It’s been great to be home this week after being out on the road at Vets Now Congress and London Vet Show – I’ve just about recovered now!
It was particularly exciting being involved in the new Community Mastermind sessions at London Vet Show this year, where small groups of 20 people sat down together with a facilitator to talk about a specific issue or problem in the profession currently.
I’ve been reflecting on my learnings from both conferences over the last week, and I can summarise the key take-home in one sentence:
Being a vet seems to amplify any ‘normal’ self-worth issues we may have as people.
This impacts us in so many areas:
- Our finances and earning ability
- Our enjoyment of our veterinary job
- Our ability to advocate for ourselves at work
- Being brave enough to take action to change areas of our job or life that aren’t making us feel great
I saw low self-worth cropping up as the sneaky thief of happiness again and again!
A new study published last month in the Vet Record by Dr Liz Armitage-Chan from the RVC suggests that vets feeling they are not as good at diagnosing and solving cases as their peers is contributing to mental health issues.
Along similar lines, my first lecture At Vets Now tackled the paradoxical subject of compassion in the vet profession.
Why paradoxical? Because compassion for animals is the reason many of us entered the profession in the first place.
And yet when I asked for a show of hands in the room for who had either directly experienced compassion fatigue themselves or witnessed it in a colleague, every hand in the room went up.
We can literally run out of compassion through it’s overuse and start to resent our clients.
Often we have a huge compassion deficit towards ourselves – we’re our own harshest critics – and our route out of this is through cultivating more self-compassion.
However self-compassion is often really hard for us, as we have to believe we are worthy and deserving and this is where we often run into underlying self-worth issues.
In the VetYOU Community Mastermind at London Vet Show, we were talking all things finance!
As Ebony Escalona said, she would rather talk about her mental health than her finances in public, and it’s often an area that as vets we’re often a bit confused about in terms of what financial security we should have in place and how we approach our personal finance.
You can find out more about the ‘Wikipedia for all things finance’ this new group is all about on their website here.
Self-worth here cropped up when it came to looking at our money mindset. With regards to money and wealth, we each have a subconscious sort of ‘wealth thermostat’ in our heads that means we have an amount of money we think we deserve that is in line with our self-worth or what value we believe we offer.
So we may be saying consciously, “I want more money!”, but if there’s an underlying lack of belief in ourselves, it’s very unlikely that we’ll significantly increase our earning potential.
Often it takes life to throw us a few bloody hard punches in the face before we start to put ourselves first and realise we need to look after ourselves.
This was SO apparent in both the Community Mastermind Sessions for the Veterinary Spoonholders group and the VetMINDS group.
I was lucky enough to be facilitating the Spoonholders session which was a real honour as they are an inspirational determined bunch! We were talking about the goals for a new organisation to be a resource and advocacy charity for those in the profession struggling with physical health conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, musculoskeletal problems, gastric problems etc.
In the VetMINDS session we were talking with great sensitivity about the issues faced in practice by those affected by miscarriage, infertility, neonatal death and stillbirth.
In both these sessions I was bowled over by the stories of bravery, courage and resilience.
Although having experienced great adversity or tragedy, instead of wilting into an understandable victim mode, the attendees were wanting to drive forwards positive change for themselves and others in the profession, despite still going through the issues themselves currently.
It made me fiercely proud to be a part of this amazing profession!
The other insight was that many of the challenges and blockages to job enjoyment that these groups experienced are challenges anyway for ALL of us in the veterinary workplace.
Whether it’s dealing with emotional cases, getting away on time, being able to eat and rest when needed or for it to be ok to raise your hand and say, “I’m having a really shit day today!” and be supported.
The work these groups do to improve these aspects of our working life will benefit all of us.
It’s taken major adversity to get people to take action from a place of knowing that they have self-worth and they matter in these cases.
But it doesn’t have to be that way – you CAN do this prophylactically and take charge of your self-worth right now.
You can do this via self-study – reading books, listening to Audible, listening to podcasts etc. on the subject – hit reply to this email if you’d like a few recommendations.
You can also do this through coaching. I work a LOT on mindset and self-worth with my coaching clients because it is often the root cause underlying what’s stopping people from making decisions and moving forwards with their lives and careers.
Self-worth is not something that just gets better on its own, it’s a choice you make to do the mindset work needed to bring it up to where it needs to be.
The benefits of this?
Better mental health.
Bravery to make changes.
Reigniting your passion for your career.
If this is making sense to you, I have one slot left for my November one-to-one coaching clients, and two December places available. If you’re interested in finding out more, book a free call with me.
If we both feel like we’re a good fit to work together and you’re ready for change, I’ll take you on a journey that means you will be starting the new decade in a very different headspace to where you are right now. ❤️