It's a question that motivational speaker Gary Zelesky asked more than 350 veterinarians and team members during a keynote presentation to kick off the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas today.
"Stand up," he told the attendees. "I want each of you to hug 10 people in this room. We are going to turn this meeting into a big old hug fest."
His point? Passionate people can show honest affection.
It worked. For the next five minutes, all 350 people stood up and started hugging and talking.
Zelesky's session today, which was sponsored by CareCredit, combined humor, storytelling in an interactive presentation to deliver his message: Find your passion in life and work. And veterinarians and team members can do it by adopting six "passion principles":
1. Focus. Look at me.
"We want communication," Zelesky says. "Technology is supposed to give you more time. And it's not working." Too much access has made us less efficient, he contends, and it is actually diverting our attention from the people who matter most -- family and team members.
"The concept of focus is very powerful," he adds. "Texting is quickly becoming a second language in the world. Remember, that the eyes give away the heart. We don't look into people’s eyes anymore; we look into the screens. We are becoming so dysfunctional as a society; we think an e-mail is a relationship," he says.
"If you want to have a great team, give them the dignity of looking at them when they are speaking to you."
Focus, he says, and write it down. We have an 80 percent chance of it becoming reality if we simply write it down."
"People who are passionate, know how to show affection," he adds.
To friends and family, affection could be demonstrated by a hug, but in the workplace it's more about offering verbal praise. Many leaders are quick to criticize, but oftentimes they are short on delivering praise, he adds. "Remember that words are like toothpaste, once they come out, they are hard to get back in." And the concept holds true with criticism and praise.
"If I was going into your office. What would I see? How about your home? People with passion, care about the details," he says. Show team members how to behave professionally, and show them how to accept these passion principles. "When you are dead, what are they going to say about you? They are going to remember the moments that you create with them."
4. Show interest.
"How many of you have met someone who just talks about themselves? How do you respond? Interest means that you ask questions, and you ask the right ones."
So what's love got to do with it? There is difference between loving life and lusting it, he says. "How many people bought homes they couldn’t afford during the last recession? Americans' lust for life has racked up huge credit-card debts. "Credit is an amazing thing. It’s one of the greatest tools you will ever have as long as you pay it off."
Loving life, he says, is more about getting up in the morning and realizing that there are people who know you and still love you. "You need to realize that your best moments are in front of you, not behind you."
"You are an incredible gift," he told attendees. "Look in the mirror and remember that your worst critic is you."
These six passion principles, Zelesky says, also spell the word family. He challenged attendees to give your best to your family "and stop for just a minute in the craziness of your life to have a little fun."