Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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46 Today's Veterinary Business Community Because of our natural bias toward negativity, the Downward Spiral is the world that we ordinari- ly inhabit. Conversations (internal or external) that stem from this point of reference are based on the fear that we will run into brick walls and be unsuccessful, and they are often reactive to circumstances that appear to be wrong, problem- atic and in need of fixing. In their national best-seller "The Art of Possibility," authors Ben and Rosamund Zander describe two worlds that are completely differ- ent in nature: the Downward Spiral and Radiating Possibility. Community GO WITH THE FLOW By Jeff Thoren, DVM, BCC, PCC By Trey Cutler, JD • Humans and human sys- tems move in the direction of the questions we ask, what we study and what we think about. Downward Spiral thinking and talking come naturally. It happens automatically whenever things aren't going exactly the way we want. But if left unchecked, our inherent focus on obstacles and problems allows them to multi- ply exponentially, keeps us stuck and limits our options for positive action. A Downward Spiral mindset leads to predictable results: • Defensiveness • Inflexibility • Inactivity • Being judgmental of self and others • Being reactive • Fearing differences Developing a mindset of Radiat- ing Possibility, on the other hand, requires discipline and practice — LOTS of practice. (Trust us on this!) The upside, though, is far greater and worth the effort. The world of Radiating Possibility is one characterized by: • Curiosity • Learning • Inspiration • Being accepting of self and others • Being responsive • Valuing differences Constructive Change So, how can we enhance our ability to think and speak from a Radiant Possibility mindset? In her book "Change Your Questions, Change Your Life," Marilee Adams provides some sound guidance. Becoming more aware of and selective about the types of questions we tend to ask is one of the most empow- ering tools we have for creating constructive change. According to Adams, "Questions are at the very core of how we listen, behave, think and relate. Virtually everything we think and do is determined by the questions we ask." At any moment we're faced with two basic mindsets to choose The Downward Spiral is a world of hierarchy and survival where we compete and struggle to maintain our position in relation to others. Downward spiral talk creates an irrefutable story about the limits of what is possible and convinces us that things are going from bad to worse. Do any of the following downward spiral statements sound familiar? • The veterinary profession is too slow to change. • Veterinarians are not good business people. • Corporate consolidators are ruining the profession and the livelihood of traditional practices. • Dr. Google is interfering with our ability to provide sound advice and services to pet owners. • We can't find decent employees who are willing to work hard. Fortunately, we can choose a different point of reference and, by doing so, improve both our outlook and our actual experience. Committed to Learning In contrast to the Downward Spiral, the world of Radiating Possibility prompts us to remain open, curious and committed to learning. As we introduced in our April/May column, it reminds us to accept the circum- stances we're faced with and work with them, not against them. Resisting things will never be helpful and likely will produce negative emo- tions and energy that are harmful to us and others. When operating from the world of Radiating Possibility, we realize we can tell a different story. Instead of meeting events with anxiety, de- fensiveness or resistance, we remain openhearted, at ease and in a state of contribution. In the world of Radi- ating Possibility, nothing is inherently good or bad; it is the story we tell ourselves about it that makes it so. It's important then to be aware of the kind of conversation we're participating in at any given mo- ment and to distinguish between the Downward Spiral and Radiat- ing Possibility. Our default point of reference is critical because of two important principles we've learned from the field of appreciative inquiry: • What you focus on becomes your reality. Choosing wisely It's important to distinguish between the Downward Spiral and Radiating Possibility.

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