Assistant Professor & Clinical Pharmacist – Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine Vallejo, California
After graduating from pharmacy school in 2013, later completing my formal education in public health in 2016, and having worked in academia and the field of diabetes for a few years, I had a feeling in my gut that my preparation for a meaningful future and life that I had accumulated over the twenty-two years in school was not quite enough. Something was missing, but I was not able to pinpoint what that was. I, thus, continued to search and explore, keeping the question “What is missing?” in mind… Until one day, I came across a CPhA LDI recruitment flyer, saying “This program is different in that it challenges participants to first examine their current approaches to leadership in their daily lives, and then helps them perform a very honest assessment of how their current ways are working for them (or not).” A light bulb went off in my head immediately as I was reading this statement, thinking “This
is what I need now: to assess thus to know more, then to make a change thus better prepare for the future.” At the time, I was not thinking about leading others, since I felt that to be an effective leader, I would have to know myself very well (getting in touch with myself), be comfortable being who I am, and to continuously look for opportunities in enhancing my understanding of the world as well as the complicated human relationships and human behaviors. With this drive-in mind to continue my growth and the willingness to challenge my own sense of insecurity, I submitted my application to LDI, awaiting on turning the page to a new chapter – post-formal education – in life.
Due to the shifting culture in the field of pharmacy, the emphasis has slowly become more human-centered rather than product-centered, leading to the demand for incorporating humanity into the field of pharmacy. The direction that LDI has taken to accomplish this goal became apparent to me after the first live session in Palm Springs, California. To support and amplify this effort, I have chosen to explore the subject of self-awareness and to reflect on this specific aspect after actively integrating our own strengths into our lives to tackle and overcome challenges.
Many of you might have heard of StrengthsFinder® 2.0; if not, it is a survey instrument to identify/assess our strengths, which is an initial step in becoming more self-aware. The title of my LDI project, therefore, is Discovering and Applying Inner Strengths: The First Steps on the Path to Becoming More Self- Aware.
Would you like to see yourself channeling your energy to build your strengths?
Would you like to get to know more about yourself through utilizing your identified strengths? The project I am proposing is: to identify, to explore/reflect on, and to apply our strengths; then observe and document the outcomes (our first-hand experiences to witness changes in our lives). The initial steps are simple, with three phases:
- Discovery phase: Use StrengthsFinder® as a tool to discover/assess our top 5 strengths;
- Reflection phase: Engage in meaningful conversations and/or read books/articles relevant to our strengths (for example, read someone’s published biography or talk to somebody whom we consider would possess the same strengths that we do);
- Application phase: Mindfully apply the identified strengths in everyday situations at work or at home, aiming to enhance a few very targeted aspects of our lives.
Do not forget to document the findings, insights, feelings, and thoughts for later discussions and reflections; these are the end products/outcomes of this project. Knowing our own strengths is not enough, so integrating our own strengths into better tackling and overcoming challenges we face in everyday life is the key to becoming more self-aware.
The reason I chose to focus on self-awareness and to discover strengths was I constantly found myself in a state of being uncertain while understanding that uncertainty – internal or external – is a constant in life, which can possibly lead to anxiety, self-doubt, and insecurity. I also realized that these feelings could potentially impair my lifelong growth as a human being, thus I had been longing to do something about this for myself. LDI has provided me a platform and a safe space to pursue this matter not only for myself but also for improving the lives of others. The long-term impact, therefore, is through becoming more self-aware (a form of growth), we will, hopefully, gain better insights into and control of some of our uncertainties.
As you can see, my LDI project revolves around self-awareness and promoting growth, which exemplifies LDI leadership framework’s core values: self- awareness and conscious choice. Throughout my LDI experience, I have noticed and realized that the first step to reach my own potential in the future is to accept both my strengths and weaknesses. It has been challenging either in accepting my strengths then put them to use or in admitting to my shortcomings then tackle them due to the emotions attached to both ends of the spectrum. LDI has allowed me to take the very first steps: assessing and facing myself and my capacity in an honest approach. With my strengths identified and gradually being incorporated into my life, I have become more self-aware of my limitations and of what truly matters to me, leading me to make decisions/choices contributing positively to the big picture: to create a meaningful future/life. The question “What is missing?” will forever be with me as I continue to develop and grow, and my continuing to ask this question turns out as a way to be better and also a way to do better. To grow is a lifelong commitment; I will continue to check-in with myself from time to time, asking the question “What is missing at this stage of my development?” I will end with this note: We are confined only by the walls we build and putting ourselves behind those walls.