There’s an old quote that goes “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” I’ve always liked this saying and try to keep it in mind.
This week, I’ll be talking with about 60 veterinary practice owners here in Greenville, SC. It’s the Uncharted Practice Owner Summit, and I always put a lot of thought into what I will say to this particular group.
My main message this year is going to be about finding the balance of everyone’s needs.
Sacrificing Yourself For The Needs Of Others
Too many of us sacrifice our teams’ wellbeing to make our clients happy. Or we sacrifice the client and patient experience to make our team happy. Or, most commonly, we bend time and space to make everyone else happy while sacrificing ourselves.
We do things that burn us (or our staff, or our clients, or our family) out because sacrificing ourselves saves us from exasperating someone else.
What Works For Everyone Else, Usually Doesn’t Work For You
How many times have you created an arrangement (whether at the clinic or in your personal life) that worked out for everyone but you? You figured out what everyone else needed and then said “okay,” overlooking the fact that this course of action would inevitably make you miserable.
Perhaps you agreed to sprint between cases without writing any records until after the clinic closed and everyone else went home. Maybe you signed off on purchasing a piece of medical equipment the doctors wanted but the clinic can’t really afford. Or you volunteered to stay late yet again, even though your spouse would be angry when you got home, so that the fourth walk-in-at-the-end-of-the-day this week could be treated.
No One Benefits From Your Sacrifice In The Long Term
You aren’t serving anyone in the years to come by burning yourself out, making yourself resentful, or becoming so frazzled and frustrated that no one wants to be around you. This is sacrificing the long term for the immediate. It’s not a fun or productive way to live your life.
Finding The Balance Of Everyone’s Needs
As the holiday season settles over us, it’s time to embrace balance. It’s time to stop making everyone but yourself happy. This isn’t a selfish concept, it’s a pragmatic one. Balancing needs, including your own, is a strategy for avoiding burnout and resentment. Saying “yes” to the wishes of everyone around you even when what they are asking for is unsustainable for you or your family isn’t kindness. It’s martyrdom.
That’s what I’m going to talk with the practice owners about this week. Self-imposed martyrdom and how to escape from it. Rejecting the goal of making everyone happy can open you up to find a balance that will be “good enough” for everyone.
This holiday season, ask yourself, “Am I making everyone happy?” I kind of hope your answer is no.