Mentors tell you all sorts of profound, insightful, even esoteric bits of advice they’ve accumulated over decades and decades of clinical practice. They transmit these gems of wisdom to better the new wave of professionals entering the real world of veterinary medicine. They want the future generation of practitioners to thrive. They want those coming after them to be better off. They want to raise the baseline standard so that veterinarians are smarter, and animals are more well cared for.
And the best way to do this, they say? Surround yourself with enablers.
I was told this by one of my mentors – a true enabler himself – while on rotation at a small community clinic in Worcester, Massachusetts. And at first thought, wow, this was esoteric. I really didn’t understand what he was saying. At first, I thought he was saying “neighbors…surround yourself with neighbors.” And I thought of course, neighbors are around us all the time, we always have people around us, we’re social creatures. But, after ruminating over these words for a few minutes, the simple profoundness of these words became ostensibly clear to me.
An enabler, at his or her core, is someone who makes able. It’s someone who gives power, provides means, brings out competence and ability, and promotes readiness. An enabler enables you to become better, and in turn, brings out your inner enabler.
I’m sure we all have at least one or two (or multiple) enablers in our veterinary bubble. These individuals are more than just neighbors – they challenge us to think analytically, act empathetically, and see the bright side of dim situations. They enable us to be the veterinarians we’re meant to be.
So, moving forward? Let’s let enablers keep enabling, and in time, we’ll become enablers too.