Caleb: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health and Veterinary industries. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary companies hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.
Today, we’ll be talking about the core value of optimism in a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.
Stacy: Hello, Caleb. As always, I’m glad to be here.
Caleb: Stacy, we’ve been talking about core values during the past several weeks, and correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the final core value we’ll be discussing. Is that right?
Stacy: You are 100% correct! We’ve been diving into the 13-core value of The VET Recruiter, which is the recruiting business that I founded more than 20 years ago.
Caleb: Stacy, can you run down the core values we’ve addressed to this point?
Stacy: Certainly. Those core values are integrity, reliability, candor, enthusiasm, perseverance, coachability, urgency, active listening, hard work, teamwork, a “win-win” mindset, and results.
Caleb: Is there a reason why we’re ending this series with optimism?
Stacy: Well, I wanted to end our discussion on a “high note,” so to speak, and talking about optimism seemed like the perfect way to do that.
Caleb: Many of the core values that we’ve discussed are tied to a person’s mental frame of mind or outlook. I would guess it’s the same with optimism.
Stacy: Yes. As I’ve stated before, I’m a firm believer that success starts in a person’s mind. When you think the right way, then you’ll act the right way, and the right actions and behavior lead to success.
Caleb: I suppose we should start with a definition, since we’ve done that with most of the core values we’ve discussed. What is optimism, Stacy?
Stacy: Optimism is the belief or hope that an outcome will be positive or beneficial in nature. That belief or hope can be expressed or it can be kept to oneself. Basically, it’s confidence about the future or a future outcome.
Caleb: Is optimism specific to one particular outcome or can it apply to more than one outcome?
Stacy: Great question. The answer is actually both. You can be optimistic about a specific outcome and also optimistic in general. In fact, you can be optimistic about a specific outcome and NOT be an optimistic person in general. Today, though, when I talk about being optimistic, I’m talking about being optimistic in general.
And like many of the core values that we’ve been discussing, being optimistic is a choice.
Caleb: What do you mean by that?
Stacy: Well, it is true that some people are more optimistic by nature than other people. This also applies to other core values that we’ve discussed, including active listening, hard work, enthusiasm, perseverance, etc. However, no matter how many of these traits and core values that you inherently have, there almost always comes a time when you have to make a choice to embrace them even more.
You might be optimistic by nature, but circumstances in your personal life or professional life might test that natural optimism.
Caleb: Meaning that you have to choose to continue to be optimistic in the face of challenging circumstances . . .
Stacy: Yes, that’s right! A person’s core values are a choice, from beginning to end. Initially, they choose their core values and then they choose to carry them out. Optimism is no different.
Caleb: Stacy, I just thought of this, but is the “Glass is half-full analogy” the classic optimism analogy?
Stacy: Correct. I’m sure just about everyone in our listening audience knows this analogy. To the optimist, a glass that is filled to the midway point with water is “half-full.” But to a pessimist, the glass is “half-empty.” And this illustrates the difference between optimists and pessimists. Optimists look at a situation and see the positive things that are in it, but a pessimist looks at the same situation and sees the negative things that are in it. Or negative from their point of view, at the very least.
Caleb: Stacy, would it be fair to say that optimists are more confident people than pessimists?
Stacy: Yes, I think that would be fair to say. People who have confidence and faith in their own abilities are more likely to be optimistic about an outcome, especially one in which they are heavily involved and over which they have influence. It’s no wonder, then, that optimistic people are also more proactive than pessimists.
Caleb: Why is that?
Stacy: A proactive person does not wait for things to happen. Instead, they work to make things happen so they can influence a situation in a positive way. One of the reasons they do this is because they have confidence. They believe in their skills and abilities and that they can make a difference.
A pessimist, on the other hand, does not take action. They often take a “wait a see” approach, and one of the reasons they do this is because they don’t have as much confidence in their own abilities. The problem with that approach, though, is that you don’t have as much of an influence over what happens. Instead, you must react to what happens to you.
As I’ve stated before on the podcast, when you’re proactive, you’re able to move from a position of strength as opposed to a position of weakness. When you’re reactive, you’re often forced to move from a position of weakness.
Caleb: So it makes more sense for a person to be a proactive optimist in their Animal Health or Veterinary career instead of being a reactive pessimist.
Stacy: Yes, well put! You must have confidence in your abilities, you must trust in your ability to create a positive outcome in situations, and you must not wait to create that outcome.
Caleb: Stacy, it seems to me that optimism and resiliency are linked somehow. Is that the case?
Stacy: That is absolutely the case, because when you’re optimistic and you’re proactive about a situation, there is still no guarantee that the situation will turn out the way that you want it to. That’s just the way life is. No one gets 100% positive outcomes.
However, what’s important is that when the outcome is negative, despite a person’s best efforts, that person will need to be resilient in the face of the outcome. They cannot allow the outcome to influence them in a negative way. Instead, they must be resilient and continue to be optimistic about the future.
Caleb: So is it accurate to say that resilient people are more optimistic than those who are not resilient?
Stacy: Yes, I think so. And it works the other way, as well: optimistic people are more likely to be resilient. So you can see how the two are linked and joined together.
Caleb: Stacy, if I remember correctly, you said in a previous podcast episode that employers are looking for job seekers and candidates who are resilient. Does the same thing apply to optimism?
Stacy: Yes, it does. Since optimism and resiliency are linked and since employers want to hire people who are resilient, they also want to hire people who are optimistic. The reason is this type of person is more likely to be a problem solver, and the ability to solve problems is one of the most important forms of value to an employer. There is almost no end to the problems that exist in the world, and those people who are optimistic and resilient are better problem solvers than those who are not.
Caleb: So being an optimist makes you more employable. But are there other benefits to being optimistic?
Stacy: Yes, there are. When you’re optimistic, you’re better able to see the “silver lining” in your circumstances or in a situation. I’ve been an executive recruiter and search consultant for more than 25 years, and based on my experience, those people who see opportunity in the midst of adversity are the most successful people. And that’s what we’re talking about here, which is seeing the “silver lining” in a situation because you’re optimistic.
It boils down to what you focus on. Do you focus on all of the perceived negativity in a situation? Or do you not focus on that and instead focus on all of the positive things that could result from the situation? This is why the mental aspect of success is so important.
Caleb: That makes sense. What are some other benefits of being optimistic?
Stacy: There are multiple health benefits to being an optimist. These benefits include reduced levels of stress, better psychological and physical well-being, and better coping skills during stressful times.
Obviously, optimism can help a person both in their personal life and professional life, but in terms of the latter, optimistic people are more committed to their goals. A pessimist, on the other hand, will give up and abandon their goals.
Second, an optimist is more likely to grow and maximize their Animal Health or Veterinary career. That’s because growing your career requires setting goals and achieving goals.
And third, an optimist is also more likely to be satisfied with both their personal life and their career. They’re happy with the decisions they’ve made, they’re pleased with where they are professionally, and they’re optimistic about the future.
Caleb: Because an optimist is optimistic about the future.
Stacy: Of course!
Caleb: Stacy, you mentioned earlier that being optimistic is a choice, at least on a certain level. And not everyone is naturally optimistic. So let’s say that I am not a naturally optimistic person. How would I be able to develop optimism?
Stacy: That’s another great question, and there are multiple things you can do.
First, acknowledge your achievements and the things that you’ve accomplished in your Animal Health or Veterinary career. This can help to build your confidence and your self-esteem. Recognize that you do have value and that you provide value for your employer and the people around you. As we discussed earlier, when you’re more confident about yourself and your abilities, you’re more optimistic.
Second, surround yourself with positive people. We’ve discussed this before in relation to the other core values we’ve talked about. When you’re around optimistic people, you’re more likely to be optimistic yourself.
And third, practice focusing on positive things instead of negative things. Your brain is like a muscle. When you train it in a certain way, it will grow stronger in that way. If your tendency is to focus on the negative in situations, instead focus on the positive. If this is difficult, start with small situations. Retraining your brain is not easy, but it can be done.
Caleb: Stacy, we’re just about out of time, so is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s podcast episode?
Stacy: Yes, I’d like to add that being optimistic is not the same as what is known as toxic positivity.
Caleb: What is that, toxic positivity?
Stacy: Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. This attitude can be counterproductive, which is why it’s called “toxic.”
For example, when you’re blindly positive, you don’t recognize your emotions. When something bad happens, you can’t simply ignore how you feel. You also don’t recognize your circumstances or take action to rectify the situation. You might simply recite a positive quote and wait to see how things turn out.
But toxic positivity is most harmful when a person is going through a trial or something painful, and other people say things like, “Try to stay positive” and “Everything happens for a reason” without allowing the person to experience the emotions associated with the situation. Negative emotions are a part of life, they’re a part of reality, and you can’t pretend that they don’t exist.
However, there’s a difference between experiencing negative emotions and allowing those emotions to dictate how you feel in the long run and the actions that you take. Being an optimist does not mean being blindly positive in the face of all circumstances and ignoring the reality of a situation and the emotions that situation has caused.
Instead, being an optimist means acknowledging the reality of a situation and acknowledging how that situation has made you feel, but also looking for the “silver lining” and the opportunity that may exist in the midst of your circumstances. Being optimistic can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life, but this core value must be grounded in reality if you want to truly maximize its value.
Caleb: Stacy, thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about the core value of optimism and a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career.
Stacy: It’s been my pleasure; Caleb and I look forward to our next episode of The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!
Caleb: Before we go today, I want to remind our listening audience that The VET Recruiter can help you in one of two ways. When the time is right, they can help you find a stronger position for yourself. Or if you are an employer looking to hire, they can help you find top talent. If you are interested in seeing some of the current searches The VET Recruiter is handling, be sure to search the jobs tab on The VET Recruiter website at www.thevetrecruiter.com Thanks again for joining us today and we will see you back here next time.
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