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John Marvin

The Importance of Being Intentional

If 2021 is going to be different, it will be because you intentionally make it different.

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I LOOKED BACK AT what I wrote for the January issue last year. I don’t know about you, but it seems like more than just a year ago. I wrote about the importance of setting goals and how best to achieve them. There was so much hope and promise for 2020, the year of optometry! We were almost giddy with anticipation. Then everything changed. Independent eyecare providers went from expectations of growth and success, to hoping they could stay in business. In fact, many did not. As I write this, the industry is still performing below its 2019 revenue levels.

If 2021 is going to be different, it will be because you intentionally make it different. One of the lessons of 2020 is that success and growth do not happen accidentally. Being intentional involves four steps:

1. Look Back. Taking time to examine the past turns experience into insight. As the new year begins, look back at 2020 and 2019. Examine your past decisions, your past actions, and uncover the lessons learned. The sad fact is that most people don’t stop long enough to contemplate their experience. The old adage, “Experience is the best teacher” is not the wisest way to learn. Examined experience is the best teacher.

It is easy for one day to turn into another, for a week to turn into the next, for a month to become a quarter, then a year has passed and nothing has changed. We hoped for improvement and magically thought it would just happen. Your business is too important to leave to hope. Being intentional starts with looking back and examining your experiences.

2. Look Ahead. What is your view of the upcoming year? What would you plan to achieve if you knew you couldn’t fail? Defining your outcomes and visualizing your life and your business is critical in determining whether or not you will achieve what you want.

Many people get stuck in indecision. What if you make a mistake? All of these questions and concerns are traps holding you back. Shake these thoughts off. Bob Moawad, famed athlete, coach and founder of the Edge Learning Institute, said, “Most people don’t aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit.”

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3. Plan Each Day. If you’re to end the day with satisfaction, you must start the day with determination. Setting aside 30 minutes each morning to be intentional about planning your day will make a big difference in how it unfolds. You will find yourself focusing on the significant instead of the urgent. It is easy to become distracted during the day … then 10 hours has come and gone and nothing significant was accomplished. We spent the entire day reacting to the urgent.

Break down your vision of what you will accomplish into small steps and be intentional in your daily planning to perform these steps. It won’t be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be consistent. Consistency will deliver the outcome you desire.

4. Repeat. Repeat the first step. Look back, examine your experience, look for insights and understanding. Adjust your daily plan based on what you learn. Be consistent with your daily actions and intentional in your decisions.

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 practiceprinciples.net blog. You can email him at [email protected]

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