Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.
Business philosopher Jim Rohn famously said that 'we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.' Despite our study and understanding of influence, we sometimes fail to control whose influence we fall under. We lose sight of the fact that pharmacists, like high schoolers, should be intentional in choosing their influences.
Pharmacists, it turns out, can impact their own outcomes by the kinds of people they spend time with most often.
One of my clients, a community pharmacist, wants to leave the profession, and find more fulfilling work, but he isn’t sure how to make that decision. We talked about pharmacists who supplement their income rather than leaving pharmacy altogether. We also discussed pharmacists who leave the field entirely to do something they feel passionate about. As part of that conversation, we talked about the willingness to forego pharmacy income.
My client lamented the fact that he didn’t know any of those people, and he asked if I could introduce him to some people who are making those choices. He wisely understood that associating with other like-minded people will improve his 'average,' and help him make better, more informed decisions.
Similarly, a local friend of mine started a business building custom tree stands, and when he saw a need in his own life for mentorship, he wrote letters to top business owners in the area. In the letter, he explained his future plans, as well as why he thought each would make a good mentor for him. As a result of that effort, he now meets with those mentors on a regular basis.
Conversely, I have another client who works with people who hate their jobs. Despite their misery, they resolve to stay in pharmacy because of the income. These employees find no respite, even in breaks from work or vacations, because the reality of a job they hate never goes away. My client wisely understands that this group will likely impact her own thinking patterns if she allows herself to remain under its influence.
So how can you increase your average? By connecting with other individuals: those who want the same jobs you do; those who share the same interests; and those who have done what you desire to do.
Encourage one another. Meet on a regular basis. Hold each other accountable.
When I saw the need in my own life, I created a personal board of directors. Made up of a group of men and women I greatly respect, I contact them at least once a month. I share my goals, and my fears, and they provide feedback that helps me stay accountable. It’s a group of people that cares about me, and wants me to be successful.
If you don’t have anyone in your life who fills this role for you, it’s time to find people who inspire you. Go to a live event. Message the individualso you most admire. Ask friends, and coworkers to connect you with like-minded people.
Don’t waste another day living under the wrong influences. Options exist for pharmacists who are willing to consider them, and there are people who will help you find them.
Take control of your life, your career, and your average, and start improving them all.