Learn to Lead Lesson 1: Mindset

Using Your Mind to Set Yourself Up for a Good Day

Looking back over my career the pharmacists and other healthcare peeps I remember the best are the ones that always had a kind work, looked at the best in every situation, tried to help, and made the workday better no matter the circumstances. 

Several of them talked about the power of the positive mindset. It hasn’t always been easy to stay positive. It’s easy to fall back on worry. I complain sometimes like everyone else. I do try to be intentional about what type of workday I’m going to have. To do this, I’ve tried many methods. I’ve gotten up early and imagined my day hour by hour. I would picture myself at the computer, smiling, keeping up with the orders easily. I would visualize happy coworkers, an easy drive to work, feeling good about my day. I still do that sometimes.

Something that works well for me now is taking just a few minutes before work and thinking about my day’s end. If I’ve planned something like a bike ride, I envision myself on the bike, feeling the breeze on my face, smelling the fall air,  and seeing the leaves on the trees. I imagine that I have energy and am having a great time. This way, when I find myself worried about getting out on time or being exhausted from a rough day, I remember my visualization and stay focused on the job. 

Almost every single time I’ve done this, the outcome is exactly what I wanted. Of course, you should hydrate, eat well, and rest well every day to set your body up for what your mind has asked it to do. 

An Exercise to Banish Negative Thinking

Several decades ago, I had a great boss, Scott P. Scott said to me one day, “Leaders are made and not born.” I disagreed and said I thought the opposite. If you weren’t born a leader, you could not become one. Scott was adamant and we debated for a while. Gradually, over time, I began to see that Scott was right. I started to examine my own thinking. I wondered why I believed one thing and other people believed the opposite. More importantly, I wondered how this thought was holding me back in my career. I also wondered what other thoughts were buried in my mind somewhere influencing my behavior. 

I was lucky, I had a Scott P as a boss to challenge my thinking, allowing me to look at it objectively. I’ve had many other people that have helped me see things in a different way. When you know better, you do better. 

Here is a download of a PDF you can use to help you examine those thoughts that are limiting you in some way. It’s quite a simple process. All you need is a piece of paper. You draw a line down the center and on the left side write the thought that you currently hold and on the right side, it’s opposite or what you want your new thought to be. You may not change your mind from the old thought to the new thought right away. It took me many years to change my mind about a leader being made and not born. That’s OK. You can do the exercise anyway. Have fun with it. Go easy on yourself. Write the new though even if you don’t agree with it. Minds can change. New thoughts are possible. New thoughts lead to new behaviors and new behaviors lead to change. 


If You Weren’t Programmed to Fear

On a recent business trip, I was on the plane, full of trepidation, bracing myself for impact- otherwise known as take-off. The scariest part of a plane ride is just when the plane leaves the ground and is in the air. I feel my stomach falling and my head spins. On this particular flight, there was a little girl sitting in the row behind me. The most fear filled moment for me, was the most fun for her. She made the most wonderful sound of joy and wonderment- something between a laugh, gasp, and a gentle sigh. It caught me so off guard that I smiled and relaxed. For the remainder of the flight I wondered what it would be like to go through life in state of wonder. My thoughts turned to my work. What if, just once, I walked in one morning with no preconceived ideas of what the day would bring. No dread of angry customers, phones ringing off the hook, and too many tasks. Would you be willing to be like a kid who has never been on an airplane? It would require you forget my past programming about what healthcare is really like on a daily basis. It would require you suspend belief that all days are the same. You’d have to consider that something wonderful will happen. Try it during your next shift.

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