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Robert Bell

This Ain’t No Fairytale but It Could Be Your Legacy

The second of Robert Bell’s four-part series on how to tell YOUR story to strengthen your brand.




This Ain’t No Fairytale but It Could Be Your Legacy

THERE’S AN INCREDIBLE scene in Walk The Line, a biopic on the life of legendary singer-songwriter Johnny Cash. In the scene, an unknown Johnny Cash is auditioning for famed music producer, Sam Phillips. Johnny, and his bandmates, are playing a very old and boring gospel song … there is absolutely no energy in the way they’re playing it. The song is coma-inducing. Within a minute, Phillips puts an abrupt stop to the performance. The dialogue that comes next made my jaw drop! Here’s just some of that interchange:

Johnny Cash: “What’s wrong with the way I sing it?”

Sam Phillips: “I don’t believe you.”

Cash: “You’re saying I don’t believe in God?” (Remember, it’s a gospel song)

Phillips: “You know exactly what I’m telling you… If you were hit by a truck and you were lying out in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing one song. One song people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on earth. One song that would sum you up. You’re telling me that’s the song you’d sing? Or would you sing something different? Something real. Something you felt! Cause… that’s the song people want to hear! It ain’t got nothing to do with believing in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believing in yourself!”

Johnny thinks about this and then slowly launches into Folsom Prison Blues, which leaves Mr. Phillips (and me) blown away!

Let us substitute the word “song” for “story” and the word “sing” for “tell.” Reread the above dialogue, substituting those words. You’re Johnny, I’m Sam.

So, what song do you sing? What story do you tell to let everyone know how you feel about being an eyecare professional?

Let me give you an example that’s going to piss off a lot of you. Go to the “About Us” section of your website (by the way, “About Us” is okay but be a bit different and change it to “Our Story” or “Our Visionary Tale,” etc.).

That’s really the story you want to tell? Where you went to school? Where you grew up? Your hobbies? Let me ask you, do you think anyone reading that is inspired?

Now, go to three other random optometric websites anywhere in the country, and look at their “About Us” section. It’s pretty much as boring, uninspiring and coma-inducing as yours, isn’t it?

C’mon folks, is this really your legacy?

Or do you want to be meaningfully different? Do you want to inspire your patients to live better lives through the better vision only you can provide them?

The missing piece of this storytelling puzzle is that you are not telling anyone why you wanted to become an ECP. You’re not telling anyone the struggles, hurdles, and obstacles you overcame to get here (the topic of my next article). You’re not telling folks how it makes you feel when you’ve helped make a patient’s life more dynamic with the solutions you provided for their visual challenges. You’re not letting people in on your dream and your belief in yourself as an ECP!

Your life ain’t no fairytale! There were times when things seemed so overwhelming, you just wanted to throw up your hands and surrender! Yet, you persevered and overcame to get where you are today! Feels pretty freakin’ good, doesn’t it?

I’ll tell ya, those are the stories people want to hear! Those are the stories that inspire! Those are the stories of an ECP who truly cares about their patients!

Amongst the other things Robert Bell does in the eye care industry, he helps to oversee the Vision Services Program for California CareForce and inspires others to volunteer in their own communities throughout the United States. You may contact him at or send him a message on The Vision Volunteers page on Facebook.


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