Insights From Our Editors

Why My Mother’s Advice to “Act Like Somebody” Is So Powerful

Dr. Sorrenson, bottom row, right, (as you are looking at photo) with her mother beside her and sister behind. Dr. Sorrenson's mother's advice to "Be somebody," has helped her both personally and professionally.

Dr. Sorrenson, bottom row, right, (as you are looking at photo) with her mother beside her and sisters behind. Dr. Sorrenson’s mother’s advice to “act like somebody” has helped her both personally and professionally.

A guiding principle for both personal and professional lives.

By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

Sept. 27, 2023

In the tapestry of our lives, there are often phrases and sayings from our parents that echo in our minds long after they’ve been spoken.

For my sisters and me, one such phrase was, “ACT LIKE SOMEBODY!”, a directive from our mother that, as children, we couldn’t quite grasp.

We thought it was a playful piece of advice, a humorous reminder to behave properly. (Our mom loved to joke around and laugh). Little did we know that this simple phrase held a lot of wisdom and a lesson about how we should carry ourselves in the world.

Once we became mothers ourselves, we found ourselves quoting her and saying “ACT LIKE SOMEBODY!” to our own children, understanding its significance more than ever.

The Mystery of “Act Like Somebody”

As children, my sisters and I often puzzled over our mother’s words. What did it mean to “act like somebody”? We assumed it was her way of telling us to behave, be polite and avoid causing trouble. It felt like a maternal commandment, akin to “clean your room” or “eat your vegetables.”

But it wasn’t until we grew older that the meaning of those words began to dawn on us. Our mother wasn’t just instructing us on good behavior; she was imparting a philosophy for living a meaningful and impactful life.

“Act Like Somebody!” as a Guiding Principle

To me, “Act Like Somebody!” ended up meaning… make a difference, represent yourself well, be a role model.

  • Make a Difference: “Act Like Somebody!” can be the idea that each of us has the potential to make a positive impact on the world. It’s a call to be proactive, to seek out opportunities to help others, be bold, brave and challenge yourself to make a difference.
  • Represent Yourself Well: “Act Like Somebody!” can mean being honest, authentic, being true to your values, especially when it is difficult and it would be much easier to take a different route or action.
  • Be a Role Model:  I don’t think I ever set out to be a role model, but I think it can happen when you “Act Like Somebody!” trying to make a difference and being true to your values. Actions and behavior can influence and inspire, leading to a ripple effect of positive change.

Passing Down the Wisdom 

Now, as mothers ourselves, we’ve passed down the wisdom of “Act Like Somebody!” to our own children, just as our mother did for us. We hope that this simple mantra has guided them at some point as they continue to navigate their lives.

We wanted our children to understand that they have the power to shape their destinies, to leave their mark on the world, and to represent themselves well in all they do. We do know that they have already become individuals who inspire others through their actions and values.

“Act Like Somebody!” reminds me that our actions matter, that we should strive to make a difference, and that we have the responsibility to represent ourselves well.

To my Mom, thank you.

To my kids, “Act Like Somebody!” 

Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, is president of Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, and the Professional Editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB). To contact her:

To Top
Subscribe Today for Free...
And join more than 35,000 optometric colleagues who have made Review of Optometric Business their daily business advisor.