How to Reinvigorate Our Career Passion with Wabi Sabi

By: Julia Behr, CVPM, CVBL, CCFP

Brene Brown said, “Imperfections are not inadequacies, they are reminders that we are all in this together.”

About 6 years ago, I read the book, “Wabi Sabi Love,” by Arielle Ford. The book describes how to use the Wabi Sabi philosophy to transform your personal relationships. Instead of allowing things to irritate you that your partner does, you find beauty in the imperfection. That book really resonated with me and impacted my personal relationships, and it still does.

Our industry is going through so many challenges these days: practices are busier than ever, most are short staffed and unable to fill doctor and technician positions, and our teams are suffering from burnout and compassion fatigue while trying to meet the needs of sometimes demanding clients. It can also be emotionally draining to ignore our feelings just to get through the day.

Adding to that, due to the tumultuous times we find ourselves living in, it is essential for us to support each other through the good days and the bad. We need to not lose sight of our purpose and our why – particularly - why we choose veterinary medicine as our career.

What does Wabi Sabi have to do with this?

In his book, Wabi Sabi, Leonard Koren says, “Wabi Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.”

The veterinary industry is an imperfect and unconventional industry! I believe what drew most of us into vet medicine is our love for animals. That is why I started in the industry, but I have remained in it because of the people – all of you! I genuinely appreciate how most of us have given our blood, sweat, and tears to care for animals and help our clients. My concern is however, many in our industry have forgotten our purpose, leading to the loss of the passion that led us to our career path.

How can Wabi Sabi lead us back to our passion?

A Veterinary Practice Manager is not a Cure for Practice Brokentitus

By Jessica Strohecker, CVBL, PCM, CDMP

If Veterinary Practice Managers were prescribed like medication the intended use label would probably sound something like this:

The intended use of a veterinary practice manager is to help support practice goals, aspirations and guide the practice, clients, patients, and team to success. Warning: Handle with care.

Veterinary practice owners typically start looking for a practice manager when things start to feel out of control in their practice. Especially when human resource issues become the priority, team turnover starts to cycle, and management tasks begin to fall behind. Thus, causing a full-blown case of “Practice Brokentitus”, making the practice owner ready to prescribe the cure - a practice manager.

However, hiring one is never a cure. It is just a treatment to improve the negative symptoms happening in a veterinary practice.

Practice owners will regularly relinquish management duties, like human resources, to a new practice manager, as soon as they are hired. Always with the intent that the new manager will turn the practice around and everything will be fixed immediately. Then after a few months, when things are progressing slowly, the owner becomes antsy, feeling there has been zero progress. Which triggers the owner’s internal thought loop, “I hired a practice manager to fix the practice, but the practice isn’t fixed yet, so why do I have a practice manager if they haven’t fixed the practice.” This leaves the practice owner frustrated, feeling as if they made a terrible decision, and hired the wrong person. Owners will begin to consult with peers and business colleagues, only telling the story from their own perspective – never taking into consideration how frustrated, isolated, lost and potentially overwhelmed the manager may feel.

The practice manager’s perspective

Employee Engagement Matters!

Written By: Julia Marlin, CVPM Director of Coaching Operations with Veterinary Growth Partners

The definition of employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals. It helps leaders focus on the actions that matter most to their team members. Achieving high employee engagement is an important method for driving a high-performing culture and accomplishing the goals of your hospital.

Employee engagement involves the basic psychological needs that must be met for employees to perform their specific roles well. An engaged employee “shows up,” physically, emotionally and cognitively. They are enthusiastic about what they have to do, and they naturally find ways to improve and excel. In short, engaged employees generate most of the creativity, innovation and excellence in your practice. Your employees are your greatest asset and what truly sets you apart from your competition.

How do we determine what an engaged employee is?

Gallup defines three types of employees: Engaged, Not Engaged, and Actively Disengaged employees.

Engaged Employees

  • Highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace
  • Psychological “owners”
  • Drive performance and innovation
  • Move the organization forward

Not Engaged Employees

  • Essentially checked out and psychologically unattached to their work and company
  • They put in time — but not energy or passion — into their work

Actively Disengaged Employees

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