I recently sat down with my coaching client Emily to discuss her coaching experience and to uncover how the Happy Pharm D coaching program impacted her life and her career.
We connected after her husband discovered my website and suggested she contact me to see if my program might be a good fit for her.
“I found myself cycling through the same negative thoughts over and over,” Emily said. “One day, I felt like things weren’t so bad, and the next day it seemed like my job was horrible and I was convinced this wasn’t what I had signed up for.”
She described feeling boxed in, with a sense that she didn’t know which way to move and a fear that she’d be stuck forever. She also felt guilty for wanting something different than what she already had.
“We were already struggling with staffing, so I worried that I would be letting everyone else down if I pursued what I really wanted,” she said. “I had felt really stuck for about three years in a cycle of breakneck speeds and not enough time to get everything done.”
“I couldn’t see how anything was going to change.”
When she finally checked out the Happy Pharm D, she was struck by the shift in perspective we provide about the pharmacy industry.
“I was surprised to find someone really saying positive things about the profession because so much of what I was hearing was negative,” she said. “It was nice to hear from someone who was showcasing things about our industry that were good. Frankly, it was a godsend.”
The idea of coaching was foreign to Emily because she didn’t think it was something pharmacists did.
“I came into pharmacy in a different time,” she said. “Jobs were plentiful and there weren’t enough pharmacists to fill them. There wasn’t really a focus on teaching pharmacists to build their careers and build relationships. There wasn’t an effort to push the profession along.”
Fear was a huge factor in her life and her career and it prevented her from making any kind of decisions.
“I wanted to cut back on my hours at work and move from full-time to part-time, but I was afraid they would never let me,” she said. “Businesses exist to make money and solve problems, not to make sure I’m happy. I was exhausted and burned out, but I knew that wasn’t what they wanted to hear from me.”
She had to find a way to balance her sense that she didn’t want to give up her career, but she also didn’t want to miss out on time with her boys. The thought of telling her already-short-handed employer that she wanted to cut back her hours created a tremendous amount of guilt.
“I was tired. I couldn’t make it to my kids’ ball games, and I worked late almost every day; not just 10 minutes late, but two hours late. I felt like whichever way I moved, I was going to be disappointing someone.”
One of the first issues we tackled in coaching was a shift in perspective, and a new way of looking at problems.
“I figured out a way to present my schedule change as a solution to a problem,” Emily said. “Going part-time solved a problem for them and for me. Suddenly I was able to ask for this thing that I wanted without holding back.”
“After they agreed to the change, my life felt lighter,” she said. “I feel like when I’m there, I’m truly invested. I’m not distracted. I work hard. I stay late but it doesn’t feel like I’m being robbed because it’s only two days a week. I feel like I’m a better problem solver now because I have more energy.”
She has also found the courage to reach out to new people, build new relationships, and explore new industries related to pharmacy. Equally important, she now has the time to be curious.
“I have more time to explore new things,” she explained. “I’ve been reading a lot and collecting more information about the treatment of autism. I’ve made contact with a lady who sells CBD in a storefront and a farmer who is involved in growing hemp. I finally have time to invest in new things and figure out if there are problems I could help solve.”
She remembered making the choice to go to school for a really long time and studying hard to have this dream job that would allow her to make a big impact. In reality, though, things were getting lost along the way.
“I realized I wanted to be with my family now rather than later.”
The biggest surprise, she said, was the challenge of coaching questions and the tough answers that often emerged.
“The questions needed to be asked. It’s tough to accept that some of this is self-induced,” she said. “It’s hard to accept that we did this to ourselves.”
More than anything, her change in perspective was the biggest improvement.
“I believe pharmacists get stuck in the mindset that we only have limited options,” she said. “We don’t realize there’s a whole world of options available to us.”
“If you feel like you’re stuck, Alex can help you see your path better. “
Alex is the Founder of The Happy PharmD. He loves anime, his family, and video games, but not in that order.