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In The Groove

Life can be compared to many things.  We can be stuck in the mud spinning our wheels.  We can be in a rut where we are moving along a bumpy, muddy road, but things are not necessarily so smooth.  Or we can be “in the groove” like a needle on vinyl.
I have spent several years in a rut.  Moving along a bumpy, muddy road thinking that I was “in the groove” because I did not know better.  Life is all about comparisons and knowing where one’s self is at that moment and where one is heading.
I had what I thought was a great career as an optometrist.  I was owned half interest in a six location eye clinic in middle Tennessee.  Also owned the buildings that they were in and was cruising along just fine.  Seeing patients a few days week, administrating from home and office another day or two and on the proverbial cruise control.  It seemed good at the time because it was all I knew.  It was better than earlier in my career when I was working six to seven days a week so I thought I had made it to the “gravy train”. 
Then one day my partner and I came to the realization that he wanted ten to twelve offices, more employees, and more doctors.  I on the otherhand was more than happy with six locations and where I was helping to take those.  I grew up in a two bedroom house with three boys in one bedroom back in West Memphis, Arkansas.  I knew in my mind that I had more than was ever expected of me but more importantly I realized that I had more than I needed.
I was fortunate to be able to take a year off and find a place to open a solo practice and do things that I had longed for years to do as an optometrist.  I wanted to quit herding patients through like cattle.  I wanted to quit having patients have thirty minutes to one hour waits prior to seeing the doctor.  I wanted to quit having the pressure from others in my work to overbook patients where I could not possibly see them and take care of them the way that they deserved to be treated.
So I did what I have always wanted to do.  Opened a solo practice in Brentwood, Tennessee without a patient list.  Sold my half of the practices and buildings to my former partner.  Set out with the goal of providing high tech comprehensive eyecare to my patients.  Also wanted to provide my patients quality, image eyewear made in the USA, Japan, Italy, and Denmark.  I did not want to have an office full of discontinued frames or overstock frames or cheap knock offs from China like you see at a lot of the offices.
One year in it has been great.  I am handling more Keratoconus patients and LASIK complications than at my previous practice.  Patients are commenting that they have never been to a clinic that is so high tech and professional.  The clinic has scored straight five stars on all of our reviews all across the board.  That is unbelievable to think that every patient who has graded us has given our care a five star review.  Hopefully we can keep that up over the next year.
This is what I call being “in the groove”.  I drive to work with a big old grin on my face everyday.  It is much better than being “in a rut”.  Sometimes it takes something drastic to get us our of our rut.  It may be the death of a loved one, it may be the birth of a baby, it may be being fired from a position, it may be struggles with drugs or alcohol, or it may be just waking up one day a realizing that change is needed.  And my hope for you is that when you do that you get “IN THE GROOVE”.