Author Archives: Cari Wise
Author Archives: Cari Wise
I have a question for you this week….
What if you’re normal?
What if patients not getting better don’t mean you’re bad at your job?
What if angry clients don’t mean that you’re doing it all wrong?
What if all that student loan debt doesn’t mean you’ve chosen the wrong career?
What if your anxiety, and the nights you’ve spent worrying about your cases doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you?
What if you’re just normal?
Here’s the truth…
Most of us think we are the only broken ones… the ones doing it all wrong… the ones who never should have gone to vet school in the first place.
From there we can spiral downward very quickly….
We start believing we are total imposters, a waste of space, a burden to those around us, and then we make decisions we can’t take back.
But, what if we are all just normal?
What if feeling insecure, inadequate, anxious and afraid are all just part of how this works?
Now don’t be tempted to conclude you’re screwed… many of us would go there.
Instead, just recognize it for what it really is… just part of a journey you are meant to take.
This is just the part where it’s time to grow again… where the discomfort of where you are is unbearable long-term, so you find yourself reconsidering everything.
I like to think about this time as what a caterpillar would feel like just before it breaks out of the cocoon. Tight, cramped, thinking this cocoon building thing was a terrible idea… something has gone terribly wrong… worst. decision. ever.
Right now as YOU reconsider all aspects of your life, you’re drawing the same conclusion: worst. decision. ever.
But what if you’re normal?
What if, like the caterpillar, this is all just part of the process, and the real magic starts when you grow out of where you are right now?
That caterpillar didn’t even know it would become a butterfly, let alone how to fly, when it was in the cocoon, it had no idea what was coming next… but it knew staying put wasn’t an option.
What if not knowing what is coming next is an intentional part of the journey?
When you allow yourself to consider this, you can let go of the belief that everything is going wrong. When you let go of that, it becomes a whole lot easer to believe you are normal.
Just start there.
What if you are normal? What becomes possible then?
Have you wondered why this VetMed work-life balance thing is so dang hard?
I’ve got the answer: You were set up to fail.
Yep, you heard me, right.
Our education and our professional organizations have set us up to fail.
They haven’t meant to do it…
I’m certain they were motivated by the desire to help.
But, I think it’s had the opposite effect.
I discussed this rather passionately in a Facebook Live Event.
See, the more we talk about the veterinary profession being at the top of the suicide list as if it is an inevitable reality, and the more resources we create for the veterinary profession to use once we are already in crisis mode, the more we reinforce the belief that being at risk for suicide and experiencing crisis are inevitable consequences of this profession.
I 100% believe these discussions and resources are life-saving and needed, so don’t interpret my words otherwise.
BUT, statistical discussions and crisis-ready resources alone are not enough.
In the same way that sharing dog-bite statistics and best methods to repair dog-bite lacerations will do nothing to stop dog bites, such is the approach we are taking to address a real mental health problem in our profession.
This approach labels us as victims… helpless victims of the profession we chose.
We are doing nothing to get in front of the mental health challenges.
We are doing nothing to stop mental health crisis from happening in the first place.
We are missing the whole point.
I’m not okay with that.
What’s true is that each and every one of us has the power to choose our responses, including our emotional responses, in any given situation.
Did you know that? Did you know that in addition to being able to choose the words that come out of your mouth, you can also choose the way you feel on the inside, No Matter What?
It’s this magical growth into Emotional Adulthood that most of us don’t even know is possible until someone shares that it exists.
That’s me. I’m sharing! Listen up!
When we grow into Emotional Adulthood, our happiness isn’t influenced by things outside of ourselves… things like the nasty comments clients make, overbooked schedules, patients who don’t respond to treatment, the volume of our student loan debt, etc.
When we grow into Emotional Adulthood we believe in ourselves, we become powerful, we can handle anything that comes at us.
But here’s the thing… advancing in years on this planet does not increase our Emotional Adulthood. It takes intentional learning and effort to understand the concepts and then apply them in our own lives.
It’s work… but it opens up every opportunity!
If the life you have right now is not the life you want, you’ve got some work to do.
There are no victims in VetMed.
I’m available to help you identify what’s really holding you back, and to teach you life-alternating concepts that will serve you for the rest of your life.
I’m all in…. are you curious?
If the answer is yes, then I encourage you to check out my Free Webinar and I promise you’ll walk away with a new awareness and understanding about yourself, your life as it currently exists, and your ability to create the life you want starting right now.
You have nothing to lose… except the belief that you are destined to crummy life and a victim of your profession.
You have everything to gain… so Click Here, and let’s get to work!
One of the things we do really well in VetMed is diagnostics.
I mean, we kind of have to, because our patients can’t talk, right?
We intentionally gather information about a particular problem in order to make decisions and create a plan for addressing the problem.
In order to fix any problem, we have to first identify the cause.
Once we’ve identified the cause, only then can we consider potential solutions.
But I’m left wondering, why don’t we offer ourselves the same level of care?
I’m not talking about the human healthcare system… don’t even get me started on that…
I’m talking about our personal approach to our own mental health.
Specifically, I’m talking about the anxiety-stress-worry cycle we experience.
Why are we so quick to avoid it (changing jobs) and cover it up (ice cream in my case) instead of taking the time to understand what is causing it, and consider possible solutions?
Maybe it’s simply because we don’t know how.
Maybe it’s because somewhere along the way we bought into a belief that there is no solution for the causes of VetMed anxiety… that it’s inevitable.
Do you believe that?
I hope not.
You have more power than that… like WAY MORE POWER.
I shared my thoughts on this in a Joyful DVM Facebook Live. To watch, CLICK HERE.
There is a lot of joy, and a lot of heartache, that comes along with a career in VetMed. This isn’t news to you.
I know you’ve experienced it first hand like I have.
I also suspect that the heartache has been harder to deal with than you expected it to be… especially when you add to it the sometimes challenging interactions with clients and staff.
It was really hard for me.
Together this combination can create considerable anxiety, stress, and sadness. For many of us it leads to depression, burn-out, and career regret.
Student loan debt and the absence of work-life balance can make it worse.
So, is this outcome inevitable?
At surface level it sure seems to be, right?
Many of us believe we are victims of VetMed… victims of what we didn’t know when we decided to pursue these careers… victims of low pay, high student loan balances, long hours, cranky clients, crummy patient outcomes, and no balance between work and the rest of our lives.
Many of us believe we are destined to be stressed out, exhausted, and financially stretched thin.
Many of us even believe we did this to ourselves through poor choices… and so we are not only victims of VetMed, but victims of ourselves as well.
I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what information would have been helpful to know 10-20 years ago.
Not so much because I would have taken different actions, and created different outcomes… but because I recognize now that those years of my life would have been fundamentally different…
Less worry. More peace. More joy. Waaaayyyyy more fun.
See, I spent a lot of time avoiding and judging everything negative.
I had a pretty firm set of expectations for what my VetLife should have looked like, how clients should have behaved, how cases should have turned out, and how my personal life should have evolved.
Anytime my expectations weren’t met, I was convinced something was going terribly wrong (and it usually wasn’t me).
What I didn’t understand back then was that life is 50/50 positive and negative. That’s just how this world and life experience roles. (Don’t believe me? Think about the great lengths our bodies go to in order to maintain homeostasis.)
If I’d have known “positive all the time” wasn’t the goal, and “negative” wasn’t a catastrophe, I could have relaxed.
I also could have gotten to work understanding my reactions and responses, and taken responsibility for my own life much earlier.
That’s the key…
…. understanding that the only person responsible for the state of your life is you.
There are no victims.
There is nothing you can’t overcome.
The past is perfect just as it unfolded.
The future is full of limitless opportunity.
The present is as wonderful, or terrible, as you believe it to be.
So here’s the take home message:
If you aren’t happy with your life, you need to own that unhappiness and get to work learning how you alone created your reality. When you do this work, you also learn exactly how to change it… and that’s when the magic happens!
I teach this life-changing information inside Vet Life Academy
Check it out. Your life is waiting.
You know those people who are super-careful not to talk about potentially uncomfortable subjects just to keep the peace?
Well, that’s not me.
In a Joyful DVM Facebook Live I dove straight into a subject most people just don’t talk about… VetMed and weight gain.
It’s a thing.
For many, many of us, the extra pounds we carry directly correlate to the years we’ve been in the profession.
What’s worse, many of us know we are packing around extra weight… and many of us have tried a variety of diet and exercise plans just to watch the weight come back (and then some).
That was me. I’m “some of us”.
The thing is, even as I tried all the diets and tried to exercise… I knew it just didn’t feel right. Even in my temporary success, I knew it wasn’t sustainable. I wasn’t going to eat all that weird sh*t forever.
And as much as I knew that, I also knew that my entire “weight problem” was just visible evidence of the stuff going on in my head. I don’t know why I knew that, and I certainly didn’t know how to fix it, but I knew it was true.
I was right.
So in a Joyful DVM Facebook Live, I talked about what I did, and shared how much weight I dropped in the last year…
Awkward? A little. Worth it? TOTALLY, especially if it helps you turn it all around more quickly and with less struggle than I did.
🎬 You can watch the replay HERE.
Sometimes gratitude can hurt you.
I know, I know… that sounds ridiculous. So let me explain.
Many of us have been told from childhood to be thankful for the things we have in our lives. Things like warm beds, food, and shoes.
As adults, many of us carry with us the belief that we should be thankful for everything. On the surface this sounds like a good thing. But in typical human form, we tend to mess it up.
Some of us intentionally practice gratitude. We say “Thank You” before meals, and when people do nice things for us, like holding open doors. We might also start or end our days writing lists of everything in our lives we are thankful for.
These are all wonderful activities because they create genuine, positive emotions within us. Those emotions, and the intentional thoughts about what is great in our lives, really help us to gain perspective when some of the not-so-great things pop up.
But sadly, many of us are using the practice as gratitude in a very negative way that actually makes us feel worse.
Here’s what I mean…
Let’s say you are driving to work on a very hot day and your air conditioner quits in your car. You mutter to yourself, “I hate this car” and feel angry, which would be a pretty typical response from most of us.
But for some of us, it doesn’t end there. Some of us follow “I hate this car” with “I should be thankful to have a car”. It seems sooo innocent… a little gratitude to balance out the negative. But it has the opposite effect because of two little words, “should be“.
See, any time you stick “should” onto a sentence, you are essentially punching yourself in the face. You are judging yourself so harshly that even an attempt at gratitude like “I should be thankful to have a car at all” creates an emotion of shame.
What you don’t see is that you are shaming yourself for saying you hate your car. You are telling yourself you don’t have any right to hate your car because you should just be thankful to have one at all. It’s pretty hard to tap into positive emotions of gratitude when you are beating yourself up.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to fix, but if you’ve been doing it a long time, it will take some practice. You’ve just got to ditch the “should monster”.
Here’s the above example, modified to leave out the should…
“I hate my car” emotion = anger or frustration
“I am thankful to have a car to drive” emotion = gratitude
See how that’s different than “I should be thankful I have a car to drive” which creates an emotion of shame and compounds the negative?
And obviously, this doesn’t apply just to cars.. lol.
On a recent Facebook Live I talked about this at length, and shared a VetMed related example that may just hit home. To watch the FB Live, CLICK HERE.
The Key Take Home is this: any time you hear yourself say “should”, recognize that as an indicator that you might be beating yourself up.. and then figure out why. We give the “shoulds” in our lives a lot of undeserved power. Let’s stop doing that.
Give it a try. And if you get stuck in a certain “should” thought loop that you can’t stop, shoot me an email and I’ll try to help you untangle it!
I very clearly remember complaining to my fellow vets and vet techs about clients, friends, and even family who didn’t respect my boundaries.
It was so rude of them.
I felt very angry every time my boundaries were violated…
… probably because deep down I knew I had No Control over the actions of other people.
That created a bit of despair because I believed the only way I would ever be able to enjoy work-life balance was if other people started following the rules… and I knew the chances of that happening were slim to none.
It seemed impossible… because it was impossible!
What I didn’t know was that both creating boundaries and upholding boundaries actually have NOTHING to do with what other people do.
The ONLY PERSON who can violate my boundary is ME.
A boundary is simply a request for another person to behave a certain way, and a consequence if they choose not to do so.
Boundaries are only violated when the person setting the boundary doesn’t follow through with the consequence when the behavior request isn’t met.
(That part about following through with the consequence… that’s the part I missed.)
I thought once I set the boundary, the other person would, of course, follow through with the requested behavior if they respected my position. When they didn’t, I’d become angry, offended, victimized.
I had it all wrong… and I was violating my own boundaries (and creating my own misery) again and again and again because I wasn’t following through with the consequences.
And if I’m honest, I’m not sure I even clearly expressed the consequences…
I had no idea what I was doing.
Here’s the Great News for you… now that I “get it” when it comes to setting boundaries in VetMed, I’m making it a whole lot easier for all of us!
This is a Critical Skill to master if you want work-life balance, and some autonomy in your life. I talked about all of this yesterday in a Facebook Live Event on the Joyful DVM page. To listen, CLICK HERE.
Want to just cut to the chase?
I’ve got you covered!
I created a New Free Resource: Setting Boundaries Blueprint for Veterinary Professionals. I’ve included word-by-word scripts of exactly what you can say to set boundaries in a variety of scenarios.
It doesn’t get easier than that.
To get a copy of the Setting Boundaries Blueprint, CLICK HERE.
If you have any questions along the way, just reply to this email, or tag me on social #JoyfulDVM @JoyfulDVM
There is a bit of an epidemic spreading through the veterinary profession.
It’s so embedded into who we are, that we don’t even know it’s there… let alone realize how it is influencing every single thing in our lives.
The epidemic > lack of belief in ourselves.
There is a lot of responsibility that comes with the careers we’ve chosen, and a lot of heartache. As the medical professionals, we want all of our patients to get better… and we mistakenly believe that when we do our jobs the right way, our patients improve.
That’s not the way this works, my friend. Medical outcomes are not something we control.
Unfortunately, many of us judge ourselves harshly when the outcomes are not as expected.
We begin to believe we aren’t cut out for this job, we aren’t good enough, we’re imposters.
And when clients say nasty things to us… we start to believe that too.
What’s worse, this growing lack of belief in ourselves is quiet. It’s sneaky. It infiltrates our entire lives and most of us have no idea the extent to which it is influencing our decisions and actions every day.
I talked about this in a Joyful DVM Facebook Live were I shared three stories many of us tell, and believe. These types of stories area the warning signals that your belief in yourself is waning… so you definitely need to be able to recognize them when they pop up. To listen to the replay, CLICK HERE.
Know This: I believe in you! I know you are not a member of this profession by accident. I remember all you’ve already achieved to even be able to call yourself a veterinary professional. And I know there are amazing things in store for you in the future once you start believing in you, too.
I don’t know about you, but I hit a point in my veterinary career where I’d had enough…
… enough of getting off work late and cancelling plans
… enough of constantly thinking about (and let’s be honest, worrying about) cases every waking moment
… enough pushing through my work week to enjoy a day off
But again, if I’m honest, those days off rarely lived up to the greatness I thought they’d be.
Because… I’d be thinking about work, worrying about cases, getting calls from the office… and many times dropping by “for just a minute”.
One day I just decided enough was enough, and that the life I’d been living was not the life I wanted to keep living in the future. I made some massive changes, some massive mistakes, and managed to rewrite my own vet life story despite it all.
Was it easy? Nope
Was it fast? Nope
Was it worth it? Absolutely!
I’ll admit, those were some really hard times. But now I can look back and appreciate the value of the journey. In the moment, we really can’t see the forest for the trees…
So why am I telling you this?
Because I don’t want it to be that hard for you… I don’t want you to give in to the lie that says it never gets better… I don’t want you to think you have made a big fat mistake by pursuing vet med.
You haven’t ruined your life.
Really. You haven’t.
You’ve done the best you can with the resources and information you’ve had available to you… and now you just need More Information & New Resources!
I’ve got you covered!
Learn more at https://joyfuldvm.com/webinar