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Random Acts Of Kindness

06/16/2010 - The Benefit of the Doubt

06/10/2010 - Paycheck vs. Personal Ethics

06/03/2010 - Veterinarians—Masters of Denial

Some people look at “random acts of kindness” in a little different way, as “paying it forward.” Regardless of the terminology, how often do you see this happening in your daily life? Have you experienced a random act of kindness? Recently I pleasantly experienced someone “paying it forward” for me … as I pulled up to the drive-in window of Starbucks, I was informed that the car in front of me already paid for my order. I looked closer at this car in front of me, and tried to determine if I knew these people. I had no clue, didn’t recognize the automobile and couldn’t place the faces, so I had to come to the conclusion that I had truly experienced a random act of kindness, someone “paying it forward” by paying for my fancy coffee. Wow, what a feeling … of surprise, of warmth, of wonderment (why did I deserve this kindness, after all?).

So have you either experienced a random act of kindness lately, or performed one yourself? I have to look at myself in the mirror and admit I’m not sure I have, at least recently. This concept is applicable in our lives in general, but in our professional world as well. Our goal is to work as a team in the veterinary practice to provide healthcare to animals. While “teamwork” is an overused cliché, it is a fact of our profession … we simply can’t do this alone. If we can enjoy our time together, we will provide better patient care, and our days will be more productive. The point is, if we can perform random acts of kindness within our practice to the people that surround us at least 40 hours a week, we will all benefit.

What do these random acts of kindness look like? The sky is the limit: bring your boss a cup of coffee in the morning, clean up a treatment area for a colleague that has moved with a patient into another area, file a stack of charts that have been waiting for someone else, and just be as creative as you feel. The important thing is these acts of kindness must be performed without expectation of a thank you. This is difficult, because we want to be recognized for what we do for others. But this is essential to the concept of paying it forward. I didn’t even have the opportunity to thank the people in the car at Starbucks, which I will admit felt a little strange, but obviously they didn’t pay for my coffee with the expectation that I would thank them. Sure, it’s nice to receive a thank you, and we all need to be polite to our coworkers, but it’s a matter of expectations … perform the random act of kindness for the simple warmth it will create inside you.

So go forward today and every day, and do your best to perform a random act of kindness for someone … and if you’re able to do this at work, then your entire practice team will benefit. 

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