Episode 49 -Setting Boundaries Starts with Finding Your Own Value featuring Julie Squires

Julie Squires is back to take a deeper dive with us into the actual practice of setting boundaries! She has such important insight into what work we need to do when approaching boundaries in the workplace. You will get a ton of ideas from this episode regarding how to start a boundary discovery process and how to approach conversations in the workplace once you’ve nailed down some boundaries that need to be established.

More about Julie!
Julie Squires is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Certified Life Coach and Certified Grief Educator who brings a unique perspective and approach to support the sustained energy and passion of those exposed to compassion fatigue in veterinary medicine. Julie is an internationally recognized speaker and has over thirty years of experience within the veterinary industry working in practice as well as in the veterinary industry. Her company, Rekindle LLC, offers virtual and on-site seminars, workshops, a brand new group coaching program exclusively for veterinarians called Living a Life You Love, and the Rekindling podcast and is the result of the need Julie saw to help those that work with animals maintain their wellbeing and mental health.
Julie has deep love and affection for Brené Brown, Oprah and Keith Urban…not necessarily in that order!
Find her!
Rekindling Podcast

Find out more about The Whole Veterinarian at our new website!
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Email: thewholeveterinarian@gmail.com

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.

I’m so excited to welcome Julie Squires back to the show. Julie is a certified compassion fatigue specialist, a certified life coach and a certified grief educator who brings a unique perspective and approach to support the sustained energy and passion of those exposed to compassion fatigue in veterinary medicine. Julie’s an internationally recognized speaker and has over 30 years of experience within the veterinary industry working in practice as well as working in industry. Her company, Rekindle LLC offers virtual and onsite seminars, workshops, and a brand new group coaching program exclusively for veterinarians called Living a Life You Love. As a result of the need that Julie saw to help those that work with animals maintain their well being and mental health. She also started the rekindling podcast, which is amazing, definitely check it out. Julie has a deep love and affection for Brene, brown, Oprah and Keith Urban, not necessarily in that order. And I’m so excited to share this episode with you guys. We really dig into how setting boundaries works in actual life. And in practice, we have some specific examples that we pulled from Instagram, Julie’s just got a great outlook on how we should be treating ourselves. So I hope this is helpful for you. All the examples are kind of Equine, but it’s actually great for anybody who’s trying to work on having better boundaries for themselves and in their practice life. So let me know what you think. And please enjoy.

Hi, Julie Squires. How are you?

Julie Squires 2:15
Hello, Stacey Cordivano. I’m wonderful. How are you?

Stacey Cordivano 2:18
I’m good. Thanks, I’m glad to have you back on.

Julie Squires 2:21
I’m glad to be here with you. Again. It’s like a two-pete.

Stacey Cordivano 2:25
I know it’s exciting. So I reached out to you because I got an email from a listener, I’m actually just gonna read that email, I knew that you would be the right person to tackle this with. So here’s what she said. “I’d love to hear more advice about implementing boundaries in large animal practice for ourselves, but also how we can bring it into our workplaces. I meet a lot of practitioners around me who say they’re open to the idea, but don’t know how to start taking better care of themselves. I think some of these practices would be open to some fresh blood trying to implement Doctor client boundaries and some work life balance. And I would love some advice on how to do that I will be practicing in an area where there are a lot of Boomer age vets when I graduate. So I feel like I’m going to be forced to be bringing in the positive work life balance with me versus finding one where a great culture has already been established.” So that’s a lot to unpack. But I think it’s a great question. Because implementing boundaries is hard enough when you are in charge of the practice or what when you’ve been there a while but I think it’s definitely really hard when you’re a newbie.

Julie Squires 3:36
Oh my gosh. And what I really love about the person who asked that question is their insight into generational differences. Right? Because they’re already understanding that Boomer so let’s just call that out, right? I don’t know where the delineation is, is different every single thing you look at, but

Stacey Cordivano 3:54
Well, everyone should know because this week’s podcast episode talks all about generation. So it’ll be a requirement to have listened to my episode 48 before they listen to this one.

Julie Squires 4:06
How perfectly aligned is that? So that is one thing that we do know about the boomers right is their work ethic, you know, they are all about job loyalty, they will work the longest and the hardest, they will stay until the last A is dotted and T is crossed. So this person who’s asking this question understands that, yeah, work life balance may be sort of an issue here like how am I going to create for myself a sustainable way to work in this profession where there may be assumptions and expectations that are coming from other people. And I feel like first of all, I want to empower new graduates and younger veterinarians, newer in practice, to be a bit of a model for all of this and to mentor and to own your own empowerment to say hey, You know what, you know, just because we’ve always done it this way doesn’t mean that number one that it’s working number two, that it’s sustainable. Number three, that’s the life that I want for myself. And can we be willing to have some open conversations about what is reasonable? What is tolerable? Where are there places where, because that’s what boundaries are, right? A boundary is about what I’m willing to do and what I’m not willing to do what I’m willing to tolerate what I’m not willing to tolerate what’s okay with me what’s not okay with me. And that’s going to be different for every person.

Stacey Cordivano 5:30
Right? And I think a big part of what you just said, that I want to dive into more is that conversations like this really is a skill in communicating these things that you tolerate or don’t tolerate, right. So I do understand that it’s difficult to go in to a brand new situation and have those discussions. What some advice on how to even bring that up to someone in a more elevated place than you?

Julie Squires 5:57
Well, I think first we have to like, first, you have to get right with yourself. In other words, first, you need to own your own truth. First, you have to be in integrity with yourself, which means being honest with yourself, but then also being honest into the world. And I get it, it’s very hard. I work with lots of veterinarians that are conflict averse, right? That’s what they tell me. And I say, Hey, okay, that’s fine. I think I’m conflict averse to, I don’t think this needs to be a conflict, first of all. So notice how we’re even framing up in our mind like, oh, you know, this is going to be a battle or whatever. But in the question that you’re asking, yeah, how do I go in and speak to somebody in a elevated role and explain what my preferences are? Well, you know what I think it’s first, we really just have to believe that we are worthy, first and foremost, to communicate what I want my life to look like, and what I want my work and life to look like. So that may also mean that we have to understand that women have been socialized to want to please everybody. Women are socialized to not speak their truth, women are socialized to just do what we think everybody else expects of them, and to our own detriment. And hey, I get you may have people of all sorts of identities, listening to your podcast, which is amazing and great. So whether you identify as female or not, chances are you also have been socialized to have certain expectations, and belief systems kind of wrapped into all of this, which complicates things further. So what does it look like to go in to say to somebody, you know, I’m living this one life that I have, I want to be in this profession, I want to practice equine medicine, because it’s my heart, it’s my soul. But I’m not going to be able to do that. If I don’t also create a boundary about how that I can also have a life outside of this. And that’s going to mean that here are some of the things that aren’t going to work for me. Can we find some middle ground? Can we be willing to look at, you know, what it is that I’m putting on the table? What I’m offering, you know, things that I don’t want to do? And can we come to some sort of agreement and all of that.

Stacey Cordivano 8:15
And I think for people listening, new grads, are people looking for new jobs, are in a good position, right, like the equine industry is in such a crisis right now that people have to be open to these negotiations, and maybe what they would consider outside of the box types of roles, because there are literally just not enough people doing equine medicine. So my advice on someone asking that question would just be to take your advice, which is know your value and believe it in yourself, but then also know that you are a commodity that is needed. And if you want to say sustainable in equine practice, communicating that and just fully believing in yourself, because either the practice will adjust and hire you if it’s the right fit, or they won’t, and you’ll know that that’s not a good fit, and you wouldn’t have lasted there anyway. So I do think that newer grads who are trying to be more creative in these discussions are in like a particularly good spot at this point in time.

Julie Squires 9:23
I’ve been in the field of vet med for 30 years, I have never seen a time when veterinarians have been more in the driver’s seat than right now, whether that’s, you know, equine medicine when that small animal medicine like what like you’re right. And here’s the thing, if we want to change veterinary medicine, if we want it to be more sustainable, and I keep using your word, because, you know, because it’s the best word, but if we want it to be more sustainable, then we can’t look to the elders to make that happen. Right. It’s like that’s probably not where it’s gonna come from. It’s gonna come from the ground up. It’s gonna come from You know, new grads and newer veterinarians in practice to say, hey, we want a different lifestyle than what has been presented to us. And we think we can figure that out how to have it all. Yeah, maybe not all at the same time, but how we can have all of what we want in some level, shape, or form.

Stacey Cordivano 10:17
And I mean, I’m trying to talk to some older practice owners, I actually have a podcast coming out with that. And they’re listening. They’re saying, like, we’re having to listen, because the pain points are so painful at this point that we are having to listen. So I for sure think that you can go into a practice in, you know, a respectful manner. But being creative with your work life. And like you said, it’s going to depend on the individual person as to what boundaries they come up with. I will say, I asked on Instagram for some examples that people have with bosses and boundaries, and one that came up. And I know it comes up for a lot of people is access from clients to the veterinarian when the veterinarian is off, or like on the weekends or things like that, whether that’s a cell phone or text messaging, or whatever. I want to dig into that, because I feel like that’s a two part thing. I feel like there’s expectation from the practice that you always be available. And that might actually be a little harder to deal with. But then there’s also this branch of that that is inner work in the fact that you need to know that it’s okay that you are not managing every single part of your patient’s life. Great. Is that like a good?

Julie Squires 11:36
Yeah. I mean, you hit the nail on the head, right? It is two part. Right? So the first part that comes back to what’s coming from the practice? Well, you know, like, first we have to understand, number one, what did we sign on for? And even if, you know, we took a job with the expectation we were going to be available all the time doesn’t mean, see, the thing about boundaries is, that doesn’t mean we can’t ever change our mind somewhere along the line. We can’t decide, yeah, I don’t want to be available all the time. And then we have some discussions about how do we negotiate that. And that may be a deal breaker for the practice that you are working for. They may say, No, we need someone who’s available. So that’s an important teaching is that boundaries can change, right? You know, we can change as we shift and adjust. And as we decide we want different things. But then to your other point about what is my internal dialogue. And I’ll just put this word out there. And I hope your listeners will appreciate this, like, where do I need to step off of being the hero all the time? Yeah. And I get it, it’s challenging for you. Because on one level, you have a lot of power in your knowledge, your intellect, your skills, that you can make a difference. Huge difference, save lives. I mean, holy smokes, what’s more powerful than that, like, it’s beautiful. But at the same time, you also have a responsibility to save your own life. So how do you save your own life? Will you save your own life by understanding there are times that I need to step away rest and restore, I need to lick my wounds. So what does that conversation in my head? Where do I need to give myself permission that it’s okay, that I have put up this, and you can’t just leave people hanging, of course, but you have an automated something that says, Yeah, I’m not available from this time to this time. And here’s where to go. And ultimately, I want to offer this to all veterinarians is that guess what, really, what your clients at the end of it all, I know that they would much rather have you than anyone else, because you’re so amazing. And that’s, that’s flattering, but you can’t be there all the time. And that being the case, really what your clients want, is just another direction. They’re just looking for help. So if it’s not you, then just direct them somewhere else where they can get help. That still is helping.

Stacey Cordivano 13:56
Yeah, I mean, I agreed with you strongly when you said, stop being a hero, not because I’ve never done that. But because I have been able to see that shift. Finally, I mean, my kids forced me into that bit, right, I just could not be as accessible as I was used to being when I was responsible for other living humans. So on the other side of it, it is okay, it’s always okay, I’ve never left anyone high and dry. I’ve always provided them with someone else to go to. And they’re thankful for it. And they the good clients, right, the ones that you want, are glad that I’m able to take some time to my family or or whatever the case may be. So I just want people to know that I’ve done it both ways. And it is actually okay to be off and to let someone else handle things once in a while. Okay, another thing that came up a bunch was feeling like boundaries are disrespectful to other people. So I want you to unpack that a little bit.

Julie Squires 14:57
Well, I mean, you know, you and I are never We’re gonna get together where we’re not going to probably mention the one the only Brene Brown. So let’s just get that in the interview. Let’s let’s just let’s just throw a quote of hers out there. Something like he says, you know, creating boundaries is about having the courage to be willing to disappoint people. And I maybe I butchered it a little bit. But I think this disrespect versus I think it’s more disappoint than it is actually disrespect. Right? So, so give me an, because I’m not sure that I would think that a boundary is actually disrespecting somebody.

Stacey Cordivano 15:33
Well, this person put it in the fact that the question How do I stand up for myself to my boss without being disrespectful. So she didn’t give me a specific boundary. But she just felt like, by standing up for herself, which maybe, to quote Brene, again, what’s clear is kind, maybe she needs to be a little more clear with her boundaries before her boss impedes on them. So that’s maybe step one, right is like, yeah, making sure you clearly verbalize your boundaries. But yeah, standing up for herself feels like she’s being disrespectful.

Julie Squires 16:12
Yeah. And that just ends up being our perception, right? It’s like, first of all, you know, one of the things that we have to understand is that we don’t create other people’s feelings. Other people create their feelings by their thinking, right? Our thoughts create our feelings, not what we say, if I say, No, I can’t do that. That doesn’t create disrespect for anyone else. Right? What causes disrespect for someone else might be what they think about that? Oh, I, you know, I thought she was going to take call all weekend long. So I guess to answer this idea about being disrespectful, that comes with the assumption that I don’t have the right and or responsibility to honor what’s good for me. It’s as if we have two people in the conversation and the and my boss is worth more than I’m worth than my own needs. Right? Which is not true. Nobody is ahead of anyone else. No one’s more important. We’re all on the same level. So when we start challenging some of that thinking, well, is that true? That is disrespectful. No, it’s like boundaries are ultimately about respect for ourselves. So how can respect for ourselves ever be disrespectful to somebody else? It’s not.

Stacey Cordivano 17:29
Okay. I think we should repeat that one more time. Because this may be true in a lot of organizations, but I think it’s especially true in equine practice. Everybody is just as valuable as everybody else. Because it equine medicine is a hierarchy like it is, it’s just a bad part of Equine medicine. So I just want you to say one more time.

Julie Squires 17:53
Just like for those of you in the back in the back. Our worth. We are all equally worthy. We are equal in value. No one is, right. We’re all just humans. We’re all just humans. Now. The hierarchy is all made up, I get that it feels real. But it is all made up. It is all made up. But I get it, it feels real. I get it. But it’s all made up. And we all just keep buying into it. Yeah, that’s all that’s about.

Stacey Cordivano 18:22
Yeah, we keep buying into it. That’s right. And it’s our job to stop doing that.

Julie Squires 18:27
It is our job to stop doing that. Right. Think about how many systems social justice systems are built on hierarchies, where again, people have been exploited because of of these, again, imaginary, imaginary situations where one person’s more valuable than another. And you know, this gets tricky, right. But I think the point that you’re trying to bring out to the audience, and I think the part that I want to bring out to the audiences seriously, like, what if you took me at my word, and believe that we are all just, we are all 100% worthy, we are all equal players in the field. We’re all just humans, not one of us is more important than another. We’re all important. And when we believe that, then I think we can feel we can feel I don’t even know if justified the word I want to use, but maybe it is justified to say, You know what, when you do this thing, you know, this is what I’m going to do when you leave me with no support staff, then I’ll cancel all my elective procedures if I have no support staff, right. So it’s like if you do this, here’s what I’m going to do. And that’s also part of what a boundary is.

Stacey Cordivano 19:31
Say this episode gets people thinking about their boundaries. If you were going to give people an exercise to nail down some boundaries for themselves, what would you tell them to do?

Julie Squires 19:41
Our feeling states are very good indications of where we may have some boundary violations. So it’s typically places where we feel taken advantage of. It’s places where we feel overwhelmed, where we feel angry, resentful, and frustrated. So I would ask Ask people to write down situations that are causing those feeling states. And the next part of a boundary. And I think this is really important for everybody to understand is that you can’t create a boundary from a place of anger or aggression, you have to be at peace with understanding that a boundary is about protection of self, and about loving yourself. So here we come back to this relationship with, I can’t have a conversation with somebody who’s in a quote, unquote, elevated role, until I first have made peace with myself and say, oh, you know what, this is all about me loving myself and caring for myself, this is how I protect myself from burnout from compassion, fatigue from overworking. So when I’m at peace with that, then I can go out into the world. And I can communicate my boundaries to other people, because it’s coming from Love of self, I don’t need to be angry at my boss for doing X, Y, or Z. I’m coming at this from Oh, I love myself so much that I don’t tolerate people, you know, saying this to me, or asking that to me or not providing me these particular things that I think I need.

Stacey Cordivano 21:14
You started the episode with valuing yourself, a lot of it really is valuing yourself. And then I think another big part, which I’m a big proponent of, because I noticed the difference in my life is taking the time to yourself to think about what you need, as opposed to just getting through every day and hustling, hustling, hustling, like actually taking some time to think about those areas of frustrations are those areas where you feel taken advantage of you do need a pause to reflect on those things. One other example came up, and it made me angry. So I’m interested in your feedback. She said, “How do I have a boundary with a boss who takes their stress out on me, for example, yelling at me in front of clients and co workers?” And my gut reaction was to just leave, but potentially, potentially, that’s an answer. But potentially there’s also a different answer. Mm hmm.

Julie Squires 22:13
Well, that may be one answer. Yeah. So there’s a behavior that clearly, you know, doesn’t feel good to this person, obviously. And that’s something they don’t want to tolerate in in their boss. So that needs to be, of course, a conversation with this person. And here’s what a boundary looks like. Because we can’t control other people’s behavior. So what in that situation, what a boundary looks like is, hey, if you yell at me, in front of clients are coworkers, I will do this, I will walk away, I will hand in my resignation, I will yell back at you. And I’m not saying that I recommend that necessarily. It’s about what you will do if they do that. So that’s that communication of, hey, if you do this, first of all, when you do that, I feel sewn, so I feel disrespected. You know, that’s a great conversation. And if you do it, here’s what I’m going to do to protect myself, I will walk away, I will go to the practice manager and report this, I will walk out the door.

Stacey Cordivano 23:16
And again, I’m just going to remind people, there’s 400 job openings on a page. And some people are doing it differently. So if you need recommendations on ones that are let me know, and I’ll get well recommendations.

Julie Squires 23:32
And that, you know, and here’s the one thing, I get that in many situations, because so many of us, you know, we’re averse to having these conversations, because we think these are the hard conversations I I want to I want to ask you to reconsider that these are hard conversations, I don’t think it’s hard to communicate what you need for yourself, right. But the socialization again, we come right back around to socialization is that my value comes from how much I can do for other people. And that I that I’m not allowed to ask for what I need, which is malarkey.

Stacey Cordivano 24:09
You are allowed to ask for what you need. And you’re also encouraged to do that, because that is what creates longevity in your career.

Julie Squires 24:18
Yes. And if you don’t do it in the job that you’re in, and I’m not saying hey, some of you may be in jobs, where it’s just like, You know what, it is not worth all the effort that’s required here. That’s fine. You know what you do you you want a piece out and take something else, one of the other 400 jobs, you you go for it. But don’t think you get a get out of jail card free because you’re gonna have to still deal with boundaries in the next place.

Stacey Cordivano 24:43
Yeah, that reminds me of the discussion I had with someone about contract negotiation. It’s thought of as contentious but it actually shouldn’t be right. We’re both working towards Joining Forces and getting on a team together. So this should be a back and forth about what makes everyone happy and what makes everything work for everybody? So boundaries should be part of your contract negotiation? Yeah, for sure. But they feel charged regardless, I get it. They do feel heavy. Yeah, well, I think we’ve covered a lot. I’m grateful for your insight. Do you have any other advice to leave listeners with?

Julie Squires 25:20
my advice really, is to realize and discover your own worth. Because when that happens, this all becomes so much easier when you really, truly embody what you bring to veterinary medicine, to the world and to your life. I think all these conversations become a lot easier because they’re not filled with anxiety. It’s filled with just purpose. And it becomes easy to just say, hey, here’s how I want to live my one precious life. And here’s what I want it to look like. And I want to give all I have to this profession. But I don’t want to give all of me to it. I’m going to give all I have as it relates to my professional energy, but but I also want a life a full life outside of this, that those two things can come together and really create fulfilled veterinarians Imagine that. Really fulfilled heartfelt

Stacey Cordivano 26:16
would be amazing. Yeah. Okay, speaking of being fulfilled, what’s one small thing that brought you joy this past week?

Julie Squires 26:26
Oh, my gosh, well, it’s easy. I spent the weekend doing an online workshop with veterinarians vet techs and practice managers and had some, some equine folks in there. What brings me joy is seeing people step into the possibilities of their life, not just like how it might be right now but step into and start dreaming and imagining how amazing and beautiful it can be. That’s what brings me joy. And you of course, Stacy,

Stacey Cordivano 26:57
you bring me joy as well. Where can people find more about you?

Julie Squires 27:01
Oh you could find more about me on http://www.rekindlesolutions.com My website is probably the best place Yeah.

Stacey Cordivano 27:08
We will link all that and we’ll link your podcast of course.

Julie Squires 27:12
Just amazing.

Stacey Cordivano 27:14
Thanks so much for your time, Julie.

Julie Squires 27:15
Thank you.

Stacey Cordivano 27:19
Thanks again for listening today. I so very much appreciate the time you spend with me. I know it is so valuable. For more information or to sign up for our monthly newsletter. Please check out the newly revamped website at the whole veterinarian.com You can also connect with me on Instagram at the whole veterinarian. And lastly, if you have a spare moment, please leave a review on Apple podcasts if you’re enjoying the show, or share it with a friend. Thanks so much 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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