Episode 36 – Moving from Overwhelm to In Control featuring Dr. Nia Perkins of My Vetamorphosis

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See below for the full transcript, but please excuse any errors as it was auto transcribed by Otter.ai

Stacey Cordivano 0:07
Hey there, it’s Dr. Stacey Cordivano. I want veterinarians to learn to be happier, healthier, wealthier and more grateful for the life that we’ve created. On this podcast I will speak with outside of the box thinkers to hear new ideas on ways to improve our day to day life. Welcome to The Whole Veterinarian.

Stacey Cordivano 0:35
Today you get to meet Dr. Nia Perkins. Nia is a Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine graduate. She’s a mom. She’s a veterinarian who has worked in so many aspects of small animal medicine. And most recently, she is the founder of y Vetamorphosis, which is a personal development coaching company. I was so excited to come across her business and I just had know more about her. We cover everything from the origins of her entrepreneurial spirit, to her extreme burnout after practice ownership to ways that she’s making veterinary medicine better for all of us. Oh, and if you do decide to use Nia as a coach, make sure to use the links in the show notes or DM me, because she’s offering listeners 20% off her packages. So hopefully that’s an incentive to get involved with her. I hope you enjoy my chat with Dr. Nia Perkins.

Stacey Cordivano 1:32
Hey Nia, thanks so much for sitting down chat with me today.

Nia Perkins 1:35
Thank you so much, Stacey for having me. I really appreciate it.

Stacey Cordivano 1:39
Sure. I’m excited to get to know you and learn more about your business. So can we just start out by you telling everyone a little bit about yourself?

Nia Perkins 1:49
I’m sure. Let’s see. I graduated from Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. So I’ve been out for Gosh, about 20 years now. I currently live in the Atlanta area. I’ve been here for about three years. And before that I was in Virginia for like 15. So that’s where I kind of started my veterinary career. Let’s see I have a 16 year old teenage son and a very crotchety. 12 year old Japanese Chin. So that’s, that’s me in a nutshell.

Stacey Cordivano 2:28
Awesome. So I know when we talked earlier, you said that you had a lot of entrepreneurial influences in your life. And knowing a little bit about how much you’ve done in the veterinary world. I just wanted to talk a little bit about that and tell people how that might have influenced your career thus far.

Nia Perkins 2:47
Yes. So I was very fortunate to have a family full of entrepreneurs. And so I learned very early in life, how that worked out. I think my first glimpse of that was my mom, she’s a pediatrician. And so she owned her own private practice. So I would, you know, go to work with her and just kind of see, you know, how she, how she ran things. And then my dad, he’s a writer, he, you know, has written a few books. And that’s kind of where I get my, my writing spirit from. And so most of my family, my sisters, both of my sisters are entrepreneurs, my step mom, or my bonus mom, and my bonus, dad, they all have their own businesses. And so that was just something that was instilled in me very early. And I kind of ran with that. And I’ve always wanted to just kind of work for myself.

Stacey Cordivano 3:48
Yeah, I have to imagine that really plays a factor in all of the different things that you’ve done, which I want to go into next, because you’ve literally done, maybe besides large animal medicine, you’ve literally done everything in veterinary medicine. I’m just gonna like list off the things from your resume. So you’ve been an associate, you’ve been a relief that you’ve been a housing, shelter vet, you’ve owned your own practice, been in a partnership with another veterinarian, you are now doing telehealth, you’re a writer and a coach. Like I feel like that is the gamut of Veterinary Medicine, which is awesome, because a huge part of this podcast is to help people realize that, you know, just because you thought you were gonna go in and be a clinical vet, it does not have to stay that way. So I imagine those entrepreneurial influences made a difference in all those choices. Did you know from the get go that you wanted to own a practice?

Nia Perkins 4:47
I would say very early on, I knew I wanted to own the practice. It wasn’t maybe the first thing that I thought about, but definitely after I graduated from school, it was something that I talked about a lot. just wasn’t sure how I was going to get there. I just knew it was going to happen eventually.

Stacey Cordivano 5:05
Got it? How did you end up forming your own practice? Was it pretty soon after graduation?

Nia Perkins 5:10
Actually was about six or seven years after graduation. And, you know, I worked in several practices as a relief doctor, I went back to associate, you know, being an associate for a while. And I just realized, you see things you see the good and the bad. And, you know, I was thinking, Okay, I just want to create my own environment. And so I reached out to one of my classmates who had also expressed an interest in building something. And we just started with, you know, just started working on the process. And it is a part process. And it’s a long process. But 2007 is when we kind of started talking about it. And in August of 2009, we opened the doors. And it was actually the first practice in Alexandria, Virginia, that was owned by two African American veterinarians. So it was kind of a big deal for myself, and for my former partner, to make that happen. That’s amazing. Yeah. So that’s how we kind of got started

Stacey Cordivano 6:23
In being the first black owned practice, did you feel a sense of obligation and as far as like, mentorship was a part of that journey, mentorship and being a face to, you know, young children that it was possible?

Unknown Speaker 6:40
It definitely was, I tried to, you know, mentor as many young children as I as I could, and, you know, we got emails and phone calls, you know, from students, young children, that they wanted to be a veterinarian when they grew up. And so it was one of the best parts of what I did. I even had a Girl Scout group come in, and, you know, we showed them around the clinic, and, you know, kind of show them what we did. So that was a very important part of what we did. And both myself and my partner were very involved, I wish I could have been a little bit more involved. But the business side definitely took a lot of time took up a lot of time. But you know, I did what I could to, to inspire and to motivate, and to encourage young people, when especially young, black children to you know, do whatever it is they wanted to do. And if that meant becoming a veterinarian, then that’s what they should do.

Stacey Cordivano 7:46
That’s amazing. Thank you. I’m glad you were able to do that. We certainly need more access to people of color who were veterinarians. After your partnership, change directions, you moved, and now you’re into telehealth, and how has that made an impact on your work life integration or balance or whatever you want to call it our mental well being?

Nia Perkins 8:10
That’s such a good question. So pre pandemic, so we, of course, have to bring up the pandemic pre pandemic, I had been really considering transitioning out of private practice, as a relief doctor, after owning a practice. And, you know, going through that whole process, it really took a toll on me, and I was pretty burnt out. So I just, you know, decided, let me just go into relief, you know, I can kind of control my schedule. And I thought that that was enough, and found out that it really wasn’t I was completely burned out. So you know, dealing with clients and dealing with the the politics of being in practice, even if you are a relief doctor, it just really did a number on me. So, I had a colleague that recommended looking into telehealth, and she was already with the company. And so I interviewed and everything well, and they brought me on, I would say my overall health, it did improve. I’m still dealing with clients, pet owners, and a lot of people may think well, telehealth, you know, you’re sitting at a computer and you’re just you know, chatting with owners. It is a lot of work. And especially with our company, we are super, super busy. You know, your account, you’re at the computer for hours at a time. It’s still a difficult job, but I do feel a lot differently and I feel a lot more like I have control over my overall well being, you know, from making that making that transition out of clinical practice. I am Much better with doing telehealth now.

Stacey Cordivano 10:03
Would you say for you client interaction, Would that be one of the top stressors in clinical practice?

Nia Perkins 10:09

Stacey Cordivano 10:09

Unknown Speaker 10:10
it is. It is, that is part of being a veterinarian, or for many, if you’re a clinical practice, you know, you are working with clients, that is just part of the job. I think that there’s been a shift over the last several years, that not only are you dealing with pet owners, but you’re dealing with pet owners and their access to social media, they have this in their mind that, you know, the client is always right. And we know that that’s not always the case. So I think that there are a lot of things that, you know, have kind of been happening over the last few years, that have made it more difficult, you know, for veterinarians to navigate. And so I would say, yes, client interaction is high on the list. We have a lot on our plates, and on our shoulders, you know, to deal with on a regular basis, whether you’re an associate or practice owner, we got to deal with.

Stacey Cordivano 11:14
Yeah, for sure. We do. Kind of I guess, related to that you have transitioned into a coaching role. Can you tell us a little bit about I mean, maybe some of those reasons, or why you got into, can you tell us a little bit about why you got into it, and sort of your hopes for that role.

Nia Perkins 11:32
I’ve always been told that I am really good with, you know, speaking to people and that I have kind of this like, calming manner, although inside, I don’t feel so calm all the time. But, you know, people tend to gravitate toward me and, you know, start conversation. So I never really thought about it, as far as coaching was concerned. But when I started working with the telehealth company, they actually asked me to become like a mentor. And they started like a mentor, mentor group. So they’re, you know, several veterinarians that serve as mentors for the DVM team. And so that really started kind of the wheels turning like, Huh, okay, so, there, you know, there are over 130 something bets, you know, working for this company, and they, you know, kind of came to me and asked me to do this, like, Okay, well, maybe there’s something to this. And then not even a few months later, they promoted me to a team lead position. So now, I help oversee the mentors, as the mentors, oversee and help manage the DVM team. So that’s kind of where I started, you know, really thinking more seriously about becoming a coach. And last year, I said, You know what, I’m just gonna do this, I am going to get serious about it. And I signed up for a coaching course, it’s like a six month course, and you get your, you know, your certification. So I wanted to be trained as a coach, I didn’t want to just call myself a coach. And so yeah, and I graduated in May. And that’s how my, my business was born. My Vetamorphosis, but that’s kind of what gave me the inspiration was seeing that someone believes that I can do this. And so that’s what I’m working toward.

Stacey Cordivano 13:39
Awesome. That’s great.

Nia Perkins 13:40
Thank you,

Stacey Cordivano 13:41
My Vetamorphosis. What is the goals? Who do you want to help? What does it look like?

Unknown Speaker 13:48
So My Vetamorphosis is a coaching business that is exclusively for veterinarians. I’ve had people ask me, Well, you know, what about like, veterinary technicians and assistants and others in the, in our profession? And I said, No, I just want to work with veterinarians, because we are such a unique group of people. And because I am a veterinarian, I feel that I can relate I feel that I’ve had, you know, quite a few experiences and, and that that veterinary technicians and assistants and receptionist that such have not had experiences, but I know what we’re going through. I want to spend more time one us and also, you know, figuring out what it’s going to take for them to stress less, live more and just have some fun doing it. You know, because we’re just so hey, gotta go to work at a you know, if you have a family to take care of the kids got to take your husband We lose ourselves, you know, we lose focus on us. My hope is that I can help veterinarians refocus their energy, one themselves, and whatever they’re going through, we can work on that, you know, but you got to work on yourself first before you can take those steps to work one or the other areas in your life. So that’s my, that’s my goal.

Stacey Cordivano 15:26
I for sure relate to that… losing yourself, it’s easy to do in the midst of the chaos of life, for sure. That’s awesome. If someone you heard this, and was kind of interested, but they’re like, I don’t know, what a personal development coaches what I wanted, was that even happening there? Can you give us a little bit of like, what someone might experience or, you know, what do you cover for most people, do you think?

Nia Perkins 15:52
it’s really whatever that person is experiencing, it may be self confidence issues, it may be imposter syndrome, it’s really specific, you know, to that person, they may have no issues with self doubt. But you know, all the issues with you know, something else. So it is really, you know, specific to that person, my goal isn’t to change them in any way, you know, they really do have all of the answers for themselves. It’s asking the right questions, and helping them to see and helping them to unmask who they are, who they want to be where they want to go. I’m just here as a as a support. And there may be people out there that are like, well, I can talk to my colleague, or I can talk to my friend about this. That’s true. But you know, a coach is trained to know how to move you along. And not everyone can do that. So that’s what a personal development coach does. They kind of work one more of the the personal side, but we also delve into the professional side. But it’s more focusing on what needs to happen for you, before you can, you know, move on to the other areas. And if anyone was kind of like, Oh, I’m not sure you know, what a personal development coach or just a coach in general does, I always invite them to sign up for a complimentary session so that you can see exactly what it is we do. And most coaches offer some type of complimentary discovery session, because actions speak louder than words.

Stacey Cordivano 17:42
Yeah, great. Looking at sort of the current state of overwhelm, and really stressed out veterinarians, if you could offer one piece of advice do you have anything you could give to listeners to maybe work on for themselves in this moment, or in this next week, or something?

Nia Perkins 18:02
I do. And this is super simple. When you feel yourself getting to that point of, I’m over this, I’m tired, I’m stressed, I just want to just exit left. Just take a second, just find a quiet place. take time for yourself. Because we all know that that’s something that we don’t do. You know, we’re in practice, we may not eat our breakfast until five o’clock in the evening. We may not go to the restroom, you know, the whole day. And so you have to think about yourself. So just stop. Find two minutes. If you can find five, that would be great. Find a quiet place, play some quiet music, whatever it is, that will get you back to yourself. And just breathe. Because we don’t do that enough. Breathe and concentrate on your breathing. And just get yourself back to yourself. And once you do that, it may be a little bit easier to figure out, you know, your next steps. But in that moment, just stop. Find a quiet place and worries.

Stacey Cordivano 19:23
Great advice. There’s nothing that can’t wait two minutes. I feel like exact almost nothing almost Yes. Do you have any resources you’d like to share with people books, podcasts, anything like that?

Nia Perkins 19:36
I do, actually. So the first one that I would like to share is your podcast, of course. I have learned so much information, you know from your guest speakers and from you. I think what you’re doing is awesome. And you know, we don’t know what resources are out there. And so I think you’re doing a wonderful job. So your podcast is number one on my list.

Stacey Cordivano 20:05
Thank you. I appreciate that.

Nia Perkins 20:06
Oh, of course, oh, I do have a few books as far as resources. Awesome. So my first one is it’s called Tuesdays with maurey. And the author is Mitch Albom. I read this book several years ago, and have recommended it to my son, who I’m wanting you are reading this book. The reason why I you know, want him to read it is it is a book that helps you appreciate people while they’re here. And so I want him to learn that lesson of life is short. Can you just never know when someone may leave us, and so appreciate them while they’re here. So Tuesdays with maurey. Mitch Albom is the author, another one of my recommended reads as called more than enough by Elaine Welteroff. And she was the she’s the former editor in chief of Teen Vogue. And just another great read and a very inspirational book. And also I love her because she’s like my little sister in my head, and we share the same birthday. So she’s automatically like my list of people I love.

Stacey Cordivano 21:20
Awesome. I haven’t heard of that one. That’s cool. I’ll check that one out.

Unknown Speaker 21:22
Yeah, jack Canfield, the success principles, the Chicken Soup for the Soul author or co author, and I’m presently reading his book now, and it just has so many great nuggets, you know how to kind of figure things out. And, you know, one of his lessons is, you got to take 100% responsibility for your life. And so that means no excuses, stop blaming and stop complaining. And I found out that, you know, I used to do a lot of complaining. And so, you know, he’s kind of helping me work on that. And finally, my last book, written by my dad, called the full circle, race, law and justice, and my dad, Walter Perkins. This is a biography about an attorney that headed like the civil rights, you know, he was a civil rights attorney. And so my dad is just an inspiration to me when it comes to like writing and he’s the person that I go to, when I’m, you know, like, Oh, you know, can you look over this blog for me, or, you know, and he’s, you know, kind of encouraging me to write a book. And so I had to put him on the list, of course, as a number one resource.

Stacey Cordivano 22:42
That’s great. I’m definitely going to get that one for sure. And I’ll make sure to link all those in the show notes and everything. Okay. I also want to ask you, which I ask everyone, what is one small thing that has brought you joy this past week?

Nia Perkins 22:58
I know that maybe you’ll think that this is a little silly. But you putting me on this platform, is that thing. And as I told you earlier, public speaking and speaking is one of my biggest fears that I’m trying to overcome. And so speaking on your podcast, is helping me to build my confidence. And hopefully, I’ll be speaking in public at some point about my coaching business. But this is what has brought me joy this week, in addition to you know, just just life in general.

Stacey Cordivano 23:40
Well, that’s not silly, and I’m very happy to share your story. I think your story is amazing. I think you’ve done so many things that shows you know how versatile our career can be. And I think that My Vetamorphosis is going to help a lot of people so I’m happy to share your coaching business with everyone listening.

Nia Perkins 23:58
Thank you, Stacey.

Stacey Cordivano 24:00
This has been really fun. Thanks again for spending time with me.

Nia Perkins 24:03
Thank you, Stacey for having me.

Stacey Cordivano 24:07
Thanks so much for tuning in today. I hope you’re enjoying the August series highlighting moms in veterinary medicine who are kicking butt and making waves along the way. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with a friend hit subscribe or follow on your favorite podcast player. And if you have time, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. Also, if you want to make sure that you don’t miss any news from me, sign up for the monthly recap newsletter at thewholeveterinarian.com/subscribe. Thanks again for spending your precious time with me and I will talk to you again soon.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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I’m Stacey

I want veterinarians to become happier, healthier, wealthier and more grateful for this life that we’ve created.

I understand the struggles of a stretched-too-thin veterinarian. I have also learned that with some individual work, there is a brighter side to veterinary medicine. Personal and financial development strategies have helped me find a happier place in my life and in my work. I hope to share resources that will resonate with my fellow veterinarian to allow you to become a more whole person.

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