Over the past four decades, I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with many thousands of optometrists. Perhaps uniquely so, my interactions have been almost exclusively focused on the business side of optometry and what makes my clients “tick.” Rarely do I have a discussion about the science of the profession; mostly because I’m simply not qualified to discuss the latest glaucoma treatment or the impact of a particular drug on a dry eye. Further, my reality is that these types of issues aren’t what motivate me. I’m far more interested in understanding my clients as people and helping them achieve their goals, both professionally and personally. My work has allowed me to deeply study the people who make up the profession. And during my now forty year tenure in the industry, through more than 20 businesses and scores of products and services, I’ve had the great fortune to work with many outstanding individuals; fascinating people from whom I’ve learned and continue to learn. So far, I’ve managed to live an abundant life full of challenges, innovation and meaningful relationships. And for that I am both proud and humble.
As I thought about this message, I considered the theme of our current session of Cleinman Performance Network, “Leaving a Legacy.” Defining Legacy as “that which we leave behind,” I’ve thought about achievement, mine and others. I’ve considered the differences between the “haves” and the “have nots.” I’ve contemplated the qualities of those professionals whom I consider super-stars and of those for whom the struggle seems never-ending. What has emerged for me is a sort of formula…I’m calling it an equation…for the journey of achievement; the attaining of abundance.
Business and life, in general, is tough. As the saying goes, “Dying is easy…it’s living that’s hard.” Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, something changes. When the moment arrives that you feel that you’ve got the right team doing the right things in the right way, a key player resigns. Almost to the day when you finally achieve the cash flow that you desire, some disaster hits. There are never enough resources and every plan has at least one hiccup; more often many. Every day, in scores of ways, each of us is challenged by both outside influences and our own “head trash.” Like the ocean’s waves, the challenges keep coming and coming. Business, and life, is never done until it’s “done.”
On the flip side, opportunities appear almost daily to those with open minds. At the point where one seemingly has few options, the answer magically appears. You meet someone on a plane with a solution. You come across an article that provides a key learning. When the bank account is running on fumes, along comes more “petrol.” Reality is that, just when you think that nothing more could go wrong…the tide turns. I know this for a fact. It’s happened to me on countless occasions. With an open mind, the answers always appear. Always!
As I’ve thought about the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur; of running a business; of leading people; of innovation and my own legacy, it has become clear to me that there is really an equation for success. I share it with you for your consideration. I’m calling it “An equation for Abundance.”
- You will always have change in your life. Change is your friend.
- You will always have more challenges than resources. And that’s OK.
- You will always have more opportunities than energy. Choose wisely.
- You can’t go it alone. Don’t burn bridges.
- You will always have assistance available. Look for it.
- And you will always achieve success if, and only if:
- You don’t give up.
- You celebrate your blessings
- You never stop seeking to understand
- You never take anything for granted
- You never take yourself too seriously; and
- You express gratitude to those who have helped you.
It is my core belief that the difference between those who are truly successful and those who are destined for mediocrity can be distilled down to a factor of a few percentage points of extra effort. These individuals exhibit a little more patience and a bit of additional intestinal fortitude. They ask one more question, turn over one more rock. They believe that persistance, as Calvin Coolidge once said, is “omnipotent.”
Truly successful people never arrive. Why would you want to?