Invest in YOU!

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Invest in YOU!

By Ebony Escalona 

Someone once said something to me and it really stuck with me…

“Our brain and body is the finest instrument we will ever own”

…and yet unfortunately we are probably more comfortable investing in repairs and updates to our phones and cars than we are to ourselves. From personal experience and that of watching 100’s of others in my profession of veterinary, we find it easier to help and “fix” others than place the energy and love on ourselves. The crazy thing is, investing in YOU is without doubt the best investment you will ever make and this is apparent on so many levels- from our patients and productivity, to our happiness. But most notably on our mindset. This is where I believe everything is won or lost (or should I say learnt!)

“Be Interested, not interesting”

So, this is the start of a four part journey sharing why we would benefit from investing in ourselves as much as we do in our patients, team mates and clients. I will ensure to include practical resources that have provided powerful and positive paradigm shifts in my life, so I hope a nugget or two can be used in yours too.

PART ONE: Do you see personal development as an investment or cost?

OK, so honestly, if you had asked me about my thoughts on personal development 7 years ago, I would have said it was a load of fluffly b****cks. I can now hardly go a day without using or referencing my personal lessons. And no, it is not about sharing motivational quotes from some Californian yoga star on Instragram.

In fact, this is the perfect time to share what I believe personal development is and what it isn’t. Someone once said to me that they LOVE personal development and they always find it so easy and enjoyable. I couldn’t believe her and this is why. Personal development is hard, sometimes excruciatingly so. It holds a big fat mirror up to you and shows you all the fault lines and truths that you had been hiding, justifying or using to protect your ego and “story”. It gets worse, it’s never a one off affair with a book, training, coach or practice of self-reflection. It’s like brushing your teeth- you have to keep doing it unless you don’t care about having teeth of course. Personal development is not trendy, it is not easy and it is not always enjoyable. So why bother?

I randomly stumbled on personal development power through social marketing and sales training of all places. It still makes me giggle. I couldn’t have been further from my misconception that this type of development had to happen on a detox retreat surrounded by people who were nothing like me. I was there to try and get a side hustle going to help my debt (I’ll come back to this challenge in future editions) so I was slightly perplexed as to why the Chimp Paradox and Mindset featured on my reading list. I believed that by getting another job I could help myself. Little did I know it was not the number of jobs or types of side hustles that would help me but the lessons from personal development that would have the greatest impact on me (and my bank balance).

I was full of pity, lack of self worth and dare I say it a little bit resentful for my background- a poor working class Hispanic British family. It seemed that everyone around me came from “better” and I used to blame and aportion responsibility to everyone but myself for the less than ideal circumstances that I found myself in. I was commonly angry about PhD supervisors, family members, work colleagues and dare I say it friends. I was playing the victim card like it was my top trump card! What a doosh!

Where was the gratitude for what I had? Where was pushing pride aside and asking for help? Where was taking responsibility?

All of sudden I found myself in an environment I had not experienced before. An organisational community championing success and seeing failure as integral to learning, a flat hierarchy, free personal development, CPD through the form of distance learning and in person mentorship,coaches, inspirational talks, book clubs and reflective practice on a level I could grasp. It’s no surprise that I found myself addicted to this personal development malarky as I started to get to know myself better and could start to shed the emotions such as anger that were so destructive and useless. For the first time ever I invested my CPD budget on non-clinical events and congresses and people started to notice a difference in me. I was becoming a radiator where I had previously been a drain. You know the types- people that emit warmth and possibility or the people that just sap and suck the life out of you.

My veterinary training had made me pretty good at acquiring new knowledge and regurgitating it. But, that type of learning doesn’t cut it in personal development. You have to practice and action what you learn in order for it to make a difference. Feel the fear and do it anyway! We are pretty used to learning outcomes that can measure a shift in knowledge or skills. But this is where my attitude was being reformed. I realised quickly that this was going to be something that I would have to adopt daily and my commitment was going to have to be better than my efforts at the gym. As just like a muscle, for us to personally develop we require deliberate practice if we are to retain a growth mindset. This was the beginning of gaining perspective on my self awareness, direction and motivation. I managed to stop and look around, jump off the veterinary hamster wheel and realise that this round peg needed to remove herself from the square hole. I had been jumping through hoops thinking that someone elses defined version of success was mine and all the while not listening to things that made my heart sing. I was searching for my purpose in other people’s passions and had neglected to take responsibility for my situation nor listen to me. Only now could I begin to believe in myself and what I might be able to offer the world. Be YOU, Ebony I said to myself, because you know what? Everyone else is already taken.

  • How much of your CPD budget have you spent on non-clinical CPD?
  • What books are you reading or listening to? Check out VSGD reading list [LINK]
  • Want to clock up some free personal development? Check out the VDS Training webinar bank from working out what you want to time management [LINK]
  • Ever wondered what YOU value? Use these values assessment tool to find out [LINK]
  • Are you channeling a victim or victor mentality? Is your language and actions above or below this line?


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