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John Marvin

Commit to These 4 Big Ifs for Career Fulfillment

You can have a successful and fulfilling career in the profession of optometry by applying these simple messages.




“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn

ONE OF MY mentors, the late Jim Rohn, delivered a speech several years ago, before he became widely known, titled, The Four Ifs of a Full Life. Recently, I was listening to this simple message and I thought it had a direct application for a doctor who owns an optometry practice. Let me explain…

You can have a successful and fulfilling career in the profession of optometry:

If you commit to continual learning. The science and technology in our profession is constantly changing. You need to commit yourself to lifelong study, as new therapeutics are introduced every year. New technology that didn’t exist 10 or even five years ago enables ODs to better diagnose and manage pathology. If you are not continually learning, you do your patients and yourself a disservice. If you wish to be a better doctor and own a more financially successful practice, commit to continually learning.

If you try. Most people never try. They don’t try a different way of conducting their exam. They don’t try different ways to make the staff and patient’s experience in the office more rewarding. People don’t try because it requires change and it’s easier to not change. You do things today the same as you did them yesterday, last week, last month and last year. Pretty soon before you know it, 20 or 30 years have passed and nothing really changes, because you didn’t try. You see what is going on around you and become frustrated because the profession has changed. If you want a more fulfilling career, you must try.


If you stay. What I mean when I say stay, is to be persistent. Stay in the effort, if what you tried doesn’t give you the results you want, then try again. Success is far more dependent on persistence than it is on the brilliance of an idea. You don’t want to spend your career hoping that something will magically change.

Calvin Coolidge, the 30th U.S. President, wrote: Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Talent, genius and education alone will not provide you with a fulfilling career. It is persistence and determination that will fulfill your aspirations. If you want to have a fulfilling career, you must learn to stay.

If you care. Believe it or not, after a few years and more than a few disappointments, challenges and frustrations, it is easy to spend years in practice without really caring. Don’t get me wrong, I think every doctor cares about their patients, that’s not what I mean. I mean it is easy to quit caring about your own personal growth. It is easy to quit caring about making your business increase in patients or quality of exams. It is easy to quit caring about making sure your office work environment nurtures growth and development for your staff. It is easy to quit caring about the selection of eyewear that is offered and new developments in contact lenses. If you want to have a fulfilling career, you must care. You have to be driven by something bigger than just yourself.

These four IFs can make an incredible impact on your career fulfillment. Remember, your patients, your staff, your family depend on you and the career you build.


John D. Marvin has more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry. He is the president of Texas State Optical and writes about marketing, management and education at the blog. You can email him at


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