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Using a 'heck yes' mentality for success

Kansas City

Dave Nicol, BVMS, Cert Mgmt, MRCVS, helped attendees learn where their happy place in veterinary medicine is during the day 1 Fetch Kansas City keynote address.

Speaker Dave Nicol, BVMS, Cert Mgmt, MRCVS, walks the runway during his keynote lecture at the 2023 Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Speaker Dave Nicol, BVMS, Cert Mgmt, MRCVS, walks the runway during his keynote lecture at the 2023 Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

When it comes to your career in veterinary medicine, are you happy? For some professionals, the feeling of being happy inside and out of the clinic can seem hard to reach. That is, however, unless you have the proper tools. The need to balance life as a veterinary professional and then as a mother, father, caregiver, pet parent, and more can feel overwhelming when you have a multitude of responsibilities, which can lead to burnout or imposter syndrome.

During his lecture ‘If It's Not A Heck Yes' Then It's A No!' at the Fetch dvm360® conference in Kansas City, Missouri, Dave Nicol, BVMS, Cert Mgmt, MRCVS, owner of Roundwood Vets and Roundwood Pet Hospice, both in the United Kingdom, explained to attendees what a 'heck yes' life is, how they can live it, and the principles you need to follow to achieve it.

Achieving a 'heck yes' life

When making choices in life, taking a moment to think and make intentional choices can help you live your life by the mantra heck yes or no, Nicol noted. To live like this, proactivity is a must because being intentional and guided by the values you want to live by rather than living a life Nicol described as an accidental life.

Accidental lives can be driven by emotions and unintentionally, which can cause choices to me made that may not be a 'heck yes' choice now or down the road. According to Nicol, being intentional in choices and not accidental, can help professionals find clarity, proactivity, and confidence in the choices that they need to make. To begin your 'heck yes' life, some of the starting principles you can use are as follows:

Make a plan

“I cannot tell you how important it is to make a plan. I don't know what your plan is going to be. I don't know what it is you want to do. But you must make a plan. That means you must set some form of career or life goal or something like that, but make a plan so you are not just drifting through life,” he stressed to attendees.

For the audience, he gave the example of going to veterinary school. When students decide to go to school, they need a clear plan that will lead them to the letters after their name. They go through clinics, take exams, give up holidays and family events, and give up their social lives to veterinary medicine. After school, your plan then changes to finding a job, deciding on a specialty, and just overall figuring out what you like within the industry.

Most veterinary professionals have been preparing for their career since they were teenagers, maybe even younger, so channeling that planning side can help you begin to live the way you want and find happiness. As you strive to be a veterinary student, that determination and planning for post-graduation can be used to push you to create the life that you want to live.

Make sure you are working in alignment with your values

When it comes to looking for and getting a job, do not overlook your values. If there are things that the clinic does you do not like, then it will be a struggle to live your 'heck yes' life. “You've got to understand what your values are,” he explained.

“Everybody has a different set of values, but I'll tell you what, when you're building teams or if you're choosing a practice, please make sure you understand what your values are, you’ve articulated them, and then you find people who share your values,” Nicol continued.

For new graduates, those looking for a career change, or even those who want to make the clinic a better place for all, making decisions based on your values is important. Nicol reminded everyone that taking a few seconds to think ‘Is this what I want?’ or ‘Is this something my values align with?” can prevent consequences to the actions months from when you make it.

In conclusion

Veterinary professionals are faced with tough issues daily involving medicine, but also personally. Habitual people-pleasing, fear of saying no, imposter syndrome, and toxic clinics can become a roadblock professionals face. Nicol explained that it is important to recognize these moments to help us be conscious about the choices that professionals make because everyone deserves to live a 'heck yes' life, and that starts with putting themselves first.

To learn more about Nicol, check out his website at www.drdavenicol.com!


Nicol D. If It's Not A Heck Yes' Then It's A No!. Presented at: Fetch dvm360® Conference; August 25-27, 2023; Kansas City, MO.

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