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Take Back Your Life in 7 Steps

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Jun 26th 2014 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice
Take Back Your Life In 7 Steps Intro

This is the first in a series of Guest Blog posts from Dr Diederik Gelderman on a topic that is very close to his heart: Take Back Your Life in 7 Steps

You're smart, hard-working and good at what you do, but the truth is you also too often feel your life is just a relentless set of demands that you have to meet, and life is too rarely a source of satisfaction.

You long to feel more in control of your days, but the reality is you're frequently racing just to catch up and keep up.

  • This how it is at work – where maybe it’s ‘expected’ or possibly even regarded as ‘normal’.
  • The sad truth however is that this situation is just as true at home.

Home and family

Home and family used to be the bastion where once-upon-a-time we could go to relax and unwind is now just a place of inexorable demands.

This is the story I hear over and over at every level in Veterinary practice, from front-line receptionists and veterinary nurses all the way up to practice managers and practice owners.

I'm convinced it doesn't have to be this way and that the solution has to do with deeply embedding a series of simple practices into your life.

I have seven in mind, but remember, it's not realistic to add them all at once (assuming there are a number you don't currently do). The suggestions as to these seven (below), are in order from the most basic and fundamental, to the highest level.

STEP 1: Get sufficient sleep every night. 

Sleep is often the single most undervalued behaviour in our lives and the one with the most immediate power to improve our experience in every waking moment. If you sleep in the 6-6½ hour range, like the average ‘Westerner’, just one more hour of sleep a night will leave you feeling more physically energized, emotionally resilient, and mentally clear.

What’s more – getting that extra hour of sleep will SIGNIFICANTLY increase your performance output and your productivity.

The only way though that you’ll ever know this to be true for you though, is to TEST this premise and see what results are delivered. This is far too scary a step for most of us to take and therefore we will continue to try and get by with inadequate sleep!

STEP 2: Move more. 

It's not only good for your heart's health, but also for your mental health. Our body is designed to operate in ‘waves’. Just look at our; respiration, heart, blood pressure, peristalsis, EEG, etc.

Do some form of exercise that significantly raises your heart rate for 30 minutes at least four times a week and move frequently during the day.

Sitting is the new smoking and the (negative) impact on our bodies and on our lives is significant indeed.

Find some way to move more and it’ll serve you well.

STEP 3: Eat less, more often. 

Food is fuel. Lean proteins and complex carbohydrates are high-octane fuel. You're best off when you keep feeding your internal furnace in small doses throughout the day, beginning with breakfast.

When I work with my one-on-one clients I find that many of them are lacking in resilience, energy, enthusiasm and are concurrently gaining weight.

When we look at their eating habits and behaviours and tweak them slightly, they’ll typically eat more frequently, eat larger quantities and have much more energy, enthusiasm and resilience whilst loosing weight.

STEP 4: Renew more. 

Human beings aren't designed to work continuously. We're meant instead to move between spending and renewing energy. Ideally, take a break every 90 minutes, even if only to spend a minute or two breathing deeply.

We work like automatons or computers and ever since the Industrial Revolution the mantra at work-places has been; faster, harder and longer. This is analogous to being a marathoner who never stops – who burns down!

We aren’t machines and when we start to behave and function like sprinters working with high intensity for a short period of time and then having ‘focused’ time for rest and renewal, we will get a lot more done and of a higher quality.

STEP 5: Give thanks. 

We're far quicker to notice what's wrong in our lives than we are what's right.  We’re also far quicker to notice what someone has done wrong than what they’ve done right!

At least once a week, hand write and mail a note of appreciation to someone who deserves it, telling the person precisely what you're grateful for – in some cases this person may even be yourself.

When you learn to focus on what people do RIGHT and mention it to them, you’re well on the right path to developing a High Performance Team

Developing your own High Performance Team has got NOTHING to do with their level of skill or their level of pay or the hours they work, it has everything to do with their leader, the amount of feedback and recognition they get and their personal ‘emotional bucket’.

STEP 6: Practice reflection. 

We're so preoccupied with the urgent that we rarely take time to think about what it is we're doing. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes at the end of each work day (or in the evening) to reflect quietly and without interruption on what you learned that day, and what your highest priorities are for the following day.

Tied in with this is the concept of ‘taking time off work for holidays’. There’s a significant correlation between work output / job performance and the number of annual days holidays that a person takes.

Having no holidays; thinking that you can do without them and still continue to be equally productive is just as big a myth as sleeping one less hour to work one hour longer! Both cases are flawed in their thinking as the outcomes prove.

STEP 7: Learn to have Honest Conversations. 

Many people are not always ‘straight’ with us. They don’t say what they mean. This stifles conversation and relationships. Once you know how to read the micro-expressions and the ‘tells’ that ‘give it all away’, and understand what’s really going on and being thought (rather than what’s being said), then your whole relationship with those around you will change for the better.

So these are the 7 key steps to taking back your life; are YOU ready for the challenge?

If you have any questions for Dr Gelderman about his '7 steps to take back your life' - why not ask him in the comments section below?


Guest blogger, Dr. Gelderman is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. He began coaching veterinary professionals with his Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice seminar, in 2004, to a small group of associates. In 2009, the seminars expanding internationally to Hong Kong, NZ, Europe and the US.

Dr. Gelderman has coached and consulted with more than 350 Small to Medium Enterprises in a diverse range of industries. For more information visit 'Turbo Charge Your Practice'.


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