Two quick ways to stay motivated

Two happy pharmacists

There’s a lot of negativity in the profession at the momentso how can pharmacists stay motivated? writes Vanessa Lontos

Like many pharmacists, a few weeks ago I returned from four days on the Gold Coast, having attended the APP conference. I found the conference interesting, informative and inspiring and have a collection of ideas that I’m excited to create for my patients.

But as so often happens when you spend time away, you have to come back! And this often means that the spark of motivation and the excitement of new ideas can quickly be engulfed and consumed by daily challenges and tasks.

So how do you keep your motivation alive and turn your ideas into results and a new reality for you, your teams and most importantly your patients?


Tip #1 Build up your daily wins

“Gold medals aren’t won at the Olympics, they are won every day for four years.” – Dylan Alcott.

Dylan Alcott is an Australian wheelchair basketball gold medalist who presented an inspiring, entertaining and thought-provoking presentation on how to overcome extreme adversity and win at life.

His presentation got me thinking about winning and what it takes to feel that way in pharmacy. How often do you get to the end of the day and feel like you’re winning?

The key to being inspired and then turning your ideas into a reality for your patients is achieved through building up your daily wins. The quickest way to do this is to set small and believable goals.

Why is a believable goal so powerful? We now know from advances in neuroscience that our brains are hard-wired to want to do what we know, what feels easy and what feels comfortable (ie stay inside our comfort zones).

But to create something new we need to step outside these comfort zones. This means there will be an internal (brain) struggle taking place while you bring your new ideas to life, so whatever you can do to more easily step beyond your comfort zone will help you win.

How can you do this? Begin by breaking your your big goal into 15-minute “stepping stone” goals.  These are tasks that you genuinely believe you can complete within 15 minutes – these help build up your daily wins quickly – and will help you win with bringing your inspired idea to life.


Tip#2 Momentum is more important than motivation

After coaching many individuals and exploring what motivates people, one of the most compelling insights I have gained is that often it’s not motivation that creates results, it’s the momentum you build along the way.

If motivation lights the spark, momentum is the fuel that will bring you to your goal.

The word momentum comes from the latin word ‘movere,’ which means ‘to move,’ and any movement is good!

So when you are thinking about your inspired ideas and the new results you want in your pharmacy – ask yourself “where can I create movement?”

It might be a physical change that you need to make, or setting a date for a free event. You might need to move new topics into your staff meetings or move staff into different roles.

Make momentum your new focus and you will find yourself continually motivated.

As Martin Luther King Jr said, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”


Vanessa Lontos is a community pharmacist, former pharmacy owner and the founder of The Care Project. Vanessa helps pharmacy owners, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants to improve pharmacy practice by promoting better health outcomes, whole-health solution sales and implementation of professional pharmacy services.

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  1. Sadsadsad

    The greatest motivator – ‘fair remuneration and recognition for efforts!’. When employee phaemacists are treated like dispensing monkeys and paid peanuts, I hardly see any incentive or time for creativity when employee pharmacists are worked to the bone, and their is no support or accountability towards employers.

    1. We need a strike or we need a fair evaluation of remuneration for employees.
    2. 60% of pharmacists may quit the profession in a few years, this is extremely sad! What are pharmacy leaders, governments doing about this? Absolutely nothing! Don’t worry automation will take over, reminds me of the movie elisium. we can have robotic pharmacists soon.

  2. Nicholas Logan

    Great tips Vanessa. Consistency is so important and culture eclipses strategy. We all need a pep talk every once and a while.

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