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Rest, recover, reflect

Sometimes, amid the “You can do it!” “Make every moment count,” and “Don’t stop!” exhortations, there comes a time when really, you just need to stop. And that’s okay. You cannot be serious 24/7/365. But rest, recovery, and reflection are the three Rs we are not taught. They must be learned, and better sooner than later. Michael recently relayed a story about a time seriousness was seriously overrated.

 

By late summer of 2010 I had been at my job as director of pharmacy for a national hospital system for almost 7 years. I was well known and respected in my own little hospital. I chaired or sat on several committees and was an anchor for the education program there. I was a big fish in a little pond. Because of work I had done, I was tapped by the national leadership to mentor new directors, but other than my immediate supervisor, and those new directors I had worked with, few of the other hundreds of pharmacy employees across the country could recognize me in a crowd, if they even recognized my name on a roster. I was a very small fish in that big ocean.


Early that year, as plans for the annual directors’ meeting were just beginning, I was asked if I would arrange to have the programs presented certified for continued education credits. It was something that had been asked for often but had never been done before because of the difficult process it requires. Because I had done that job previously, was familiar with the process and still had the contacts, I was asked if I’d accept that as an extra assignment. It seemed I was going to do something our employees from across the country had been wanting. This would get me noticed! The many extra hours during the spring and early summer, coordinating with speakers, writing learning objectives, reviewing presentation material, and developing appropriate learning assessments, all while keeping my own department running at its best would be worth the time. I told myself, “I will be remembered for this. I could be the next big fish in that deep, blue sea!”


The day came when we were assembled in a hotel on Florida’s gulf coast. The company president welcomed the attendees and even mentioned me by name as the one making it possible that this year’s meetings will for the first time be eligible for continuing education credits. The audience applauded, the classes went smoothly, and all was well.


The meeting was being held at a large hotel right on the Gulf of Mexico, and water played a big part in the theme, “Exploring the Depths of Pharmacy.” Even the team building exercise was water based as we broke into groups of four, given one cardboard box, one roll of duct tape, and two pool noodles, and instructed to build a craft that could propel at least one team member the length of the hotel pool. The conference’s closing festivity continued the maritime theme with a formal dinner held on the beach, the attendees assembled dressed as their favorite seafaring characters, pirates and mermaids dominating.


I, never one to turn down an opportunity to find just the right bad joke for just the right occasion, went for a visual pun and arrived in a (thrift store) tuxedo, wearing snorkel, flippers, and pool floaty, dripping from a dip in the nearby pool – dressed in a true “wet suit” ready to explore the depths in a formal deep dive. Unknown to me, I was that years’s recipient of the company’s highest honor and had to march across the stage and receive my award from the company president while looking like a very formal Jacques Cousteau fresh off the Calypso in search of a dinner party.


I indeed was remembered from that time on, not for the education work, not for the award, but for the only one to celebrate diving into the nautical theme with a formal flair and talked about at every annual meeting I attended after that.

 

Even during the busiest of times, we can and we should take time to stop long enough to rejuvenate ourselves. Not everybody has the opportunity to rest, recover, and reflect with their colleagues from around the country and participate in themed activities and team building exercises. But whether at work, at school, or at home, we can recognize when busy becomes too busy and we need to stop. Even the shortest rests offer recovery time and once recovered we can step back into the hurried world that never stops. But before you step back in, while you are resting, also take the time to reflect. Why are you here? What are you doing? Do you make a difference? Are you happy being the big fish in a little pond, a little fish in a big ocean, or a big fish in the deep, blue sea?


Michael found out that even in the serious business of medicine there is still room for rest and recovery and in the process discovered he was happiest being the guy in the wet suit exploring the depths and marveling at the life all around him. Where will your reflection take you?



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Even amidst the serious business of pharmacy and big company meetings, you found energy to bring in your fun side, Michael. That's another thing we're not encouraged to do--to not take ourselves too seriously and to have fun in the midst of the crazy of life. Thanks for the reminder of the three R's, rest, recover, reflect. Always great to implement, no matter what.

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Thank you Dayle for that kind comment. We appreciate the serious side of life but we will also encourage ourselves and others to have fun while living, whether your serious side involves work, school, family, friends, or all of the above! There should always be time for rest, recovery, and reflection, so when we resume the serious part of life, we remember, and appreciate, why we’re doing it. Thank you again!

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