrong and by all the things that you think people should be doing that they’re not doing.

Because whenever we become frustrated and angry over what is happening around us that we can’t control, we’re giving our power over to it. You never want to stay in a position where you’re giving your power to something outside of you because you will lose 100% of the time. And that has you living your life on an emotional rollercoaster. We want to be in charge of our own lives, being empowered over our own decisions.

We actually already are. And so this idea that something else outside of us is controlling our destiny is just a big lie that we tell ourselves to quite honestly get away from taking responsibility for the things that we actually have the power to change. Life is choice. 100% of the time, life is choice. And so if you’re unhappy where you are, you always have the opportunity to make a new choice.

But if you’ve bought into a belief system that says that you have to stay where you are, or that it would be irresponsible to change jobs, or that vet med is just going to be a life sucking career, no matter what you do, if you buy into any of those types of belief systems, and that is exactly what you’re going to experience. You’re going to feel defeated, you’re going to feel overwhelmed, you’re going to feel discouraged, and you are not going to spend any time reaching out, communicating with your other, with colleagues in veterinary medicine who are working in different types of environments.

Which means you are never going to expose yourself to the opportunities to have an enjoyable and fulfilling career as a veterinary professional. My friends, when we get to that place where we are feeling so defeated in our careers, we’re not intentionally reaching out for another perspective, are we? We are not looking for help. If anything, we tend to commiserate. We tend to just get into this, like licking our wounds kind of monotony of life.

And we don’t look up, we don’t look around, we don’t reach out, we don’t connect, we withdraw. And when we do that, that gives our brain an opportunity to just keep recycling that same old victimized story that builds on hopelessness and builds on this defeatist kind of mentality all the way around believing that there isn’t anything we can do, that vet meds going to suck the life out of us, that we made the worst decision ever.

What I want to remind you in this episode is that it’s all choice. And that the veterinary medicine experience as a whole is so much bigger than what you might be experiencing right now in your own individual job or whatever position that you have, you must intentionally start to look for alternative perspectives. And I want to give you a hint on this. The people who are happy in their veterinary medicine careers, they are not spending a ton of time on Facebook.

All those Facebook groups that you’re in, trying to. To connect with veterinary professionals there, my friends, there are some of the. I think the groups themselves come from a good place, and they were created from a good place. But if you go in there and all you’re seeing is client bashing and complaining and blaming, commiserating, commemorating about our career and commiserating about the pay and the hours and all the things, if it’s just a great big old bitch session, then get out of there.

Because, my friends, that’s not doing anything to increase your wellbeing. Quite the contrary. It is proving to you over and over and over again with false data that this is just the way that it is in vet med. So if you’re already feeling defeated and overwhelmed and you’re going into those groups hoping to find a way to lift yourself up, all you’re going to find is more evidence that is going to reinforce your negative stories that you’re already experiencing.

This is not the way forward at all. The people who are happy, the people who are living their lives, the people who are expanding their lives beyond their careers, who are engaged in all aspects of their lives, who are more balanced and fulfilled and aligned, they’re not spending their time in a Facebook group complaining and commiserating. They don’t have time for that. They don’t want to spend their time there.

So that’s not where you’re going to find those people. You’ve got to intentionally reach out, make some of those relationships, make some of those connections, meet up with people. When you are at veterinary conferences, if you’re really social, that’s a great place to do that. Get into a group where they are actually dedicated to lifting each other up to learning some new life skills to go along with this crazy career.

Vet Med. That’s the whole reason why I created Vetlife Academy, because I realized that the skills that we need to victoriously navigate the lifestyle of veterinary medicine are very different skills than we need to actually become a veterinary professional. So that information and that knowledge that we learned in order to gain our credentials in veterinary medicine, that’s great. That got us the job, but it didn’t tell us how to live once we got the job.

You’re not going to just fall into knowing that. And if you’re relying on the other people in your hospital to show you the way to live a fulfilling and aligned life as a veterinary professional, 99% of you are going to fall short. Because the people who are there are not doing that for themselves. They’re overworking. They are taking hyper responsibility over the things that happen. They are in their own commiseration, complain and blame.

They are in their own survival mode, just making it through the day with all kinds of buffering activities, whether that be perfectionism and hyper responsibility, or overeating or over drinking or over shopping or whatever that it is that the coping mechanism is. For me, it was over Starbucks and over ice cream for sure. It just kept getting me through the days. But none of that stuff helped me to create a bigger life.

It didn’t help me to learn how to navigate veterinary medicine. And it definitely, over time, compounded into a belief system. Conclusion that vet med sucks the life out of you. That this was a bad decision. That even though I loved animals and I enjoyed the practice of medicine, that it just wasn’t worth it because of what it was costing me personally in my own life and in my own well being.

And my friends, I want you to know that that is not the truth. It is just a big fat lie. But if we never look at veterinary medicine beyond the scope of what we’re experiencing in this moment, we will never see what is possible for us if we never learn the skills to manage our mindset and to take control of our own emotional well being, to step back into the driver’s seat of our own life and become the empowered creators of what comes next.

If we don’t own the decisions that we make, no, even if we notice that those decisions aren’t moving us forward, we don’t own those decisions first. We will never realize we can make a new decision tomorrow or the next day or the next day. If we don’t do that work for ourselves, then we are destined to just keep repeating the same defeatist type experience for ourselves. What you’re experiencing now will be what you will continue to experience.

Because, my friends, if you don’t ever do anything different, you’re not ever going to get anything different. It is so important for us to realize that in order for us to have a different experience, we have to take a different action. We have to consider a different approach. We need to get around other people. And until we do that, my friends, we will just keep experiencing the same things over and over and over again and continuing to draw the conclusion that there really isn’t anything else possible for us out there.

So, my friends, as you go through the next few weeks, I want you to consider your own personal experience in your veterinary career. What is it that you are experiencing? Are you happy in your career? Are you feeling fulfilled? Are you feeling supported? Are you feeling connected with the rest of your life? And if you’re not, then I want you to consider, what are you believing that’s keeping you trapped there?

What is holding you back from reengaging in different aspects of your life? And I want you to dream a little bit. What would it be like if it was different? What would you like your job to be like? What would you like your veterinary experience to be like? I want you to consider all of those things. Because once you start to allow yourself to consider something different than what you’re experiencing right now, you set in motion what needs to happen for that to become your new reality.

My friends, if you need help with this, jump over to joyfuldvm.com vetlife academy. This is a great place to start to learn those skills to victoriously navigate your life and your career as a veterinary professional. So veterinary medicine gives back to you in your lifetime instead of sucking away your life force and becomes actually the leveraged thing that you can utilize to move forward in any aspect of your life so that everything that you want for your life can come true.

All right, my friends, that’s going to wrap it up for this week. I’ll see you soon. Bye for now.