Taking responsibility — what Buddhism and the Mouse have taught me.

Flipping through the book review one day I saw a review for a book called “The Buddha in Your Rearview Mirror”. The description sounded interesting, and I was looking for something philosophical to read, so I picked it up. I had no idea at the time how influential it would be in changing my thoughts and attitudes towards life and relationships (both working and personal). The whole concept of stop blaming everyone and everything for my unhappiness, and that how I deal with situations directly affects how I and others around me feel were incredibly powerful messages that truly enlightened me. I honestly never stopped to think that my thoughts, words and actions directly affected those around me…both positive and negatively. I started slowly changing my attitudes and perceptions on people and events, and saw an immediate impact.

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A few months later the messages I learned were reinforced by a conversation I had with a colleague who had gone through some Disney management seminars. One of the concepts he shared with me is that “cast members” (employees) are taught the adage “it’s not my fault, but it’s my problem”. Basically, employees are faced every day with issues from park guests. The cast members need to realize that although they didn’t cause whatever problem/complaint the guest is presenting, but it is now on them to help the guest to resolve their issue satisfactorily. This was the second time my mind was just blown open with something that seems so obvious but never really occurred to me before.

Both of these lessons truly transformed how I practice as a Pharmacist. I’ve become much more receptive and supportive to my patients and customers…understanding that when they’re complaining to me about their insurance copay, or how long they have to wait for a physician to authorize a refill, these things aren’t my fault, but here I am…how am I going to help this patient, ease their concerns, and handle their issues in a manner that provides great customer service. My patient satisfaction and retention rates have vastly improved since imparting this new philosophy. My workplace relationships have improved as well…avoiding negativity, seeking positive outcomes to issues has turned co-workers attitudes around.

My personal relationships have improved as well. Realizing that maybe it isn’t my spouses fault for my unhappiness has opened a dialogue to vastly improve our communication with each other. So, a big “thank you” to the Buddha and the Mouse for making me a better person!

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