Episode 73 | Have You Settled for a Mediocre Life & Veterinary Career?

In this episode, I explain how many veterinary professionals have unintentionally slid into a Passive Life Experience. I describe the 3 things that occur when we are in Passive Mode, and the 3 Factors we can incorporate to recreate an Active Life Experience for ourselves.



  • Passive vs. Active Life and Career Experience
  • 3 Consequences of a Passive Life
  • 3 Factors that move us from Passive to Active participation in our lives


Joy Vet Alliance 


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00:00:00 Passive versus Active Life, and the three things that can put you back in control of your future, that's what we're talking about in Episode 73. I'm Dr. Cari Wise, and this is the Joyful DVM Podcast. Hi friends! Welcome to Episode 73. A question for you, have you settled for a mediocre life and veterinary career? Many of us have,

00:00:36 and we don't even realize it. So today in episode 73, I'm going to talk about passive versus active life experiences. And we're going to take a look at three factors that make all the difference. Many of us have settled for a mediocre life, and we don't even know it. We shifted into a passive existence created by the routine of each day,

00:01:00 absent of any intentional thought about it. It's a subtle change, especially because it begins so intentionally. There's an intentional decision to pursue a veterinary medicine career at the beginning of all of this. And that's followed with the determination to reach that goal. So even when we experience doubt and fear and stress, we keep on going because of the promise of what our life will be like when we reach that goal.

00:01:30 When we earn that credential, when we get out into the veterinary profession, the promise of that is greater than any emotional experiences that we have all along the way. And then we begin working in the field. Those initial feelings of fear and nervousness are totally worth it because we're finally getting to do that thing that we've worked so hard to do that thing that we have believed all along the way that we are going to love.

00:01:57 There's also some adrenaline that kind of help push us forward in those early days. But eventually, the adrenaline starts to wear off. We become familiar with our surroundings and we start to categorize our days as good days or bad days. And in true medical fashion, we begin to draw conclusions about why the bad days are bad. The conclusions as to why the bad days are bad,

00:02:22 often includes things that you've heard me talk about many, many times before clients' schedules, coworkers, money work-life balance, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So as we've drawn the same conclusions as a vet med collective, we've also identified the same solutions. So the same conclusions about what's causing our bad days and the same solutions over what would fix them.

00:02:48 So those solutions include things like when it comes to clients that they should just be nicer and respect our time or with our schedules that we shouldn't be overbooked. And we shouldn't miss lunch with our coworkers, perhaps that they should never make mistakes or that they should treat each other with respect. When it comes to money, we think the solution is to be paid more or to not have a crude so much debt all along the way.

00:03:13 And with a work-life balance, we shouldn't have to stay late or be contacted on our days off. Those are some of the collective solutions that we've identified to the problems that we collectively believe are creating our bad days. And these become the things that we talk about. They become the beginning of our unintentional passive experience. See what we start to realize. The more we experience these challenges and discuss these solutions is how little power we have to change any of it.

00:03:42 For many of us, this leads to an acceptance that this is just the way it is in our profession. Now I don't mean acceptance in an approval kind of way. It's more like a defeated resignation that this is the way that it is with this. We slide full into passive existence. When we believe these things are responsible for our challenges. And when we believe the solutions are out of our control,

00:04:08 we are left hopeless. We slide into the Groundhog days of our career showing up doing the same general things every single day, over and over, we experienced the same types of emotional roller coasters over and over and over again and fall back on our tried and true coping mechanisms. Usually, a combination of commiseration, looking for new jobs, daydreaming about leaving the profession altogether, and comforting ourselves with things like Netflix and junk food,

00:04:37 shopping and alcohol, maybe recreational drugs, social media, et cetera. This becomes our passive existence. And the only hope of something different relies on finding a new job surviving until retirement or chucking it all and just getting away. Now, if this sounds really familiar, please know you're not alone. This is a very common experience. And although it sounds pretty dismal when I lay it out like that,

00:05:04 I promise you, there is a silver lining. This passive wife experience is not inevitable. It only becomes inevitable. If we never recognize our opportunities and abilities to shift back into active participation in our own lives. When we are in passive mode, there are three things we've stopped doing. Number one, we've stopped being curious about our own lives. We've stopped dreaming about what we want.

00:05:32 We've stopped considering what could be possible. We made one choice early in our lives, that decision to pursue a veterinary career, and we made everything else depends on that one experience. So since that one experience isn't creating the kind of life and career we had believed for so long that it would rather than developing curiosity about alternative ways to experience vet med work toward the lives that we want to live.

00:05:59 We've accepted the common conclusions and given up on the hope of experiencing anything different in passive mode. The second thing we stopped doing is we stopped nurturing ourselves and all of the aspects of our lives and who we are outside of this career pursuing that med was never supposed to be your whole life. But for many of us, as we've passively resigned ourselves to the truths of this profession,

00:06:25 we have given our vet med careers, reigning authority over our entire life experience. We are caught in tunnel vision with very few perspectives and possible outcomes. No matter what the focus, the third thing we stopped doing is we've stopped trying. We are stuck in survival mode, just making it day to day. The actions we take each day and each week are on repeat on one hand,

00:06:50 we recognize we are not happy with the lives that we have and the ways that we experience our vet med careers, but on the other, we recognize we have no idea how to go about changing any of it. And even if we do have a glimmer of idea or possibility how to get there is so overwhelming, we do nothing at all. Now hang on,

00:07:10 friends, all is not lost. Breaking the cycle of passive existence is totally possible. And getting started creating that shift is much easier than you may think. See, at the beginning of any new endeavor, it's never necessary to see all the steps and the crystal clear path, this in and of itself becomes overwhelming and causes most of us to never even start instead.

00:07:33 However, all we need is just to get started when we do something magical happens. The first step shines clarity on the next step. And from there, the cycle repeats over and over until we reach our destination. No matter what it is, success becomes inevitable in regard to recreating an active life experience. One where how you feel and what's possible for your future,

00:08:00 isn't tangled up and what you are experiencing in any given moment. There are three factors to begin incorporating into your life to get there. Number one, discovery, it's time to re-engage your curiosity on all fronts, about what you believe about the conclusions you've drawn and about the solutions you've accepted as absolute truth. Just like in medicine where we can't fix a problem.

00:08:25 We don't understand here in our own lives. We must relentlessly pursue an understanding of our own experiences. If we want to create any real change, number two nourish, we must create space to see what else is possible right now. Our spectrum of possibility is limited by tunnel vision. This actually works against us. I'll be at unintentionally. What we focus on,

00:08:49 we create more of the reticular activating system in our brains facilitates this, but it's programmable. It only functions based on the information we provided as we intentionally explore alternative perspectives and examples, the reticular activating system reprograms our conscious awareness and brings us visible proof of our inevitable success. And number three, engage. We must do the work. Understanding the concepts changes nothing.

00:09:21 We must become relentlessly determined to do what it takes to create a different life for ourselves. We must take action before we feel ready. We must trust the process and take the very first steps. So that's it. That's all that's required to move from the unintentionally passive life that many of us are experiencing into an active life full of potential to not only greatly improve our vet med career experience,

00:09:48 but also to jumpstart our progress and create a fulfilling and vibrant life for ourselves. In Joy Vet Alliance, our monthly membership over here at Joyful DVM, I've created tons of resources to help you explore and implement all of these factors. If you'd like to learn more about the discover nourish engage approach and how to get personalized, encouragement, and support all along the way,

00:10:11 I invite you to check out Joy Vet Alliance. Just jump over to joyfuldvm.com/joyvetalliance or alternatively joyfuldvm.com/JVA to learn more and join us. Risk-free if it's right for you, it's time to take back control of your life. My friend, join us, in Joy Vet Alliance, and let's get to work together.

00:10:33 That's going to wrap it up for this week. If this episode resonated with you, I'd really appreciate it. If you'd share it with a friend, we only change what's possible in vet med together. Have a great week and I'll see you soon.