4 Simple Steps to Overcome Failure: A Pharmacist's Rx4Success


In one form or another, we will fall short in our expectations.

As many of us pharmacists may know, we are the epitome of a Type-A personality (heck, even my name starts with ‘A’)- we strive for perfection, giving our 110%, and being the absolute best we can be of ourselves! We genuinely want the best for our patients, and we want to deliver the best care possible, no stone left unturned. Enter stage left reality: things are never perfect, and what’s that thing? Oh yea, LIFE HAPPENS!

In one form or another, we will fall short in our expectations- it is inevitable, because failure comes along the road to success. The key to life and true excellence is not letting these setbacks derail your efforts, but to instead use them as learning experiences to make us even better than before we experienced that failure. “How?!?” you may ask — let me present to you my 4-Step Rx4Success to Overcome Failure:

1. Accept the present. So you failed: that is reality. Sounds harsh, but let’s not deny the state of things, it does NOT mean that YOU are a failure! Let’s not jump from one occurrence to personal identity! Take ownership of what happened. It will be empowering because you OWNED it, and now you can move on to moving on!

2. Explore the failure. Ask yourself, “Why did this happen?” Specifically, “What factors led to this less desirable outcome?” This does NOT mean let’s play the blame game on Sally Sue or Billy Bob — we are talking about factors that you have control over. Could you have started working on the project sooner? Did you spend the time getting to know the person before assigning them the role you did in the project to ensure they were well suited to handle it? Shift the feeling of failing to a sense of curiousity- find out why you didn’t get the result you wanted. Literally writing out a list can really get the investigative juices flowing!

3. Learn from your mistake. “It’s only a failure if you didn’t learn from it.” Say that to yourself out loud. Seriously, do it! Life is full of learning experiences, especially if your are on the pursuit of greatness. Classic example: I am willing to bet that right now you are reading this in a room that is illuminated by light bulbs. The inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, FAILED more than 2,000 times in finally getting it right! When asked about this, his response was “I didn’t fail, I just discovered 2,000 ways not to make a light bulb.”

4. Apply your newfound knowledge! You made the mistake, you figured out why, you took away lessons about what you can change going forward to have a different result, now it’s time to put that into action! What good is all of that experience if you don’t apply it? You don’t want to just stop, not put all of this into practice and think back years later “Oh yea, I could have/should have/ would have…” TAKE ACTION SON! This is where growth, advancement and excellence comes from!

In working with my clients who are getting into exercise for the first time, a day or two after a workout they report some muscle soreness.This is your body’s response to “failure”, as you broke down the muscle through exercise, so that the body can respond to rebuild the muscle and make it stronger than it was before. The result? The next workout, you are better adapted to handle more weight, more reps, and doing this consistently over time, more physically fit. Now, who doesn’t want that?

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