Lawrence works with private and public sector clients through his consultancy company, LJB Veterinary Services Ltd. He is motivated by the use of investment and innovation to optimise animal health, welfare, food security and sustainable agriculture. Lawrence is an elected member of the British Veterinary Association's (BVA) Scottish Council and is studying in his spare time for an Executive MBA at the University of Edinburgh.
Tell us about a daily habit or routine you practice that contributes to your productivity and fulfillment?
“If you win the morning, you win the day”.
Waking up early is a game changer. It doesn’t come naturally to me but didn’t take long to realise the benefits. I’m normally up at 5am, emails with a strong coffee before some form of exercise. Once I get into work, I’ve got a head start on the day.
Few tips: don’t sacrifice sleep, try to get at least 7 hours (less Netflix). Place an alarm outside your room, it’ll irritate your partner but it works! Avoid huge feeds before falling asleep.
What was a major setback that you learnt the most from, or actually turned out to be a success?
In the past I have taken setbacks hard and is something I have had to work on. You can only put your best foot forward and grow from the experience.
“There is treasure in every wreckage” David Goggins.
When you start to doubt your own ability, or are having 'a bad day at the office', how do you get back on track?
Exercise fixes everything.
It offers clarity, disperses the brain fog. It’s good for career, relationships, physical and mental health. If I’m feeling the pressure, I’ll pause what I’m doing and put on the running shoes. It’s amazing what fresh air and working up a sweat can do for the mind. If I can’t drop everything there and then, I take comfort in knowing I get to blow off some steam later on.
What have you got better at saying no to? How did you realise this and how has it benefitted you?
I started thinking in the long-term and decision making became a lot easier, avoiding short-term gains if it comes at a cost. Sometimes you have to say “yes” to something you really can’t face, but you know it will pay dividends in the long haul. Using this simple metric has been a valuable tool and avoids wasteful deliberation.
There is a flip side to this, where you are charitable with your time to help someone. Giving without expectation is good karma, but don’t let yourself be taken advantage of.
If you could gift a book to all vets at graduation, what would it be, and why?
‘#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness’ by Gary Vaynerchuk.
I stumbled across this book at a crucial period and found it really uplifting. I actually listened to the audiobook which I would recommend, it is narrated by the author who offers some additional content. I’ll admit the book is not for everyone, but it gave me a whole new perspective at a time when I really needed it.
Tell us about something you are currently a fan of?
I’m obsessed with The National Rugby League (NRL), I watch all the highlights from every game. I started backing the mighty South Sydney Rabbitohs when I was living in Australia and have been hooked ever since.
I’m also a bit of a sad case, I love a good motivational quote and keep a record (very embarrassing). A couple of my favourites:
- “Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about.” Winston Churchill.
- “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” Kevin Durant.
What purchase of less the £100 has most positively impacted your life in the last 12 months?
Trtl Travel Pillow
I travel a lot with work and I’m always stuck in economy. My folks bought me one of these Trtl Travel Pillows last Christmas and I was very sceptical at first. It looks ridiculous, you wrap it around your neck like a brace. But I quickly found out it made those long-haul flights more bearable and would definitely recommend.
What is the worst bit of advice you hear regularly in our profession? Why do you feel it is bad advice?
To stay away from social media.
I’m a big fan of LinkedIn and believe it to be a really valuable tool for your career if used properly. Although, it is important to regularly assess the health of your relationship with social media. Remember, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, Joe Rogan.
I also get a bit anxious when colleagues and friends who are unhappy in their career, niche themselves down further. Whilst this might work for some, I don’t believe a certificate or residency is the solution for everyone.
What advice would you give veterinary graduates about to begin their careers?
For undergraduates I would recommend taking your time. Don’t rush into the wrong gig, maybe spend some time travelling or trying something completely different. You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having a supportive infrastructure around you when starting your first job. Moving to a new place, especially if remote, is a challenging transition. Be patient (but not complacent) in finding the right opportunity.
There’s a bit more pressure on postgraduates to find work asap. I would stress though that life’s about more than money. You should consider the whole package for you and your family.
If you could send a single text to every vet around the world simultaneously, what would it say?
It is an incredible time to be involved in animal health and welfare, you can be a pilot or a passenger, it is up to you.
PS. don’t take yourself to seriously, cherish time with loved ones and be present.
Have you been inspired by someone in your career? Or know someone in the veterinary profession who has made a positive impact on you?
There are no strict criteria for contributors or mentors, other than that they are positive, supportive members of our profession.
If someone you know springs to mind, or you have any feedback or ideas relating to our Vet Mentors project, please get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org