Whether you are a pharmacist, pharmacy student, or other health care professional, if you aspire to live a full and phenomenal life, you are on your own hero’s journey. No, I am not saying that you are pretending to be Hercules or slinging a slingshot at a giant. What I am saying is that if you will not settle for an ordinary life, the road to extraordinary will require you to overcome trials and tribulations and use what you have learned to make yourself better than you were before beginning your quest for excellence.
Before you can begin and become a hero in your own life, you first must know where you are on your own hero’s journey, as this will push you to make it to the next level in your life. Overall, the hero’s journey can be broken down into the following 8 simple steps:
1. Your journey begins in your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is your day-to-day normal world. At this stage, the stakes are not high. Your only real challenge is to survive and make it to the next day.
Example: Harry Potter is shown living his day-to-day life with his muggle family.
2. The hero’s journey always begins with a call to action. Only you are responsible for your journey. You are the fighter for your success. Some sort of challenge, invitation, or state of emergency where you are required to make a choice to act is what defines this stage of the journey.
Example: Harry Potter got an invitation to attend Hogwarts.
3. You will feel a sense of doubt. After you encounter the call to action, you will inevitably feel a sense of doubt. This is the transition period in your life from your comfort zone to the journey toward growth. Doubt will come, and that is OK, but recognizing it is key. When you begin to feel the doubt, push through it until you arrive in your new world. The best cure for fear or doubt is action.
Example: Harry Potter did not think he was special or had magical powers at first.
4. You will face trials on your journey. Once you arrive in your new world, you will go through trials until the final fight.
Example: Harry Potter left his cupboard under the stairs to arrive at Hogwarts.
5. A mentor will be your key to navigating your quest. Having someone with experience on what you are just now beginning to embark on will help you avoid unnecessary failures. The biggest warning with this is to forgo your ego. Even those who are the best in the world at what they do, like Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins, have mentors and coaches. Before you are in the weeds of your trials, find a mentor. This will allow you to learn and progress as fast as you can.
Example: Harry Potter had Dumbledore.
6. There will be a point you reach known as “the final showdown.” When the stakes are high, it is exciting, because now you have the opportunity to achieve the dreams that you have been working toward all this time. After many trials, which have prepared you by overcoming the mini obstacles along the way, you will now be prepared for one final fight.
Example: Harry Potter faces Voldemort. Think of how many trials he had to go through before making it to that point to be fully prepared.
7. You now are better than when you started. After winning the final showdown, you transition back to the original world you started in, except now you go back with a new power, skill or object.
Examples: Harry Potter having kids and rearing them with his experience in the world of magic, sending them to Hogwarts, and guiding them through their own journes. Also, starting pharmacy school, going through all of exams, graduating with a PharmD, and going back to teach those who are starting the journey you just completed.
8. With great power comes great responsibility. Now you must ask yourself a very important question: What are you going to do with your new power/skill? After you return to where you once were, you will go back as someone even better, because you are now a leader. Now that you are armed with your new power/skill, you have the responsibility to others who are on the same journey you just completed to teach them what you have learned.
Regardless of whether you are in pharmacy school, a seasoned pharmacist, or starting a new career, we are all on our own hero’s journeys. If that scares you, do not fret. There is good news: You will reach your desired outcome or fall short but learn why and how and go back to the drawing board for the goal you want to achieve, this time avoiding the mistakes that you made the first time.
One way to bypass the second option and set yourself up for success is to get a mentor, one whom you trust, who has achieved what you are looking to do. If you are embarking on a new journey that has not been done before, surround yourself with uplifting and supportive people who are on a similar journey.
You are going through many different hero’s journeys at the same time: those in physical health, relationships, career, business, and family. The hero’s journey never stops. It is an upward spiral of growth, and that is something to be excited about.
When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself, what is my big goal? Then, ask yourself, what is the one thing that I need to do today that will help me to move toward that goal?
Imagine the impact we all could have if we all embarked on our own hero’s journey, starting our quest for a skill, and then coming back with that skill to teach and empower others. How amazing would your community, profession, and world be? So, the question now is what action will you take to put this into practice? That choice is yours and yours alone.
Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT, NAMS-CNC
Adam Martin, PharmD, ACSM-CPT, NAMS CCN is an author, licensed pharmacist, and nutrition consultant. He is the founder of The Fit Pharmacist movement and host of The Fit Pharmacist Healthcare Podcast. In addition, he is the owner and a nutrition consultant at The Diet Doc Pittsburgh North in Pennsylvania.