Fascination and Caring

My Cat's Abdomen

Yesterday I took my cat to the vet for an exam. She’s been exhibiting many of the same symptoms that her brother had when he was diagnosed with feline chronic renal failure, which he died from in October of 2007.

The technology that’s filtered down from human medicine into veterinary medicine is pretty amazing. Although it doesn’t say much to me, the picture above (and this set of pictures) speaks volumes to an expert.

My cat’s vet, Dr. Jeff as he’s known, took me into an exam room and showed me these images, explained them in detail to me. It was quickly clear to me that despite his many years of practice, he was still quite fascinated by his work. He described to me how osteoarthritis is visible here, hip dysplasia is indicated there, the size of the kidneys, how the the spine’s nerve root comes out of the dark structure that looks like a horse’s head. His fascination was contagious, and I found myself studying the images as closely as he was.

But it’s what’s behind this fascination — the motivation — that’s the key: caring. And I don’t just mean caring about science, about veterinary technology, or radiology. Dr. Jeff cares about his patients and their caretakers. He wants to do everything he can to help my cat get better, to make her more comfortable.

This caring and focus on quality is what drives him, and he expressed this to me by going above and beyond anything I was expecting from a visit to the vet. He could have just said, “I’ve looked at the x-rays and sent the blood-work out for testing. The results will be in on Monday.” But instead, he brought me into his world and in doing so, I became more involved and in turn, more relaxed about the circumstances and the process.

Many of you reading this article are experts in your field. Someone looking at your work from the outside, your code, your html, your Photoshop comp, your imported RAW image, might be impressed by your knowledge and skill, but from their perspective, it’s probably pretty meaningless.

As developers, designers, and creatives, how can we bring out this quality in our daily life, and put it into practice?

I think the answer is to demonstrate that we care about quality as much as they do. It’s important to bridge that gap, to involve your clients and customers, and show them you’re vested, and they’ll be more vested. Show them you’re passionate about quality, and they’ll relax, take a step back, and feel more comfortable leaving you to do your job.

The more you demonstrate your fascination and caring, the less they’ll feel that they have to take control. In the end, they’ll probably even get out of the way more often, trusting that you care about the result as much as they do.

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