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Pharmacists, don’t outdrive your headlights

Jason Chenard

Can you learn how to feel comfortable being uncomfortable?

It’s 11pm, dark and raining. You are driving a dark road and although you are feeling tired, you keep driving because you want to get home. You are going fast enough for your brain to process only the information available instantaneously within the glow of your headlights as the car moves forward. You are trusting that the road will be there when you get there. The environment simply will not allow you to plan beyond the headlights.

Similarly, pandemic times require a mind shift change. This means being comfortable not knowing what is just around the corner. In a world where we are used to setting goals and planning long-term, we are forced into a new normal that has our answers unveiling themselves with less notice.

Not outdriving your headlights means understanding what you can control and having the discipline to mentally stay there. Leaders capable of doing this make decisions within their comfort zone, without worrying about what is beyond sight. It means thinking about the future, but not letting it overtake you.  It means trusting that your organization has the right people and processes to decide what needs deciding on at decision time, given the myriad of data points that have not yet happened.

Sample self-talk:

  • “We’ll deal with that when we get there.”
  • “We are making the decision today with all the info available to this point. When new data presents itself, we’ll reassess then and adjust if needed.”
  • “We don’t have all the answers, but we will find them as we go.”
  • “We could be proven wrong along the way but this is what we believe in now and we must do what we believe in, otherwise it won’t work.”
  • “We consider what others are doing, but need to make our own decisions, based on our specific set of circumstances.  Others’ choices may not necessarily work in our system.”
  • “We can trust our teammates to come up with the right decision when it’s time to do so.”
  • “We think about the future without being ruled by it.”

 Not outdriving your headlights means understanding what you can control and having the discipline to mentally stay there.

What is decisive discipline?

Pre-meditated commitment to staying the course avoids the dangerous loop of restarting abandoned ideas too early. Resisting temptation to give up, give in or not show, greatly improves the probability of an idea developing to its true fruition and changing the world for the better.

In the next article, putting it all together. The difference between reacting and leading.











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