Practical Tip 2: Developing a Non-Judgemental Approach
One of the key principles in mindfulness is developing a non-judgemental approach in life. In the veterinary environment, I have found the following methods to be effective which can be readily adapted to all situations in life:
First of all treat all clients the same. Offer them the same gold standard treatments, never make a judgement on their ability or willingness to follow your advice. Listen to your clients carefully, be empathic towards them, be interested in their pets and don’t jump to conclusions without discovering all the facts required.
The benefits of this approach are that you will develop a better relationship with you clients, they will be more likely to take your advice, they will come to you for advice more readily and they will build up a feeling of trust in their relationship with you. This trust is particularly important when you are unsure of what the problem with their pet is, you will be more able to have an open discussion about the options available. I firmly believe that this trust extends to the relationship we have with ourselves, it gives us confidence to not be correct all the time and to admit when we need help.
Secondly, treat your colleagues with respect. Never make judgements on their actions, especially in the situation of second opinions. You may think that they are way of the mark, but you do not know the full facts of their dealings with the client, or indeed what is going on in their life that may influence their decision making. Rather approach the patient and client without any preconceptions and make your own recommendations. If you see a that a colleague is making lots of questionable decisions have the courage and compassion to have a private word with them, never berate them as this will always be counterproductive both to them and to yourself.
I would urge you to develop this non-judgemental approach to clients and colleagues. It is easier to see the results from the “external non-judgement” and as you experience the benefits of this approach, you will be able to direct it inwards and start to become non-judgemental on yourself and then a whole new world of benefits open to you.