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  • Dr. Eric Rooker

April 2022 Countdown to Success: Strengths as a step toward self-awareness and better medicine

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

5 Inputs, 4 Quotes, 3 Thoughts, 2 Challenges and 1 Question (April 14th, 2022)

“Helping you achieve high-performance medicine.”

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Happy April,

Your journey of professional development is important to me. Please hit that reply button or join our Facebook Group to share your journey and inspiration with our community.

You never know when your ideas, stories, actions or reflections will inspire another vet out there!

Alright, let’s get to it!

Here are 5 Inputs to Inspire, 4 Quotes to Contemplate, 3 Thoughts to Ponder, 2 Challenges to Conquer and 1 Reflection Question to help you grow this month.

5 Inputs to Inspire

I. What is self-awareness? How do we begin to build it? Why is it important for our development?

II. Applying strengths to your workplace can be a powerful positive feedback mechanism to improve your office’s interpersonal interactions! Get a quick lesson on “applied” strengths from a managerial perspective from HBR.

III. Learn from one of the leaders in Strengths, Gallup. In their Clifton Strengths podcast Gallup certified coach Jessica Dawson 10 ways you can apply strengths daily.

IV. A Two for One: Identify your strengths. Take strengths finding assessment; I recommended StrengthsFinder 2.0 or the VIA which is free. The VIA is not implemented as widely and is not as popular as the StrengthsFinder series, but it is a decent alternative for those who already have a good knowledge of strengths. For those who feel they need a more in-depth, explained report, and/or help with understanding and implementing the strengths material StrengthsFinder 2.0 will likely better serve your needs.

V. The identification of strengths can change the way we practice medicine as well as the success we experience with our treatment and prevention recommendations. This is a long article, but the introduction gives a great overview of the possibilities that could be applied if we more readily knew our clients' strengths and tailored our interventions to be in alignment with them.

4 Quotes to Contemplate

I. Philosopher and Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, on the importance of controlling the things that are controllable, specifically your own mind and thoughts:

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

II. Author Austin Kleon, in his book Show Your Work!, discusses the need to embrace uncertainty. In order to do this, we must be confident and clear in our own unique strengths as well as reflect upon how they can be used to address this uncertainty:

The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.

III. One of my favorite authors, James Clear, discusses the importance of self-reflection and self-awareness, even if this reflection creates a less than ideal introspective view:

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

IV. Writer Mike Walsh (HBR) on the common errors companies make. Don’t confuse that which you’ve always done well with something that you should always do. Instead, consider where your current talents and strengths lie and how they can be best explored:

Companies often invest in competencies (things they do well), rather than capabilities (things that they might do well).

3 Thoughts to Ponder

I. Identifying our clients’ talents and strengths provides us with a unique way to interact with them. We tend to do this naturally, often unconsciously, which can result in biases or decrease the quality of our medicine. Instead, we can seek to evaluate the problem and consciously consider the individual or operational strengths and create a more favorable plan.

II. What if ¼ of our medical training had focused on day-to-day psychological interactions (internal and interpersonal) and how to better facilitate them? I believe the veterinary world would look very different than it does today. I think the biggest opportunity over the next decade is for the vet that can capture, improve and optimize not only their well-being but that of their clients as well.

III. To manage people, you must be able to first manage yourself. This does not mean that you must first be a flawless individual. Instead, it means that every day you challenge yourself to become more self-aware, self-actualized and in a better state of well-being. Once you’ve begun this journey you will be able to better identify and aid those you manage in the journey themselves.

2 Challenges to Conquer

I. Take a strengths-based assessment. The top two assessments are VIA and StrengthsFinder 2.0. Personally, I recommend StrengthsFinder 2.0. After you’ve taken it, take 15 minutes to read through the results and another 30 to think about what they mean to you, past and present. Then for the next month, read one strength per day and think about how you will apply it that day.

II. Build your self-awareness. Set an alarm four times per day on your phone, watch or computer. When that alarm goes off #1 take 3 deep breaths, exhale for over five seconds, #2 check in with your body (what aches, what feels good, are you dehydrated, etc) and #3 ask yourself what emotions you currently feel and why. You will be amazed how often you find yourself with a baseline level of stress that could quickly be addressed by applied strengths or simply by becoming aware of it!

1 Reflection Question

Do you really know what your talents and strengths are?

Until next month,

Dr. Eric Rooker

Founder of Operators to Owners

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