15 Life Lessons from a Pharmacist in the Field

I hope that these tips help you along the path that you create for both your personal and professional life.

Every year, hordes of pharmacy students graduate after years of formal training and education, but there are lessons in your professional and personal life that you just won’t learn in pharmacy school.

This became apparent to me when I first made the transition from pharmacy student to pharmacist. Those surrounding me in the field were very different from my friends in pharmacy school.

My coworkers came from all different backgrounds, levels of education, temperament, and personalities. And so, I had entered the School of Hard Knocks.

Learning to navigate your workplace is absolutely essential for any job. Unfortunately, there are no maps. It’s just something that you must develop in order to succeed.

From my years of experience in the health care industry and interactions with dozens of coworkers and countless patients, I have gathered the following 15 life lessons with bonus tips and applicable book suggestions, which I hope will help you find success in your own career paths.

1. Some of the greatest leaders I have worked with were frontline staff with no official title. (Read The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life by Robin Sharma.)

2. The conversations you’re most hesitant to have with coworkers are the usually the most difficult ones but also the most important. Approach them tactfully. (Read Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson.)

3. Even the smallest of interactions you have with patients and peers can dramatically change their day or even their life. Make every interaction count. (Read How Full Is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, PhD.)

4. Be the best at what you do. Become indispensable and work as though your company is really counting on you, because it just might be.

5. You are the president and CEO of you. Your work reflects the quality of your brand that you create for yourself. Every interaction you have is a chance to promote your brand. Make it stand out.

6. The first and most important step in getting what you want is to know exactly what you want. (Read Convince Them in 90 Seconds or Less: Make Instant Connections That Pay Off in Business and in Life by Nicholas Boothman.)

7. “Vision without execution is hallucination” - Thomas Edison (Read his biography and learn just how many times he failed before he succeeded.)

8. The secret of maintaining passion in your career is having a strong purpose and a clear goal. (Bonus tip: learn how to make a personal, authentic mission statement, as well as its value.)

9. The best leaders are readers. Commit yourself to life-long learning, growth, and developing your skills.

10. Others’ opinions of you are none of your business.

11. Be quick to express appreciation when you’re grateful and apologize when you’re wrong. Be slow to judge and criticize. (Read about the life and the works of Benjamin Franklin)

12. In order to be great, you must feel great. Make your health and happiness your top priority. Eat well and stay active every day.

13. The secret to success is hardly a secret. In fact, it’s simple, but it’s not easy: do a few things perfectly and consistently.

14. You have the power to perceive any difficulty as a problem or your next challenge to overcome.

15. The peaks and troughs of life will come and go. The only thing that lasts is the perception you have of yourself. That will stay with you for the rest of your life.

I hope that these tips help you along the path that you create for both your personal and professional life.