Sarah Chiu, Pharm.D.

Pharmacist – Doctors Medical Center of Modesto Modesto, California

My journey started the year I graduated from pharmacy school, when I was unable to attain my goal of doing a residency. I was sad and disappointed in myself, but instead of sulking over it, I managed to land an inpatient pharmacist position that allows me to take on many clinical roles and build on my clinical knowledge, especially when going on rounds. But that wasn’t enough for me, as the motivation and energy I had from pharmacy school was still functioning at full speed. I felt a need to improve myself, particularly my leadership skills. Growing up, I was always labeled a shy and timid girl. I always looked up to my peers who assumed leadership roles and carried themselves as if leadership skills were merely second nature. Throughout my years of schooling, I’ve tried to mimic these qualities, but I can’t say I ever felt fully confident about leading others, and would either end up doing most of the work myself or stay in my comfort zone and act as the follower. I believed by joining LDI, I would break out of my shell and gain more confidence and insight into effective leadership.

For my project, I have created a YouTube channel called ChiusDays with Sarah. Here, I share my passion for leading a healthy lifestyle through video logs or vlogs, which cover topics including healthy eating, fitness, and travel. The main goal of this project is to help increase my self-confidence and improve my public speaking skills, two leadership qualities I’m constantly working on. Through this project I also aim to break routine and try new things. Starting these vlogs have expanded my horizons, as it has allocated time for me to engage in new experiences to post and talk about—whether it be a new recipe, a daunting fitness routine, or traveling to an exotic destination.

Given that there are so many other vlogging channels like the one I’m creating, it’s a naïve and ambitious thought to think my videos will change the world, which is why I’m not making it a priority. Rather, the goals will cater to my own needs, desires, and motivations, particularly improving myself as a person and leader.

LDI has given me the tools, encouragement, and driving force for bringing my YouTube channel to life. Long-term, my project will maximize my self- confidence and perfect my public speaking skills. I also hope that others will benefit and be inspired by the videos I create. Even if it doesn’t inspire them, I hope it will at least serve as a good form of entertainment.  What I learned through my time in LDI is you can’t force someone to change; one must already be motivated to undergo a change to commit and persevere through the journey towards that change, no matter how difficult the process becomes. With this, I hope to inspire others to not only lead healthy lifestyles, but to find their own motivations in life and pursue the things they are truly passionate about— whether it be in school, work, relationships, or life.

One of the most important things I’ve learned from LDI to lead successfully and effectively is that one should always be clear about their motivations for a cause or project. Those motivations and goals should strongly align with the individual’s values, interests, needs, and strengths (VISN). This alignment translates into pure passion that motivates followers and keeps the team working even through hardships. The process of generating my project topic was a lengthy one, but through it, I was able to extensively evaluate my VISN. Throughout the year, I pursued several project ideas, only to stop in my tracks after realizing it was creating too much stress, unhappiness or uncertainty. I realized it was only when all four components aligned with the nature of my project, did I feel happy and truly passionate about moving forward. This passion gave me the energy to get my project team members as excited as I was about the project, which further yielded work of high quality. I was never the type of person who sat down to reflect on why I do what I do. But putting my VISN on paper led to deep contemplation of my personal goals and aspirations, and how I should balance my time and attention to ultimately live a life of fulfillment.

This helped me regain direction in life that I felt I had lost after completing pharmacy school and allowed me to reallocate my time in a way that maximizes my happiness.

I have also been implementing leadership tools and skills I have acquired from LDI in my workplace and I realize an improvement in my confidence— especially in how I communicate and carry myself—and the number of people who follow my demands and instruction. I am very grateful that LDI has played a role in my growth as not only an effective and assertive leader, but also as a happy, confident and passionate one as well.