Are You Paying It Forward?

Don't be so busy at your veterinary practice that you forget to be nice to people, or forget your magic words.


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“Pay it forward” is a phrase you hear a lot these days, and we’re all pretty familiar with the concept. Basically, when/if someone does something nice for you, you are supposed to turn around and do something nice for another person, to keep that spirit of giving alive.

Here’s an example: I was going through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, and I was second in line at the window. When that car pulled away, and I pulled up, they let me know that the driver had actually given me the doughnut they bought. Well, okay, it was really a free doughnut for them because they got a coupon for completing the survey, but she used it to get a free doughnut to give to the person behind her. Turns out, I was told that she is diabetic so she can’t eat the treat, but always goes to the trouble to complete the online survey and give that donut away to someone else.

In my experience, both the getting and the giving are pleasant. She felt good giving me the doughnut, and I felt good receiving it. Either way, your heart smiles, and so does someone else’s heart. You can’t get that often in our society, when it seems like we’re trying to beat each other down just to scramble to the top of the food chain, so to speak. That makes the Pay It Forward concept even more important now, when we take common courtesy for granted.

Let me ask, do you often or always say “please” and “thank you” when it’s appropriate? If you’re not, then shame on you, and I might need to call your mom. You know she’ll say you were raised better than that! So why in the hustle and bustle of our work, we so easily forget to say the Magic Words? We perhaps take it for granted that the person should automatically know we are thankful, should know that when we request something, we are just asking for a favor in kindness.

The truth is, it is so often missing in our conversations today that nothing should be taken for granted, and we should brush off those Magic Words and get to using them. Think of all the times either "please" or "thank you" is appropriate.

Here’s an experiment you can do, keep a log of how often you say "please" and "thank you", and how often you could or should have used those words during the course of a day’s work in your practice. By focusing on it, we are more apt to notice that, hey, I had the opportunity to ask with a "please," yet I forgot. Well, it’s not really about remembering or forgetting, it’s about expressing our feelings to others, because internally we are pleased and feel thanked during appropriate moments … we’ve just lost the habit of verbalizing that feeling.

It’s time to show appreciation, even if it may seem like someone else isn’t feeling the love…and then pass along this blog to them! It will be a much more pleasant world, and work place, if we can remember our Magic Words.

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