Forget Goal-Setting and Focus on Purpose: A Mindset Conversation with Stephanie Bogan

November 2, 2023

As an optometric practice owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a business. 

We are constantly driven by the need to achieve, grow, and succeed. We are human doings, always in motion, always striving for more.

We become so focused on doubling revenue, increasing EBITDA, and scaling our practices that we lose sight of what truly matters – our purpose.

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It’s necessary to take a step back and reflect on the purpose and intention behind what you’re building. 

In this article, we will delve into the concept of purpose and how it can shape your mindset, leading to greater clarity, motivation, and overall success.

Goals vs. purpose for optometry practice owners

Let’s differentiate between purpose and goals. 

While goals provide a tactical direction, often focusing on specific outcomes like revenue targets or patient numbers, purpose delves deeper. It’s about the broader vision, the impact on patients’ lives, and the legacy the practice aims to leave behind. 

Goals might be about doubling the practice’s size in a few years, but purpose could be about creating a practice that not only achieves financial success but also offers flexibility, freedom, and a profound positive impact on the community.

For many, the journey to discovering this purpose isn’t straightforward. It’s not about chasing after success or the next big milestone. Instead, it’s about introspection, understanding what truly matters, and aligning the business’s actions with these core values. 

At its core, purpose is about clarity. It’s not merely a tangible goal or a milestone to be achieved; it’s a deeper understanding of what drives the business forward. 

The mental journey to a purposeful practice

Embarking on the journey to a purposeful practice is a transformative process that requires introspection, clarity, and commitment. This journey is not linear; it’s a continuous exploration of what truly matters to you as an optometry practice owner and how your practice reflects these values.

In the early stages of your career…

You might find yourself grappling with the direction you want your practice to take. It’s a time of exploration and perhaps even confusion. You might be focused on tangible goals, like increasing revenue or expanding your patient base, but there’s a deeper layer to consider. At this point you should ask yourself: What do I want to create not only for myself but also for my family, my community, and my patients?

As you navigate through the mid-career stage…

Challenges will inevitably arise. It’s a period where you might feel the weight of responsibility and expectations, leading to stress and overwhelm. However, having a clear sense of purpose can be your guiding light during these times. Purpose acts as a powerful motivator, not one that pushes you reluctantly forward but one that pulls you towards the vision you have for your life and practice. It’s about understanding what you want to invest your time in and to what effect.

Late in your career…

Achieving clarity becomes paramount. It’s a time where you might reflect on the legacy you want to leave behind and the impact your practice has had on the lives of your patients and community. Purpose here is not just about financial success; it’s about creating a practice that allows you flexibility, freedom, and the opportunity to make a significant positive impact.

Throughout this journey, give yourself the space to understand what your purpose isn’t… as much as what it is. It’s not merely about financial gains or achieving the next milestone; it’s about investing your time intelligently and creating meaningful outcomes for yourself and others. 

When your vision is clear, decision-making becomes easier, providing you with a roadmap for change and success in your optometry practice.

Defining your true intention behind practice ownership

Our personal definitions of success might, on the surface, consist of something like, “more money.” But usually, it’s not merely about financial gain or business growth; it’s a deeper, intrinsic motivator that drives every decision, action, and strategy within the practice. It’s the silent force that pulls you towards your vision, creating a practice that not only generates income but also provides flexibility, freedom, and a significant positive impact on the lives of both patients and practitioners.

Of course, no single type of purpose fits all.

Some practices may be driven by a personal purpose, where the owner is deeply passionate about optometry and the impact it has on people’s lives. This passion fuels their commitment to building a practice that reflects their love for the field and their desire to make a difference.

On the other hand, some practices serve primarily as income engines. These are investments made with the primary goal of generating revenue. While the owner may not have a deep emotional connection to the practice, it serves its purpose by providing financial stability and freedom. 

Recognizing and accepting the purpose your practice serves is the first step towards aligning your actions and strategies with your goals.

The journey doesn’t end there…

Next you need to create a blueprint for success that reflects this purpose. Whether your practice is a passion project or an income engine, it’s essential to run it efficiently, with strategies in place that not only ensure its growth but also reflect the purpose it serves. This alignment is crucial for avoiding stress and overwhelm, as it provides a clear direction and focus, turning the driving force from a push to a pull motivator.

Purposeful practice transformation is not about drastic changes but subtle shifts in perspective and approach. It’s about asking the right questions and aligning your actions with the answers. What outcomes and experiences do you wish to create through your practice? How do these align with your personal and professional purpose? Answering these questions provides clarity, guiding you towards creating a practice that is not only successful but also fulfilling and purpose-driven.

Actionable advice for practice owners

Embarking on a purpose-driven journey requires more than just contemplation; it demands actionable steps to transform your vision into reality. Here are some practical steps to guide you:

  1. Self-Reflection and Clarity Exercise: Engage in a clarity exercise where you list everything in your life and practice that’s above the line (positive) and below the line (negative). This exercise helps you understand where you are and what you want to create, providing a roadmap for change.
  2. Invest Time Wisely: Time is your greatest asset. Be clear on how you want to invest your time and to what effect. Avoid wasting time on non-productive activities and focus on actions that align with your purpose and contribute to your practice’s success.
  3. Define Your Purpose: Understand whether your practice serves a personal purpose or acts as an income engine. Acknowledge and accept the purpose your practice serves, and align your actions and strategies accordingly.
  4. Challenge “Sacred Cows”: Reflect on the conditioned assumptions you hold and challenge them. For instance, many believe that relentless hard work and financial success will inevitably lead to fulfillment and a sense of purpose (not always the case). These beliefs often serve as barriers to realizing the full potential of both the practice and the practitioner. 
  5. Create a Roadmap for Change: Once you have clarity on your purpose, start crafting a roadmap for change that defines who you are, how you want to show up in your practice, and how you can be proud of your contributions every day.
  6. Identify What Your Purpose Isn’t: Before you can truly understand your purpose, identify what it isn’t. Recognize the modes and habits that are keeping you from gaining clarity and purpose in your practice.

Be intentional (not radical) about it 

Transforming a practice through purpose is not about drastic changes but subtle shifts in perspective and approach. It’s a continuous journey of reflection, adjustment, and alignment, ensuring the practice not only meets financial goals but also serves a purpose that is deeply personal and profoundly impactful. 

This alignment of purpose and practice ultimately leads to a life and career that is lived truly ‘on purpose’.

Want help aligning your purpose with your financial goals and building a successful optometric practice? Click here to book a Triage call with our team of expert financial planners. We help guide you on your journey to practice ownership success.

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