Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald: Everyday heroes
Americans love heroes. From Babe Ruth to John Wayne, from Davy Crockett to Tiger Woods, we cannot get enough of the exploits of these bigger-than-life figures. Lately, we have seen a couple of truly inspirational ones—the captains: the airline captain who coolly ditched his bird-disabled plane safely in the middle of a river and the captain of the hijacked crew who offered himself up to protect his men.
What makes a hero? Certainly extraordinary feats, but, much more than that, extraordinary feats performed by previously ordinary people. Why do Americans love heroes so much? We love them because they allow us to believe in the basic goodness of our fellow man. We love them because they allow us to hope mankind is better than we thought. I would go one step further. I would say heroes are people who did the right thing when it mattered. This correct choice, this correct behavior elevated them from the rest of us. They were better than they had to be when the chips were down.
If you look around, you have heroes right in your own practice! You have selfless individuals who do the right thing when it matters. Veterinary technicians, front desk staff, kennel workers—you have ordinary people doing extraordinary things in your practice. Do you recognize these heroes—your heroes—for the incredible deeds they perform daily, or do you take them for granted? Watch your staff. Watch your phone worker smoothly work a sick animal into the schedule much sooner than originally scheduled. Watch your cashier turn a mouthy bully into a model citizen. Watch your new associate gracefully make a difficult diagnosis and potentially save a life. Although they don’t seek glory, heroes should be recognized, and good deeds should be rewarded. Let your heroes know that you are aware of their extraordinary efforts.
The nice thing about being a hero is that any one of us can rise to the occasion. No matter our previous failings, despite all our faults, everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. At work, at home, with our colleagues or our loved ones, we can be heroes. Heroes nurture trust, respect, hard work, and commitment. They don’t complain, gossip, or belittle others. Try to be a hero today. Strive for the heroic. Tie selfless acts together with joy. Also, recognize and honor the heroes you work with. They lift us all.
See you next week, Kev