Have you ever thought about what your dog or cat would want you to do if they could speak? What would it be? Would they want you to work long hours, spend hours in traffic jams, watching TV, or shopping for things that you don't need? I invite you to close your eyes and imagine what your next hour, day, or month would look like if you could create it from scratch. Where are you, what are you doing, who are you with?
When I sold my veterinary clinic in 2008, people thought I was crazy. Everyone around me was shocked and asked why I made such a sudden decision. The answer was simple: I listened to the advice of my dog, Skai. For years, he reluctantly followed me to the clinic door hoping that I would change my mind, turned around, and played in the park instead. The truth was, I had very little time for play. I was burned out and felt like I never had enough time to help all the dogs that needed help. But how could I teach people how to keep their pets healthy and give them a good life if I could not find balance in my own life?
The Big Black Box of Existence
One day, at the end of my 12 hour work shift, I turned to Skai lying under my desk and thought, "What would you, my dear friend, want me to do if anything was possible?
I closed my eyes and floated away into an imaginary world. There I was, inside of a pitch black box. I felt the fear and panic trying to get out, pushing the walls away, trying to get out. Suddenly, the walls collapsed, and I was standing at the top of a huge waterfall. I was paralyzed with the fear of falling into depths of the unknown.
It felt like I stood there for hours, feeling the draw but afraid to jump. Then it felt like an invisible force pushed me forward, and I rolled over the edge, free-falling. My body sliced through the crystal clear water of a pristine pool. I pushed off the bottom, rocketing to the surface to gasp for air. I opened my eyes; I could only see the light and the blue horizon. Wow, what was I afraid of?
"Peter, our computer system is down, can you come and look at it and the washing machine is leaking, Peter, there is someone calling with an emergency, Peter, can you sign this, Peter, you have client holding on the other line... Peter!""Peter! Peter!"
I was clearly back in my box of existence.
A few months later, January, 2007.
My partner and I decided to go on a brief holiday to Maui. It was the first time we were able to take Skai along to Hawaii, as they made a change in the Rabies quarantine procedures to direct release for dogs that were pre-approved.
The trip was one of the best times of my life; one of my dreams was to run with Skai on Maui beaches, and here we were. The dream was no longer a dream!
Near the end of our trip, we drove to Hana, a remote village on the North East end of the island. We hiked through a lush bamboo forest until we reached a magnificent waterfall. I stood there at the bottom of the waterfall with my arms spread, gasping for air as water rushed over my face. Skai was nearby, cautiously supervising his "silly human."
The next day, we boarded a Vancouver-bound plane. I opened my laptop and started browsing through pictures. There I was, standing in the waterfall with Skai in the forefront with a big smile on his face. Suddenly, it all connected: my moment in the clinic, the black box, the waterfall, the plunge, and the feeling of freedom.
I turned to my partner and said: "I am selling the clinic. I want to teach others how to prevent disease and help them create health. That is where I can make the most difference for dogs!"
6 years later:
I never imagined my life could be so good. The transition was really tough and much longer than I thought: full six years of never-ending challenges and "close calls."
A typical vet makes a living from treating diseases, and I had to figure out how to make a living from creating health. I am very grateful that with the support of people who trust and buy our all natural essential supplements for dogs, we are able to provide free holistic healing information to anyone who needs it.
I also would love to share a few ideas about how to create your ideal life unless you are already living it! Here is my
11-step recipe for getting the life you want
- I can already hear some people saying, "But life does not work like this. We have responsibilities and jobs and…" But what if it does work like this if we are not afraid to jump into the unknown? I call it a planned gradual jump. If your life is stressful or if you need a change, here is an 11-step recipe.
- Make a list of things you have in your life, including what you do not want.
- Add the things you would like to have in your life but do not.
- Look at the list with honesty and cross off what you no longer need or want.
- Ask yourself if you love your profession.
- If not, see if you can create a job from what you really love. Usually, the activity makes you forget about this.
- If you love your job but do not like the format, change the format (that is what I did).
- Making the transition gradual, not sudden, is always better. (In 1999, I started my holistic practice and worked for other conventional clinics until my practice grew enough to support me. In 2008, I sold my clinic, but I continued to bring income in from a newly created house-call practice until the online business grew enough to support me). You can do the same.
- Test your new job or business idea without pouring all your savings in it. I love the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries because it speaks exactly about this.
- Do not be afraid to change your course if an idea does not seem to flow. Testing early and ditching what does not work are part of the process. You must have the courage to jump and the persistence to survive the initial challenges.
- Close your eyes and imagine what kind of life your dog would like you to live.
PAUSE HERE , do not continue reading until you see the movie of your life unwinding, then read on.
Congratulations!!! You have just accessed your subconscious image of the life you want to live. Do not throw away the opportunity to start the wheels rolling. Go for it! Make it happen! Just don't forget to take your dog along.
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM