Episode 24 | Why You Can’t Find Work-Life Balance in Vet Med

Veterinary Work-Life Balance is an interesting thing.

In Vet Med we often lament about not having it …

and we identify it as a must-have when searching for new jobs.

Many of us believe the perfect job can make work-life balance a reality for us.

So, we actively seek work-life balance, as if it is something to be found…

as if it’s, something we’ve misplaced or just not come across yet.

We have it all wrong.

Work-life balance will never be found because it doesn’t exist outside of us and our own experiences.

Work-life balance must be created.

Good News: We are perfectly equipped to create it!

I’ve identified 5 Components that make up work-life balance:

  1. Boundaries 
  2. Personal Efficiency 
  3. Self Confidence 
  4. Mind Management 
  5. Future Focus

In this episode, I take a closer look at these 5 Components of Work-Life Balance in Veterinary Medicine.

The ability to fully develop these components is influenced greatly by our Vet Life Profile. Once we’ve identified our Vet Life Profile, we’ll understand why creating work-life balance has been so hard in the past, and we’ll discover how we can start moving forward right away.

Our Vet Life Profile changes over time.

Wonder where you are today?

To take a quick quiz to identify your personal Vet Life Profile, understand why creating Work-Life Balance has been such a struggle, and find out how you can leverage your Vet Life Profile to start creating Work-Life Balance right away, Click Here: https://joyfuldvm.com/quiz

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Vet Life Profile Quiz



The elusive work-life balance and why we have such a hard time finding it in Vet Med, that's what we're talking about in Episode 24.

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 24. Today, we're going to be talking about work-life balance, and specifically why we have such a hard time finding work-life balance in veterinary medicine.

As we get started, I think it's really important for us to consider what work-life balance even is. And it's that question, "What is work-life balance?", that actually contributes to our difficulty in finding it. Work-life balance is different for all of us. And so if we're trying to define it for ourselves, I think the second question we have to ask is, "Why do we want work-life balance in the first place?" No matter what your answer, it likely all comes down to one thing. It comes down to what we believe life will be like when we get it. When we consider that perspective and we realized that we want work-life balance because of how we think our lives will be when we have achieved it, then we can really start to understand why we have such a hard time finding it. It's really important for us to be looking forward and deciding how we want our lives to be.

But many of us just recognize that we don't have work-life balance, and we conclude that we don't have it because of the jobs that we're in or the profession that we chose. And then we also draw a conclusion that we can't have it for the same reasons - because of the job that we're in and because of the profession that we chose.

When we start to think about the reasons why we want work-life balance, independent of the end game of how we'll feel when we get there, we believe work-life balance is going to give us more time. If we have work-life balance, we're going to have more time to do the things that we want to do outside of work. But again, that question just comes back to why - "Why do we want to do those things in the first place?" Maybe it moves us towards some bigger goals that we're trying to achieve. Maybe it has us spending more time focusing on the things that are priorities in our lives. But many of us don't even take the time to define what we would do with this newfound balance if we had it. But instead, we just lament over the fact that work-life balance doesn't exist. It leaves us in a very victimy perspective.

So how do we get the work-life balance? We think it comes from the perfect job. Many of us look at the jobs that we're in. We identify that we don't have what we think work-life balance is and we blame the job that we have. We also believe that we can find it in a different job and so we often go searching. How many times have you used that reason, "There's just no work-life balance here", to leave your current position or to consider leaving it? But here's the deal. Work-life balance doesn't come from the perfect job and it's not being kept from you because of the job that you have right now.

Work-life balance is a concept that's individual to each one of us. We have to first understand what it is that we want to be different in our lives in order to be able to create it. Yeah, create it. The reason we can't find work-life balance is because work-life balance isn't to be found. It is only to be created. We must create it for ourselves.

Now the good news is that because work-life balance is something that we can create, it is also something we can create immediately. Work-life balance is not dependent on the job we have today, or the things that happened in the past. This is actually really good news.

Work-life balance is completely available to every single one of us, and there are five components that make up this beautiful, mysterious thing that we call work-life balance. Those five components are all completely within your control. Those components include Boundaries, Personal Efficiency, Self-confidence, Mind Management, and Future Focus. So let's take a look at all of these.

Boundaries - not too much of a shocker that boundaries fall into the list of the components of creating work-life balance. If we don't know how to set and maintain our boundaries, then work-life balance becomes this thing that we can never achieve. The ability to set boundaries is something that we control. The ability to maintain boundaries is also something that we are individually responsible for. Other people cannot violate our boundaries.

Component number two, Personal Efficiency. This includes things like making decisions and how we spend our time. We must become very good keepers of our own time. And when our time is spent in ways that we look back and regret having spent it, there is simply an opportunity there for us to understand why we chose to spend our time the way that we did. It takes some intentional effort and reflection for us to understand where our time goes so that we can purposely use it moving forward.

Number three, Self-confidence. This is everything. Without self-confidence quite honestly all of the other components just aren't possible. If we can't develop our own self-confidence, which is simply that ability for us to experience any emotion on purpose, if we're not willing to do that, if we're not willing to sometimes be uncomfortable or sometimes be afraid or sometimes risk the reactions of other people, if we're not willing to be in those situations, it's going to be impossible to create work-life balance. Work-life balance doesn't create self-confidence. Self-confidence creates work-life balance.

Number four, Mind Management. This is key. So many of us for so long have just accepted the thoughts that pop into our minds. We believe them. And we take action from the emotion that's created from those thoughts and beliefs. We have to become curious students of ourselves. Otherwise, we're left believing that work-life balance is something that we're going to find. If we keep believing that we don't have it because of the career we chose and the job that we have, we completely miss out on the reality that the life that we have today was created by our own actions and decisions. And that is all. We are a hundred percent responsible for our current circumstances. Now, that being said, there's no reason to beat ourselves up over it. This is actually a very powerful thing to realize. When you recognize that your life is not at the effect of the things that happen around you, but rather is created by your own choices, then you get all of your power back. And within that power is your ability to create work-life balance. But without that power, work-life balance will remain an elusive thing. It will remain this thing that you dream of, that you've never really defined, and you've never taken any action toward creating for yourself. And this really brings us back now to number five which is Future Focus.

Future Focus is a critical component of creating happiness. So it's not only a component of building work-life balance, but it's a component of creating happiness in general. If we approach our lives, looking down only at what's happening today and what's happening around us, or worse spending our lives looking back at what's already happened and regretting decisions and regretting things that have happened in the past, and believing that if we'd done things differently that today would be a different experience than it is, then what we do is we cut off all future possibility. When you cut off all future possibilities, you cut off hope. You cut off the ability to be happy. You really do then live your life at the effect of all the things that happen around you. None of which you can control. It becomes a pretty miserable existence.

Now the good news is that it doesn't have to stay this way. Because if we simply take the time to look up, to look around, to consider alternate perspectives, to decide what we want for our futures, we can then start to take some actions to actively pursue it.  Work-life balance is part of this puzzle. If we don't intentionally create work-life balance for ourselves, then we will never find it.

I can't say that strongly enough. If we don't create it for ourselves, then we will never find it. And these five components are everything - Boundaries, Personal Efficiency, Self-confidence, Mind Management, and Future Focus. If we don't learn how to leverage all of those things, how to develop in all of those areas, then work-life balance does remain this mysterious thing that we believe we're never going to achieve.

And just think about this. If you're really believing that work-life balance is never possible for you, how is that perspective limiting what's possible for you at all in the future? Are you able to pursue any of your hopes and dreams if you believe work-life balance doesn't exist? Are you considering leaving this profession altogether to get your life back because you have no balance between work and life?

The best news ever is that work-life balance isn't dependent on where you work. It's not dependent on this career, but it is dependent on you. I've said it before, veterinary medicine is a catalyst for personal growth. And there's no area better to approach first than to dig into the reasons why you don't have work-life balance right now.

All of those excuses that are coming up and I know they're coming up - blaming the job that you work at for the hours that you're scheduled, maybe blaming the pay that you're making and how that makes it impossible for you to invest in yourself in other areas, or to go and pursue activities that you want to participate in, maybe you're blaming the lack of boundaries of others, how people are contacting you on your day off or contacting you on social media or when you're out and about with pet-related questions. All of those things, my friends, are actually within your control. I know it doesn't seem that way right now and it's only because that's the only way that we've looked at it for so long. And unfortunately, it's often the common way that we look at it as a profession, as a whole. If we're all singing the same song, it's no wonder that we've ended up with the same playlist.

That all being said and done, this is not the only option. It really isn't. You have so much power. But if you continue to live your life, day in and day out, through the perspective of this profession and the culture that we've created over decades, then you're not going to create anything different for yourself. The best news is that you can create something different for yourself. And it all just starts with your own personal decisions. I promise you, everything that you want for your life is just one intentional decision away.

So when it comes to work-life balance, if you really want to explore this, just start to figure out why. So when it comes to creating work-life balance, "Why is it so hard?" Well, there's those five components that all play in. Remember those components are Boundaries, Personal Efficiency, Self-confidence, Mind Management, and Future Focus.

But just knowing those five components isn't enough. You've got to understand how to dig into all of those components and help develop them. But aside from what we need to do with those five components, there's another piece to this puzzle. And that is your own individual current vet life profile.

Our vet life profile tells us a lot about why it is that we do the things that we do, why we make the decisions that we make. It also tells us so much about what we believe is possible and how we're holding ourselves back or not, depending on where your profile falls. Your vet life profile is kind of like the key to unlocking everything that comes up in the future. Everything that is possible for you in the future.

Your vet life profile is the key that unlocks your future. It gets you started on understanding how it is that you've come to be where you are right now and better what your opportunities are to move forward to create what you actually want for your life. And I've made finding out what your vet life profile is super easy. All you are going to do is go over to joyfuldvm.com/quiz and you can take a really quick quiz that's going to show you right away what your personal vet life profile is. I promise, it's going to blow your mind, how accurate this thing is.

In order for us to be able to create the lives that we want for ourselves, we have to first get to know who we are. And understanding your current vet life profile is the missing piece. Once you understand why you are the way you are, why things are happening for you the way that they're happening, then like I said, everything else becomes possible, including work-life balance.

Work-life balance, remember, it is this thing that we create individually for ourselves. It is not something to be found. It is something that must be created. If it must be created, then it cannot be the result of your job, of past jobs, of future jobs. It's not any of those things that create it for you. It's an intentional decision within those five areas of - Boundaries, Personal Efficiency, Self-confidence, Mind Management, and Future Focus - that's what really unlocks work-life balance for you.

And how you get started in all of those areas depends on where you are today, your vet life profile is going to show you that. So jump over to joyfuldvm.com/quiz so you can determine your own personal vet life profile and take the first step toward creating that work-life balance that you dream of.

Alright, my friends, that's going to wrap it up for this week and I'll 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 Vet Med together.