Episode 98 | Vet Med Pep Talk: Cari’s Power 12 Truths

In this episode I had one goal… to create a list of the most important perspectives to keep in mind as you navigate your career as a veterinary professional.

Truth is, these perspectives are also helpful in your entire life.

See, our experiences often cloud our perception of reality… and not in a good way.

It’s easy to get caught up in negativity and drama. 

In Vet Med, the opportunities are amplified.

Amplified… but not inevitable

It’s through Intentional Perspective that we create a different experience for ourselves.

In this episode I’m taking the guess-work out of it by giving you a list of perspectives that will serve you well in your career and beyond.

I suspect if you’d listen to this episode every day for 2 weeks, you’ll find your overall sense of wellbeing, and your outlook on life and the future will be improved. 



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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.

  A VetMed pep talk, 12 pieces of advice that I think will make all the difference in your life and veterinary career. That's what we're talking about in episode 98. I'm Dr. Cari Wise, and this is the Joyful DVM Podcast. Hello my friends. Welcome to episode 98. We are on the countdown to episode 100 where everything changes. And before we get there today in episode 98,

I'm giving you a bit of a pep talk. So for all of you out there in VetMed who have felt discouraged, frustrated, have wondered if this was the right career choice, listen up because I have 12 pieces of advice that can make all the difference, not only in the way that you experience veterinary medicine today, but the way that you experience it moving forward in whatever direction that you go.

So let's get started and jump in to point number one. So tidbit advice, piece number one is you are qualified to do this job. It's a reminder, my friend, you are qualified to do this job. How do I know this? I know this because as a credentialed veterinary professional, the only authority that matters has decided to give you that credential.

So you can't argue against the fact of that you are qualified no matter what the voice in your head tells you day in and day out, no matter what anybody else says to you, it's arguing with the reality of what is because you, my friend, are qualified to do this job. Does that mean you're gonna be confident 100% of the time? No,

none of us are in any aspect of our lives. But don't let that negative narrative pull you so far down that you start to convince yourself that you're not qualified because you absolutely are. You are good enough by we actually have measures in place to test you to determine this. And guess what? You passed. You are qualified to do this job. So that's pep talk point number one.

Don't let yourself forget that. Keep that at the forefront of your mind. You have a credential, you have a license, you are qualified. Pep talk point number two, this career was the perfect choice for you. Now, hang with me on this one because I know that for many of you right now, this isn't the perfect experience of the career.

I get that. But I don't want you to take your current experience and then go back and change the quality of your decision to pursue it. At the point in time that you decided to pursue veterinary medicine as a career field, the stars aligned. It was the perfect choice for you at the time. We need to believe that. We need to keep reminding ourselves of that because you cannot rewrite the past.

You can't undo what is already done. You can only change your experience of it by changing your story around it. So there's no upside to believing that choosing this career wasn't the perfect choice. It absolutely was the perfect choice for you. We wanna keep that in mind. And this brings us to pep talk point number three, which is this career may have been your first choice,

but it doesn't have to be your last. So whether or not you're a vet med lifer, which means you've went into a career in veterinary medicine and you will stay in some facet of veterinary medicine for the rest of your career life, or you're not a lifer, which means you went into a veterinary medicine as a career and you practiced for a while,

you might have done some alternative things for a while, and then you went in a different direction. One journey is not better than the other. One journey is not worse than the other. There's nothing that makes a lifer a better veterinary professional than one who ultimately ended up pursuing something different. This is so important for us to keep in mind because we want to remember that this career point,

this career choice was the perfect choice for you. It was an intentional part of your journey and it might have been your first choice, but there was nothing ever written in stone that said it had to be your last. So if you chose this career as a young person, which many of us in this career field do, and you've been in it for a while and you realize that you are drawn to something different,

do not allow yourself to punch yourself in the face and start to believe a story that you never should have done this in the first place. Because here's what I know for sure and for certain from my own journey, that you only gain clarity on where you're supposed to go next as you take the steps forward in the place that you are right now, you needed to make those decisions and have these experiences to know what was right for you.

So just like in pep talk point number two, this was the perfect choice. Number three, it may just be your first choice. It doesn't have to be your last choice. If you're a lifer, awesome. If you're not equally awesome, allow yourself to step forward in what's right for you. Point number four, a bad fit job does not mean it's a bad fit career.

We have to be really careful not to draw that conclusion, especially if you've been through two or three or four or five or six or seven or eight jobs and a lot of us have, there's no shame in that. There's nothing to be discouraged about in that. Actually pat yourself on the back for your willingness to continue to pursue the right fit for you.

There's a lot of courage that is, that is necessary to keep making those changes. Now, of course, if you're just trying to run away from the uncomfortable, you have opportunity there. That's not the point of this episode. The point of this episode is to show you that if you're starting to draw the conclusion that this was a bad c, bad career choice for you,

simply because you have yet to fall into the right job fit, that that's just gonna be skewed logic. You're missing out on opportunity. So just because you can identify you're in a bad fit job, that does not mean you're in the bad fit career. Do not let those things come together and draw a conclusion that then has you questioning your initial decision.

Instead, keep looking for what you want and this requires you to define it in advance. So you've had experience in jobs at this point, you can very easily make a list of the things that you don't like about that job. Fine, start there. But then don't just focus on that. That's what most of us do. We make a list of all the things that we don't like and then we put all of our focus on what we don't like and then we wonder why we don't ever experience anything different because you've not put yourself in a position to actually pursue it or to create it or to find it.

So instead, be thankful that you have some clarity around what doesn't work and then allow yourself to consider what do you want? As you focus on what you want in a job, you are gonna be so much more likely to find it, to pursue it, to create it. So point number four, a bad fit job does not mean a bad fit career.

Define what you want and go out and find it. It exists. Number five, do more of what you love and less of what you don't. And this has to do with work and with life. In veterinary medicine, what we can do with these types of degrees is very expansive. And as you are in the career for a while, you're gonna start to learn the aspects of it that you really enjoy,

that really light you up and the pieces that really aren't your cup of tea. Don't let those areas that you don't enjoy turn into evidence that you're not good enough for this job, that you're not cut out for it. That's not what's happening. You're not meant to love all of it. You're also not meant to do all of it if you don't want to.

So instead, I want you to consider what do you love? Do more of that. If there's different disciplines of the different areas that you love, species that you enjoy working with, do more of that and do less of the things that you don't. Everybody benefits when we work within our strengths and our and our interests. And I want you to carry this bit of advice over into the rest of your entire life.

Do more of what you love. Spend less time doing the things that you don't enjoy. We're gonna come back to that one in a few minutes. Number six, this is a general reminder that clients cases and coworkers cannot ruin your day. Clients, cases, cases and coworkers. They cannot ruin your day unless you let them. The way that you combat this is you decide and advance what you wanna believe about all of it.

You literally create a belief about clients, a belief about coworkers, a belief about your cases that serves you, that keeps you in a higher vibration, that has you in a positive state of mood, and you practice those as mantras throughout your day. When you come up against challenges, do not bite into the narrative that is so common in this profession that clients and cases and coworkers can ruin your day because they are not that powerful.

Do not give them your power. You get to decide for you. All of those things are just circumstances. They're just things that happen. And my friends, if you've not learned anything from me over here, joyful dvm, it's that please remember this, the things that happen in the world do not create your emotion. They never have. We've been taught that they did,

but they don't. Your emotion is created by what you believe about what happens around you. So decide in advance before you ever walk out that door, what you are going to believe about your clients, your cases and your coworkers, and all the other variables that pop up during the day. Decide in advance. Carry those with you in your mind as a mantra and remind yourself that day in and day out as you go through your day to pull yourself back into an experience that serves you and serves your clients better.

Number seven, your student loans are not ruining your life or holding you back. Take a breath. I'm gonna say that one again. Your student loans are not ruining your life or holding you back. So if you really feel trapped by them, if you really believe that you can't have a life until they're paid off, that you're gonna suffer as long as they exist,

it is time for you to tell yourself a different story about them. There's lots of stories available. The truth is a good place to start. Remind yourself that these student loans were not ruining your life the moment you decided to take them out, that they were a worthwhile sacrifice, a worthwhile investment, a better word, an investment in your dreams that you had confidence in,

your ability to pay them back. Let yourself remember that. And then also remember that your student loans are simply evidence of success at the hardest thing that you've ever done in your life. Most likely up until this point, they are like your trophy. They are evidence of your success. Can you pay them off? Sure. And you get to decide how you do that.

You get to decide if you wanna just buckle down and just knock 'em out in a few years. Or if you wanna just do income based repayment and then have a forgiveness at the end. Whatever you wanna do. There's no right and wrong, but here's what I'll tell you. Everybody around you's gotta have an opinion. And the more opinions that you hear about how you should handle your student loans and how egregious they are and how terrible and how victimized you are by them,

the more you're going to feel confused and frustrated and defeated by them. Don't let that happen. It's just money. It's manmade. It has no reflection on your value. It does not re represent your safety. Do not give it that power. It's money. It doesn't matter. Just decide how you wanna deal with it for you. This is not your parents' student loan.

This is not your your boss's student loans. This is not your clergy student loans. This is not your colleagues student loans. These are yours. And you get to decide what you wanna do with them and what you're gonna make them mean. And this is a place that I want to be really clear that you've gotta be super careful because there are so many strong opinions about this of people who are really riled up about the existence of these loans and the negative impact that it's gonna have on the lives of people.

But I wanna tell you something. There are plenty of veterinary professionals out there who are thriving, who have paid off hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans in under five years who have decided that maybe that student loan payment is just gonna be part of their regular expenses like electricity or internet. And they're not letting it dictate their life. They're not putting it in an if and then or when and then statement.

They're not living in this place of when they're gone, then I can live. Don't give your power away to money. Let it be neutral. Let it be just a piece of your circumstances. Live your life. It does not define you. Don't let it. And when you get caught up with people who want to turn it into a bigger thing than it is gracefully,

step out of that. It does not serve you to buy into that mentality. Those student loans, I would even argue, are an intentional part of your journey. They're an opportunity for you to learn how to manage your money story. My friends, our money stories run very deep. They're generational. And when we tire our value, our worth, our success into money,

our safety into money, we lose every single time. Money's not that powerful. So this is just a beautiful opportunity for you to rewrite your money story so that you are not tied to it as a measure of your wellbeing for the rest of your life. It's a beautiful gift. It takes some work, but you can do it. And it starts by just allowing yourself to tell a different story.

Borrow mine. It's evidence of success at the hardest thing that you've ever done. Point number eight, there's no upside to people pleasing. I told you we were gonna kind of come back around to this, right? There is no upside to people pleasing. You're gonna be uncomfortable either way. So stop trying to figure out what people want you to do.

It's the waste of your time. Stop trying to figure out what you can decide to do, what you can say, how you can present yourself so somebody's happy, so somebody's pleased. So somebody doesn't get frustrated or angry. Their emotions are their responsibility. Your emotions are yours and it, here's the thing I know about people pleasing. When you keep trying to be who you think is going to create a positive interaction with somebody else,

you are still sacrificing. You are still uncomfortable. We do this because we're like, I just don't wanna deal with them. I don't wanna, you know, deal with their uncomfortable reaction. But the the thing of it is, the reason you don't wanna deal with somebody else's uncomfortable reaction is because of the way that you feel when they're uncomfortable. But you're missing that when you show up as somebody other than yourself,

you're already uncomfortable. So if you're gonna be uncomfortable either way, why don't you show up in your own truth? Why don't you speak what's real for you? Be genuine. Be honest. I'm not saying be say, be mean. I'm saying be honest, be genuine, be you. Say no when you wanna say no. And let the other people have whatever experience of you that they have.

You're not responsible for their emotions, you're responsible for yours. And the more that you show up in your own integrity, the more you're gonna have faith and trust and confidence in yourself. You're gonna build your resilience. You're gonna create the life that you want. And that's the most important thing. Number nine, perfectionism and control aren't saving you. Perfectionism and control aren't saving you.

You can't do it right enough to guarantee there's negative never a negative outcome. My friend's, perfectionism is an unattainable expectation. We can't define it. So we can't attain it. It's a waste of time. It's a huge waste of emotional energy and control that need to do all the things yourself to guarantee that it gets done right. Also, complete waste of your time because at the end of the day,

you're still a human. Mistakes happen. It's not the end of the world. Whenever we really buy into perfectionism and control, it's really a kind of another layer of people pleasing. We're trying to control the reactions of other people to circumstances that are within our, our influence. But we are not powerful enough to make sure that everything is perfect all the time to make sure that everything is just so that people are always happy that patients always get better.

That's not how this life works. So this perfectionism and control, it's robbing you of your wellbeing. It's taking away your time to spend with your friends and your family. You need to start embracing the idea that good enough is good enough. Done is better than perfect. A, a short medical record is fine. A novel saves you from nothing. Perfectionism and control erodes teams.

It erodes trust and it does nothing for your own self-confidence. Because it's a never ending spiral. You will never know enough to guarantee it's always right. You will never be able to do enough to guarantee it's always perfect. So just allow yourself to step off the hamster wheel to let it be good enough to go on with the other aspects of your life and to let yourself experience what good enough is like.

Because here's what I know as a recovering perfectionist and control freak, that what I anticipated would happen almost never happens. And when I say almost, I'm saying like maybe 0.0001% of the time does it actually happen. The emotional energy that I lose trying to control the outcome is never worth the trade off, never worth it. So allow yourself to sit in good enough and see how it works out.

I think you're gonna be amazed. And the time that you get back, the way your confidence increases, your wellbeing flourishes. It's totally worth it. Number 10, you don't control patient outcomes no matter how hard you try, my friends, you do not control patient outcomes. You are not that powerful. You do not control physiology. We have an influence.

We have a minor influence in all of this. We make recommendations. Clients make decisions, treatments, medications, they get applied. And then we all have to stand back and wait to see how the patient responds. So do not let your brain convince you that whether or not a patient lives or dies is your sole responsibility because my friend, you are not that powerful.

There are enough cases that should have died, that lived and enough that should have lived, that died for us to be able to prove this over and over and over again. So take that responsibility off of your shoulders. Just do the best you can, which means you make the best recommendations that you can. You follow through with the decisions that the owners make and you all stand back and wait.

And in that, you also have to remember that this is the practice of veterinary medicine. This is not the perfection of veterinary medicine, it's the practice. So built into our career field is uncertainty, is unknown, is the potential for wrong choices and wrong decisions. That's why we have liability insurance. And here's what I know about that. Kinda get a bonus tip here.

You're never as bad as you think you are. We aren't as a profession if we sucked at this job as much as, as many of us believe that we do, there's no way that we would be insurable as a profession. And not only are we insurable, our insurance is really darn cheap. So for an entire industry that hedges its bets in selling insurance and pricing it based on with the predictions of the need of payout,

keep that in mind. We are a really sure bet. We are a safe bet when it comes to our performance. So take off your shoulders, the need to fix things. You're not that powerful. You don't fix animals, you don't. You're not that powerful. You don't control physiology. You influence their ability to heal. And even that, to the extent of what I don't know,

how many of have we seen who looked drastically ill? The clients declined everything, took the pet home and it lived. Did they need us at all? I don't know. But what I do know is that with all of that kind of evidence, you have to remember that you are not responsible for patient outcomes. And if that's what you're measuring yourself against,

you're gonna lose every single time. So step back, give yourself a grace. Stay in your lane. You're here to educate. You're here to give some opinions, some advice, some recommendations. Then you have to let the owners decide and then you go forward from there. How that turns out, what they decide, not your responsibility. Number 11,

you can't prevent board complaints. I'm gonna say that again. You cannot prevent board complaints. It's impossible. A board complaint is something that is done by another human. It's their action, which means it's driven by their emotion, which means that's created by whatever they're believing. And until you can learn how to control their thoughts, you are never gonna be able to control whether or not somebody decides to file a board complaint against you.

It has nothing to do with you. It has to do with their emotional energy around whatever's going on. And it's never as simple as the case. It's all the other aspects of their life that you don't have any information about. So for every one of you out there who's saying for hours after work, writing up these novels of medical records, thinking somehow that's gonna prevent a board complaint,

let me just offer this to you as a general reminder. Nobody's gonna see those records unless a board complaint occurs, which means you're preventing nothing by spending all that time on them, do what's required. Put it in the medical record. I'm not asking you to be sloppy, but what I'm telling you is stop convincing yourself that you need to write those novels to do your job well because you do not,

A patient is not healed by what you write in a record. It's just documentation. Keep it to the bare minimum. Take your life back, take your time back. All of it's a decision. You get to decide and stop believing that you have enough power to prevent board complaints because you don't. It's gonna happen for most of us at some point in our career.

Who cares? Have you taken a look at what happens during board complaints? Have you looked at the percentage of veterinary professionals that lose their license? It's ridiculously tiny. It's almost unheard of. People who lose their licenses and veterinary medicine usually aren't from board complaints. It's usually from some kind of abuse of the substances that we have at our access. And if it is from a board complaint,

it's not almost never a first time offense kind of deal. Most board complaints, if you're gonna get any kind of of penalty, it's gonna be a slap on the wrist for your medical records. So fine, then you go back and you fix 'em. But let's not spend our whole life trying to avoid it because who cares? It may never happen to you anyway.

What matters is how you treat the patient in front of you, how you deal with the client in front of you. How do you interact or you're doing your job if your medical records a little bit sloppy. Now, I'm not telling you not to write medical records. Please misunderstand, I don't need a bunch of hate emails over this. But what I do want you to understand is the amount of time that you,

that many of us have put into writing up these novels of medical records, keeping us hours and hours after work, it's unnecessary. It's driven by fear. It is driven by fear. So you have to look at your motives here. Write down what's to be, needs to be written down. Get on with your life. Don't let fear have you of what might happen if somebody down the road looks at your medical record or the fear of house,

you might be judged by a colleague. Be the reason that you don't engage in the rest of your life and you buy into a narrative that vet bed sucks the life outta you because you never get outta work on time. You've gotta own your choices here. And so, so many of us think we're preventing board complaints and then we're, we're preventing judgment from other people by writing these novels.

And we aren't. Because you're not that powerful. You will never be able to control what another person believes about you or what another person does. So just allow them to have whatever experience of them, of you that they have, you know your truth. Show up. Do the job to your best of your ability. Document it in a way that covers the basis of what you legally have to do and get on with your life.

If you, you end up with a board complaint, we'll deal with it. Then. If you end up with a colleague that says something nasty about you, who cares? You know how many nasty remarks I get? It's fine. It doesn't change who I am. And it doesn't change who you are. Don't let the world be the judge and jury of your life.

Don't let them decide your value. Don't let them convince you that you're less than what other people believe about you, is actually none of your business because it's something you will never control. The only opinion, my friend, that matters is yours. Your belief about you work on that. That will serve you much better. And this brings us to point number 12.

Follow your dreams. I know that sounds kind of flip and cliche, but it's so important. You came into veterinary medicine because you were following your dreams. You were following a desire within your heart. You were following what you knew you wanted to do. You believed that it would take you where you wanted to go. There's no reason to not continue to do that.

Even if you identify that veterinary medicine is just one stepping stone in your journey, don't let your experience of this career field shut down your future. You still have dreams pursue them. This journey that you're on is intentional. Every single aspect of it, every component, every rough challenge that you're up against, every unexpected turn is intentional. You're learning all along the way.

You're learning how to be you. You're learning how to build confidence. You're learning. You're gaining clarity around, around your purpose. If you stop, if you let your current experience still define your life, the value of your life, the success of your life, and where you're going in the future, you're not gonna go anywhere different. And my friends,

here's what I know for sure and for certain that we are here to grow and to learn and to evolve every step of the way. This is a forward motion, this life experience that we're in. It's not a one and done kind of deal. The rules that applied to our grandparents don't apply to us. We don't go out. We get a good job.

We stay in it until retirement, and then what we live happily ever after. That is not your reality. The world has changed. It expands. It's moving at the speed so much faster than anything ever before. And that's great. You live in this time on purpose. You're supposed to be here right now. And so if part of your journey is simply clarity that vet medicine got you started,

but it isn't where you're headed in the future, that's wonderful. That's perfect for you. Embrace that. Allow yourself to know that truth and to move forward in your life, not through judgment of failure, but through embracing what you learned in the experiences that you had that will serve you and others as you move forward. Your hopes and dreams matter, and those are going to change and evolve over time.

Allow yourself to change and evolve with them. My friends, I've said it a million times and I'm gonna say it one more time as we close this episode. VetMed did not ruin your life. It just prepared you for what comes next. That's gonna wrap it up for episode 98. I'll see you next Time.