Monday, November 24, 2014

Living a worthwhile life as a vet

In recent days, I was fortunate to be at a local business seminar in Wollongong (Breakthrough for Business) where one of the speakers was called Trav Bell.

His other name is "the bucket list man", or as he kindly reminded us, he is the "World's number one bucket list man".

Have you ever been to a seminar where you spent most of the time crying?

Well, this is a first for me. I did. I pulled out my hanky, and spent 90 minutes dabbing my eyes.
The next day, another speaker made the point that we are most affected by a message when we are angry or sad.  I don't think I was either emotion  that afternoon with Trav, but I was truly moved and touched by the inspirational message that was shared (plus a touch of jealousy of the places he has been too).

Really, it was my empathetic side went into overdrive with his life story, especially his struggle with depression, coupled with the emotionally charged videos of people helping people.

In any career survey I do, I rank high on empathy, love and common sense.  It means my ideal career is counsellor or minister, or something similar.  And I am a vet...well, close enough!

"Stop living in delayed gratification mindset" says Trav. (Guilty of that)

" When we see our potential it puts a smile on your face" he adds. (What potential?)

And then he says "If it is to be it is up to me", as he flings out his right arm, where those same words are tattooed, as a permanent reminder of the single most important message.

The only photo I took - thanks to being mesmerised ....Darn!

A shiver went down my spine. That line is what I often recite to myself.  Freaky!

Whilst I had heard of the Bucket list (which, for those who don't know is the list of  things you want to do before you die), I had never heard of the "Reverse Bucket List".

The Reverse Bucket List is all about the things one have already achieved.  How many of us look at what we achieved and say "Geez, that's amazing, aren't you one clever cookie"

"If I achieved all that by default, just imagine what I could do by design", Trav shared.

I am part of a profession which has one of the highest suicide rates, where fellow colleagues work 40, 50, 60  hour weeks, with a low financial and emotional payout.  We often lose touch with our family and our friends. Many family get togethers are disrupted because of the urgency of a sick pet.
Because of this, we continue to work 40, 50, 60  hours a week as we believe this gives our lives a purpose.  Strangely, one of the other speakers the next day suggested those who work these hours are suffering "burnout".  He was speaking to an accountant, but this fact applies across all professions, careers and jobs. And especially, my beloved veterinary profession.

To those of you who are working such ridiculous hours - stop!  (and sadly,  I have to include me in this too).

Part of the problem is that we lose sight of what is important: because we help many animals daily,  we lose touch with life.  And when a situation arises that the outcome is less than ideal, we tend to hang onto the one negative, and forget all of the positives.

As humans, we are hardwired to remember the fear and the negatives.  It is a basic survival skill, but in modern veterinary life, this skill actually works against us.

Every day, each of us have to remind ourselves of what we have achieved.  For me, the reverse bucket list is as important as the future one, in that it celebrates our achievements, whether big or small.

Go now to  make your list of past achievements, and then, do your list of future dreams.   Trust me, its liberating.

I am Dr Liz, and I have started to dream of my future potential. Exciting.

Thank you for reading my blog,  and writing your bucket lists.