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Keep the Clutter to a Minimum and Tell Your Own Stories Instead

Less is more when it comes to display.

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Less is more when it comes to display. No clutter, no overwhelming signs, just our licensed opticians telling stories about frames, lenses and our unique design. With our setting in a farming community, we like to hear good stories and that is what we offer patients. Grab a coffee and graze in our optical. We’ll tell you the stories of which lenses or A/R we use, while getting to know you and how you use your eyewear. Jillynn F., Bruner, OD, Professional Family Eyecare, Coldwater and St. Marys, OH

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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It’s Time to Change the Way You Think About Failure

It’s nothing more than feedback to improve.

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WHEN THINKING ABOUT failure and what it means to fail, it often carries a negative connotation. We associate failure with loss and tend to get down on ourselves for it, especially in our careers and personal life. I’m here to tell you that not only is failure the greatest part of personal growth, but it’s a push to do and be better. Changing your perspective of failure from a negative to positive allows you to go through life, with its curve balls, at peace. Believing that failure is just feedback is an important key to life. Let me explain why.

In a growing field like the optical industry, fear of failure is the ultimate setback for ECPs. When speaking to colleagues about their next goal and what they want to achieve for themselves, I consistently hear something along the lines of, ‘’What can I do to be different… I’m not sure if I can compete with ___. I need to make sure it will work.” Uncertainty plays a big part as well; when you’re unsure of how things are going to play out you have doubt… which leads to fear of failure.

Humans struggle to get comfortable with the unknown. Whether your goal is to open a business, become active on social media, start an organization, design your own eyewear line – fear of failure should be your last thought. It’s just another way of holding you back from pursuing things with your full potential.

As I’ve advanced my career in opticianry, created a platform for myself as a public figure and as an independent eyewear influencer, I’ve run into fear of failure regularly. For those of you currently dealing with fear of failure, here are my top tips for combating it:

Turn failure into constructive criticism. You know that famous quote, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again?” Well, it’s true. Turn your failures into life giving you constructive criticism. It allows you to look at your mistakes in full, take notes on how/why it didn’t work out and then reevaluate it and try again.

Be kind to yourself. We are our worst critics. Being kind to yourself is key. When dealing with failure, try not to talk down to yourself. Don’t compare what you’ve done to others and give yourself daily affirmations to keep going. Remember: You are what you think, so always think highly of yourself.

Set attainable goals and never give up. Its OK to dream big, but it must go hand in hand with thinking logically. Try breaking down bigger dreams into smaller goals and celebrate each successful step taken.

Have a reliable support system. When you associate yourself with like-minded individuals, addressing failure with a supportive group of friends or colleagues can put it in perspective. Knowing you’re not alone and having people to offer their insight and opinions can help you to feel more confident when trying again. Also, it’s never a bad idea to bounce your ideas off of others and get different perspectives.

I can’t stress enough the importance of failure in life. The most successful people you can think of have experienced failure and made plenty of mistakes. Failure should never be a reason to give up, but the push you need to keep going and move forward. If everything has been easy for you, that means you’ve only done the bare minimum. Take more chances this year, think bigger, and take the steps necessary to make your dreams happen!

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Robert Bell

Celebrate Failure, Just like Deacon Blues

Because you can’t have success without failure.

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THEY GOT A NAME for the winners in the world.

I … I want a name when I lose

They call Alabama the Crimson Tide

Call me Deacon Blues”

— Deacon Blues by Steely Dan

I love that lyric. It’s clever. It expresses so much, so powerfully and concisely. “I want a name when I lose.” Brilliant.

Why do I think it’s brilliant? Because no one, to my knowledge, has ever captured that sentiment before on something as common as losing. It’s as though it’s a celebration of failure.

Hey, and why not?

In the movie, National Treasure, Nicolas Cage’s character, says “You know, Thomas Edison failed nearly 2,000 times to develop the carbonized cotton-thread filament for the incandescent light bulb … And when asked about it, he said “I didn’t fail; I found 2,000 ways how not to make a light bulb,” but he only needed one way to make it work.”

The point is that no one, can be successful at anything without failing first … or 2,000 times. Yes, there are instances of success on the first try but those often can’t be sustained.

Failure makes us stronger! Smarter! And, in most cases, more determined.

Want to know my first failure selling?

I was 21 and starting up a contact lens distributorship with a partner. He was going to run the business end of things and I was responsible for selling. After all, I was the son of an optical sales legend. But, to be honest, I’d never sold anything before. How hard could it be?

It took us about two weeks to set up the business. Every day during those two weeks, I’d pass this optometrist’s office thinking they’re going to be my first call and, hopefully, my first sale. Every day, as I passed by that office, I thought: “You’re mine. I’m gonna get you!”

Finally, the day arrived. It was time to make sales calls. This should have been the easiest call ever. All I had to do was walk in and say, “Hi, I’m a contact lens distributor. We have the lowest prices on brands you probably already buy. Here’s my price list. If you’d like to order, please give us a call.”

Doesn’t get simpler than that.

So, I walked into that OD’s office.

“Hi, may we help you?” the very nice receptionist said.

“Yes. I, uhhh … ummm …” I started to hyperventilate. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was so nervous, my system shut down and … well, I threw up on their waiting room floor. Bent over, I started crying from embarrassment. Thank goodness, the receptionist and doctor — who ran out at the commotion — were the nicest people. They helped calm me down and clean me up.

I drove home, went straight to my room, hit the bed in fetal position (probably sucked my thumb, too) and stayed there feeling like a complete loser. The ultimate failure. Call me Deacon Blues!

Fast forward to today. Here I am, a sales trainer and sales strategist who’s successfully trained thousands of salespeople and has been writing for INVISION Magazine for the past five years. Success borne of failure!

So, don’t get down on yourself when a customer says, “No.” Think, “Well, at least I didn’t throw up like Robert did.” But, also, think about how you might be better next time. What does a successful sale look like and how do you get there?

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Do You Or Don't You

Only 21% of You Have Failed So Spectacularly It Still Makes You Cringe

But each and every one of you said it taught you something valuable.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you or don’t you have a business idea that’s failed so spectacularly that the thought of it still makes you cringe? What was it and what did you learn?

Yes: 21%

  • Shelled out $12K to a friend for a real estate venture: fix and flip a small house. Things were going well until he broke up with his girlfriend and moved into the house. Before you knew it the housing market crashed, he lost the house and has been doing my lawn for free for at least 10 years since he doesn’t have the cash to pay me back; moral is to never do business with a friend. — Marc Ullman, OD, Academy Vision, Pine Beach, NJ
  • In many ways, failure is more exciting than success. Failure happens when you step outside of your comfort zone, and go for the big wins. We’ve had many failed marketing campaigns and business strategies, but in every instance, we have revisited the plan to see if it was a problem in the planning or the execution. It’s made it clear what kind of marketing efforts best target our patient base, and it’s helped us determine which strategies produce growth. — Becky Furuta, Avenue Vision, Golden, CO
  • I’ve had several; it’s never been the idea so much as not having the right people or systems in place to execute. I’ve learned to slow down and get it right, instead of just doing it right now! — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision of Edmond, Edmond, OK
  • Trunk shows without enough promotion. Lesson learned: Do more promotion. — Bob McBeath, Edina Eye, Edina, MN
  • We once had the idea long ago to trace all our frames and send trace files to the lab. It took forever and the lenses came in too large so often we stopped even doing it. Now the labs have all the trace files anyway. — Jocelyn Mylott, D’Ambrosio Eye Care, Lancaster, MA
  • We have had some events that have failed in a big way because of the time and energy it took to pull them off only to have no one show up. — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN
  • Referral points. People would literally fight over who referred them and who they referred. Now we just thank anyone who refers someone with a nice card. — Annette Prevaux, The Visionary, Allen Park, MI
  • When I first opened, I invested in an Amigo magnifier, which cost a LOT for a new business. Was sure someone would need it because one of my patients had one and thought it was the BOMB! Still is on my shelf…anyone need one? — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY

No: 79%

  • I said no but there are things we have done that have so far worked out but are maybe more work than they are worth. What I learned is before you make a change make sure that it will be worth the effort to the best that you are able and don’t feel bad about cutting and running if the reward doesn’t surpass the work. — Zachary Dirks, OD, St. Peter and Belle Plaine Eyecare Centers, Saint Peter, MN
  • We have had so many ideas that have crashed and burned, but, each one has led us to a better way to do something, to find out what would not work, or to realize we were on the wrong track all together. — Ted A. McElroy OD, Vision Source Tifton, Tifton, GA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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