by Dana Meske, Chief Administrative Officer
Six thousand nine hundred and thirty five days, is how long I have been a part of the veterinary world. When I look at the facts that is half of my life and my entire professional career.
As an “elder” (still south of forty) in my workplace one of the things I am asked on a consistent basis, is in relation to client relations. What is the secret? How do you stay calm in the heat of the moment and how do you balance that type of stress?
I’m not sure that there is a definitive answer that will work for everyone. Particularly because every day is different and we are different every day. For me, there are three core fundamentals I have found to be true and I want to share them with you.
1. Remember why.
“What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.” –Lesley Knope
I work in the veterinary field because I love helping people. This sounds counter intuitive, it’s all about the animals, right? I assure you it is an essential ingredient when working in veterinary management.
In my experience, pet parents are passionate about their critter kids. They love them and they want what is best for them, the same as we do. They also experience the same emotions we experience. For example: have you ever been at the mercy of your dentist? They recommend a much needed procedure that is not in your budget. You have to quickly make decisions about the future of your chompers. I've had that experience. Sweating in the chair, trying to understand what they were telling me about my pearly whites and wading through the recommendations they were giving me. Trying to ask educated questions while interpreting the estimate they were doling out.
The entire time I’m sitting in the chair, I’m imagining my teeth falling out because I could not afford plan A. This may have led me towards fear-based behavior.
Before I walk into an exam room or pick up the phone to talk with a client I draw on those moments. I remind myself that I want to help them because I want to help people. It is my “why.” I stay grounded, because of my “why.”
2. Recharge your batteries.
In order for me to support my team and to be of service to my clients, I have to recharge my batteries.
Think about the classic in-flight airplane emergency procedure. Put your mask on before you help others. You cannot hold space for your team when they need it if you are not taking the time to care for yourself.
For me, that’s daily meditation (5-10 minutes), walking and yoga. I also love on my critter kids and spend time with my family. I laugh and I read books (not just business books!). Whatever it takes to keep myself in a good place.
Staying balanced is a practice. It requires commitment to being there for yourself as much as you are there for others.
3. Ask better questions.
You don't know what you don't know.
I love that phrase. Have you ever been in a situation you could have avoided if you'd had the right information? Over the years, I've learned to ask better questions, because this has happened to me. One of my favorites is asking, “Can you define that for me?” Try it. That little baby is priceless.
I am grateful to have had the experience of the last nineteen years to shape me into the person that I am today. I can't imagine a field that has more to offer then the veterinary world. It is challenging and rewarding, plus every once and awhile, there are puppies.
Just like getting a strong physical core (still working on my six-pack), it takes time to develop your management core. Where ever you are in your journey, I would love to hear about your core fundamentals if you would like to share them in the comments!
Light and love.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Unchartedvet.com editorial team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dana Meske is the Chief Administrative Officer at Veterinary United in Southeastern Michigan. She is passionate about helping people find their way to a happy and rewarding career. As a registered yoga teacher, she enjoys teaching yoga and meditation classes. To keep herself balanced, she enjoys walking, reading, yoga and riding her horse “Can't Be True”.