Optical Business Success 177
Tasty nuggets of random goodness; tips, stories, and science hand-picked to help you find the most success in your life and independent optical business.
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .”
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Dystopia Correcting Lenses: How To See 2020
Wow, it’s been a crazy 12 months! And if the first couple of weeks of 2021 are any indication, 2020 may have just been our warm-up—the in-game tutorial preparing us for the challenges that still lie ahead. Let’s hope that’s not the case, but even if we are headed towards some crazier dystopian times, what lessons can we take from 2020? What have we learned that we can put into practice, to help move ourselves, our practices, our businesses, and those around us in a better, more positive direction, no matter the obstacles ahead?
Many of you have emailed and asked about the weekly emails missing from your inbox over the last few months. Thank you for noticing. 😉 I took a break for a number of reasons. The holidays and needing some time to work on other projects were among them, but most of all I needed to reassess the purpose and direction of the Optical Success newsletter. I’m sure you too have likely felt the need to do some reassessing of your own, whether it be in your personal or professional life. To say this past year has been a challenge for so many of us would be an understatement. It’s been unlike anything we’ve ever seen—fires in California; hurricanes in the South; businesses put on lockdown, burglarized, vandalized; personal challenges and tragedy as a result of COVID-19; what seems to be an increasing amount of hostility among the people around us; political division the likes of which we’ve never seen; and of course, on top of it all, the financial, emotional, and psychological toll it has taken on all of us.
As business owners, community leaders, and future leaders in the industry, we have not only the ability, but the responsibility to make a difference. And in order to be in the best position to do so, we need a solid foundation to work from. In other words, if we can achieve a certain level of stability and success for ourselves we have the opportunity to worry a little less about our own problems and think more about those around us. So, moving forward, this will be the focus of the Optical Business Success newsletter: Not preaching altruism, per se, but providing practical advice to help you find the business growth and success you need, so that you can make life better for yourself, and have the largest, most positive impact on the people around you and the people you serve.
2020 was full of lessons, many of which were taught to us “the hard way.” But, I suppose whether we actually learned anything remains to be seen. I’ve picked two that stand out to me as particularly important for 2021 and beyond. The first of which is our desperate need for empathy.
It has become all too easy for us to sit back, either alone, on social media or with the people around us, and point the finger at “the other side” (of anything, it doesn’t really matter what it is) and say “they’re wrong”, “they’re stupid”, “they’re bad”, or even “they’re evil”. Even, if true, what does the finger pointing and indignation actually accomplish other than sucking us further into the downward spiral?
I often remind myself of a quote from Seth Godin,
If you believed what he believes, you’d do precisely what he is doing.
There’s no denying that people do bad and stupid things, even so—unless they’re psychopaths—they most often they believe they’re doing the right thing. But then making the leap to classify a group of people based on the actions of some (no matter how big or small) is a lazy trap we all fall into all too often. Worst of all, it’s a lazy trap used by our media (mainstream and non-mainstream), politicians, and the ever-increasing number of people around us with megaphones (literal and figurative) to manipulate us into believing in their manufactured “sides” and that we must pick one and fear or hate the other. Because sides allow labels to be slapped on us (which we are all too willing to accept) and labels bring the label slappers themselves both money and power.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that hate, anger, and fear, promoted through the use of these labels can be used to get more clicks, views, and votes than any other human emotions. Unfortunately, we now live in a system designed around perpetuating and profiting from these very things.
Someone once said, There are only two ways to resolve differences of opinion: discussion or violence. Discussion is becoming increasingly difficult, often unacceptable, and sometimes forbidden for a number of reasons.
Therefore it is up to us as business owners, and industry and community leaders to do what we can to first recognize the manipulation, step back from the rhetoric and generalizations and remember that individuals—real humans—live on all “sides” and that they have, through their experiences (real or manipulated), come to believe differently from one another. We should then do all we can to use the vehicles we have at our disposal to not perpetuate the negativity and division, but to instead make a positive impact, big or small, on the people around us.
The second big lesson from 2020 is that we need to practice focusing on what we can control and let go of what we can’t.
I’m as guilty of it as anyone. It’s easy to get caught up in and worried about all the drama in the world, whether real or imagined. But at the end of the day, it’s all time and energy that is wasted. It’s time and energy we could spend on more productive pursuits, or on our families, or on ourselves. Limit your exposure to the news (no matter the source) or at the very least, practice recognizing it for what it is. Question everything. Rely on your own curiosity and interests to seek the truth that is relevant and important to you, not the truth that is important to those that want to manipulate you and profit off of your fear.
Intelligence: Not because you know everything without question, but because you question everything you know.
We are living through history. It’s up to you to decide whether you look upon it as a crisis or as an opportunity. Will you choose to lose control or remain calm? Will you resort to blame or take the hand you’ve been dealt and do the absolute best you can to learn and make the most of it for yourself and for those around you?
We’re all on this little rock together and at the end of the day, there is very little we actually control, so it’s probably best we choose our focus wisely—always keeping in mind that we don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose how we respond.
Daniel Feldman has put together a great list of 12 Ideas for Marketing in 2021. My favorites are stop supporting brands that don’t support you and make videos!
Get after it!
Be Careful What You Wish For
I love this article. It contains so much densely-packed wisdom. I plan on reading it again and again.
“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
— Thomas Merton
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Free Optician Staff Training Program?
In the spirit of doing what we can for others, over the past year, John Seegers and I have been working hard developing a new optician staff training program (with a little help and inspiration from the U.S. Navy). It will completely change optician training for the better. Soon you can bring optician training out of the books and off of the web pages, into the real world, with the 100% free-to-download Laramy-K OpticianWorks Optician Qualification Standard (OQS). I’ll give you all the details in next week’s edition of the Optical Business Success Newsletter. So, keep an eye out!
OpticianWorks Video of the Week: Frame Fit
Through our OpticianWorks free videos, Laramy-K Optical is making every effort to provide better and more accessible (and yes, even free) education for opticians everywhere, but we’re only able to do it with your support.
You can help keep it going in two ways:
Become a paid-member of OpticianWorks.com for access to the best in online optician training (The videos are only a small portion).
Or, even better, open a Laramy-K Optical lab account for the very best in independent lab work and we'll throw in the OpticianWorks memberships for your entire staff for free! Your customers and your staff will thank you!
I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optical Success. Please share with anyone you think might benefit from it. If someone shared it with you and you would like to receive future updates, join over 15,000 optical professionals and sign up here. https://www.laramyk.com/optical-retail-success/
Until next time, be kind and question everything!