Rebecca Johnson: Dancing Into 2016

Management advice from Rebecca Johnson

Don’t sit out your chances. Give life a spin this new year.

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 edition of INVISION.

I could hear the sounds of a jazz band coming from the overhead speakers as I walked into the breakfast room at my hotel. Good jazz always brings a smile to my face, but I was not ready for what I saw. An elderly gentleman was dancing in front of the oatmeal table and playing “air saxophone.”

I looked around the room for signs of his wife or grandchildren, eager to see their reactions, but there was no one else in sight. I tried to leave the room to save him the embarrassment of suddenly realizing that he had an audience, but before I could turn around, the man looked over his shoulder and knew he had been caught. The performance came to an abrupt stop and he quickly began spooning oatmeal into a bowl, while wearing a look that said, “Geez, I hope she didn’t see that. How embarrassing.”

Looking back, I wish that I had clapped for him and begun my own dance. Instead, I felt embarrassed, too. I pretended that I hadn’t noticed his impromptu act of joy, and I stood quietly in line behind him.

How sad. I bet that, as a child, he would have continued his playing like no one was watching. And as a child, I would have joined in. That’s why I’ve decided that my plan for 2016 is to dance! OK, maybe not literally, but I plan to enjoy every moment with the eyes of a child who sees the magic in everything. And I ask you to join me.

Your reasons for being worried, stressed or upset will never go away. You will always have that one patient out of a hundred who totally unnerves you. But instead of letting that person sideline you, turn your thoughts to the other 99 patients with whom you can make a difference.

Think back on the people that you have encountered in your life who will never know the difference they made to you, whether big or small. The fact is, you are “that person” for many people. The “dance” may be as simple as offering a warm hug or just being a friendly face to someone who is having a bad time in life. And as eyecare providers, we get this opportunity every day.

Lee Ann Womack once had a big hit with these lyrics penned by written by Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers: “And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” It’s a new year. I’ll see you out there on the dance floor of life!

REBECCA JOHNSON is a 30-year veteran in the eyecare business. She is the executive director of Business Consultative Services for GPN and owner of EyeTrain4You, an ophthalmic staff training and development company. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..