Article Date: 9/1/2011

Success Means More Than Drawing a Regular Paycheck
o.d. to o.d.

Success Means More Than Drawing a Regular Paycheck

It's achieving your career goals and objectives. Use these three suggestions to help you get started.

By Walter D. West, O.D., F.A.A.O. Chief Optometric Editor

Being successful in optometry means a whole lot more than drawing a paycheck at the end of the month. It means that you establish career goals and objectives that go far beyond the day-to-day objectives of earning and working. You should devote your time and energy to achieving these goals and objectives. In addition, it's important to establish accountability by sharing the goals and objectives with your mentor or a colleague.

Here are some suggestions I'd like to pass along based on my own experiences with goals and objectives:

1. Enhance your skills.

Many skills increase the opportunity for an optometrist to be more successful, and enhancement of your skills should be a consistent and regular activity on your list of things to do. Several core skills make up your professional profile, and it goes without saying that each and every one of these can be enhanced to their optimum throughout your life.

But perhaps the most important skill to enhance is your skill of presentation. Presentation skills can be applied in any interaction, whether related to your staff, patients or networking efforts. Some of your presentations will be to individuals—staff members, patients and people in social settings—while still others may be with groups related to networking and marketing your practice.

2. Increase your knowledge.

Knowledge is power is not only a powerful phrase, it's a great way to enhance the level of care you offer. Most of us increase our knowledge through our own experiences, interacting with our colleagues, reading, joining a study group and also through continuing education.

One of the areas in which I suggest that all optometrists need to improve is, oddly enough, knowledge of their own practices from a business and asset value standpoint.

3. Interact, and grow your network.

The best way to grow in your practice is by interacting with others. Building good relationships with your staff creates a culture that breeds enthusiasm and growth. At the same time, the interactions of you and your staff members outside the office can create opportunities to improve awareness of your practice. These interactions can uncover new channels for referrals and help you develop new patient relationships. Interacting is the key to building your practice. And remember: Actively networking for others is a great way to encourage their networking for you.

Proactively identifying where you need to improve your individual skills is not always a task to perform by yourself. Very often, your mentor, your friends, family and staff can make recommendations for areas in which you need to improve. At times, they can identify these areas better than you can. The improvement and attention that you invest in these areas will pay dividends for years to come. OM

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2011