Laughter is the best medicine - until you have diarrhoea.

Monday, 03 August 2020

Laughter is the best medicine - until you have diarrhoea.


This week marks Amys and I’s 15th year of ownership of the Roslyn Pharmacy.  We were a pair of bright eyed bushy tailed 27 year olds, with a 2 year old son and newborn baby girl.  We had no idea what we were doing, and a mountain of debt to pay off.  Anxiety and panic were common place in the early days, unsure of our abilities and the unknown of how business works.  However with help from some amazing people, wisdom from mentors and how  openly our community received our ideas and help, we have made it to today.  


Looking back, finding our feet and growing up in front of our community has been an incredible experience, and in this column i would like to share some things ive learnt, especially to the 20 year and the 30 year olds out there- unsure of their direction and not confident of what they can achieve.. through some quotes ive read or from friends mentors and colleagues over the years, 


Work hard, Play hard

Yep.  That’s it,  thats the quote.  Said to me on my first week of work in a  pharmacy in Hastings by a Pharmacist retiring that week.  My take? - everything you do - do it with passion.   Sidebar: A lot of people will tell you to follow your passion, but seriously - how do you know what this is?  find a niche and do your thing - get good at it, and people will start complimenting you on your work, you start to feel appreciated and you start enjoying it - word of mouth is that your the guy in town to go to on this... and Ka-boom! start to get passionate about it.  For example - you cant tell me Tax lawyers were passionate about tax when they started out - amirite?


Eat food, not too much - mostly green - Michael Pollan

Most of you will know that I’m an advocate for eating less sugar in our diet.  Ive seen incredible results, not just in my weight but also my asthma and eczema conditions.  As such ive been reccomending it to  most of my patients.  But ive also tried to understand it a bit more.  This is where things start to get confusing, and there are many conflicting sources of  information out there.  Personally ive tried the Keto diet (too restricting and not possible to maintain  if you have a life in anyway shape and form) and Intermittent Fasting (super interesting and achievable - i 16 hour fast on the days i work and feel awesome) but there are multiple (5:2 diet,  Vegan, and more and more)  and it all  gets super crazy quick. One blogger will passionately advocate for one thing - and the other blogger the next.

What is not up for debate however,  is the impact on what you eat on your health and thus on your day to day performance.  You eat junk - and you will feel like trash.  And as you age (believe me!) - your ability to recover from this is diminished.

That’s why I LOVE the above quote.  It’s simple, its true, and above all, we can all understand it.   


We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act - but a habit - Aristotle 

You must always do your best to be authentic.  That is,  you do what you say - back up your promises with actions.  If we say we want to be the best Pharmacy in town - then we plant our flag on that hill and every single action we do in the day is congruent with this.  Create a routine of your best day so that the system you create gives yourself the best outcomes and then remove any obstacles in the way.  For example if you want to start running in the mornings - place your running gear in a bin by the bed so you can quickly find and change into the gear when you want to go for a run.  If you concentrate on making the system simple and efficient the outcomes will look after it self - then do it consciously for a couple of weeks and your habit will be born


Laughter is the best medicine - until you have diarrhoea

Culture is the most important part of our business.  We have a culture document that everyone has to adhere to - theres no bs, no politics - we all enjoy each other’s company, work hard then forget about work.  If theres a problem our culture is strong enough to self-police it.  That’s why I’ll never apologise if you hear people in our dispensary laughing uncontrollably or if your calling  us we are sharing a joke with each other.  HOWEVER when the proverbial hits the fan you gotta lock in and get the work done. That’s why  I’ll be hard pressed to be more prouder of our guys during the lockdown period.  Everyone played a crucial part, and when everyone is in their flow if you can step back and look - its like a beautifully orchestrated dance piece - everyone in their roles - working hard to achieve our goal.


..the best thing about getting old is not giving a f*ck about what anyone else thinks of you.

Apologies for the language - but let me lay the context of this quote out  for you - it was shouted at me as my older than me neighbour cycled past me on his new bike, wearing less than flattering new skin tight Lycra cycling gear - it was... quite a sight to behold - my face must have portrayed a look of shock and as he crept passed me he yelled - ‘Hey Andy!...  the best thing about getting old is not giving a fig about what anyone thinks of you”.  This was and is,  of course -  perfect.   Learning and doing new things - being out of our comfort zone and relishing it ; is the secret sauce to life.  And like a muscle - the more we exercise those emotions the bigger and better this muscle gets and the better we get at it.  


“Worry is a wasted emotion” - Steve Hansen OR “Worry is the greatest thief of Joy”

This one is tough.  Worry and anxiety happens to all of us and it can be like a  sneaky  critter that creeps up on you until its all consuming.  I had a real problem with this and the best book ive read is called ‘How to stop worrying and start living’ by Dale Carnegie - one bit of advice form that book that impacted me? Embrace the worst case scenario and strategise to offset it.  


Gratitude turns what we have into enough 

How much do you really need?  What’s important to you?  Big questions I know but really important ones to think about now.  During my career i have had this horrid feeling of selling my self short, i should be doing more, I should have more Pharmacys and do more.  No.  Don’t compare yourself to others, be grateful for who you are and what you have.  There’s only one Steve Jobs or Graeme Hart.   It’s gotta a big YES now for us to even look at something.


If Ive seen further; it is by standing on the shoulders of giants - Issac Newton

You cannot do anything by yourself.  You need good people around you - people that share the same values as you is the most important.  Skills can be taught.  People dragging you down? - slowly exit the relationship.  I’m so fortunate to be around some great people and to be in a community that inspires you to be the best you can be


It’s not the destination - its the journey

So to wrap it all up y’all; in the last 15 years, these key learnings have taken me here.... where is here? Here is Identity, community and purpose. Here is our life. Our community Pharmacy.   And it continues to evolve.   Thanks for to all those that have been apart of the journey so far - its been a bloody good time so far hasn’t it??


Hope to see you in store soon - 

Andrew and Amy Hou