How to handle change like a pro

Change is hard.

Optometrists who make the leap from associate to business owner grapple with the challenges of a brand new venture. For optometry students, graduation marks the end of years of education and the start of an exciting but unfamiliar chapter. I’ve worked with optometric staff who have felt disempowered or “stuck” in their roles and didn’t know how to begin to address their situation.

I can empathize with the challenges of change. Leaving my job of nearly two decades wasn’t easy. Doing so to launch my own entrepreneurial adventure was as exciting as it was daunting.

Whether we plan for it or not, change is disruptive. In many cases, that is a great thing. It means progress – that we’ve taken steps toward our goals. But that doesn’t mean the path is easy.

Handling change when plans derail

Of course there are other times when we aren’t driving the change, we’re merely responding to it.

It’s a fact of life, and while we can work on strategies for handling such changes, life’s unexpected twists and turns can be a lot to handle, even for a pro.

Margie Warrell is a professional and personal development coach who speaks around the world and writes regularly for Forbes.

She helps people cultivate the courage to change. She helps them make the changes they need to achieve the success they want. And recently, she blogged about what she learned from walking her talk.

8 lessons for navigating change

I highly recommend reading her post for details on her year of change. She also provides eight valuable lessons she’s learned over the past year.

There are two in particular I want to highlight for optometrists.

The first is finding reasons to celebrate change. This is critical advice for business owners who, after rushing from fire to fire or task to task, can all too easily lose sight of why they set out on their own in the first place.

It’s also important advice for you and your teams. A growing practice for example may place new pressures and responsibilities on staff. Framing this as an opportunity, celebrating your employees in the process and ensuring they feel valued and celebrated can keep your team motivated in times of disruption.

The second lesson I want to point out is the need to proactively pursue change. Independent optometry practices are facing increased competition from big box stores and online eyewear retailers. Households less and less frequently have home phones. Younger generations prefer communication by text.

Thinking ahead helps mitigate the impact of upcoming challenges. I encourage optometrists to consider what new trends mean for your recalling strategy. Consider what you can do to improve your eyewear sales. Proactively pursuing new strategies puts you in the driver’s seat.

Check out Margie Warrell’s post, and let me know what has helped you manage planned or unexpected change in your practice.