Mar 20, 2024
What's Your "Why?"

When I was asked to contribute some thoughts to the Vision Source NEXT readers from a "seasoned" OD perspective, I was humbled, excited, and quite honestly, aghast... seasoned? That sounds like I'm old! I'm not old! True, I have been practicing for 36 years, but every day still seems like it's filled with the excitement and passion of my first year.

Now hold on. I hear you doubters out there... "C'mon! Be real!" Well, colleagues and colleagues-to-be, I am being real. And therein lies the basis of some of the thoughts I'd like to share with you today.

What's your "why?"


Before I jump into the above, I'd like to start with "Congratulations!" You are a winner, a leader, and part of a select group of individuals that will be afforded the opportunity to care for 335 million patients. You are one/one hundredths of a percent of the population to have the smarts, the drive, the foresight, and the passion to achieve this awe-inspiring responsibility. Don't ever shortchange yourself. Your patients and future patients are counting on you, and I couldn't be more excited for you.

Now, you started this journey with a "why." What's your why? Why did you choose to make the sacrifices you did to pursue this opportunity? Stop and think hard about your why; what is your true, deep-down reason and "vision" of what drives you? Is it to help people? To be your own boss? To be in control of your destiny? To be fulfilled? To feel accomplished? To make a boatload of money? To be an important part of your community? To have the autonomy to practice the way you see fit? Whatever it is, it's your why. Be 100% sure of your why and 100% committed to your why. By the way, you can certainly have more than one why.

Once you've confirmed your whys, believe in them. Live them. Be committed to them. Be passionate about them. Never let anything or anyone get in the way of them. Let that commitment and passion lead you to where you want to be. Here are some thoughts from others smarter than me:

"The future isn't a place that we're going to go, it's a place we get to create."

"It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret."

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears."

Like many of you, I have faced what felt like insurmountable obstacles and fears. But my whys, my dreams, my passion, and my unwavering belief that there is always a way have allowed me to perservere and succeed. And to be brutally honest, locking arms with like-minded, servant heart Vision Source colleageus that have supported and encouraged me along the way has been invaluable. Being independent doesn't mean being alone. Vision Source is my testmant to that truth. Know and live your whys, believe in your vision, and consider letting Vision Source be an integral part of your future success.


Dr. Steve Rice is the CEO of Vision Clinic, a 5-location, 13-doctor practice in Southwest Missouri. Among the 13 amazing doctors are his son, daughter, and daughter-in-law. Steve is also a longtime Vision Source Administrator.