Tips to get fired up for life and business

Written By: Dr. Ernie Ward, Chief Veterinary Officer.

It’s hot out there. Record-setting temps around the globe are leaving many feeling toasted.

Has the heat left you feeling a bit burnt out? Are your personal growth, connection with loved ones, and job satisfaction wilting?

If so, this may be the perfect time to rekindle your inner fires.

No matter what the thermometer reads, keeping your inner fires stoked is vital to your health, happiness, and success. Let’s examine a few simple steps to spark renewed enthusiasm and action in your personal and professional lives.

First, Identify Your Fire Extinguishers

Before you can (re)start a flame, you need to identify what’s dousing your desires. Losing passion is often a long time, insidious process, and you don’t realize it’s gone until too late.

Call it burnout, loss of interest, or emotional exhaustion, the factors that smother your spirit lead to depression, frustration, and eventually desperation, resulting in many of us leaving the profession. And for those that remain, let’s just say these hollow husks of a once vibrant person often make everyone around them miserable.

To overcome burnout and fire up your inner flames, start by taking inventory of the daily activities or occurrences that rob your pep and leave you wishing you were doing anything else. Can you make those tasks more enjoyable by sharing your load? Can they be delegated to someone who enjoys or is better equipped to handle them? Can you combine them to reduce the number of times you have to engage?

No matter how seemingly insignificant these events seem, they add up and weigh you down. All change begins with small steps. The brightest fires begin with a tiny spark.

Document these “daily downers” somewhere you can be reminded of each day. Set a recurring prompt on your phone to ensure you keep your day-to-day efforts on addressing these energy sappers rather than waiting to be reminded when you take an emotional fall. Sometimes simply knowing something undesirable may happen can help you develop strategies to avoid or allay the troublesome event. I’ve found I do better when I know what’s ahead, prepare for it, and strive to do better rather than forget and avoid life’s problems until they smack me in the face.

While some of these “daily downers” are inevitable, you can make them more tolerable by actively focusing on the fact that you’re choosing to do them. That simple mental shift transfers something from an “I have to do it” to “I am choosing to do it.” Meanwhile, recognize that you’re working on making it better, more tolerable, or less intensive.

Recognizing that you’re in control and consciously choosing to do these undesirable actions can help you maintain a more positive attitude and solve the problem.

When we solely focus on the “suck,” we don’t leave room to solve it.

Start Your Day With A Win

One of the reasons I love morning training is that I get to start my day with a win. Simply pulling on my running shoes is a step in the direction of victory. Whether it’s getting up earlier to meditate, prepare a healthy breakfast, or exercise, the key to maintaining enthusiasm begins with positive biofeedback.

The act of setting a goal (“Get up at 6:00 am and go for a 20-minute walk.”) and accomplishing it can set your day off on a positive trajectory. Even better, setting and achieving mini-goals during your morning (“Today I’ll meditate for 15 minutes instead of 10.” or “I’ll go faster until the next stop sign.”) can additionally boost your attitude.

Starting your day with a win is essential to daily happiness and personal growth. This is because each tiny triumph results in a deposit of positive energy for later use.

Throughout our day, we’ll encounter situations in which we don’t feel good about our actions or outcomes. Those events and feelings withdraw from your reservoir of positive feelings. If you take out enough energy, you’ll eventually overdraw on your emotional reserves and feel lousy. Invest in yourself each morning by setting yourself to win, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. Every amp of energy counts.

Tending Your Inner Fire Requires Attention

Be constantly mindful of your emotional state. Too often, we slip into negative patterns of behavior and find ourselves in an outburst or confrontation that we should’ve - and could’ve - avoided by taking action earlier.

Throughout your day, take a moment to reflect on your feelings, what you’re doing, and your attitude towards the task and team. I’ve coached some colleagues to journal their feelings throughout the day to capture their feelings about what they’re doing. Further, recording how their actions affect them emotionally can help identify pain points and activities to work on.

Be present with your feelings and pause when negative emotions creep in. Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help maintain calmness and focus, even during stressful times. Like any form of exercise, it takes time and effort to build the strength and skill to remain in control.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Others for Fuel

The best leaders know they don’t have infinite stores of fuel to blaze their inner fires. Create a network of colleagues, friends, and family that motivate and uplift you when you’re down. Learn to lean on others and let them know your feelings and how they can help you. The two most powerful words in the English language are “I need.” Find folks in your life that give you what you need to grow and succeed.

I’ve found that many strong, Alpha-type leaders are hesitant to exhibit weakness or vulnerability. Eventually, they run out of emotional reserves and end up burned out like anyone else.

True leaders know when and who to ask for help. Even if you don’t feel comfortable asking for help outright, you can still put yourself in a position to benefit from others’ energy and expertise.

I’ve helped plenty of colleagues who never asked directly for help but asked if they could hang out. It doesn’t matter how you get additional energy as long as you recognize that you simply can’t gather it all by yourself.

Fuel for your Mind and Body

Finally, you can’t avoid burnout unless you fuel your body and brain. Prioritize restorative sleep (track it!), exercise (do it!), and diet (it’s the best medicine!). Set aside time for loved ones (no cellphones, please), personal reflection (meditation), and creativity (express yourself).

Our lifestyle is integral to our emotional state and morale. When you’re getting adequate sleep, eating and exercising right, you create confidence and energy you didn’t imagine possible. I can’t stress enough the importance of these daily drivers of emotional and professional success.

Turn up the air conditioner and fire up your inner engines this summer. Pick one of the above tactics, succeed with it, and add another. Before long, you’ll be firing on all cylinders and overflowing with enthusiasm.
Here’s to keeping your inner fires blazing,

Dr. Ernie Ward
Chief Veterinary Officer, VerticalVet

VerticalVet is Global!

VerticalVet is now part of Vimian’s Group, Veterinary Services segment, VetFamily! Through this acquisition, the VerticalVet team remains the Group Resource Community that you know and trust with more tools and resources on the way.

Click here to learn more!

Added Benefits

In addition to being able to access key data through VerticalVet’s ViQ Analytics and Elevate Insights platforms, participants also benefit from specific discounts exclusive to ViQ. This includes an extra 2% from MWI, potential eligibility for BI’s Rebate Program, access to VerticalVet Reminders, Care Logistics, a members-only networking platform, and more.

Not a Member Yet? Click here. >

Real Results

Several practices in our 2021 pilot group were looking to sell and wanted to understand the value of their practice. Using VerticalVet and the ViQ Analytics platforms and methodology, these practices were able to analyze Quickbooks and their own PIMS data, helping better align their inventory, COGS, and fixed costs to increase their EBITA significantly.

What is Elevate Data Insights?

How it Works

Alongside like-minded and non-competitive owners, ViQ groups meet monthly to discuss subtopics within a quarterly theme. While smaller breakouts or one-on-one meetings with Dr. McDonald may happen, ViQ’s unique strength is blending the shared knowledge and experience of the group with the individual participant’s own strategy and practice data.

Learn More >

Why Join?

Owners have two primary responsibilities: 1) maintaining the long-term viability of their practice and 2) removing obstacles so their teams can be successful. ViQ participants explore key business areas like Operations, Profitability, Human Resources, Leadership, and Whole Team Wellness, improving each area to increase profitability, job satisfaction, and more.


Joining the PLATINUM program is free for one staff member from each member clinic. Each additional member costs $300. Participants are eligible to receive additional savings for their clinics from our partners, as well as discounts from VerticalVet on Reminders and enhanced Elevate Data Insights.

Not a member yet? Click here. >

Real Results

PLATINUM members actively implement, test, and adopt the concepts they discuss during meetings, often realizing increased revenue and efficiency. Adopting Reminders, for example, helped multiple clinics increase, on average, revenue by up to $81,000 and improved preventative care compliance by 60%.

What is Elevate Data Insights? >

How it Works

VerticalVet facilitates the initial four meetings with a base curriculum: Human Resources, Inventory, Finance, and Digital Marketing. From there, the group decides which topics to pursue in future meetings that best meet the group’s needs and interests.

Learn More >

Why Join?

The number one piece of feedback that we hear from Practice Managers is that they wish they could talk to someone in their field that is NOT a competitor about how to improve their practice. PlLATINUM provides a simple, efficient platform to have these conversations.

On Demand Learning

Info you want, when you need it.

Dr. Ernie Ward, Executive Director of Education, explores Vet Medicine, Finance, Business, HR and more with a broad range of guest speakers in Elevate, VerticalVet’s member platform. With nearly 30 video interviews available, the information you want is On Demand at your fingertips!

Business Academy Live

Take a deep dive on everything from Wellness Diagnostic Testing to Dental Compliance to the Opioid Crisis and how it can impact your clinic.

Vet Med School Live

Veterinary peers and consultants discuss new advancements, current trends, treatment alternatives and more.

Business & Industry

Experts in Business Growth, Finance, HR and Medicine discuss compliance, managing tricky patients, persistent challenges and other pressing topics.

Let us know what you’d like to hear more about (or if you want to be a guest)!


Freedom to focus on what’s important.

Does your team send personal emails or postcards to clients about lapsed prescriptions, missed appointments, or worse? Reminders is your path to greater efficiency (which means more opportunities to provide dynamic patient care). Reminders:

Optimize Communication

Use the extra time to build your social media following AND your relationship with clients when they visit the practice

Boost Client Engagement

On average, Reminders users saw 300+ more clients in a year-over-year comparison

Generate Incremental Visits (and Revenue)

On average, practices using Reminders increased weekly revenue by $1,610 (that’s $81,000 annually)

Increase Compliance

On average, practices improved preventative care compliance 50 – 70% using Reminders

Learn more or get started with Reminders by booking a Healthy Practice Assessment today.

Social Media

Tools to keep you connected.

Your clients use social media to learn more about the world around them, and that includes who is caring for their pet. Be part of the conversation! Our monthly tool kits provide you with templates and ideas to build a winning social strategy.

Content Calendar

Pick a channel and use the guide to plan your month of content using the PIEE method – Promote, Inspire, Educate, Entertain.

Key Performance Indicators

Track and measure your metrics at intervals that matter to you with this simple template.


As the best way to help clients find relevant content, use this hashtag guide for your own posts to create a conversation.

Sample Posts & Graphics

We’ve made it easy to manage your social media with sample posts and suggested graphics – free of charge!

Log in to Elevate to get started! Don’t have access to Elevate? Contact us to get connected.

Custom Campaigns

Ready to get it done?

With a little planning, your practice can elevate its marketing quickly. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to put together a Compliance Improvement, WinBack, New Client Acquisition, or Home Delivery campaign. Check it out!

1. Call Us! Before we do anything, let’s talk about your goals

2. Schedule a Healthy Practice Assessment. This creates the basis of your plan.

3. Data! We provide a report and recommendations based on your PMS data.

4. Green Light. You decide on your plan and the campaign to start with.

5. Images, Emails, and Post Cards Creation Oh My! – Don’t worry, we got this 🙂

6. Book a meeting with your team to talk process (transparency is key).

7. Launch? Launch! We will tweak and test along the way.

8. Results: In 90 Days, you’ll be able to truly see the fruits of your labor.

Contact us to get started!

Terms and Conditions


Practice is a licensed veterinary practice. VerticalVet (“VV”) is a veterinarian buying group (“VBG”). Practice desires to join VV to use VV as its preferred VBG and VV desires to add Practice to its VBG.


In consideration of the mutual covenants and agreements hereinafter set forth, the parties agree:

1. VerticalVet Membership. The VV annual membership fee is up to $625 (“Fee”) for practices. Practice will never receive an invoice from VV, the membership fee is retained from accrued Practice rebates (“Accrued Rebates”) as described in Section 4. The Fee total cannot exceed $625 but fees for additional services may be assessed as provided in Section 2 and 3.

a. For new VV Practices that are not using VV’s VerticalVet Reminder (“VVR”) services, VV shall schedule a free VVR Performance Review to demonstrate VVR’s value to Practice ($795 value – no charge).

b. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, VV retains the right to modify (i) the Fee no more than annually upon written notice provided to Practice including an opportunity to opt – out, and (ii) the payment schedule for Accrued Rebates. Practice may review Accrued Rebates by contacting VV at any time.

c. Any VeticalVet member practice can participate in either of VV’s Peer Share programs; The Platinum Program for Practice Managers or the ViQ program for practice owners. Each member practice may have 1 representative join either program at no additional cost. If Practice desires to add additional Peer Share participants, Practices’ Peer Share program fee increases by $300 per additional Peer Share participant. Information about the Peer Share program is available at:

2. Boehringer Ingelheim Invitational Program. For an additional $450 per year (paid for by BI), a Practice may participate in VV’s Boehringer Ingelheim invitational program SBG Program. This program is an add on and is offered on an annual invite only basis to less than 90 VV member practices. Other terms and conditions apply. Information about this program can be provided by the Verticalvet Member Resource Team. Please direct inquiries to ” VV annual membership fees for practices in this legacy BI SBG Program are $625 (“Fee”) for practices earning $8,000 or less in rebates or 8% of the total rebates earned for practices who have earned $8,001 or greater per calendar year.

3. VV Data Insights. If Practice is a Peer Share participant or an active client of VVR, VV Data Insights (“Insights”) are supplied at no cost. If Practice is not a Peer Share participant and not an active client of VVR; but desires Insights, it can be provided at an additional fee of $50/month to cover data and administrative fees (the “Data Insights Fee”). Information about Insights are available at

4. VV Program Benefits. VV negotiates with manufacturers, providers, and suppliers (“Providers”) of medications, foods, sundry items, and services, including medical and business focused continuing education programs, to secure Practice benefits (“Benefits”) that, when possible, meet or exceed those offered by other VBGs. Benefits are listed in detail on VV’s website,, and updated as Benefits are added. Practices are not required to make minimum purchases to participate. The Fee, Platinum Fees, and Data Insights Fee are collectively the “Total Fee.”

a. VV administers, collects and pays Practice Accrued Rebates exceeding the Total Fee annually. If the Total Fee is met, and Accrued Rebates total less than $50.00, they shall be applied to the following year’s Fee. Practices should expect rebate payments sometime in quarter 2 of each year for the prior year’s Practice Accrued Rebates. If Practice does not accumulate Accrued Rebates to cover the Total Fee, VV covers the balance.

1. Conditions. The following are conditions of membership: (i) Practice is not required to withdraw from any other VBG to be a member of VV; (ii) Benefits secured by VV may exceed benefits offered by other VBGs; but this is not guaranteed for each Benefit offered; (iii) Practice must retain its license to practice veterinary medicine or its membership shall be automatically terminated; (iv) Practice authorizes VV to share its identifying information with Providers to the extent necessary to set up and demonstrate Practice’s authority to purchase and use the Benefits offered; and (v) by executing this VV agreement, Practice acknowledges that VV is Practice’s preferred VBG and will be recognized as such with participating VV vendors. If Practice determines, at any time, to (i) designate a different VBG as its preferred VBG or (ii) is sold to a non – VV member or veterinary practice corporate consolidator, it waives its right to collect Accumulated Rebates processed and collected by VV for that year.

2. Confidentiality. The parties acknowledge that the existence of this Agreement, all information related to it, and anything conspicuously marked confidential is confidential and proprietary (“Confidential Information”). Confidential information shall not be disclosed for any purpose unrelated to this agreement without the prior written consent of the other party. Confidential information is not: (i) information that s or publicly becomes known through no fault of a party hereto; (ii) information received from a third party authorized to disclose it; (iii) information developed independently by a party; or (iv) information a party is required to disclose by government authority or a court of competent jurisdiction.

3. Representations and Warranties. Each party represents and warrants that it is authorized to enter into this Agreement, that they will carry out its terms promptly and professionally, and that they will comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

4. Independent Parties. The parties are independent entities. Nothing in the Agreement is intended to create an agency, partnership, joint venture, or fiduciary relationship between the parties and neither party has the authority to act for or on behalf of the other except as provided in the Agreement.

5. Term. This Agreement begins on the Effective Date, continues through its one (1) year anniversary and automatically renews for subsequent annual terms upon conclusion of the prior Term. Practice or VV may terminate this Agreement at any time, but no portion of any annual Fee is refundable.

6. Notice. Notice required or permitted in the Agreement shall be in writing and sent by electronic mail, subject to confirmation receipt requested to VV’s ‘Contact Us’ email address provided at and to Practice’s email address provided during online registration. All such notice shall be deemed received the following business day from the date it was sent.

7. General. This Agreement constitutes the entire understanding of the parties and supersedes all prior communications and understandings. It may only be amended in a writing executed by both parties. Practice may not assign it without the written consent of VV. The Agreement shall be governed and construed under the laws of the state of Ohio. Any dispute regarding the Agreement shall take place in the state or district courts of Franklin County, Ohio. If any provision is found invalid or unenforceable by a court of authority, the remaining provisions are valid.

8. Execution. This Agreement, by its presence on the website is executed by VV and becomes a binding Agreement when Practice accepts it and completes their registration.