In previous blogs, you read about passionate filled careers and high turnover. Yes, the veterinary community has both and somewhere in the middle is a balance, or equilibrium, a career that is gratifying, rewarding and sustainable.
You may know colleagues who have found that place of equilibrium, whose life is full of gratitude and abundance. They seem to bounce back, with an outlook of the perceived disappointment or set-back as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. How do they do that? What allows them to see every dark cloud with a silver lining? Do they live in a “Polly Anna world?” I think not, their focus may simply be on learning and experiencing.
Following may be a few tips to help you get to that point of equilibrium; maybe one or two tips will resonate with you. Take a few deep breaths, clear the air, and listen to your body, and react in a way that serves you best, as you move forward, with intent of equilibrium.
1. Fill your own cup. As caregivers within the field of veterinary medicine, often times our cups are only ¼ full and yet we continue to pour out of it. How can you possibly continue to give without ever filling up your own cup? Yes, it is good to be a giver, it can be very rewarding, when you have the energy and capacity to give, because your cup “overflows.” Take some time to determine what truly “fills your cup?” What restores your body and spirit? Often times internet surfing, watching TV or adult beverages are more of a distraction than restoring. Possibly taking up a new sport, learning to play a musical instrument, joining a book club, taking walks with a friend, going to the gym and working out or meditation may rejuvenate you. Identify what brings you joy, is calming, supports you and fills you up until your cup overflows. Objectively assess how full or empty your cup is.
2. Establish boundaries. Within a working relationship this can be done in a few ways. Defining job duties, identifying the skill and time needed to accurately complete the duties and to what standard. Avoid overtaxing yourself by setting unrealistic expectations. I know first-hand how often times team members push and push themselves at the end of a shift, only to be frustrated and exhausted when they come in for the next shift. Communicate with management both inefficiencies and solutions when establishing expectations and duties.
In your personal life, establishing boundaries is also advised and healthy. You are better off taking full responsibility for your own life experiences and directing your own destiny. To be honest, your friends and relationships will shift during your journey. Choose to surround yourself with supportive, optimistic people and allow the other relationships (that no longer serve you) to fade away. Remember, who you were yesterday is not who you have to be tomorrow, it is up to you. Your habits become your reality.
When my kids asked, I advised, “If you aint having fun doing it, don’t do it!” Life is short; enjoy it, each and every moment, at work and in play.
3. Personal values. Identify what your values are. Simply fill out the following sentence: I value 1)_______2)_______ and 3) _________. Maybe you value friendships, great, spend time creating outstanding friendships! Maybe you value health, terrific, begin eating better, drink more water and do 20 minutes of yoga each morning. Bring more of what you value into each day, consciously.
At this point we must have a reality check, because when you choose to live life by your values, other things/people/time-suckers will have to be evaluated and discarded. Shed the old to allow for the new, you are setting new priorities. That’s just the hard truth, there will be shifts and on the other side of the change/shift there is equilibrium to include what you value.
4. Keep things in perspective. We weren’t put on this earth to be perfect, we were put on the earth to experience the journey, and it is neither right nor wrong, it is each person’s individual journey. Ultimately, we are all bombarded by what society will tell is “good, or bad, or evil, or tragic.” We will have all of it in our life, and if anyone tells you your life will be “peachy keen” your entire existence, they are lying to you! Each of us has a different story and life will throw us a number of curve balls and we will fall down along the way. It is when we get up, dust ourselves off, view how we grew through the turmoil and learned along the way that we will build character and grace. It is how we react and what we create that builds our character and career.
Now that you have identified what rejuvenates you and fills up your cup, incorporate more of that. Now that you have established healthy boundaries and establishing value driven habits, offering you liberated moments of enjoyment, keep it up! This is your life and it is to include moments of bliss, many blessings, surprising miracles and goodness. Bask in it and bring more of that into your life, consciously, every day.
With that, always remember you are loved, RR