Basic Fundamental #3 - Find Opportunities in the Barriers

"Every cloud has a silver lining," is a well known idiom that can be traced all the way back to 1634. This of course is a common metaphor for optimism and looking at the bright side of things.  If storms and clouds represent barriers that come to us, the silver lining is the opportunity that is waiting on us when the cloud fades away.  And the clouds always fade away. Successful practices have made a habit of focusing on the silver lining rather that the dark cloud.

 Fundamental # 3 is Finding Opportunities in the Barriers.

This is easier to follow if you are already practicing Fundamental #1 - Not Placing Blame and Fundamental #2 - Having a Vision, a Plan.  #1 helps the team feel safe to make you aware of the barriers sooner, so they can be dealt with.  #2 gives us clear direction as to how we need to re-set our direction after the barrier is dealt with.  Without a clear vision, the barrier may put us in a completely different direction.

Barriers can come in the form of a storm that rolls in without warning.  This can be a break-in, a complete staff walk-out, or a large local employer changing insurance plans.  They can also come in the form of a depressing haze that lingers for an extended time.  Maybe decreased staff morale, extended periods of depressed economy or an appointment book that just won't get filled.

How often are you thankful for a problem that arises within your practice? When you find yourself welcoming barriers because you know something good will come of it, you are practicing Fundamental #3.

Here is a little example that illustrates how simple this can be: Patient brings back a pair of progressive lenses complaining, "I can't walk in these stupid glasses.  They give me a headache and make me want to throw up."  If you are working with your optical team to become experts on matching a person to the proper progressive lens, you have just come across a real life case study. What luck!

We all will experience barriers in practice and in life.  Looking beyond each problem, to find the opportunity it presents gets easier with practice.  Next time any problem arises, likely today, look for an opportunity to improve rather than focusing on the problem itself.  If you succeed in finding the silver lining, look again next time.  Before you know it, you will be practicing Fundamental #3.