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Jesse’s predictions for pharmacists in 2024

The beginning of a new year often has people looking hopeful at the possibility of what may be. Yet we know the vast majority of people who set New Year’s resolutions drop them within days or weeks of starting them. And they do this year after year.

We are taking a break from our Hope of Healthcare series to touch on a requested topic.

When Jane, my Editor Without Equal, makes a suggestion, I am sure to listen.  Recently, Jane asked me what I thought the New Year would hold.

Heaven knows there are all sorts of things going on in the world now that can threaten to dramatically change things for pharmacists – both for good and bad.

As I thought more about the topic, the counsel of my mentor Jim Rohn came to mind.  Mr. Rohn told me a story about how he was once asked by some very important people what he thought the coming year would be like. I would like to share some of the advice he shared with me.

He warned that the coming year would most likely be the same. It would most likely be very similar to all previous years. He then went on to frame his prediction in this way.  The coming year would be a mixture of adversity and opportunity. Economic, social, political, and every other kind of adversity you can think of might come your way in the coming year. But with that same adversity comes opportunity.

The beginning of a new year often has people looking hopeful at the possibility of what may be. Yet we know the vast majority of people who set New Year’s resolutions drop them within days or weeks of starting them. And they do this year after year. I recall discussing New Year’s resolutions with my roommate in pharmacy school. Every year he had the same resolution – he wanted to start flossing his teeth. Every year.  And every year, he abandoned his resolution within days of starting. 

Yes, the coming year has the huge possibility to be about the same for you.

It also presents itself with the invitation to change for the better. Adversity is always accompanied by opportunity. 

So, how do we take advantage of the opportunity? The answer is simple, but not easy.  If we want things around us to change, we must change. 

As a general rule, I believe most people are enormous fans of change…for other people. Change for themselves, not so much.

That is because change isn’t easy. It isn’t comfortable. It requires facing and overcoming adversity.

I have a presentation I provide to my clients called “The Seven Levels of Awareness.” We don’t have the space to unpack this lesson here today, but I will give you this preview. There is a level of awareness called “Individual Expression.” At this level a person sets out to actually change. It is a noble step. And it is often met with swift defeat. Think about it this way: you may want to get in shape in the coming year. So, you go to the fitness centre and work out. What do the next couple days look like?  They look painful, don’t they? When you step out to embrace opportunity, adversity is never too far away. You may wake up the next morning asking yourself what you were thinking. Sadly, many people give up. They l say something to the effect of, “maybe next year….”

Herein lies the heart of the opportunity. You must go to the next level of awareness – the level of discipline.

For things to change, you must change. You must be disciplined in the change you seek. You must face the adversity. You must endure the challenge. And you must continue to move forward. That day you wake up after going to the gym. That day when even your eyelids hurt. You must get back up and have the discipline to continue your regimen. And when you start stringing days together into weeks and weeks into months, you will be ready for your opportunity. 

It is said that opportunity often presents itself looking like hard work. I have found that to be true. It is also said that opportunity often presents itself when people are unprepared. All too often that is also true. When the pandemic hit in 2020, were you prepared? 

I will go so far as to say I do not expect another pandemic in the coming year; but I absolutely expect some new adversity to challenge all of us in some way or another. 

[Author’s note: I typically write these articles in phases.  In the first phase, I try to get some general thoughts down and organized.  I will then go away for several days before coming back to edit and clarify things which no longer seem clear. In the time since my first pass on this article until returning now to finalize, the Express Scripts story has come to light in Canada. Perhaps this is a timely example of adversity and opportunity?]

Will you be prepared when this happens?

Over the last several years, I have become acutely aware that perhaps the most important skill to develop in anticipation of adversity is our leadership skills.

For those who may not be familiar with my definition of leadership:

“A leader is anyone who helps someone at some time to get somewhere or do something.”

When adversity arises, people look even more for leaders to help them get from where they are to a better place. The better place is rarely, if ever, easy to get to. It is uphill.  It requires effort.

I encourage you in the new year is to invest in yourself by equipping and developing your leadership skills. These are among the most valuable skills I have ever acquired in my life. They are also the skills that are most often omitted in any training or certification I have done as a pharmacist. 

So, as you set your sights on the coming year, remember that to change your surroundings, you must first change yourself. It's in the discipline of facing adversity and continuing the journey that true opportunities unfold. May 2024 be a year of growth, resilience, and the unwavering commitment to the positive changes you seek.  And may your business, your team, your patients, the communities you serve and you yourself experience the richest of blessings.

Until next time

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn

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