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  • Dr. Eric Rooker

October 2022 Countdown to Success On Personal Growth Initiative

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

5 Inputs, 4 Quotes, 3 Thoughts, 2 Challenges, and 1 Question (October 20th, 2022)

“Helping you achieve high-performance medicine.”

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Happy October,

Many veterinarians come to Operators to Owners seeking a magic equation that will help them reinvigorate their careers. They often are suffering from varying levels of burnout or stress in their careers and feel like something is missing in their lives. There are many interventions I can recommend to such an individual BUT often my first question is, "What do you want from your career and how do you want to leave an impact on this world?"

The looks, silences, and comments I get after this first question are almost always the same; the most common response I get is, “I've never considered this before." This pains me beyond description. From a profession that literally and figuratively bleeds talent every day it is unconscionable to not consider asking our peers something as simple as what makes them cry, sing, and dream.

Simple questions such as these are the gateway to a life filled with meaningful growth. For once, we understand what it is that compels us we become ready for purposeful personal growth. One of the best interventions I have found for veterinarians reaching this point is the focal point of this month’s Countdown to Success; Personal Growth Initiative (PGI). Continue reading to find more resources about PGI and how it can positively affect your career.

As a reminder, the journey of professional development is important to me. Teaching and seeking the advancement of our profession has been a goal of mine since I started veterinary school and OTO gives me a vehicle to continue this mission. If you wish to join me more interactively as I pursue please hit that reply button or join our Facebook Group to share your journey and growth with our community.

Here are 5 Inputs to Inspire, 4 Quotes to Contemplate, 3 Thoughts to Ponder, 2 Challenges to Conquer and 1 Reflection Question to help you grow this month

5 Inputs to Inspire

I. We are experiencing a uniquely difficult time within veterinary medicine's history. The best way to overcome this is finding your "Why." One of my all-time favorite experts on this is the author and speaker Simon Sinek. In his, Ted talk interview How to Discover your "why" in Difficult Times Simon describes his suggestion for how to find your why during even the most difficult times in our lives (why exercise @ 11:06).

II. The Personal Growth Initiative Scale (2) was developed by Robitschek et al. in 2012 to help identify an individual’s readiness for personal growth, ability to plan for personal growth, access to and understanding of the resources available for their growth, and their ability to undertake intentional action in the pursuit of their growth. As a peer-reviewed and validated assessment, Operators to Owners will often have veterinarians undertake this assessment to identify opportunities to improve personal development. You can take this assessment and receive your results at

III. Our future veterinary peers can also benefit from PGI. Researcher Chang et al. showed that students who engage in elevated levels of Planfulness and Intentional Behavior will have increased levels of life satisfaction up to 15 weeks after this measure.

IV. Are you ready for a personal growth revolution? If so, then it is time to begin planning that growth. Self-help guru Tony Robins has a great guide on his website to help you develop a successful growth plan. Not only does it consider how to grow but also potential roadblocks that could demotivate you along the way. This is a great resource to make sure you have a comprehensive plan going forward.

V. PGI also can have powerful effects in moderating negative thought patterns. Though the methodology may currently be cloudy Green and Yıldırım showed us in 2022 that PGI could moderate negative mental feelings associated with COVID and actually protect overall life satisfaction for an individual. Yet another beneficial side effect of strong PGI practices.

4 Quotes to Contemplate

I. Author and productivity consultant David Allen discusses just how easy it is to become distracted when we are on a course for personal growth:

I’ve noticed that people are actually more comfortable dealing with surprises and crises than they are taking control of processing, organizing, reviewing, and assessing that part of their work that is not as self-evident. It's easy to get seduced into "busy" and"urgent" mode, especially when you have a lot of unprocessed and relatively out-of-control work on your desk, in your e-mail, and on your mind.

II. Writer, historian and philosopher Will Durant discusses the importance of having habits based upon personal growth:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

III. Josh Kaufman, author of The First 20 Hours discusses just how easy it is to pick a course for personal development:

You don't need to pick many skills to acquire: just choose one. Take a skill on your "want to do" list and commit to trying it. Learn that language, play that instrument, explore that game, work on that project, cook that dish, create that art. It's easier than it feels.

IV. Tresesa Amabile on how focusing on your development daily, with you as the meaningful masterpiece of development, can empower you at work every day:

Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.

3 Thoughts to Ponder

I. We consider taking time to ourselves to be a selfish endeavor. Stepping away from the job, our clients, or even our family for even five minutes will cause us great anxiety. Yet, if properly used those five minutes of personal growth time can power us for the next five hours of professional time.

II. Many people consider creativity the great monotony breaker. Yet so many people fail to take the time to consider what they want to be creative about. By considering exactly what interests us we can begin to make plans for developing this area, we can begin to collect resources like a squirrel collects nuts, and then we can take intentional action on something that really inspires us.

III. Researchers have found that even the most optimistic people cause themselves undue stress when they act without a plan. This stress appears to compound to even higher levels when these people have multiple goals they are trying to accomplish at once. The action of chasing multiple goals in an unplanned way causes them to be unable to say "No" to things that may not progress their current goals resulting in overcommitments and elevated stress. Thus, Planfulness is the key gateway to long-term, sustained, personal growth.

2 Challenges

I. Take 20 minutes and write down what are you most passionate about. Begin by listing your most memorable successes in life, starting with high school and concluding yesterday. Is there an area(s) of life you love to learn about and have had success in the past developing? Is this passion an area that could grow further and jump-start your development? What does the past tell you about your areas of interest?

II. This month create a planning framework. I suggest a framework such as this: 1) a plan that has a way for you to regularly collect information about relevant developmental areas (books, podcasts, etc) 2) create a daily time (10-20 min) for consumption of this information 3) critically evaluate the information and creates a plan for its use 4) force action on this plan and critically evaluate the results of that plan for future use. No matter its look, write it down and hang it up somewhere you will see it every day.

1 Reflection Question

When is the last time you've invested in yourself?

Until next month,

Dr. Eric Rooker

Founder of Operators to Owners

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