Seeds are interesting things to study. Somehow somway, when the conditions are right, they know how to grow. Don’t ask me how, as I really do not know. Nonetheless, they are amazing to observe.
A few years ago, my kids decorated a couple of pumpkins for Halloween, put them near the shed in our driveway and promptly forgot all about them. The pumpkins became soft and decomposed where they sat over a few weeks, and we thought nothing of them.
But something amazing was happening.
Seeds were left behind where those pumpkins decomposed and come late summer the next year, this vine grew, much like a week, and began producing – you guessed it – pumpkins!
My wife would be the first to tell you that she has no green thumb, but we somehow accidentally created a small pumpkin patch. And it all started with just one seed. The thing is, when you study the seed, you realize that it draws in the nutrients it needs, then grows from the inside out. It doesn’t pick nitrogen, carbon and oxygen and simply attach those molecules to the outside. No, it internalizes those molecules, organizes them, and then builds, stretches, and grows from the inside out.
This same concept applies to us with our leadership in pharmacy. We can become aware of good leadership elements and try to attach them to the outside of us. But they will not last. Instead, when we take these leadership elements, internalize them and allow those ideas to stretch us, we grow and become better leaders.
Here lies the challenge: we need to continue growing.
Think about this: when we each of us entered pharmacy school or began working in a pharmacy, we knew very little. Then through a steady diet of intentionally learning the various aspects of pharmacy practice, we grew and became more confident and competent in the care we provide. We were becoming bigger on the inside. Corresponding to that growth, the problems we encountered became smaller and smaller as our skill increased.
Let me ask you: do you think you have already encountered all the different problems you will ever have to face in your pharmacy career? If you are anything like me, your answer is “no.” There will be some new challenge coming down the road. Maybe it will be a new class of drug. Maybe it will be some new regulation to follow in our practice. Maybe it will be an expansion of our scope of practice. Hopefully it will not be another pandemic. But if it is, we will face new challenges there as well.
So, what do we do now? Adopt a predisposition to grow and improve our skillsets. We need to continuously work to be bigger on the inside, because the challenges will keep coming.
I spent far too much of my pharmacy career with a massive misunderstanding of what leadership was. I would become frustrated by similar challenges year after year. Then I started growing. And much like the Grinch, when his heart grew three sizes, my leadership improved. This was so empowering. And like the coffee bean we discussed last time, I realized that I could have tremendous impact right where I was. And I started to intentionally grow my team.
It became so obvious: people are like plants; when you water them with good leadership, they grow and bloom.
If you are reading this, know you are one of the few. You are among the few that can (and will) make a tremendous difference in the lives of so many people. Yourself. Your family. Your team. Your patients. People you don’t even know. They will all benefit when you grow and become bigger on the inside as a leader.
Before I sign off, one last thought about seeds. For seeds to grow, they must find themselves in the right conditions. We need to find ourselves in the right conditions to grow as well.
I encourage you to put yourself in the right environments to grow.
Until next time –
Jesse McCullough, PharmD
Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn
PS – And speaking of seeds for growth...This is a friendly reminder that a great growth environment is coming up at Pharmacy U – Vancouver. Learn more here