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Tips for knowing what you want from life
  1. Carolyne Crowe, MRCVS

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Carolyne Crowe is a VDS Training consultant with a masters degree in workplace health and wellbeing, she is an award-winning performance coach and resilience trainer.

Do you know what you want from life?

If you don’t, you’re not alone. It’s common for vets to reach a point in their veterinary journey where they aren’t where they expected to be. It often feels very disquieting as, after all, most vets have had it all figured out since childhood, and we’ve been on the treadmill ever since, working our way from one goal to the next.

To help you think about what you want and to formulate a plan, you should consider the following key areas.

Understand your ‘why’

Understanding your purpose is the key to knowing what motivates you.

  • What makes you proud or happy?

  • What motivates you to turn up at work?

  • How do you measure success, both professional and personal?

Where are you now?

It sometimes feels like the grass is greener (better pay, easier rotas) on the other side. It’s vital to clearly identify what’s good about your current situation and what you’re lacking. This will help you gain clarity and make good personal choices.

  • What do you love about your job and life?

  • What would you like to do more or less of?

  • What frustrates you?

  • If you could change one thing at work what would it be and why?

This week Vet Record launches a new monthly wellbeing series provided by VDS Training. Topics are listed below:

  • Knowing what you want from life ✓

  • Managing perfectionism

  • Becoming responsibly selfish

  • Getting the most out of your time

  • Feeling in control

  • Setting achievable goals

  • Personal leadership

  • Developing a resilient approach

  • Developing an assertive approach

  • Dealing with difficult clients

  • Worried about a colleague?

  • Fulfilment at work

Consider your values

Your values are the principles that drive you, consciously and subconsciously. They’re the compass by which you make decisions.

If you go against your values, either personally or professionally, you’re likely to be uncomfortable and unhappy. Similarly, if you’re aligned with your values, you’re much more likely to be happy and satisfied.

Consider what makes you proud and fulfilled and identify the values that drive you.

What is important to you?

You’re more than just the person you are at work. What really makes you ‘you’? What gives you fulfilment and satisfaction?

Map out the key areas in your life – family, friends, relationships, work, career progression, health, exercise, hobbies, children, challenge, freedom, time for yourself, mental and physical wellbeing, success, happiness – and for each area identify how you measure success and what you want to be, do and have.

What gives you energy?

When do you feel most energised? What (or who?) are the ‘dementors’ that sap your mental and physical strength?

How can you make time for energising activities and avoid your dementors?

Confident decision making

Many vets recognise that perfectionist tendencies have enabled them to control situations like passing exams. However, the unpredictability of practice means not being able to do a ‘perfect’ job is stressful and can cause a feeling of paralysis. Could you adapt your mindset, habits and actions to make your life more fulfilling?

Setting goals

Identify one thing you could do to gain a clearer idea of what you want personally and professionally. Write it down and set a date by which you’d like to achieve the goal.

Take action

Take one step every day towards your goals. Each step can be as big or as small as you want; you’re in control! Celebrate your successes along the way; look how far you've come.

What are you waiting for?

Top 10 tips

  1. Know your ‘why’

  2. Start where you are

  3. Identify your values

  4. Understand what you want to be, do and have

  5. Surround yourself with positive people and motivating environments

  6. Change habits and actions that hold you back

  7. Set goals

  8. Make a plan

  9. Take action

  10. Celebrate success

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