By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO
May 31, 2023
I recently came back from the Vision Source Exchange, held in San Antonio, Texas, this year. One of the Exchange’s keynote speakers was The New York Times bestselling author Jon Acuff. I enjoyed his stage presence and message, and I’m adding his new book, “All It Takes Is a Goal,” to my reading list.
A large part of his message centered around “over-thinking,” and though an interesting take on the concept, initially it did not resonate as much for me as it did for some of the other doctors and staff in attendance. I don’t have a problem with “over-thinking” or “ruminating” about an issue or a problem. It’s usually just the opposite. I move pretty fast when I need to come up with a fix or a solution.
That said, I do think he’s right when he points out that we all have what he calls “soundtracks” playing that shape our habits and character and make us who we are. Acuff defines “soundtrack” as a repetitive thought that plays in your head, kind of like a song you’ve put on “repeat.” You can have a good soundtrack playing, or you can have one that is detrimental to your growth and well-being.
I was talking to a younger doctor who was struggling with a challenging situation, who had also attended the conference and heard Acuff’s presentation. I suggested to her that maybe she was “playing the wrong soundtrack.” We talked it through and discussed what a better soundtrack for her might sound like. She said approaching the situation from a new, more positive perspective, or changing her “soundtrack,” was helpful.
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Let me tell you about a recent experience where I changed MY soundtrack! I went with Glenn Ellisor, OD, the executive chairman and founder of Vision Source, on a hog-hunting expedition at his ranch, which typically takes place at night in the dark. On this particular night, there was no moon, resulting in complete darkness. As someone who had never shot a rifle in the dark or used a night scope, I was feeling overwhelmed and apprehensive. I kept thinking, “why am I doing this? I am terrified, etc, etc.” Then it hit me…I have the wrong soundtrack! I changed my soundtrack to, “Lots of other people have done this. I can do this. Life is about experiences! Let’s go!” What a difference that made for me! I am not saying I didn’t continue to feel a rush of adrenaline, but it helped me enjoy this challenge and push past my discomfort.
Another example of a wrong soundtrack might be, “I am scared to move locations and expand my practice. Recession is coming. It is going to be hard, I don’t know what the future holds, I shouldn’t do this.” OR you can switch that soundtrack to: “I need to grow; I want to grow, and sure, these are going to be some tough times, but I am tougher, and I can figure it out as I go.” Now, put that on repeat!
In conclusion, when thinking about what my own business “soundtrack” might sound like, I’m thinking it goes something like this: “If this doesn’t work, I will figure it out and find out what does.” Playing this soundtrack boosts my confidence and assures me that I can handle the adversity and need for adaptation that come with being an owner of a dynamic business.