Casting Off Negativity To Bolster Your Practice’s Success
- Volume 27 - Issue 2 - February 2014
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Principle #2: Treat People Positively Because You Never Know
How many have ever heard the urban legend about a woman alone in the elevator in Las Vegas who was frightened by two larger men who later got on with her? At the command of one of the men to “Hit the floor!,” she immediately dropped to the ground expecting the worst. The quarters in her casino bucket were bouncing all around them.
Trying hard to hide their laughter, the two men helped her up, picked up all the quarters and placed them back in her bucket. One gentleman explained that “Hit the floor” was only an instruction given to the other to hit the button of the floor on which they planned to get off. The next morning, she received a dozen roses with a $100 bill attached to each one and a note that said, “Thanks for the best laugh we’ve had in years!”
The story may not be true but the message is powerful. Don’t be so quick to judge people before you know more facts. Preconceived notions almost always lead to misconceptions.
We encounter a lot of different patients on a daily basis and we may never know the effect that we can have on them or them on us. Think about this. If you are able to create a brighter day for just one of those people, it could result in a positive scenario that comes right back to you. That is a good thing. You just never know.
Principle #3: Treat Everyone Equally
Do you secretly classify (and treat) people by how much money they make or by what kind of car they drive? I know people who do. It should make no difference whether your patient is a bank president or a janitor when it comes to extending kindness. It should be clear that regardless of appearance, insurance coverage or job title, you should treat all people equally.
Things change and roles reverse in this very unpredictable world we live in. As the book authors point out, you may think you can categorize and analyze who people are but in reality, you have no idea who might become quite important to you tomorrow, next week or even years from now.
Principle #4: Being Nice Must Be Automatic To Work In Practice
I mentioned earlier that we should not only extend niceties when it is convenient. There is no denying that it is simple when someone does something nice to reciprocate by doing something nice in return but going out of your way to be nice is a bit more demanding. Why is it that our good nature is at times dependent on what others do for us first? Why can’t we be the initiators of kindness for the sake of just being nice for no reason?
I remember one “difficult” patient back in New Jersey. None of the staff wanted to take care of (let alone be nice to) her because when they entered her room, she seemed to want to bite their heads off. She was always in a bad mood, never had anything nice to say and complained about everything we did for her.
I was just as confused by her behavior but considered her a challenge. Never thinking I could ever get her to be congenial or have a conversation with me, I at least wanted to see if I could make her smile. I was determined to kill her with kindness and see what would happen and soon, it was no longer a challenge. When receiving an acceptable response was not a factor in how I chose to behave, I no longer had to try to be nice to her. It came naturally. In time, she not only softened but was one of our best referral sources.
If being nicer to people was a way of life, like brushing our teeth or combing our hair, none of us would have to try so hard, not even with our difficult patients.