Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I have a love-hate relationship with cell phones.

I love the freedom and flexibility that they provide me.

I love that I can text my husband, my friends, my extended family, my business partners, and even my staff at any hour of the day and not worry that I am interrupting them.

I love that when I am on call, my cell phone and voice mail will effectively screen the "real" from the "imagined" medical emergencies and allow me time to prepare my approach before returning a call.

I also love that I can instantly search for answers to questions the minute that I have them.

The hate part, now that's a little more ambiguous. . .

I hate that people can always find me. . . even when I don't want to be found.

I hate it when I see entire families sitting in a restaurant--all on devices--yet not having a real conversation with each other.

I hate that my family meals are frequently interrupted by that buzz or chime from the neighboring docking station.

The thing that I hate the most, though?  It's when I am in the middle of a conversation and a phone dings or vibrates to notify the recipient of a message or email.

Wait. . . that is not an entirely true statement. . . let me rephrase. . .

What I hate the most is when I am in the middle of a conversation with someone and they turn their attention away from the conversation to actually check or respond to the notification.  Now, THAT'S what I REALLY  hate!

So, now that I have that off my chest, I would like to get down to the heart of this matter. . .

18 years ago, I joined an amazing group of doctors.  They were the best in the business. . . seriously!  I felt honored just to have been considered for the job.  I was even more overwhelmed by gratitude when they took me under their collective wings to train and guide me down a path that Optometry School never could have come close to preparing me for.  I kept my eyes and ears open and tried very hard to keep my mouth shut (that was a tough one for me).  I learned a ton of life lessons, business basics, and interpersonal skills over the years.

I have to tell you, of all of those little life lessons, there has been one very simple acronym that has helped me, convicted me, and challenged me more than any other.  It has helped me shape how I do life. It has helped me shape how I interact with people, and it has frequently busted my chops when I have deviated from it's path.

18 years ago, stuck to the wall (with a simple push-pin) of one of my senior partner's offices, I discovered a simple four-lettered acronym. It was the embodiment of Hugh Sticksel Jr.'s mission and life's work.  It was the "secret sauce" to how he approached life.  It was a simple, yet effective reminder of why we are here and how we should approach each new day.

What is this acronym, you ask?  Are you ready for this?  Are you sure?

Be careful. . . be sure. . . because once you read this, you can never un-know it. . .


MMFI?  What the heck?  I have to tell you, it took me a long time to actually get around to asking Dr. Sticksel what this meant, and why he had it stuck to his wall.  His answer was short yet profound.  So profound, in fact, that it has taken me almost 2 decades to digest and appreciate it.  To be honest, I'm still not sure I totally understand it's impact and importance.

MMFI:  "Make Me Feel Important"

That's it, "make me feel important".  Pretty simple, right?

Well. . . . . .maybe not so much. . .

MMFI was Dr. Sticksel's daily reminder that each day came with a responsibility to invest in people.  Each day was a new day to interact with, encourage, and make everyone you came in contact with "feel important".

Man, I gotta tell you, this is HARD!!!  This is something that I struggle with every minute of every day.  This is something that goes against my very grain at times.  This is something that I find myself loving and hating all at the same time.

Going full circle in this meandering blog post, it is also the single, most tangible idea that I can revert back to every time I see a family "lost" in their devices over dinner.  It is the thing that makes my head want to explode when my husband answers a call or text in the middle of a conversation with me.  It is the thing that makes me want to weep when I see a small child "wither on the vine" when his mother is present, but not "present".

MMFI. . . 

What would happen if we all tried to live like this?  Even just for one day. . . even just for one hour of that day. . . ?

I know, I'm as guilty as the next.  This is as much for me, as for all of you.

18 years ago I had a conversation with a great man.  That great man, gave me an amazing gift.  6,570 days later I am still trying to figure out how to utilize that gift to the fullest.  Some days I succeed.  Most days I fail.

So, here's my pledge to you. . . today is a new day.  Today is the day that I try to live by the mantra "MMFI".  Today is the day that I put down my phone and talk to my kids.  Today is the day that I interact more deeply with those that I come in contact with.  Today is the day that I make it my mission in life to make someone feel important.

I ran across this sign earlier this year. . .

In closing, I would add. . . Today is your life.  Live it.  MMFI.

May you have a day full of MMFI opportunities. . .