I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what advice I would give to recent veterinary school graduates. Though there are many things I could talk about, I am going to focus on three.
1. Enhance your emotional intelligence
You have spent the last 4 years cramming all kinds of useful and not so useful facts into your brain. There is no doubt you will need to have a certain level of competence to succeed as a veterinarian, but what may surprise you is that your intellectual intelligence will have relatively little bearing on your success compared to your emotional intelligence. Honestly, if you made it through veterinary school, you have enough intellect, but a better indicator of long-term success has to do with how emotionally intelligent you are.
Emotional intelligence is your self-awareness, your self-management, your people radar, and your people skills. These often are thought of as “soft skills.” This is not a subject that is talked about much in the veterinary world, but is definitely what separates the mediocre veterinarians from the ones that seem to have more clients than they know what to do with.
The wonderful thing is, emotional intelligence can be developed. There are books you can read (“Enhancing Emotional Intelligence” and “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” are two great ones,) and there are workshops you can attend (The Wolfpack Leadership Conference and Shawn McVey’s workshops are two great examples.)
The important point is, if you want to be successful in all areas of your life, you must embrace improving your emotional intelligence.
2. Get out of debt ASAP
Debt is a huge weight on your back. Debt will keep you from pursuing your dreams and living the type of life you want to live. Don’t buy into the hype that “educational debt is good debt.” It is not, and that is a myth that gets perpetuated year after year. I know-your student loan debt seems like something you may never get paid off. You can and should get it out of your life as soon as possible, but this will never happen without a plan! Dave Ramsey is a financial guru who has changed my life, and I highly recommend picking up his book “My Total Money Makeover” and enrolling in his very affordable 13-week class “Financial Peace University”. Don’t wait on this one-get the book today!
3. Begin with the end in mind
It is easy to get caught up in your first job and be so overwhelmed by the choices you have to make. But this is the ideal time to spend a little time figuring out what makes you tick and what your particular strengths are. The DISC assessment and “Strength-Finders 2.0” are great places to start. The more you understand your strengths, the better you can leverage those strengths to create the life you want.
An invaluable tool I used for the first time this year (and wish I had done it 10 years ago) is the creation of my life plan. You need to take time and figure out what you want out of your life, and a life plan is a great place to start. Check out this free life-planning book.
Any of our community want to add to this list of three? What advice would you give a recent graduate from veterinary school?