Cari Wise

Author Archives: Cari Wise

Vet Med Self Sabotage

Many of us in the veterinary profession believe that pursuing this career path was a mistake. 😥

We find evidence of this in…

👉🏻 toxic work environments
👉🏻 unpleasant client interactions
👉🏻 student loan debt
👉🏻 growing waist lines
👉🏻 the repeating cycle of anxiety and stress

This is not the life we want! So we just decide that we made a HUGE mistake in going to vet/tech school at all …

It seems logical… no vet/tech school ➡️ none of the crappy things I listed above.

But what if we’re wrong? 🤔

What if the choice to pursue that education and accumulate all that debt was actually not a mistake at all? 😳

What if what you are experiencing Right Now is EXACTLY right? 🤯
Meant to be?🤯
Part of your journey?🤯

What’s really happening is that you’re sabotaging yourself, and your future.

You’re trying to make sense of (and avoid or justify) the uncomfortable emotions and situations you’re facing right now by looking to the past for answers (and planning your get way).

[spoiler] The answers aren’t behind you. They never were.

📣 Everything you want in your life is waiting in front of you.

⏰ Waiting for you to show up.
⏰ Waiting for you to accept that uncertainty is part of the process.
⏰ Waiting for you to remember you’ve already done really hard things.

Don’t believe me? How about this….  That student loan balance… that’s EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS, my friend.  Whaaaaaaaattttt???!!!  Yes It Is!

… and this email here… just the tip of the iceberg. 

Friend, your life is Just Getting Started.

It may not feel that way right now, but I PROMISE it’s true.

All you need is a little help figuring it all out. Vet Life Academy was created for exactly that purpose.

Together we take back our power and change our futures one intentional decision at a time.

Negative Consequence of Achieved Goals

Back in the early days of my veterinary career I found myself in a slump and a little defeated.

I’d worked So Hard for So Long to do all the things I needed to do to become a veterinarian. It had been my single greatest goal, my purpose…

But not long after graduating and beginning my work as a real vet, I found myself unhappy.

Sure, it was stressful being a new grad… but that wasn’t the problem. (Well, it was a problem lol… but not the cause of this problem! 😊)

This problem felt bigger…  it included thoughts like “I never should have gone to vet school” and “Is this it? Is this all there is?” and even “This is getting kind of boring”.

From there I started thinking about changing jobs…  a fresh start would be the solution. When that didn’t work, I began thinking about leaving the profession all together… and that came with its own set of thoughts and emotions… including guilt.

What I didn’t realize then was that the problem wasn’t actually anything veterinary related- it was simply the negative consequences of an achieved goal… and it was totally normal! (And Fixable!)

See, as humans we need to keep learning and growing. We need to be planning ahead… it’s a skill that is only available to us as human beings. When we don’t exercise that part of our brains, we become unhappy.

Status quo just won’t cut it, we were intentionally made to do more!

The amazing thing is, once we start planning ahead, and working toward those new goals (even really tiny ones), our brain shifts…  we begin living in the excited anticipation of what could and will be in the future…

The super-cool benefit: the hard stuff doesn’t seem so hard and we have more energy than we would if we kept living day to day without something additional to focus on and work toward.


Yep, putting new, challenging stuff in your brain makes all that vet-related stress get easier. 🤯

In a Joyful DVM Facebook Live Event I talked about this in detail and gave some specific examples of the types of things you could be planning and working for… and trust me, it’s waaaayyy easier than you think it will be!

You can check out the video RIGHT HERE.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

The Veterinary Resentment Trap

How do you feel about your choice to join the veterinary profession?

If you are like many of us, veterinary resentment is near the top of the list. 😕

Over time, we build up a lot of resentment about all kinds of things associated with our jobs including…

👉🏻the hours we work,
👉🏻clients in general,
👉🏻student loan debt,
👉🏻and even our decision to join the profession in the first place.

Once it starts, the resentment can take on a life of its own.

It commonly spills into many different areas of our lives, and the focus of our resentment become the reason why believe we can’t ever have the lives we want… at least not as long as we stay in this profession.

📣 It’s Not True!

In a  Joyful DVM Facebook Live Event I talk through the snowball effect of resentment, explain how you have ALL THE POWER to stop the cycle (and take back your joy!), and give you word-by-word examples of how to get it done!

🎉 Who doesn’t want that?!

🎬 To watch or listen to the video, CLICK RIGHT HERE!
Hanging onto veterinary resentment is a choice.

It will never help you create what you want in the future…  because you can’t move forward while constantly looking back.

Resentment fuels your misery, but you can change that.

The journey toward life and career you want is only one intentional decision away!

Why we beat ourselves up in Vet Med

Have you ever wondered why we beat ourselves up so much in Vet Med?

In Vet Med, why are we so quick to judge ourselves when patients don’t get well or clients behave badly?

A pesky voice in our minds tells us it’s our fault…  we must have failed…

Somewhere along the way we decided that happy clients and patients that get well are evidence of success, value and worth as a veterinarian.

It’s a lie.

It’s actually worse than a lie because it depends on two things we have zero control over:

1. what other people do  

2. how individual patients respond to treatment

Much of our anxiety, worry and dread as veterinary professionals are rooted in the “what-if world” of these two uncontrollable things… and left unchecked, our minds spin in frenzy trying to manage all the variables that might possibly swing the outcome in our favor.

Spoiler: It doesn’t work.

It actually creates a whole lot of other issues in our professional and personal lives…

In a Facebook Live Event, I talked about this in detail and walked through an example of how it often plays out.

To watch the video, CLICK HERE.

Getting a handle on the anxiety is the first step in taking back control of our lives and learning how to create a life we want to live… but most of us don’t know where to start.

I’ve got you covered!

Check out my Free Webinar:

Hang in there, my friend. The first step toward a joyful life is always just one brave and intentional decision away…

4 Categories of Veterinary Anxiety

When I look back at my darkest days in veterinary practice, I can still feel the anxiety.

I remember the nights I didn’t sleep much because I was so worried about a patient……or replaying a client interaction over and over in my mind…. or dreading the surgery on my schedule the next day….

Sound familiar? Can you relate?

I owned a solo doctor practice for nearly 5 years… and every day I carried around what I call “Potential GDV Anxiety”.

I’m so thankful one never actually came in… but the emotional well-being I lost to that worthless anxiety can’t really be measured.

There are 4 Categories of Veterinary Anxiety:
1. Personal Inexperience
2. Unexpected Events (my “Potential GDV Anxiety” fits here 🤣)
3. Human Interactions
4. Prior Results

On a Facebook Live Event, I talked about each of these, and described the difference in Stress, Worry & Anxiety.

(Nope, they’re not all the same thing!).

If you want to watch the video, CLICK HERE!

Looking back, if I’d have had the knowledge and tools I have now, I’m confident I would have had an entirely different experience…

It is this belief that prompted me to create Joyful DVM in the first place… so I can help people just like you to break out of the Anxiety Trap, stop regretting your career choice, and learn to enjoy your life!

So if you’re ready to take the first step toward getting a handle on the Anxiety Monster, I invite you to check out my Free Webinar:

In the mean time, I’d love to hear from you.

What causes the most anxiety in your life as a veterinary professional.

Drop me a comment and let me know.

Hang in there, my friend. The first step toward a joyful life is always just one brave and intentional decision away…

Are You A Perfectionist?

Do you describe yourself as a perfectionist?

Many of us do… and we wear it like a badge of honor.  

But here’s the thing… it’s killing us, literally.

The need to be perfect, to have perfect outcomes for each case, to have perfect relationships with clients so they never get upset (or worse, so they don’t think we are incompetent) is an exhausting and impossible task.

We were never meant to be perfect… and certainly not in this profession where we practice veterinary medicine. 🤔

The thing is, when we hold ourselves to an impossible standard of perfection, we then begin to expect the same from everyone around us. It’s a lose/lose situation.

It leaves no room for anybody to just be human and make mistakes… and it results in a cesspool of drama in our lives.

Here’s the truth: We are human and we will make mistakes!

Sometimes those mistakes will involve our patients… and that is why liability insurance exists… to protect us and provide for the client when our humanism shows.

If perfection were the expectation, and the overwhelming standard, we wouldn’t need liability insurance at all.

(See how silly this sounds when we look at it this way?).

In a Facebook Live Event, I talked about the dangers of Perfectionism… you can check it out HERE.

Where do you see perfectionism showing up in your life? 

Drop me a comment and let me know.

Remember, it’s veterinary practice, not veterinary perfection
, my friends!

Every Veterinarian Needs A Business

Every Single Veterinarian Needs To Own Their Own Business.

I know that’s a pretty bold statement, and for many it brings up flashes of brick & mortar animal hospitals with lots of staff and complicated business stuff…

That’s not what I’m talking about (though it is a great option for many!).

What I mean is that every veterinarian should establish themselves as a business… even if they work for someone else.

Confused yet? Stay with me… I’ll explain.

  • If you are picking up extra shifts at vaccine clinics, HVSN, or anywhere else that pays you as a contractor (not W2 pay with taxes withheld) you are already functioning as your own business.
  • If you are vaccinating pets for friends/family outside of your regular job, and accepting money for it (sidebar- you should be paid for this!) then you are already functioning as your own business.
  • If you work relief shifts and are paid as a contractor, then you are already functioning as your own business.

In all of these cases, if you’ve not set up any formal structure, then you’re functioning as a Sole Proprietor… which means all the risk (liability) falls on you as an individual. And I’m guessing it also means you haven’t considered things like paying quarterly taxes, insurance, and tracking expenses.


Establishing yourself as a business is a relatively easy thing to do.

I personally like the ease of an LLC (or PLLC if your state requires professionals to do that instead). LLC stand for Limited Liability Company… and when you set it up and operate correctly within it, you provide a barrier of protection between yourself and your professional activities.

It also provides more formality to fall back on when friends and family request veterinary care… and is the base of the ultimate backup plan (relief work!). There is a lot of comfort in knowing you are already good to go moving forward with providing relief services if you have a sudden change in employment status!

On a Facebook Live Event , I talked about this in more detail.  If you missed it, you can check it out HERE.

2019 Reflection

If you’re like me you can’t help but look back at 2019 and consider all the blessings (and challenges) that came with it.

For me, in 2019 there were three things that will forever remain pivotal moments in my life…

1. The fateful Facebook Live I did on the Joyful DVM FB Page back on May 9th where I ripped off the last bandaid and, love me or hate me, started showing up for you exactly as me (tears and all).

2. The inspired creation of Vet Life Academy which continues to evolve and change, but most importantly has positively impacted the lives of dozens and dozens of veterinary professionals… and we’re just getting started!

3. The victorious completion of Coach Certification through The Life Coach School which has helped me take Joyful DVM to the next level.

There are no victims in VetMed.

You are powerful.

Everything you want for your life is in front of you.

So as you look back at 2019, and welcome in 2020, remember there are only wins and lessons. There are no failures. Your journey is always equipping you for what is coming next.

I wish you many blessings in 2020… and when you are ready to take control of your life, I’m here to help you.

I’m hosting a free webinar: 4 Steps to Understanding VetMed Anxiety and Taking Back Your Life. To learn more or register, CLICK HERE.

Let’s make 2020 the best year yet!


Thanksgiving not only kicks off the Holiday Season here in the US, but a whole new level of crazy in the veterinary profession as well.

Cranky Clients
Appreciative Clients
Dietary Indiscretions
Foreign Bodies
New Puppies & Kittens

It’s an interesting mix of total chaos, holiday cheer, holiday grump, and yummy treats.

The emotional roller coaster is real.

Self Care is critically important during seasons like this.

So what’s your plan?

Mine is Simple Gratitude.

Did you know it’s nearly impossible to be angry and grateful at the same time? It’s just too much of a stretch for our brains to generate and hold thoughts that create the emotions of anger and gratitude simultaneously.

So when I feel myself becoming anxious, overwhelmed, stressed or angry, I find it very useful to divert my attention to what I am grateful for.

Just 15 seconds making a mental list of the all the things I am thankful to have in my life helps balance out the mental weight of all the things I can’t control.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few things that regularly show up on my list…

the Joyful DVM community
my pets
other peoples’ pets
computers & internet access
running water
changing seasons (remind me of this in January)
my ability too choose
the “worst” clients… I’ll be talking about this one Live on the Joyful DVM FB page later today…

What’s on your list, or what’s your strategy for enjoying this time of year?

Vet Tech Love

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week…  the week set aside each year to celebrate Veterinary Technicians.

In my opinion, one week is not enough time to express the respect and gratitude I have for these individuals in our profession.

Have you seen their curriculum? It’s FREAKING HARD!  I know! I was the national program director for over a dozen vet tech programs in the US… the essential knowledge and skills these super-humans have to master in order to graduate, and then utilize to pass the VTNE, is well beyond what is typical for a 2 year program.

It’s tough. But those who make it through the licensure process… they know their sh*t….  are you trusting them to do their job?

You will both be happier if you leverage their skills and knowledge… so consider letting go of the reins a bit to see just how far they can run.

But also, keep this in mind….
Vet Techs, and every member of the VetMed team, also suffer with anxiety. It’s not just you. So don’t forget to show them a little love.

I recently shared Three Things Vet Techs Must Believe if they are going to make it long term in this profession.  To check it out, CLICK HERE >>>