Redefining Pharmacy Success

You don’t have to summit to succeed. We met with climber/physician Dr. Emily Johnston who gave us her unique take on failure and how she defines success.

You don’t have to summit to succeed. This is one of the many lessons we recently learned from Dr. Emily Johnston. As a climber and physician, she’s experienced what many would define as failure more times than most. But, her unique view on failure, and how she really defines success, is something we can all learn from. 

Failure isn’t a new concept for any of us. Perhaps we didn’t get dinner on the table at the time we originally planned. Or despite our best intentions the kids still managed to stay up past their bedtime on a school night. Maybe we’re facing a business failure, like not hitting our monthly sales target or losing a customer to another pharmacy.  

The point is, we are all failing at something, be it big or small, on the regular. Instead of fighting failure, or feeling defeated, redefine the failure and take a moment to understand what it really means for your pharmacy business, or your personal life. Here’s how:  

Redefine what failure means to you. 

Failure simply means not achieving the goal you set out to achieve. Failing doesn’t make you a bad person, or even bad at what you do. It’s simply attuning where you ended up with where you wanted to be.  

This isn’t an easy concept to take to heart on the daily. Try to remember that success and failure are not polar opposites, and if you’ve been giving it your all, you haven’t really failed, you’ve just fallen short of the goal.  

In the wise words of Dr. Johnston, “I’m not a failure if I’m doing my best.” 

It’s not summit or plummet. 

As a mountaineer, Dr. Johnston has summited many peaks. But she doesn’t always make it to the top. And that’s okay. When she starts a climb, it’s always referred to as a summit attempt. Not “make it to the top or go home.” Cheesy as it may sound, it’s the Journey that matters. And unlike climbing a mountain, when you start a journey in your pharmacy, you don’t have to start from scratch just because you didn’t reach your end goal when you thought it would.  

Focus on decision making.

When you don’t achieve a goal, there’s always a reason. Whether the reason was something you could control or not, there are lessons to be learned and decisions to be made. Look at what led to where you’re at now. What decisions helped you get the furthest? What decisions hindered your progress?  What decision can you make now to take the next step or do better next time?  

Don’t get attached to your mistakes.

It’s easy to let a failure be a defining moment. That doesn’t need to be the case. Acknowledge that you didn’t reach the goal you set for yourself. Acknowledge that you tried your best, and move on. Easier said than done of course, but well worth the work.  

Manage your response to feedback. 

We all tend to respond emotionally to feedback. This isn’t a bad thing because we all want to be good at what we do. Especially when we are passionate about our work, as pharmacy professionals tend to be. It’s important to recognize the emotion, it’s there for a reason after all, but not to let it override your response to whatever feedback you might be getting.  This is a good reminder for pharmacy employees as you work to help them grow and improve in their roles.  

There are many more great lessons on failure, leadership and balance in our full interview with Dr. Emily Johnston. Watch it now!  

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