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Mastering our optometric obstacles


Accomplishing goals can be a challenge, even in the best-case scenario. A clear vision of your end goals will help mitigate the obstacles that lie ahead of you.

“I've always found that anything worth achieving will always have obstacles in the way, and you've got to have that drive and determination to overcome those obstacles on route to whatever it is that you want to accomplish.”  Chuck Norris

Accomplishing goals can be a challenge, even in the best-case scenario. A clear vision of your end goals will help mitigate the obstacles that lie ahead of you. Steven Pressfield describes such obstacles as resistance in his book The War of Art. The metaphysical world dictates that every dream has resistance, and the closer one comes to seeing that dream to fruition, he will inevitably experience greater resistance to fulfilling that dream. Clearing those obstacles can make for a more enriching life experience.

Optometrists can feel truly accomplished when they finally reach the pinnacle of their success.

Related: Are you a real doctor?

Overcoming obstacles

While on a cruise to Alaska last year, I had time to reflect on an obstacle faced by many who ventured to Alaska long before cruise ships were commonplace. 

One of the excursions I had the pleasure of doing while at port in Skagway was the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, the White Pass & Yukon Route is a narrow-gauge railroad that is considered an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, a designation shared with the Panama Canal, the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty.

It is recognized for the many difficult and hazardous obstacles that needed to be conquered for its completion: design challenges, granite mountains, steep grades, cliff-hanging turns, and unimaginable weather conditions. The courage and brave acts of the workers under the leadership of dedicated builders are a testament to this very day.

So how does one get past the obstacles that get in our way? Specifically, how can an optometrist understand and face his obstacles in an effort to reach the pinnacle of success?

Next: Internal, external, and habitual obstacles


Internal, external, and habitual obstacles

Let’s first take a look at the three general types of obstacles doctors often use to explain their shortcomings: internal, external, and habitual obstacles.

Internal obstacles are those obstacles that are generally problems you have direct control over. Internal obstacles include debt, cash flow, time availability, or needed skills.

Related: The fruit salad tree of optometry

External obstacles are those obstacles outside of your control. External obstacles include the economy, natural disasters, physical limitations, and the political climate.

Habitual obstacles are those obstacles that reflect how people get in their own way. Habitual obstacles can be removed only with behavioral change.

Now that we have identified the three types of obstacles, let’s look at ways we can overcome them.

Next: Obstacles in the optometric business


Obstacles in the optometric business

An optometric business is riddled with obstacles. To overcome an obstacle, a doctor must embrace self-awareness. This means you must recognize yourself as an individual separate from your environs and other individuals. To attain your goal, you must see the obstacle as a hindrance before you attempt to overcome it.

Blaming your staff or time management is one such example. This is particularly obstructive to resolving habitual obstacles. For me, my prioritization was an obstacle that was keeping me from what I needed to accomplish. My true enemy was actually my own semi-consciousness. Once I admitted that my own prioritization was misdirected, I was able to adjust my behavior.

Changing our habits overnight is impossible. But little by little, it can be done.  More difficult obstacles will require more time to overcome. 

Tracking progress is also important. Small changes over time will get you closer to your goal. Never underestimate the impact of momentum. Momentum is the best way to break those seemingly insurmountable tasks.

Optometrists are business people and, as such, are bound by time constraints. To manage our busy lives, doctors need to employ discipline. It's easy to get distracted. There will always be a fire to put out or some new critical opportunity that will beckon to distract you.

True discipline is about making a commitment to yourself for the time and effort to reach your goal regardless of external factors. Clear out every distraction, and vow to add nothing new to your plate until you have made progress.

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