I recently read an Instagram post asking viewers to name the most significant problem in veterinary medicine. I couldn’t help but wonder, what if the post had instead asked what we are all most grateful for in veterinary medicine? What impact might it have had to encourage people to focus on the positives given the stressful times we currently live in.
For several years we have promoted gratitude as a core value at my practice. In November 2020, in the face of the pandemic, we needed extra help to focus on the positives. We purchased a cardboard cutout tree and leaves from a teacher supply store. We “planted” the Gratitude Tree on a wall and provided empty leaves and markers to the team. By the end of the month, that tree had a full canopy of gratitude leaves, each bearing something that someone in our practice was grateful for. A simple idea and a few bucks had made thoughts and feelings visible, and it was nice for all of us to see for ourselves that we were still finding a lot of light during a pretty dark time.
Focusing on the negative is so easy, whether or not Instagram is asking us to. But gratitude can go viral, too, especially among people like us, who already have a solid social network, both on and offline. It not only feels good when people share something that they are grateful for, but it can also remind you of what you are thankful for. So in that spirit and in no particular order, here’s what I am grateful for:
- Veterinary medicine has provided us with relatively stable careers throughout the pandemic. People need and value us.
- We are doing something that, for so many people, is a passion and a calling. It is incredibly rewarding to help families and their pets!
- We as managers are in a position to decide how to fix things that shape how our practice operates and impacts our team members – that’s very empowering.
- I am healthy, and my family is healthy.
The truth is, problems demand our attention, and positive thinking won’t make them go away. But reminding ourselves of all the good people and things surrounding us and the power we have to deal with things that aren’t so good puts problems and challenges in perspective.
Please share the things you are grateful for in the comments – thanks in advance for the boost of serotonin!
Jessica Speas, CVPM, SPHR, PHR-ca, SHRM-SCP, CCFP