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How celebrating wins can change your reality
Focusing on the negatives can drag practice morale into the dumps. Make a deliberate effort to celebrate wins can do quite the opposite.
This article is sponsored by Basepaws.
Everyone has read the grim statistics. According to the Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study in 2020, a shocking 52% of veterinarians would not recommend this profession to others.1 It’s a hard pill to swallow. Millions of people sit in cubicles every day crunching numbers, and millions more spend 40 hours per week making cold calls on the phone trying to get people to buy things that they don’t need. Meanwhile, veterinary professionals are literally saving lives every day.
If any career should have a lack of burnout and turnover, it should be this one. As frontline clinicians, associates and technicians have the opportunity to make positive and even life-changing impacts on clients daily. The problem is, teams often take these positive cases for granted. It’s just another parvo puppy, just another broken leg, or just another blocked cat. Even worse, many teams will focus on the one negative client or case rather than the multitude of positive outcomes. That’s where leadership comes in. It is the practice leaders’ job to continuously remind their teams of all the ways that they are winning. The wins are everywhere in a veterinary hospital; they just need to be captured.
How does this author’s team celebrate the wins? It’s simple: Every practice should be having a “huddle” or standing meeting at least every day. This is the perfect opportunity and cadence to celebrate a win with the team. Make it protocol for practice leaders to bring up one win at every daily meeting. Some days this will be saving a pet’s life. Some days it may be helping a dog with gastroenteritis and a very worried owner feel better. Just make them specific and celebrate the team members who were involved.
By training the team to look for the wins, they will start to become more and more apparent. Instead of focusing on the one difficult client, they will start to look for the positive. If meetings and daily interactions are filled with complaints and everything that’s wrong in the practice, that becomes the reality. However, if daily huddles are filled with the wins and all the amazing and positive things that the team is doing, isn’t that reality much more preferable?
Celebrating wins isn’t limited to professional life. On a personal level, there’s a very simple strategy that everyone can do to raise happiness levels when done consistently: Write down 3 positive things that happened every night before going to bed. This literally takes 5 minutes, and they don’t need to be big events. Just make sure they are specific. For example: “I had dinner with my spouse, and we had a nice conversation,” or “I got to see my son’s soccer game and received a nice compliment from a client today.” It’s important to train the mind to seek out the positive in the world and take the small steps toward the happiness that everyone deserves—at work and everywhere else, too.
- Merck Animal Health Veterinarian Wellbeing Study 2020. Merck Animal Health. January, 2020. Accessed November 22, 2021. https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/offload-downloads/veterinary-wellbeing-study