Four weeks to more heartfelt communication in your veterinary practice


Practicing these four communication principles will help bring more heart and compassion to your practice experience.

Practicing these four communication principles will help bring more heart and compassion to your practice experience.

Intuitive empathy

People are seldom upset about what appears to be bothering them. For the next week, when you're around someone who's upset—including yourself—remember the "kick the cat" story. Ask yourself how you'd want to be treated when you're upset.

Deep listening

Deep listening becomes possible when you remain open and nonjudgmental. For one week, practice deep listening by reminding yourself, "It's not personal." Then choose to remain open, letting go of initial judgments and opinions. Practice being fully present with others.

Connecting with humility and authentic appreciation

Humility makes us teachable and wiser. It makes us better listeners and friends. It helps us examine ourselves without judgment. You can develop humility by working on each of these six practices one day per week—and you get one day off for good behavior.

  • Be grateful for your assets. Expressing gratitude will help you develop humility.

  • Be grateful for your challenges and shortcomings. Those challenges will lose their power over your perception of yourself and become building blocks you can grow on.

  • Refrain from comparing yourself with others. You were created with a purpose that is shared with no one else, and with a set of unique qualities and attributes.

  • Practice being teachable. The key to wisdom is to be teachable, to realize that you do not know everything and that many things you believe to be true may be false.

  • Practice random acts of anonymous kindness. By practicing kindness, you transcend the high-anxiety world of selfishness and experience the fulfilling sense of oneness with others.

  • Loosen your expectations. When you hold tight to expectations, you become easily frustrated, disappointed, and angry when those expectations don't happen.

Authentic appreciation

This is the ability to find something positive to say about others without resorting to flattery. For one week, find something positive, empowering, and heartfelt to say to everyone. Keep track of positive comments as you observe the effect this has on you and your environment.

When you complete this first cycle, I recommend repeating it from the beginning, after first acknowledging the progress you've made in bringing more heart and soul to your professional life.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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