By Linda Conlin, Pro to Pro Managing Editor

When I was new to this field, a mentor told me that when people asked him what opticians did, his answer was, “Opticians make people happy.” Doesn’t that really sum up what we do? We help people to see better and look better, and that makes them happy. That’s something we should all be excited about.

This week, contributors Johnna Dukes and Rebecca Soto tell us about getting excited about what they do. In “Enthusiasm is Everything,” Johnna reminds us of the rewards of seeing a patient who not only sees well, but wears frames that combine comfort and just the right style for that unique person. As you’ll see from the article, the rewards from having enthusiastic patients go beyond good feelings.

Rebecca Soto’s article, “Boring Classes? Not Here!” discusses adding unique features to her classes to get students excited about learning. Her students share that excitement by supporting each other. We can all remember having some “Eureka!” moments when concepts suddenly clicked and it felt like the sun came out from behind the clouds. Rebecca wants that enthusiasm to be contagious.

Excitement and enthusiasm come from knowing how to make people happy. “Knowing” gives us the confidence to make recommendations for visual solutions, not only for lenses, but for function, comfort and style in frames. Combine knowledge with enthusiasm in communicating to patients that we want to make them happy, and you have the exceptional patient experience that builds loyalty and produces referrals.

Get a feeling for the level of excitement and enthusiasm in your staff and coworkers. Beware the “another day, another dollar” mentality. Encourage staff to share their success stories and expertise with each other. Ensure that everyone knows that what they do every day has real value to patients. Share your own excitement about new products and services and how they can bring your practice to the next level. Staff who have pride in what they do, who understand what they do and why they do it will communicate that feeling to patients for a rewarding experience on both sides. Check out our CE, “Engineering an Experience” for ways you can bring exceptional service to your patients. It’s at

In the 2002 movie, “The Rookie,” Jim Morris is on a struggling minor league baseball team as he pursues his dream of making the Major Leagues. The team is in a slump, and Morris’ teammates are dejected. The only one smiling, Morris announces, “Hey, guys! We get to play baseball today!” In the same sense, we should begin everyday knowing, “We get to make people happy today!”