WVC keynote: How to kill stress in veterinary practice


Anxiety: It is literally holding you back from success, says management consultant Michael Staver during a keynote presentation today at the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC).

Las Vegas—

Anxiety: It is literally holding you back from success, says management consultant Michael Staver during a keynote presentation today at the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC).

But there are healthy strategies to keep fear, worry and anxiety at bay. The result, Staver says, will make you a far more effective leader and manager, and it will help you focus energy on the projects that truly matter.

Staver, a motivational speaker and consultant who combines business with psychology, recently made the comments to hundreds of attendees during his presentation today titled: "Deal with It: How to Stay Calm Under Pressure."

"What is anxiety and worry? It is fear," Staver says. "And people are afraid of failure or the unknown. During higher periods of stress, the creative centers in your brain actually close," he says.

To conquer anxiety, you have to recognize that bad things happen and develop strategies to respond to stressful situations. When you believe that you can handle whatever life throws at you, it will give you clarity, confidence and context to handle any situation, he says.

When unmasked, fear is the ratio of a person’s perception of danger to his or her ability to cope. "The perception of danger needs to be equal to your ability to cope," Staver says.

He told attendees to ask themselves these six questions when faced with anxiety or a stress-related event including:

-What is the worst thing that could happen?

-What is the best thing that could happen?

-What is the most likely thing to happen?

-What is my specific plan if the worst thing happens?

-What is my specific plan if the best thing happens?

-What is my plan when the most likely thing happens?

The more specific your plan, the calmer you become, Staver says. This process, which has been proven to help those people suffering from severe panic attacks, will help you understand your fears and build a strategy to confront them.

To control anxiety, Staver offered these suggestions:

1. Accept your current circumstances.

Keep in mind that in 2012, there will be tremendous pressure on businesses to implement new strategies to remain relevant.

2. Take responsibility.

“Have you noticed that there are many people and workers in this country who do not want to take responsibility? If your house was on fire, would you want firefighters to respond in the same way your staff comes into work? Probably not,” Staver adds.

3. Commit to trying new things.

4. Kindle new relationships.

5. Change your attitude from negative to positive.

To emphasize the point, Staver conducted an "excuse-athon" with attendees. He asked them to throw out every excuse they have heard in the workplace. Some of the common excuses cited by the group included:

I don't have time.

I don't know.

I don't care.

I didn't know.

I am so tired.

We have no money.

It is too hard.

It is not my job.

I forgot.

You didn't tell me.

I don't know how.

It is above my pay grade.

It is someone else's fault.

Excuses make more stressors in your life, and help you rationalize failure. "We have to effectively execute on the promises we made to ourselves and our businesses," he says.

Staver calls comfort the greatest enemy to any professional. And our greatest friend is energy.Veterinarians and hospital managers can tap a seemingly unlimited reservoir of energy if focus on making a difference, one step at a time.

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