What Being a Pro Cyclist Taught Me About the Eyecare Business
I started riding as a teenager and never looked back. I loved the solitude and the thrill of riding somewhere I had never seen, getting lost along the way. To this day, I cling to that as a professional rider for Team Type 1. I’ve been lucky. I have raced almost 10 years as an elite athlete and learned more than I could have imagined. I often tell people that despite my master’s degree, my best education came on the bicycle.
It’s a long process to move up the ranks in cycling. Every time you establish yourself in one area, there’s an up-and-coming rider looking to take your spot. Being successful means being willing to always learn and refine skills.
That same mindset applies to eyecare. The landscape of patient care is changing. Tele-med, online ordering, and new exam technologies and dispensing tools are transforming products and service delivery. To stay relevant, it’s important to embrace current trends and find ways to stay ahead.
IT’S NO BIG DEAL
Stressful encounters with patients and employees present challenges, but often it’s a matter of perspective. A hard day at the office is easy compared to race day. The uphill finish on the first stage of the Tour of Gila shows that “hard” is a matter of degree. People can be trying, but accommodating them often takes very little effort, and ends up being the sort of thing they remember. PROUD TO WORK HARD My early cycling days were spent working for others, setting them up so they could win or shuttling water bottles. I learned that good leaders are quick to recognize such efforts. Leadership means embracing the interests of the organization. I may not own Avenue Vision, but I feel satisfaction when the business hits targets. It’s important to value contributions at every level of the practice. SAVE YOUR ENERGY In cycling, learning when to attack and when to sit-in is important. Likewise, I’ve had to learn that not everything in the context of the business is worth my attention. Rather than hearing every sales pitch, I say “no” to a lot of rep meetings. I delegate. This saves mental energy for the right moments. REMEMBER GRATITUDE In pro cycling, no matter how good you are, it eventually ends. You get a finite window to do what you love. This made me appreciate even the hardest moments. I use that mindset in the office. I make it a point to always thank staff for their work. I genuinely enjoy the patients who come to us. Remember why you chose this job. Whether I’m in the saddle or at my desk, success is about embracing risk and being persistent, remembering and valuing the contributions of the team and always having a good time.