Walking the walk

The AVMA Future Leaders have been working on an article for JAVMA to share some of the insights we have gained as a result of the program. As a part of the article we went back and looked again at the resources we had available, one of them being the book The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. We read the book at the start of the program, and while I remembered that there were some good motivational thoughts in the book, honestly I had forgotten most of them.

The one statement that had rung particularly true was the part about finding your passion and setting the example. The book states that when it comes to really walking the walk, think of how you are spending your time; the way we spend our time is the single best indicator of what’s important to us. Revisiting that idea a second time has made it really stick.

So this time when I came back home from Schaumburg and returned to daily life, I started to think if I was actually doing that, setting the example and spending my time in a way that reflects what I claim my passions are. The big thing I had to resolve was that this didn’t necessarily mean spending a greater quantity of hours in the clinic or doing research on things, but that while I was there I was fully present and engaged. The same goes for those precious hours at home and away from work with my family, making sure that they know that while I am with them, they are the most important thing. We all know what people that have this ability are like; they are the ones that make you feel like the sun is shining on you just because you have their attention. They are never glancing at their watches, never looking at their phones and I want to be more like them!

It has only been a couple of days now, and it has certainly been challenging. Sometimes to get through those really long, hectic days just visualizing the finish line- the phones getting rolled to answering machines and door locked- is all you can do to keep it together. But now, just trying to remember that each client I meet with thinks that their 15 minutes is the most important time of the day is helping to keep me on track. Why? Because I want every client to believe me when I tell them that helping their pet is truly my passion.

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