Like many of you, I have been exploring the capabilities and imagining the possibilities of ChatGPT. Both amazed and frightened by the new technology, I was anxious to test it on a topic near and dear to me—my personal purpose in pharma.
I’m currently compiling a book of purpose stories from pharma leaders, many of whom are in Medical Affairs. As I’ve pulled together the anthology, I’ve begun to realize that we all see the idea of purpose in work and life from different perspectives.
Our book of ‘whys’ features personal stories from pharma leaders around the world, documenting their journeys in the industry and exploring how they discovered the purpose that drives them to serve patients.
I found myself wondering: what if someone from outside our world read these stories? How might they view our personal purposes and our collective purpose?
This thought experiment seemed like the perfect opportunity to put ChatGPT to the test. And what better fictional extraterrestrial character to reflect on purpose than Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard?
So, I queried ChatGPT to write about purpose in the style of Jean Luc Picard. Here is the article it wrote, completely unedited.
The purpose of life is a question that has plagued humanity for centuries. It is a question that has been explored in countless forms of literature, art, and philosophy. And yet, despite all of our efforts, we still struggle to understand it.
But as Captain of the USS Enterprise, I have had the unique opportunity to explore the galaxy and encounter a wide variety of cultures and civilizations. And through these experiences, I have come to understand that the purpose of life is not a single, definitive answer. It is a journey, a quest for self-discovery and fulfillment.
For some, the purpose of life may be to seek knowledge and understanding. For others, it may be to protect and defend their loved ones. And for still others, it may be to find and explore new worlds, to boldly go where no one has gone before.
But no matter what our individual purpose may be, one thing is certain: we all share a common bond, a desire to make a difference in the world. Whether we are scientists, soldiers, or explorers, we all have the power to impact the lives of those around us. And it is through this shared purpose that we can build a better future for all of humanity.
As we journey through the galaxy, we must always remember that our purpose is not limited by the boundaries of our planet or our time. It is a quest that will continue long after we are gone, as our children and their children continue to explore the mysteries of the universe.
So let us embrace our purpose, and together, let us boldly go where no one has gone before.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
I found the AI-generated piece fascinating. True, there are a lot of platitudes in it, but I think the idea that purpose is both a personal and shared journey, defined by “… a common bond to make a difference,” is what unites us in pharma. I also love the temporal shift ChatGPT makes, reminding us that we are part of something that will continue after we are gone, creating the building blocks upon which others will stand. That is our legacy.
So how does this relate to Medical Affairs and your work as an MSL? Well, the common purpose we share is to serve patients. But each of us has our own unique connection to that – let’s call it our ‘why’, which puts the fire in our belly. Having interviewed hundreds of medical affairs people about their purpose, I’ve observed that many don’t connect the dots between their own life experiences and the meaning of their work. In fact, one of the things that flow from those conversations is clarity of purpose. In that sense, the purpose is made, not born.
So, let’s never forget that purpose is our north star. It may just be our greatest asset. When you lean into your purpose, as an MSL, to help HCPs save and improve lives—that’s when the magic happens. That’s when you go home with more energy, standing taller, with a bigger smile on your face. That’s when doors open, and people want to work with you because they trust you. That’s when you find creative solutions to challenges. That’s when you have the courage to speak up and say and do the right things. That’s when, ultimately, you help more patients and create your legacy.
Onward (boldly) with purpose!
*As you think about your purpose, perhaps it would help to hear others’ purpose stories. That’s why we are creating a book of 100 inspirational purpose stories from pharma leaders. If you’d like to be among the first to receive it (for free) go to www.excellerate.ca/freebook. We’ll send you a link to download your complimentary e-book when it’s published in October 2023.
Jill Donahue, MadEd, HBa A popular speaker and program creator and author of two books, Jill Donahue helps MSLs build teamwork, engagement, and communication skills—all through the common denominator of purpose. She’ll know she has been successful when MSLs feel proud of what they do and confident they can make a difference for themselves, their organizations, and most importantly…patients.
Jill is living her purpose by helping MSLs live theirs through The Power of Purpose.
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