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Doctor Spotlight: Mark Uhler, O.D.

Mark Uhler

As I am writing this Spotlight the Pittsburgh Steelers have won their sixth Super Bowl Championship.  The City of Pittsburgh has a general sense of community as we collectively celebrate this milestone.

Just as the Steelers have been an amazing team, I also believe Doctors practicing within a Wal-Mart setting are an amazing part of the eye care community.   It is an honor to be part of a group of esteemed professionals, who on a smaller scale do great things in their practices on a daily basis.

I have learned a vast amount about eye care in the last thirteen years practicing Optometry within a Wal-Mart setting.  I would like to share a few thoughts about my pitfalls and successes as the company enters a new age of “Health and Wellness”.

In 1992 I graduated from The Pennsylvania College Of Optometry.  After graduation I began practicing Optometry as an employee of two Ophthalmologists who specialized in refractive surgery.  After two years with little professional and financial fulfillment, I started to dabble part time in a few corporate-affiliated positions. 

With my part-time exposure to corporate-affiliated eye care, I quickly realized a greater sense of autonomy as well as an increased financial gain.  At this point in my career path, I was experiencing an enhanced comfort level with my practice of eye care, and my future course became clear. 

Mark Uhler

Cut to the chase; I was offered the opportunity to lease a Wal-Mart that was slated to open in the Pittsburgh area in 1995.  Unfortunately, a delay in opening the Pittsburgh store found me relocating to an alternative Wal-Mart store in New Philadelphia, Ohio.  The premise was that I would practice for a year with the promise that I would receive first priority when the Pittsburgh opportunity became available.  My first year at Wal-Mart proved to be a promising venture.  At this juncture in time I realized that I would continue my career path in a Wal-Mart setting. 

In 1996 Wal-Mart optical was in its infancy and expanding at a rate that resulted in frequent turnover of Wal-Mart personnel.  Needless to say, the promise of my leasing the Pittsburgh store was forgotten in the ever-changing chain of command.  I was forced to compete for the Pittsburgh location amongst a line of 12 doctors.  After much perseverance, I was offered the lease.  Ultimately, my own desire to create innovative opportunities in my practice has contributed to my professional and personal growth within a Wal-Mart setting.

Mark Uhler

Fast-forward 13 years; I currently lease two Wal-Mart locations approximately 11 miles from each other.  My decision to obtain a second location stems from an aspiration to expand my practice and brand my name as a trusted eye care provider in the community.  Although trying at times, I have come to recognize a process that has helped me deal with many of the challenges we each encounter on a daily basis.  Please indulge me as I share this process (have you read the Secret?).  My motivation is to present a few concepts that will hopefully enhance your own personal success for your respective practices. 

The first step in this process is to shift your thinking.  Instead of dwelling on things going wrong in your practice, make a list of what you are grateful for.  Appreciation attracts support.  For example, a simple beginning is thanking your staff for all their help.  This in turn will result in greater self-esteem for the staff, as well as a desire from the staff to do more for your practice.  This “attitude of gratitude” will attract growth for your business. 

Secondly, and this part is probably the hardest to do, is to visualize a greater end result.  The challenge is to do this on a daily basis and not just one time.  This can take many forms.  How successful do you want your practice?  Do you desire a thriving practice with much instrumentation and medical billing?  Do not focus on lack or scarcity within your practice.  Instead, focus on the positive growth you desire.  If you want abundance and prosperity, focus on it!  Energy flows where your attention goes.

Ask yourself this question, and be honest, are the results you have in your practice what you want?  Are the results worthy of you?  If not, focus on those things that will bring about positive change.

At times, we all feel helpless with regard to our relationship with Wal Mart.  The reality is you determine the outcome of whatever you choose.  The power and control comes from you.  Your practice will be what ever you create it to be.  You can achieve anything! 

Mark Uhler

My personal challenge continues to be the constant striving to become a better Doctor tomorrow than I was today.  This attitude helps assure that not only my practice will improve and grow, but also more importantly I am providing the best possible eye care I am capable of.  This is a never ending journey; a constant search to be more efficient, provide value to my patients, be a life long student, and effectively market myself, staff and services. 

Finally, and most importantly, my daily search allows me to question what I don’t know and provides me the motivation to do something about it.

So now I come full circle. Just as I am proud to live in a city of champions, I am also proud to be a part of an eye care community working within Wal Mart.  Each encounter with colleagues, patients, and the community I do business with, strengthens my journey to be a better Doctor tomorrow.