Be a better pharmacist (and human)

I’m curious, how much do you think emotions influence your actions daily? I bet if you’re a pharmacist, you probably think you’re a rational human being who has their emotions totally in check. You work with your head after all, right? Well… maybe… I could give you the science version but this analogy is a much easier read.

The emotions tap

Imagine standing in front of a sink with a mixer tap. Instead of this tap running water, it runs emotions. Turning the handle fully to the right releases a stream of productive emotions, while turning it to the left unleashes unproductive ones. While standing there, you have the power to adjust the tap, influencing the direction of your emotional flow. However, in the pharmacy (or anywhere), others can also come and turn the tap.

Picture this scenario:

Someone approaches the sink and flicks your tap to the left, setting off a cascade of unproductive emotions. In this case, you’re standing there and see it happen. Because of this, you act quickly, recognising the detrimental effect and restoring the flow of productive emotions.

But what if you’re not present to witness it?

This time, you go about your day completely unaware that the tap is stuck in the unproductive position. As a result, your interactions suffer, you feel drained and irritable, and your performance declines.

This scenario illustrates the essence of emotional intelligence—or lack thereof. Without EI, your emotions operate beneath the surface, exerting a powerful influence on your thoughts, actions, and well-being. Like a tap left unattended, your emotions can veer off course, leading to negative outcomes and personal distress.

Developing emotional intelligence

Developing emotional intelligence is like to having a constant “minder” stationed at the tap, vigilant and attuned to your emotional currents. When developing EI, you cultivate awareness of your emotions and with practice are able to identify in the moment, how they shape your behaviour and choices. In doing so, you then can make necessary adjustments to steer towards a more productive state.

Of course, mastering EI is not as simple as turning a physical tap. It requires introspection, self-awareness, and ongoing practice. Yet, the rewards are immense. By honing your emotional intelligence, you gain agency over your emotional landscape, enhancing your resilience, relationships, and overall performance.

Emotional intelligence doesn’t stop with personal benefits. It extends beyond self-awareness to encompass empathy and understanding of others’ emotional states. As you deepen your emotional intelligence, you become better equipped to recognize and support others in managing their emotional taps. This is particularly crucial in leadership roles, where EI serves as a cornerstone of effective communication, collaboration, and team dynamics.

Why should you invest in EI like you do clinical skills?

In essence, emotional intelligence empowers you to navigate the complex currents of human emotions with skill and sensitivity. By tending to your emotional tap and fostering awareness in myself and others, you unlock the transformative potential of EI in both personal and professional situations.

Next time I find myself at the sink, use it as a prompt to check in on your emotions and remember the profound impact of emotional intelligence on your journey through life.

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