Presidents Message

Dr. Carie Telgen

An “Abundance Mentality”

“Abundance is not something we acquire, but something we tune in to.”
Wayne Dyer

The recent AABP-L thread regarding a young woman who was interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, but only had one arm, spurred an outpouring of “she can do it!” messages. It was truly inspiring to hear of the stories of all those who have already gone before her to achieve their dreams. I think it would be a great idea to have one of those people as a keynote speaker at one of our conferences.

A book I am currently reading spoke of Stephen Covey’s “Abundance Mentality” vs. the “Scarcity Mentality”, and the AABP-L thread further accentuated this concept for me. For those who may not be aware, the concept behind the scarcity mentality vs. the abundance mentality is that with scarcity mentality, we get the sense that, for example, when someone else gets a job, there aren’t enough jobs left for me. Or, when someone else gets a raise, there isn’t enough money for me to get one, too. Or if someone else gets a promotion, there isn’t room for me. The pie is only so big, so when someone else gets or takes a piece of it, there is less left for me. In contrast, the abundance mentality is one in which we realize that although someone else gets “the” job, there is still another one of those “ideal” jobs for me. When someone else gets the raise, there is still another opportunity for me. When someone else picks up that client, there are still more clients out there for me. With an abundance mentality, the pie is infinitely huge, and there is plenty of it to go around.

How often in veterinary medicine do we find ourselves trapped in the scarcity mentality? I remember as a student applying to vet school I was worried that if someone else got the spot, that was one less spot for me. I remember thinking the same thing as a private practitioner – if someone else picked up that herd check, that was one less opportunity for me. If someone else consulted on that farm, that was one less opportunity for me. Now, vet school seats might be a finite number, so maybe that’s not the best example, but I think so much of this is truly related to our perception of the size of the pie. What about schools outside the United States? What about next year’s class? Regarding day-to-day work in private practice, I constantly hear stories of how there is always more work to be done, but maybe the size of the pie is instead limited  to hours in the day…

So, how do we get out of this scarcity mentality and into an abundance mentality?

Suggestions from Stephen Covey include:


It is really easy for those of us who are competitive, have a Type A personality, or are as driven as most veterinarians are, to end up with a scarcity mentality. Just like opportunities for those with a perceived disability, the size of the pie is infinite. I truly hope I can meet this future doctor someday and can tell me stories of how she achieved her dream. I hope she maintains her abundance mentality for years to come. And I am so thankful for the AABP-L thread that made me check my own mentality and remind me that “abundance is not something we acquire, but something we tune in to.”

Dr. Carie Telgen