‘Be honest, be loving, be grateful, and be brave.’ – Dr. Julie Cappel
Are you a new veterinarian? Congratulations, your life will never be dull.
Will there be self-doubt, stress, and bone-crushing weariness? Yes, there will be. Will there be pride, joy, and an abundance of love? Absolutely!
Welcome to the best profession in the world.
This May I will celebrate my thirty-third year as a veterinarian. Boy, that makes me sound old, doesn’t it? I don’t really feel that old, I feel quite the opposite.
I love this profession and I still work as a small animal/exotic veterinarian and a veterinary life coach. I love what I do and would not change it for anything in the world.
As a hospital owner and coach, I have worked with so many young veterinarians that I’ve lost count, but I know that each one was uniquely gifted and supremely talented.
I have some advice for you gifted and talented individuals.
In order to stay honest, you have to know yourself well and be true to who you are. Your moral character is all you have in the end.
If you allow yourself to cave in to another veterinarian’s opinion or be bullied by clients, you will be the one left suffering. Hiding your mistakes or lying to your clients will bite you in the butt someday.
Be true and honest with yourself and others, and acknowledge your weaknesses. The only way to sleep well at night is to know that you have always remained true to your ethics and have done the best that you can.
Be Loving To Yourself
Most veterinarians are not terrific at caring for themselves.
Our first instinct is to take care of the patients, clients, and team members before caring for ourselves.
Waiting until you are stressed out and overwhelmed to take care of yourself is like trying to breathe without oxygen.
Routine things like, healthy eating, regular exercise, saving money, and setting boundaries, are the things that really constitute self-care.
Commit to Understanding the Priorities in Your Life
Once you have your priorities in mind, commit yourself to them.
It takes a strong commitment to yourself, to allow your associates to cover for you while you go to a therapy session or attend an event outside work.
You have to have the resolve and determination to love yourself and put your needs first.
Be Grateful and Loving To Others
Without animals, we have no profession and along with those animals come people. Even animals with jerks for owners deserve love and care.
Looking for the things in your day to be grateful for will help you see beyond the jerks.
Gratitude breeds positivity. As you move throughout your day, try to notice the little things that are going well for you. Appreciate the kind people, sweet pets, and cases that go well.
Looking for the positive things, will allow your brain to let go of stress and worry.
Practice gratitude and pass your positive energy along to others in your life allowing them to share in your gratitude and love.
This job requires that you make many decisions, and decisiveness takes bravery.
When impostor syndrome arises, and it will, remember that we call it veterinary practice.
Continue to educate yourself and ask for advice from others that are more experienced.
Do not procrastinate when something unpleasant needs to be done. Conflict resolution is uncomfortable, but facing it bravely and resolving it will allow everyone to move forward.
Remember that you did not become a veterinarian by accident. It took many years of incredibly hard work and dedication. You have proven that you are brave.
If you approach this profession with honesty, gratitude, bravery, and love there is nothing that you cannot overcome. You will have a life that is full and rich with experiences and never a dull moment.