Want Encouragement? Start Your Own File!

October 8th, 2012 by Kelly Baltzell, CEO

By: Jon Cunnington, MBA, CVPM, Hospital Administrator, VCA Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic

Loomis Basin Veterinary Hospital LogoFor those who need an occasional  word of thanks or praise, to help fill the emotional tank as described by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages, this blog might be for you.  Shortly after joining the veterinary field in 1994, I received a handwritten note from a client of our hospital thanking me for kindness in replacing a plastic feeding bowl that had become cracked.  I kept that note.  A few months later I helped develop a newsletter which received several compliments.   Then, I was asked to speak to the student newspaper group at a local university.  The same month I was asked to teach a business communications course at the university, even though the odds were against it.  That same month I was told by our managing partner that he couldn’t see his partner running the hospital without me.  A few months later, the partners increased my salary.  In 1996 a loss control manager from our workers’ compensation carrier praised a letter I prepared for OSHA in 1996.  By 1999, the partners included me in their ownership transition plans (even though that did not pan out).  In early 2000, I was recruited to join Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic, where I am employed to this day, which joined the VCA network of hospitals last month.

How do I remember all these events and dates?  I don’t!  My Encouragement File keeps track of it for me.  What is this?  It is a manila file that I started years ago to keep track of nice things and memories that have happened.  Why would I do this?  Because often times people don’t hear the good, they only hear about the bad things or the things on the to-do list not yet crossed out.  Most people get discouraged, stressed out and feel under appreciated at times.  It is during those times that I go into my den, pull out this file and remind myself that I do add value to the world around me.  As I peruse this file, which I am proud to state that I haven’t felt a need to add to it in recent years, I find copies of pay increases or bonus notifications, notes from my wife and daughter, boss’s day cards from staff, a congratulatory card from a vendor for being elected to the VHMA Board of Directors, a birthday note from my mom when I turned 34, a cowboy poetry poem written by my now deceased uncle, and a thank you card from the LBVC partners for coordinating a successful AAHA re-accreditation evaluation.  Some of these memoirs were accompanied by a tangible expression of others’ appreciation, many were not.  But, these notes, logs and other memorabilia have a positive staying power in my life.  I hope they will in yours also.

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