Our new group career coaching program Veterinary Career Mastery launched ten days ago now with 25 veterinary professionals on board which was super-exciting! 🙌🏻 🎉
Apart from the odd tech gremlin we got off to a good start and I have some reflections from what came up in the group to share today that I hope will be useful.
One theme that came out loud and clear was the importance of knowing and living by our values.
What are our core personal values? They are your top 5 or 6 most deeply held motivators and drivers as a person, and they differ slightly for each of us. Examples are values like love, trust, achievement, reliability, adventure, balance etc.
On my pre-course questionnaire, the final question was, “2020 is the year that I…..” and the image below shows the type of answers that came up.
You’ll see from these aspirations that the vast majority of what came up for people are FEELINGS.
Behind all our material or achievement-based goals, lies a desire to experience a particular feeling or emotion. These are our values.
They are incredibly useful to work out as you can use them as in internal barometer for judging whether you need to be changing something in your life – whether that’s professional or personal.
Our feelings and emotions are like an internal sat-nav, directing us towards the lifestyle that we want, and what would feel most satisfying or good to us. When we feel prolonged discontentment at work or in a relationship or any life situation, it’s like the sat-nav saying, “make a U-turn” or take an alternative route, as continuing to follow this path you’re on now is not likely to make you happy and fulfilled.
However, although we are feeling-beings, we are also very much thinking beings – especially as vets so in our profession there is an even higher preference than the general population for thinking in a cognitive, intellectual way, using lots of logic, ration, fact and evidence-based ways of thinking as that’s what we’ve been trained to do.
If we were run by our feelings too much at work, we’d be a mess and it would be hard to cope, given the emotional nature of our work.
So often we can disconnect from our feelings and learn to ignore or discount them, favouring lots of cognitive thinking instead.
This is highly useful in a consult room when making a diagnosis, but not so much when it comes to career or life decision making!
Not tapping into and assessing our values and feelings then makes us much more prone to judging our direction based on comparing to others, or external measures of achievement or success like salary, Certifications or role within the practice.
We start ignoring our internal sat-nav.
Add to this the double-whammy that making changes in our lives or work often means a period of uncertainty and risk. As vets we are very allergic to this as we deal with it on a daily basis where the stakes of that uncertainty and risk are literally life and death.
This creates a recipe for getting a bit lost and off-track with your life or career at times.
So this week I want to invite you to get back in touch with your feelings.
Do you know what your core personal values are?
There are tons of exercises out there for working them out if you’re not currently having any coaching.
Have you thought about how you want to feel on a day-to-day basis this year, or have you set yourself goals and targets based purely on material things, achievements or things you feel you have to do as ‘the next logical step’?
This year for me personally, I want to feel energised, inspired, happy, engaged, creative, connected, playful and to be learning and contributing. 🌸
Having defined that and written it down, I can then ask myself before agreeing to a project or commitment, or when analysing a current habit, “is this in alignment with how I’ve said I want to feel this year?” so I know whether to say yes, or when to kick myself up the bum and exercise when I don’t feel like it etc.
Are the values of the current place you work roughly in line with your own? If not, this may be contributing to it not feeling great to be there. For example, if you have a value of balance and health, and it’s impossible to ever take a lunchbreak currently, there’s a values disconnect.
- Dive down underneath all the intellectual thinking you have to do for your job, or when running your household life admin and tap back into how you are currently feeling most of the time and why.
- Then write out how you would ideally LOVE to be feeling this year and why and see how in or out of alignment you currently are with that vision.
- Then look at what are three actions you could commit to in 2020 – large or small – that get you closer to that alignment.
If you want some accountability with this, hit reply and share them with me – I’d love to hear what you come up with.
This is the sort of thing I go deep into in my coaching practice. I’m fully booked for February at the moment but have 3 slots available for one-to-one coaching in March this year if you’re serious about making some changes to how you feel this year.
That’s all for this week, my four-year old will be back from a playdate watching the new Paw Patrol film in a sec so I need to get this posted while I have a minute’s peace! 😉