Setting Goals and Finding Your Fit with The Fit Pharmacist, Dr. Adam Martin


HB: Alright, so today, we have a special guest on the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast, Dr. Adam Martin. Dr. Adam Martin earned his doctorate of pharmacy degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. With over seven years of experience working full-time in the community pharmacy setting, he’s passionate about empowering about other pharmacists and pharmacy students to put the health back into healthcare through leading by example in their professional practice, to not only live their best lives but to inspire others along the way to do the same. He is founder of The Fit Pharmacist, a company with a mission to empower stressed pharmacists with simple, effective plans to master their mindset, nail their nutrition and fit fitness into their busy schedule. He is the author of the bestselling pharmacy book, “Rx: You! The Pharmacist’s Survival Guide for Managing Stress and Fitting in Fitness,” which is available on Amazon, both in print and for Kindle. And through podcasting, collaborating with other passionate professionals across the profession and delivering content across social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, the Fit Pharmacist strives to provide essential tools and resources, enabling each and every member of our profession to make a difference in our patients’ lives by starting with the source, you. He currently resides in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, yet loves to travel the world with a passion for learning, serving, food touring, and of course, visiting innovative pharmacy schools and pharmacies along the way. Adam, welcome to the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast!


AM: Hillary, thank you for having me on. It’s good to talk to you again.


HB: Yeah, it’s great to connect with you. And now that our listeners have heard a little bit about your background, maybe you can fill in any gaps from that intro and maybe share a little bit more about your personal life.


AM: Absolutely. So I love fitness, and I love being a pharmacist. And the profession, the opportunities we have to serve our patients, other members of the healthcare team and to really drive that care and serve. Paired with that, I am a supernerd and self-proclaimed dork of life, so I love just all of those things. You know, getting fit, not just necessarily with physical activity but with the mindset, really looking at how can we grow every single day, just 1%, just to constantly improve because when you do that, you’re going to get better, and you’ll be able to serve to a higher degree to not only just your patients but to your family, your friends, your coworkers, and yourself. You’re going to be able to live life better. So who doesn’t want to do that? So that’s kind of my passion and obsession is connecting with other people in pharmacy world who are about doing more than just the call of duty. They’re not just there to clock in and get a paycheck, but they’re really there to make a profound difference, not only with their patients but with our profession. And you’re one of those people, so I was fortunate enough — I was in Nashville for a business talk a couple months ago, and I got to meet you in person. So that was really cool, and we were talking, and we just collaborated and said, “Hey, we need to podcast this out.” So here we are.


HB: Absolutely. Yes, I love getting to connect in person with other pharmacy leaders and have been following the Fit Pharmacist journey. And you’ve got quite a presence on social media, which is quite impressive. But making that face-to-face connection is so great. And I love that through methods like social media or podcasting, it just makes us feel a little bit closer to others in the profession. And so all of that passion and energy that you all probably hear from him is quite evident and more so in person. So Adam, how did you create the Fit Pharmacist? Help us along that journey of how you established that.


AM: Absolutely. So I didn’t really create the Fit Pharmacist. It really was an unmet need that just kind of was formed through making a community for not just pharmacists but pharmacy students. It was created when I was in pharmacy school. I’m very passionate about fitness and living your life to the fullest both physically and mentally, and I just did that. Went to class, did my own thing, and people would see how much energy I had and just how much I loved life. So they started asking me, like, “Hey, I’m looking to improve my health. I see that you’re really into it. Can you give me some tips?” And I love people that are trying to get better in any capacity in their lives, and if I can help them along that journey, like that just fulfills me. Like that’s what I feel like I’m here to do is help people reach their potential and find new levels that they didn’t think were there or even possible. So that’s how it formed is just, you know, word of mouth like hey, let’s meet after class and talk about nutrition, let’s talk about effective workout strategies because as you guys know, if you’re in pharmacy school listening or you’re a pharmacist, you remember, you’re really limited on time. So how to maximize that when you’re trying to get physically fit, improving your mindset beyond just the textbook and lecture but reading for pleasure and other things like that, how do you do it efficiently? How do you do it so that you get a return on it, but you can also use that to just feel more empowered with your own abilities? And you’re going to bring that to the classroom. You’re going to bring that to the pharmacy. And that’s kind of where it came from is people looking to get better. And it wasn’t me leading them, it was just working together as a team, as a community. And then when I graduated, I just started posting about uplifting things and lessons that I learned from being a new pharmacist and reflecting back on pharmacy school, and it attracted this following of other people who were like, “Yeah! Like I hear that. Like I love that too. Retail is hard, but I found a way, and it’s really helped me to get through the stressful times.” And it just kept growing. And I then I started doing Fit Pharmacist Friday where every Friday on social media, particularly Instagram, but all the channels, featuring someone who is a fit pharmacist, which isn’t how someone looks. You don’t have to workout every day. You don’t have to be a competitive bodybuilder. You don’t have to be any of those things. What fit is is how you define it. And it simply comes down to how you want to grow and improve yourself because you realize that you’re worth it. You realize that by investing in yourself, in your mindset, in how you eat, in how you have your attitude, in how you use your body to really get to the best ability possible, you can be a better pharmacist and a better person overall. So there’s people featured every Friday — I’ve been doing this for three years now, haven’t missed a day. I’m pretty proud about that. And it’s brought a lot of amazing people in our profession together. And it’s really extraordinary, and that’s kind of the genesis of where the Fit Pharmacist came from and kind of how it’s grown to what it’s become today, just a community of pharmacists and pharmacy students who are looking to be better, to go beyond the call of just clocking in and really advance the profession, innovate it, really make it a place where health is put back into healthcare so that we can drive that for not only ourselves but for our patients too.


HB: Yeah, wow. So Adam, thanks for clarifying, because I’m sure many people probably had the question of, who is a fit pharmacist? So tell me a little bit about that community and how people can find you is great. And I love that you have this passion to bring health back into healthcare because a lot of times, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals sometimes start to lose track of caring for themselves. So I know a lot of what you’re doing with even the Diet Doc — you’ll have to share a little bit about that as well, in addition to your work with the Fit Pharmacist — is targeted to actually help practicing pharmacists improve their nutrition and self-care. So what would you say to pharmacists who are out there, just some easy tips, who are really looking to make some quick changes?


AM: Absolutely. And I think this is perfect timing. It’s January 7, so start of the New Year, all the New Year’s resolutions are in full swing. So the simple advice I want to give you guys is it’s not a dichotomy. It’s not you have to give up being a great pharmacist and working hard in order to live a healthy life or like the opposite. It’s not one or the other. You can have both. Literally, you can have your cake and eat it too. And what I mean by that is you can make simple switches, I call them simple solutions, to fit your lifestyle rather than try to fit a cookie-cutter diet plan or follow a supplement scam or anything like that where you have to flip your lifestyle to fit the program. That’s what most people do because we fall into this trap of well, if I want extreme results, I have to make extreme sacrifices, and I have to suffer, and I have to restrict myself, and I’m not allowed ice cream, and I’m not allowed cookies. All that does is create that restrictive feeling. And I don’t know about you, Hillary, I’ve been down that road before. I wanted it so bad to be feeling healthy, so that’s what I bought into is I felt clean eating, I’m going to restrict, deprive myself, and that was the mindset I was in many years ago. And it was effective short-term, but I just lost out on so many joys of life. Most notably, just having fun and living. So then I got into what’s known as flexible dieting, which is basically the concept of structured flexibility. It’s not following a diet program, but it’s literally doctoring the diet problem, which is where the Diet Doc comes from, which is actually based in Nashville, where you’re at, which is how we linked up last month when I was there at the Gulch, which is an awesome place. But that’s really it is just knowing that one concept, that you guys don’t have to go work out two hours a day every day in order to get what you want. It’s just the simple switches. A lot of my clients that I work with, we just look at what’s the low-hanging fruit? What are your current habits? What does your lifestyle look like? And looking at that, that’s where we can see where we can make some changes. Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets managed.” So that’s kind of taking a look at of how are we going to improve self-awareness, that whole concept? So one simple thing would be to drink water. I talk about this in my book, so if you guys are looking for specific tips that are realistic for the pharmacy profession, that’s what’s in my book, “Rx: You!” So I highly recommend checking that out. But as far as something you can take home right now is what I call the water test, which I found I’d get hungry at work after I’d eat just an hour or two before. So I knew that, you know, I ate, I should be full, but I feel hungry. Well, a simple thing is when you’re thirsty, your brain cannot distinguish the difference between being hungry and thirsty. So you literally feel hungry, but in reality, it’s because you’re dehydrated, which can happen very quickly, especially when you’re in Club Pharmacy, running around, doing doctor calls, pickup, drive-through, counseling, grandma just dropped her pills and all these things, right? You’re literally like a madman running here and there. So you’re going through a lot of water, so you’re going to get dehydrated quicker. So in order to curb that feeling of hunger at times when it can get just overwhelming, do the water test. Literally just drink a glass of water and wait 5-10 minutes. And 99% of the time, I hear pharmacists and pharmacy students tell me when they do this, the hunger goes away. And they’re like, oh, I was just thirsty. And we get so focused on our work and our patients, which is amazing, but that’s kind of the trap that we can fall into if we don’t get that awareness and make that a priority is our own care, our self-care, falls to the wayside, and we think it’s like this sacrifice that we have to make in order to be the best pharmacist or to “really care about our patients.” We have to not eat at all and not drink and all these things, which is easy to fall into, especially if you’re working in that busy community pharmacy environment. So that’s just one simple tip that you can use if you’re feeling that overwhelming hunger where literally all you think about is food, it’s just so overwhelming. Just drink water. It’s just a very simple tip that you can do to set yourself in the right direction. There’s many more tips looking at nutrition, how to fit in workouts when you don’t have time and some other really great tips specific to pharmacy practice in that book. But that’s just one of the most impactful that’s the simplest that I think your listeners will be able to employ and really find immediate value. I was actually talking with a fellow podcaster, Tony Guerra, who put this into practice. And he’s like, “Man, I lost 5 pounds in the first week.” So I’m like, alright, that’s cool.


HB: Yeah, that is neat. I love that tip, and it’s so true because a lot of times, we are dehydrated. But also, so many times when you’re in the pharmacy, there’s that easy access to sodas and teas and all of those things, but it’s a lot of empty calories. And so just making easy, subtle switches to water, that’s such a great recommendation. And as you mentioned, it is the beginning of 2019, and a lot of people are setting goals for healthier lifestyles. So as you mentioned, it’s just these simple switches. But really, it’s about building a habit and so doing something consistently, so what would you say to some of these people who are setting goals and, you know, how can people stick to those goals?


AM: Absolutely. So this is a great question. And it’s crazy because right now, it’s January 7, but by February 15, 80% of people who set a goal and started on January 1 will have given up on it. It’s crazy, and the statistic has held true for years and years and years. But we set goals because they’re important to us. We want to follow through on them, whether they’re personal, professional or health-related. So I broke down five simple steps that you can take, regardless of it’s regarding to your health, your professional goal, whatever it is, these concepts will apply so that you can really master your goals for the long term. And it comes down to the distinction between motivation and commitment. So motivation, you see a YouTube video, you go to a conference or you listen to Talk to Your Pharmacist and you’re like, “Yeah! I’m going to crush life and get my goals!” That happens, right? The first two days, you feel in the zone. But day three, day four, just kind of starts to fade away a little, right? Other things start to come in. “Well, I could go to the gym, but I have this project, but it’s busy in the pharmacy, so I’ll stay later. I’ll get to it later.” And before you know it, the goal is gone, and it’s just back to the normal, you’re back into those old habits. So there’s five steps you can take in order to really make sure that your goals are consistent and you switch from just being motivated to being committed. And the difference with those two is commitment comes to doing whatever it takes, staying with that, so when you don’t feel like doing the things, do the things anyway because when you’re done, you’re going to be on-track with your goals and you’re going to feel really good that you did them. So No. 1 is set your target. What is your goal? So what do you want to achieve? And it’s not just doing that on Jan. 1 but doing this daily. If you commit to your goals on a daily basis, it’s going to keep it at the forefront of your mind, you’re going to reminded starting your day with intention because as we know, especially in our generation and our time, everyone is at war to get our eyeballs. Like Facebook, the radio, you’ve got Pandora, Instagram, everyone wants your attention. So people are spending literally millions of dollars to market such that they grab your attention, and it’s like a shiny object. Like, “Oh, I’m going to do this. This one sounds better.” And then next month, it’s “Oh, I’m going to do this other thing. This sounds better.” So staying focused by committing to what your goal is every single day will keep your intention in check so that you can really stay on-task and keep that commitment there so that come February, March, April, all the way to December, you’ve either accomplished your goal or you’re getting one step closer to achieving that so that you can crush it and then set a goal higher before you even go to other places. So that’s the first thing is identify what that is. No. 2 is hold it together for short periods of time. Let’s take weight loss, for example, OK? Let’s say — just for example — let’s say you’re 300 pounds right now, and you want to be 200 pounds. So if you just look at that, you’re like, “I have to lose 100 pounds? That’s going to take so much time. That’s going to take so much work, so much sacrifice,” and you just get overwhelmed. You literally get into this state of analysis paralysis. So instead of looking at that whole thing, the whole journey, the six months, the year, the two years that’s going to take, hold it together for short periods of time. So literally look at what is your goal long-term, break that down into smaller, attainable chunks. So what is your goal for the month? What is your goal for the year? And then we get to my favorite question. Can you hold it together for 24 hours? For 24 hours, can you stick with your goal? Almost every single person’s going to say yes because literally, that’s all you do. Look at your goal, think about what you have to do to get to it, and say, “Can I commit to this for just 24 hours?” Just 24 hours, that’s it. And you’re going to say, “Yes.” And guess what you do the next day? “Can I commit to this for 24 hours? Yes.” And before you know it, you’ve strung together days into weeks into a month, and then you go, “Dang! I’m fine, I’m at my goal weight,” right? So that’s what happens. You just have to think, how can I get that goal and break it down into smaller, attainable chunks so that we get rid of that overwhelm so we’re not anxious, but we’re excited about the progress that we’re going to make in the time that we have in these 24 hours. So that’s No. 2, hold it together for short periods of time. No. 3 is really fun. And that’s where putting your calendar that you got for Christmas or New Year’s as a gift, putting that to use really is going to help you with your goal. And the third tip is have something to look forward to. Put something in your calendar, preferably on a monthly basis, that’s tied to your goal. So for the weight loss thing, you could have like a photo shoot. It doesn’t have to be like a grandiose thing. But literally just say, “OK, one month from now, I’m going to take a picture in my bikini,” if it’s weight-related or whatever your goal is. I’m not going to share it with anyone, it’s just going to be like for me. So you have that commitment, right? If it’s a project, right? So I’m actually finishing up a book. So I set deadlines to really make myself accountable. So I set a deadline a month out with targets. So on this date, I have to talk with this person, showing them the results. So I know that when that day comes, it’s going to be awesome to share all this passion, all this work I’ve done. But if I don’t put in the work, I’m not going to be able to be excited. I’m going to look like a jackass, right? So it kind of puts you on the line in a good way. So if you just kind of hold yourself accountable, but have something to look forward to so you celebrate that work, you celebrate that value that you’ve been working on, your goal that you’ve been attaining. I can cater these tips to, really, whatever your specific goal is, but there’s just two examples that might work. No. 4, I just kind of touched on, is hold yourself accountable by someone other than yourself. That’s why if you look at weight loss specifically or just working out in general, if you have a workout partner, that’s one of the biggest factors for people that are consistently sticking with their workout plan. They have a workout partner, whether that’s a spouse, a best friend or a gym buddy because guys, me too. Like I’m Mr. Fitness, but I have days where I do not want to go to the gym. I would rather Netflix and chill, OK? But if I have a workout partner, and we’ve agreed that we’re going to meet at, say, 6 p.m., and I get out of work at 4 p.m., I want to go home and relax, but I made a commitment to meet my friend at 6. So if I stay on the couch, I’m letting my friend down. And by letting my friend down, that’s letting down my own integrity. So literally, you’re using that for a good way so you’re going to stick with it because you want to be there for your friend. And it’s going to work the other way. There is going to be days where you feel on fire, and your friend does not. They might text you and say, “Hey, I’m not feeling it today.” And just say like, “Oh, just come to the gym. We’ll just shake hands, and you can go home.” But then what happens, right, you get there and you say, “Well, I’m already here, so I might as well just do one rep.” Or, “I’m already here, I might as well just warm up on the treadmill.” And before you know it, your workout’s done, and then you feel like a boss. So that’s just four simple ways to really tie that together. But the fifth and final one is to have a mentor. Really have someone that can guide you through that process, cater to you as an individual, because we’re all starting at different places, OK? We’re all coming from different backgrounds. And more importantly, we all have different goals. For example, I am a competitive lifetime drug-free bodybuilder. Not one of my clients, that’s their goal. Like not one of them. And I’m not really qualified or feel like I am in that niche to train someone for a show, so it’s not really a goal of mine. So that’s my goal but not someone else’s. So that’s something to be aware of is make sure that your goals are your own and not doing it for someone else. And that comes back to the big, big thing with any goal is really recommitting to your why. Why are you setting this goal? Is it just for New Year’s? Or is there a deeper reason for it? Is it to improve your health? Did you get maybe a bad health report? But you’ve got kids, and you want to stay around. You want to see your kids’ grandkids grow up. So you really want to get into it. You really want to invest in yourself and really find that health is wealth. So that’s really where it comes back to is identifying why you’re setting this goal in the first place. I talked a lot there.

HB: Yeah. Love it. I think those are some really good takeaways that people can use is some action items to go back and start making some of these simple switches. Love it. So Adam, on a more personal note, do you have any goals that you could share for 2019? And any specific methods that you use to help with goal-setting?


AM: Absolutely. You know, goals — I could talk for a long time about that, but I’ll just talk about next couple months. I love to surf, I love to really challenge myself and give in different ways. In addition to pharmacy, I studied Spanish, which when I was in undergrad, people would say, “Why? Like that doesn’t make any sense.” But it does because I just love Spanish, to be honest. Like it was just fun for me. But then I started to see, getting more into pharmacy, that it’s all about relationships. It’s all about communicating and getting on-level with a patient so that they feel heard, understood, and you can guide them with practical advice based on their health conditions, their goals and where they are and where they’re looking to go. So if you can’t speak their language, that’s not going to be super helpful. So Spanish, No. 2 language in the world, so I just kind of did it for fun. But I had an opportunity a couple years ago to go on a mission trip to Honduras to serve as a pharmacist. It was a medical mission trip. So I straight up jimmied up a pharmacy in the middle of the Honduran jungle in zika territory — like we saw patients with zika, all the stuff — and it was super hot. I had to wear sweatpants, you know, just to prevent mosquito bites and stuff, but it was so rewarding. It really changed my life and my outlook for my purpose of serving my patients and the world and how we can change pharmacy. So many times, we hear people that work in retail or other settings that they complain or they’re like, oh, I don’t like it, blah, blah, blah. Well, that could be true. I’m not saying that it’s all rainbows and butterflies, but if you don’t like it, you need to do something to change it. If you’re going to complain, you need to create a solution. Don’t just like run that out. So that’s kind of what I’ve been doing is really creating those opportunities and seeking those out so that you can fall in love with pharmacy again. That’s really what one of my life purposes, I feel, is is to bring that to the profession and see that it’s not a black-and-white box of clocking in. You can color outside the lines and create a whole new dimension if you want. So that’s one of my goals was to get back on another medical mission trip, so I’m actually headed out in five weeks on another one in Panama, which I’m really, really excited about. And I’m super excited because I get to bring my dad with me, who is a missionary. So he’s going to have a great time in showing me the ropes because I don’t exactly know what I’m doing. I just know pharmacy, Spanish, and how to have a good time. But you know, the whole deeper level with that is connecting with people, especially from very different cultures, that’s very special. You don’t get that very often, and they’re just so grateful, these people that have very little. But they’re just so happy. It’s that crazy disparity of having really hardly anything materially, but they really feel like they have everything internally. And that’s just such a rewarding experience to serve people like that. It just really juices me. So that’s my goal, one of my goals for this year. The other one is publishing a book that I’ve been working on for three years now, helping pharmacy students. So my first book came out last year of helping pharmacists and students how to break through that stress barrier of how do I work out if I don’t have time. I’m a crazy pharmacist — you guys know. You’ve got to get in early and stay late just to make ends meet with like your quotas and stuff, so how is there any time to work out? How is there any time to take care of yourself? Isn’t that selfish to have a lunch when you don’t have a lunch break? Isn’t that selfish to leave on time for your own self-care? Well, I talk about simple solutions with that in the book. But what this book is is to help pharmacy students really master their experience. I was really fortunate to be in pharmacy school, and I really made the most of that. And I made some awesome contacts and relationships and got some really great skills, and through that, have connected with a lot of other people in the profession looking to really give back and take their profession to the next level. So I’ve learned a few cool skills that will really elevate your experience in pharmacy school to the next level. So this book is two parts. The first part is looking at those skills, how they apply to pharmacy school, and why they will set you ahead as a pharmacist. And then it’s how to implement those in your professional career. So it’s great to talk about it, right? But to put it into action, to create an action plan that’s realistic and focused on pharmacy school, that’s really where I think the value’s going to come with that. The second part of the book and why it took so long are 18 interviews from different niches in pharmacy. So specialty pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, pharmacy law, all of those different things, I interviewed people that are really performing at really, really high levels in each of their niches. And I asked them, “Right now, you’re at the top of your game. Literally one of the best in the world at what you do in pharmacy. If you knew you were going to do this, and you went back to your first day as a pharmacy student, what would you have done or recommend a pharmacy student do so that by the time you graduate, you’ve really put in the groundwork and set yourself up so that you can get to where you are now at a faster rate?” And I had all those interviews done by pharmacy students so they could get that experience of, you know, interviewing these high-reaching individuals. So just that time of setting up the interviews took quite a bit. But the thing that I’m really proud about and excited for this book is I will be selling it, but all of the profits from this are going to an endowment fund at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy for a scholarship for a student who is looking to innovate the profession and really use their skills to make an impact in our profession and patients’ lives. So it’s something I’ve been really passionate about, put a lot of my time and resources to make this a success, and it’s my way of giving back and really creating that value to a school, university, profession that’s given so much to me. And that’s just something I’ve really been excited to share, and that is coming up this week. I have a call with the dean tomorrow, actually, to get the publishing process rolling because it is finally complete. It’s just getting that bound and ready to go. So that’s the first couple months of the year.


HB: Yeah. Well, those are some really big goals. And you can hear your passion about serving and giving back, and that was even something that you talked about when we met just a couple weeks ago. And those are two really concrete ways that you’re giving back. You’ve written a book, you’re setting it up as an endowment to help future pharmacy students, and going on a mission trip. So I know a lot of people probably have participated in overseas mission trips. There are also a lot of great mission trips locally, so definitely be sure to check those out. But I love that those are two great ways that you’ve found to be able to give back and help benefit the profession. So Adam, you talked a little bit about mentors or people that you follow for inspiration. Who are some of those that you consider to be mentors? And what is one of the biggest takeaways that you’ve learned from them?

AM: That’s an excellent question. And my challenge to you guys listening is whatever’s important to you in your life, whether that’s professional, personal, spiritual, find someone that is doing what you are looking to achieve, and immerse yourself in their ways. It will save you so much time and guesswork and spinning your wheels. So if you want to be a really awesome specialty pharmacist, go seek out someone in your network or someone in your network who knows someone who is a specialty pharmacist and literally just like shadow, just immerse yourself, interview them, provide value like, hey, value exchange, like I’d love to get mentorship with you. I will take notes for you, whatever. Offer to give before you ask for something in return. So that’s how you set it up in a simple way is find someone that’s doing what you’re looking to achieve and set that up so that it’s not just a gimme, gimme, gimme, but it’s more a give, give, give and just being so grateful for that opportunity to be with them. Coming back to your question, who are my mentors, so for me, I’m very passionate about my physical fitness. So really challenging myself to how far the human body can go in that endeavor with physical fitness and with bodybuilding without drugs, which is kind of ironic. You’re a pharmacist, but you don’t like drugs. You know, that whole thing. But I’ve been doing that lifetime drug-free, so that’s one of my passions, and so I get a mentor. I have a coach to help me with my training regimen, his name is Luke Probst. He is one of the best strongmen in the world with his training in just becoming strong. And it’s not something that you have to do like 3-4 hours a day but really finding that, again, finding a plan that attains your goals but is realistic for your lifestyle. That’s really where the money game is at is how can you get to your goal with your lifestyle that’s realistic because the best plan, regardless of what your goal is, is the one that you actually follow. So you can have a coach in like pharmacy, OK? Let’s say that right now, you’re in pharmacy school, but you’re married and have two new kids. But you have a coach and gives this perfect plan, like this is exactly how you would crush your goals. But they didn’t have kids. They weren’t married. So it’s not realistic, it’s not going to work. Even if it’s the perfect plan, if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, it’s not going to do jack for you. So finding a mentor that has the skills but also being realistic, that’s not saying being comfortable and don’t challenge yourself, but push yourself a little and be realistic in how you can consistently stay on track with that. That’s how you set up a plan for success. It doesn’t matter how hard you go in a day or a week, it’s how long can you stay in the game after your goals. That’s what’s going to change your life, OK? So that’s my one mentor is for coaching. The other is — I’m very spiritual. I have a very big passion for becoming a servant of God and really getting in touch with that whole realm, and that’s really what changed my life around in the past couple years. That could be a whole other podcast. But I’ve been really going deep with that, so I have mentors who are very spiritually gifted and who teach me these things. My dad is one of them. He’s a full-time missionary and just his level of love and serving, like I’ve never seen anyone put other people first like consistently without expecting anything in return. So living your life and learning that is one thing, but putting it into practice, especially when times are hard is a real challenge. So for example real quick, if someone’s nice to you and gets you like a present, it’s really easy to be nice back to them, right? But if someone like talks smack on you or like just is really nasty, no one would blame you for giving it back. But if you respond in love, if you respond back in a loving and kind way, that’s hard, man. That’s difficult. But that’s the way. So really learning how to do that and putting it into practice, it’s an ongoing challenge. So that whole realm of living through that life of love, that’s really been a huge goal of mine in the last year or two and one of mine that I want to lead and live my life by. So I have several mentors in that Bible study group, one of the pastors of my church is really helping me to live that life through Christ, and then there’s my dad, who I’m really, really blessed and thankful to have in my life. I do have several other mentors in business, nutrition, fitness, everything else, but that’s the basic concept. So to break it down for you guys who are looking for a mentor is where is an area of your life that’s important to you? And do you know anyone or can you find someone that is actively doing what you’re looking to do? And then get them as a mentor. And the great thing about that is if you don’t know someone personally, there’s books. There’s books! I love books, right? Book club, join book club. Read as much as possible. We’ve got audiobooks. You can maximize your commute time, right? So I drive 45 minutes one way to work, and people might say like, “Oh, that sucks.” But there’s no traffic, it’s my podcast time. It’s my book time. It’s my me time to like grow my mind. So you can fit that in, you’ve just got to look at where is my time being spent? That comes back to that point we talked about about self-awareness with really looking at what your goals and then just mapping out a plan. So if you don’t know someone personally, you can start simple. Start with books. The best minds in the world out there are writing on concepts. Each book focuses, really, on one concept. So if there’s a concept that you’re looking at — like let’s say you want to really go hard on social media, right? Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary V, he has some great books. He’s got YouTube, he’s got — the resources are there. They’re at your fingertips. It’s just putting in the work, being consistent and taking action to make that happen. So that’s my challenge to you guys is find that mentor. A real person is ideal, but if you don’t have that opportunity, you can find it. You just have to do it consistently and put in the work.


HB: Yeah. Well, so Adam, we’ve had so much great advice that you’ve been able to share with us along the way. And I love that, you know, a couple of different mentors and strategies on how to do that. And thank you for being such a great pharmacy leader because it’s clear you’re a pharmacy leader, and you know, just talking a little bit about the importance of reading and just getting into that because leaders are always readers, so —


AM: Amen.


HB: So as our final question, could you share some advice that you would tell your younger self or for other pharmacists out there who are just getting started in their career?

AM: Keep going. Don’t quit. Focus on your why. And get excited because life is fun. Life is meant to be lived. It’s not taking two steps forward and one step back. Life is a cha cha, so dance that out, yo! Find something that lights you up, and go hard unapologetically. Live life to that fullest so that you have fun every single day. Yes, it’s going to be hard studying 12 hours for an exam. Yes, it’s going to be hard when your techs call off, and you’re behind on quotas, and you’ve got to give flu shots and Shingrix (?) and all this other crap, but if you focus on your why and you stay on with that and true to yourself and do that with integrity, you are not going to lose. It’s going to be hard, but if you stay consistent, stay in the game, focus on those things, you’re going to win. And it’s all about that. And how can you give? We all have skills, we all have abilities. How can you use that to serve other people so that their lives are richer because of you. If you do that and think — it comes back to J.F. Kennedy. “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” Just take that into your own small world of the people you interact with on an everyday basis. How can you make their lives better. Because if you make someone smile, that is going to fill you up more than any paycheck, more than any other thing that you can do. If you can touch someone’s life on a deep level where they give you that look. And if you guys have seen this before, you know exactly what I’m talking about with a patient or anyone in your life, that look where they are genuinely thankful, and there’s no way they could repay you but you just did it to give and serve. And when you have that happen, remember that moment because those are the days, those are the circumstances, those are the interactions that’s going to carry you through those tough times that we see all too often in pharmacy world, unfortunately. But if you really look at those reasons, if you really keep your head in the game in the long term and stay consistent, focusing on giving and serving, that is going to fill you up to be the best script ever because that Rx is you.


HB: Love it. All ties back into the book. Adam, such a great to have you on the Talk to Your Pharmacist podcast! Thanks so much for being a guest.


AM: Well, thank you so much. It was a pleasure to be on. I hope you guys learned some good nuggets and wish you the very best in your career, your life and all the other things beyond.



Hillary Blackburn

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