The Road Ahead

The Road Ahead

Dealing with Life Choices and Veterinary Jobs

Veterinary Jobs

Author: Lynn McKeown 

Strategic Business consultant – Zoetis

On a cold, damp, early Saturday spring morning, dressed in warm clothes, gloves, hat and raincoat, I found myself standing at the side of a large rugby pitch at our local club.

I could have been in so many other warmer, more comfortable places and yet I had offered to take my 5-year old nephew Jack to Rugby Tots.

What an experience!

From the side-lines, I smiled and was in awe as I watched Jack and his team mates in their oversized rugby gear, warming up, doing their stretches on the pitch, making every attempt to listen to the instruction and support from their coach as they all perfected their techniques and practised how to handle the rugby ball!

Next up, it was game time.  I did wonder how this would work out with 20 over excited 5-year old rugby stars; chaos sprung to mind!

The game was under way; the players were working the pitch, so were the coaches as they encouraged the kids.  These coaches were all keen rugby players, back in the day!  Now, their physique and speed may have changed slightly over time, yet as coaches, they looked after those kids helping them to grow and develop.  As coaches, their passion for the game, their experience and their coaching skills and commitment to the club and those kids, was powerful.

Then, the action happened!

Jack was in possession of the ball, it was neatly tucked under his arm, his head was down, engine engaged and he was off! These training sessions were paying off, he was good!

Until, some of us felt quite unsettled on the side line as we noticed that Jack was heading towards his own try line.  Oh, I didn’t want to look!

One of the coaches ran to intercept and make Jack aware that he was running well, just in the wrong direction.  He lifted Jack up, his legs still in motion, still running through the air, still with a firm grip on that ball, head still down, turned him 180 degrees and placed him down, this time heading in the desired direction.

Unperturbed, Jack travelled up the pitch and scored his try, delighted with his skill and effort!

What an experience!

It made me think of the parallels of this story and of life.

Why is it that we completely accept any sport to be supported by a coach, a coach to help them be on top of their game, the best in their discipline and yet in life, do we not want to be on top of our game, our best in our discipline?

An example would be Katriona Johnston-Thompson, British Heptathlete, who was a nervous wreck, constrained by doubts and underperformed at the Rio Olympics and World Championships.

With the weight of her own expectations, her preparation at that time was on, if her body would be ok and if she could cope with the pressures.  She recognised a relationship between her physical ability and fine-tuning her technique and her ability to handle the challenges of her environment.

She knew she had to do something different to get a different result, something had to change.

Whilst it would be easy to talk about how to throw better, jump higher or run faster, she understood her performance issues were related to her mental attitude, her ability to manage herself, developing her strategy of how to deal with things, how to deal with her expectations or failures, the pressures of performance in a packed stadium.

There was a positive change, a new team of coaches, a different approach, an altered training and coaching regime, a clearer path forward and developing the right frame of mind to be able to face the challenges ahead.

At different times in our own life, we need a guide or a coach, someone we trust to do this with us, to help us develop the right skills to be our best.  Someone we trust who will support and guide when we’re ‘off course’ and in some shape of form, re-position us, providing the support, fine tuning and confidence to achieve the results you want in life.

As professionals, you graduate and move into the world of work usually with a steep learning curve and you alone are responsible to teach yourself improvements.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a coach, during school, at college and through your career?  Perhaps more important at the beginning of your career, as you move into a new role, as you acquire a new level of responsibility or simply to have a coach throughout would be useful.

We all have issues from time to time, things we want to do, get better at, change and yet at times, we can go around and around in circles trying to get that result.  We have a choice, go around and around or choose to do something different, something positive to get the results you want in life.

The role of the NLP coach will help you get off the roundabout and get on the road that YOU have chosen.

Similar to Jack going in the wrong direction, your coach can help you in that moment or throughout your game.


What is NLP?

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) has been described as ‘the study of subjective experience’. Originally developed in the 1970s at the University of California at Santa Cruz, NLP seeks to make explicit how we learn to structure our own unique experience of life by looking at our often habitual patterns of thinking, communication and behaviour.   At heart, it is a set of models, skills and techniques for thinking and acting effectively in the world[1].

It aims to provide people with the capacity to manage both themselves and their relationships with other people in order to get better results.

With Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) at the heart of my work, a great coach will be skilled and competent in coaching.  A great coach will navigate as you travel, attentively listen to you and the real change you want to make, helping you clarify your outcomes, effectively support and question you, as you work through any limitations and form your plan to improve, to alter, to change and achieve better results in life.


Self- efficacy

I love this quote, ‘Whether you think you can or think you can’t.  You’re right’.  This quote is attributed to Henry Ford, the prolific American pioneer, leader and industrialist.  The quote suggests that people’s belief about their abilities, determine success.  Psychologists refer to those beliefs as self-efficacy. Self-efficacy emerged in the 1970’s byAlbert Bandura, an influential phycologist.

What real change do you want to make?

It could be to become a locum vet and be self-employed, speak to your boss about creating a better place to work or to obtain that new job.  It could be to pass your nursing exams, improve your self-confidence for interviews or public speaking.  It could be overcome your fear and phobias.  It could be to develop strategies to deal with the stress and pressures in life.  It could be to have better relationships.  The choice is yours.


What real change do you want to make?

Through NLP coaching, learning practical skills about how to set your own outcomes could be one of the most useful things you can learn.  With this resource to hand, you will be able to coach yourself, coach yourself towards the things you want to achieve in life.


This theme will continue at the YVN /, CPD event, ‘Communication, Communication, Communication’ on Wednesday, 19thSeptember 2018, ‘The Power of Choice’.

Further info and tickets can be found on this link:

Veterinary CPD


[email protected]

An International Digital Platform for:

Vet Jobs

Veterinary Jobs

Locum Vet Jobs

[1]O’Connor, J & Seymour, J, “Introducing NLP” (First Published by Mandala, 1990), Harper Element, 2003


A little bit more about Lynn:

Lynn Mckeown grew up on the north coast of NI, with her Dad as a vet, his practice was a busy mixed practice and Lynn was immersed in the world of veterinary from an early age.

Lynn has qualifications in HR, Digital Marketing and is an Advanced NLP Practitioner (Neuro Linguistic Programming).  NLP skills and their practical application are at the heart of Lynn’s work and in particular within business to develop strategy, teams and individuals.  Lynn has extensive experience of using these skills to achieve results with clinicians and teams in professional practice and as an HR, Business Consultant with Zoetis and coach, Lynn provides professional advice and practical support across vet practices.

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