By Cait Mellor
We all have moments we aren’t proud of. That’s okay, though. You know why? It’s our weakest moments that help build the brightest futures. Where would we end up in the long run if we never made a mistake that we had to learn something from?
When we share our “failures” (I put that in quotes because not a single person I’ll reference in this article is a failure in the LEAST) with one another, we can learn from each other, and hopefully we can keep the mistakes we have to make individually to a minimum.
That’s the beauty of having a vet med culture where we can all support one another! We can hear each other out, lift each other up, and move past our “womp womp” moments together.
“It can be really hard to set boundaries. When you own a business it tends to be on your mind all the time. I am constantly thinking about new opportunities or things I could be doing; leads I want to track down or people I want to network with. I am still working on trying to set aside time, where business is not allowed to be on the brain.”
-Dr. Melanie Bowden of Vacation Vet, LLC based in Coeur D’Alene Idaho
Boundaries are so important. SO important. That’s why it can sometimes feel like a failure when you recognize you’re not good at setting them.
Let’s be clear. Immersing yourself in your business is not something to be ashamed of. But boundaries are meant to allow us to turn our brains “off” from our businesses. It’s important to step away, but let’s be real- none of us have perfected this art. It’s a constant work in progress!
“At the beginning of my veterinary path, I had the opportunity to open the practice in a small town, with way less investment and having a financial safety net.
Back then it was a huge opportunity for two young veterinarians.
But I took a big risk, I opened in a big city and I had to invest, reinvest and work incredibly hard.
Today it turned out better for my current practice, we’ve got clients and patients from all over the county and from neighbouring counties, but back then, for a while, it looked like we were about to fail for not having chosen the easy path.”
-Dr. Anca Lepădatu of Sal-Vet Servicii Veterinare
This is an AMAZING example of something that might feel like a failure in one moment, but further down the road, leads to our greatest successes. The point is, don’t throw in the towel because you think you may have made a wrong move. Having to put in more work due to our decisions might drag us down temporarily, but the path is long and the game isn’t over yet. See where that hard work leads you. It might lead you to places you never imagined but are thrilled about.
“Slow down when making a big decision like ownership and make sure all the logistical things (like contracts and paperwork) are done correctly. It is worth the investment in legal advice, etc to view contracts to make sure they are fair and clear.”
-Dr. Ashley Bourgeois of Animal Dermatology Clinic, Portland, OR
Becoming a practice owner is a decision that should be thought over, slept on, researched, thought over again, slept on again, and so on. Of course, don’t drown your dreams in overthinking and never pull the trigger. Consider Dr. Bourgeois that practical little voice in your head that is telling you to do the thing, but do it RIGHT. Legalities matter. Make sure you’re not in over your head, and invest in your future to make sure everything aligns legally.
“I’m not as good of a manager as I’d like to be. I don’t see this as a failure, but it’s an area that I would like to improve.”
-Dr. April Linson of Woodland Hills Pet Clinic in Woodland Hills CA
First of all, I LOVE how Dr. Linson points out that she doesn’t necessarily see this as a failure. It’s okay to not have every area of practice ownership completely nailed down. We cannot do all the things perfectly, so allow yourself a little bit of grace when you feel yourself slacking. Recognizing that there’s room for improvement is half the battle.
“I ignored my gut and got involved with a company I shouldn’t have. It cost me thousands of dollars and several hundred more to fix the mess they made. I’m still here and my practice is fine. It’s ok to fail – it’s what you do to put things back together that counts.”
-Dr. Cherie Buisson of Helping Hands Pet Hospice, Seminole, FL
Dr. Buisson brings it full circle when she reminds us it’s not about the failure. It’s about what we do post-failure to pick up the pieces.
We are all going to fail. It’s going to look different for all of us, and what you might consider a failure wouldn’t even phase the next vet med professional.
It’s the consistency of keeping our head in the game, powering on, and learning from it that defines us.