The following podcast episode was taken from an Instagram Live recording. Follow me at @marvettelacy to see future Live videos!
Transcript of Episode:
Hello, this is Marvette your dissertation strategist. I help you write your dissertation successfully defend it so you can graduate and become a doctor. I'm a little bit rusty cause I feel like I haven't done a live in a while. So I'm just gonna pin this comment here. Today I wanted to talk about the 10 lessons I've learned since being in business for two years and I wanted to share just a little bit about my story because I don't really talk much about it. I am also procrastinating a little bit right now as I'm supposed to be doing other things, but I thought I would do two things at once since I have missed a lot from the past week or so and I need to record a podcast episode. So I want to do both. But I, let's see, my story really starts three years ago, so my business anniversary will be on September seven.
Because September 7th, 2017 is when I had my first paying client. And that is a day I'm choosing to say as my anniversary because although I do like all the backend stuff and put in the paperwork to have a legal business, I didn't have a client until September seven, which I'll tell you more about my story. In a lot of people will say like, they started a business, but until you are actually making money and you have a client or a customer, then you do not have a business. You have a very expensive hobby probably. So anyway, my story actually happens or it takes place three years ago, 2016 in the fall of 2016 when I first decided that I was going to get serious about starting my own business, I was supposed to be, you know, progressing through. I was in my phd program and I think at that point, yeah, I was actually working on my dissertation.
And if you are in the dissertation phase and you know, you get all of the ideas, you think about all the other things that you can't do or you should be doing instead of writing your dissertation because you don't want to write it. And so that happened with me and I was like, you know, I wanna start my own business because if I start now and then I give myself a whole year, then by the time I'm ready to graduate I'll have a job. Cause in my mind it was only going to take less than a year and I was going to have this very booming business that I didn't need to go find a job and everything will take care of itself. So this is like September ish of 2016. There was someone named Happy Black Woman is her business, her handle all of that. She was promoting that she was doing her annual course, which helps women to launch their business pretty much walking you through all the steps you would need to have a business.
And so I decided to take some money and sign up for it. And it was not cheap. Okay. It was not cheap. I don't, I can't quite remember, but I just know it was not, it was four figures anyway, so I signed up for it cause I was like, yes, I want you to tell me exactly what to do and I'm going to do that. So I signed up for the course. I did all of that. So it had to think about like exactly what your business was going to be. And at the time my business was focused on helping women who were currently in toxic relationships as a result of past sexual abuse. Now I'm sure as you hear that, you can understand why that didn't quite work out so well. Also, it didn't work out well because it's like, how can I help someone when I was in a situation myself, I do my own work and as similar to students who come into qualitative research, they're usually choosing topics that are very personal to them.
And it's like, research is me search. You're trying to figure out your own stuff until you decide you're going to do a research project, but then that just opens up a big can of worms. And that, that wasn't working. So that business idea didn't work. But I decided that I was going to keep going with helping women get out of toxic relationships. So that was my first business. I'm looking at my notes by the way. And I did that. I did that all for fall 16, but I didn't get any clients. Right. And so then spring of 2017 came when I was really supposed to be writing my dissertation and I decided that I was going to work with a different coach because I did technically launch my business. Like I had the business license and all of that. I just didn't have any clients.
Right. and so I was like, well, I'm going to go find another business coach who will help get the clients. And so I signed up with her and she, you know, she had some good ideas. It was just like a lot of information being thrown at me and I was very nervous to do the things that she was suggesting. So, which is pretty much not putting myself out there. So like actually tell people on Facebook that I have a business, actually ask people for sales, actually do sales calls. And it was just a lot. But working with her, I would say the, the, the best thing that came out of that was helping me to see that my first business topic was not going to work out. And she was actually the one that suggested that I help people with qualitative research, which then later became helping people write their dissertation.
But at first it was just going to be explaining qualitative research to people like a, like a class that you could take. And so I did that. And so this was early spring 2017. And that was one of the other things, I became more consistent with writing blog posts. And I was, I was telling people like on Facebook and stuff and doing some calls. But it just wasn't working out and, but I kept going. I graduated and that took precedent because if you know anything about my story, I needed to do my dissertation in four months. And so I did that. I graduated, felt like I went through like a hurricane or something. I was just all over the place in that summer of 17. And then I moved from Georgia to Wisconsin, started a new job and then I was like, alright, I'm getting serious about this whole business thing.
And if you listen to my podcast of like two weeks ago, I talked to you about how I would go to my nine to five. Like I would work before my nine to five for like two hours. I would go to my nine to five. And then after my nine to five, I would work another five or six hours at Starbucks. And then Saturdays and Sundays I spent all day, like from 9:00 AM to like they close 9:00 PM at Starbucks, Saturday and Sunday to work on my business. And again, while I was putting out all this content, I wasn't making any money and September, Labor Day was coming, rolling around and I decided, you know what, I'm just gonna write this random email and see what happens. So my dad's birthday is September 4th. The holiday is usually around that time. And fall is my favorite season.
And usually people think about Labor Day as the end of summer and beginning of fall. So I wrote this random email that was like in celebration of my favorite season, I'll give you 40% off. Whew. You know, the journey is, I know the journey to the pricing thing has been one. But yeah, that's what I said. I'll give you 40% off of my price, which was only a hundred dollars at that time, but I'll give you 40% off and you can sign up with me for, I think it was like 12 weeks of coaching and one person did sign up with me and to help her finish her chapters four and five, she had did data collection, but she, she was really highly motivated. Like she had a plan and knew what she wanted to do. But because her program didn't have many or any qualitative researchers, she was looking for someone to help her really craft the end of the dissertation and wrap it all up.
And so we met all through that fall and working with her to finish. And she did graduate. That was great. But I share that story to say like one that is my story. It as the beginning of how I started and got my first paying client. But I also remember like that whole year, the, the one main thought that kept going through my mind is I, I just wish I could get one client. Like, if I could get one client and I know that this is real good, I know I can do this. That was my mindset. Looks like if I could just get this one person, then I know that like, I can be successful at this. And I got that one person and that did give me courage and I started to, you know, build up and get more clients. But I just think that's interesting now two years later looking back, it's like, Oh, if only I knew.
So I do want to talk about like lessons I learned. So based off of that, the number one is being like, I'm just beginning. Like the journey is just starting and that can relate to the like the doctoral process is because you like get into the program, right? And everybody wants to rush through courses cause they're like, okay, I've done this before. I just need to take these classes and get took dissertation. Cause once I do that and I graduate and they call me doctor, that's it. But then you quickly learn that once you defend your dissertation and you're graduating, you realize that's just the beginning. Especially if you're going to be in academia where you like go out and if you're going to continue writing and researching, you realize that dissertation, while they seem huge at the time, really wasn't even the tip of the iceberg.
And there was a whole journey and it could be a wonderful journey if you allow it to be, you just realize that it's just the beginning. So that was the first thing and that I can see my future so clearly now, like I can see how like I can see how successful I'm going to be. The second thing is that based off of that is fear will always be there as you are growing. Like fear never goes away. You're gonna always be nervous. It's it can help you as cliche as that sounds, but fear, fear will be something that you come to expect. Especially if we continue to push yourself into grow, it will always be there. So that's number two. Number three, the more aware you become of who you are, your mindset or the things that you have to do, the more you will want to hide, the more you want to run away and hide from what you know you should be doing.
So, even though it's been two years from me and I was, you know, before like I don't want to put myself out there, I still like sometimes have to navigate that cause even now like doing this live, I had to like talk myself up because I still get nervous going live and talking and all of that. But I would say it's not as it once was because I've done this before. I'm getting more comfortable with it. It's just, it's just a part of the process. So that's number three. And number four, you do not need a lot of money to start a business. You don't need a logo. Stop it with the logo, stop it with, I need to make my website pretty. You don't need to do that. Stop it. You don't need it. And you just need to start really, really like simple things.
You need to know who you're helping, what you're helping them with. And then you need to tell them and talk with them. People underestimate the power of building connections with people, like talking to them, getting to know more about them. We can only think about like what it is that you want. And this happens in the dissertation process too is like when you get into data collection, a lot of students, we spend a lot of time and I tell them like, this isn't about you. People are sharing with you their good time, their good experiences. They're taking time out of their lives to like sit down with you for hours to do interviews. And you are not even thinking about them. All you're thinking about is when you're going to finish your dissertation and how you're going to publish, but you don't take time to think about like how do you compensate people for their labor, for their time, for them sharing with you.
So that was also another siren. But yes, for your business, you don't need all this money and these fancy websites and logos and colors. You're wasting your time and it's easy for you to think about those things because you feel like you know how to do that. But it's more difficult to actually go and help someone and get a client. And that's what you know I was struggling with too, is that I was scared to put myself out there and I let that fear stop me from actually making money on my business. So that was Four number Five is consistency and discipline is key. You can have the most talent in the room. There can be people who seem like they got it all together, whatever. But people like out the people can't outwork you or I would say people can't outwork me as my attitude that I have.
So I'm going to continue to show up and be consistent and be disciplined in learning my craft. Because I know that hard work outperforms talent at the end of the day. I said that really clunky, but I think you get what I'm saying. The next is that people are always watching even when you don't know that they are. So sometimes people get caught up in like the number of followers they have or the number of likes they get on something or even like the number of clients that you have. And sometimes it can seem like no one is paying attention. You can feel like, why am I doing this? This doesn't make any sense. But I always get a message or DM or someone will say something in passing to be like, please keep going. Thank you so much for what you've been doing has been really encouraging and motivating.
And so people may not say that when the actual posts or whatever you're putting out there, but someone is always watching. And to remember that because you don't know what role you are planning on someone's life, you don't know how much you may be helping someone. And not everyone is going to feed your ego all the time cause that's really was happening when you were looking at likes numbers and clients and the money and all of that. It's your ego. But if you are committed to helping people, then stay focused on that. Instead of thinking about vanity metrics of likes and numbers and when that, the next is keep the simple interest start. I may have said this before, but just what is the easiest thing or the easiest next step you can take and then take it? Whenever I get too caught up in my head or overwhelmed, I just asked myself, what is the next thing that you can do and just do that.
And that's what I do. And I tell clients all the time that the motivation in a way that we've been taught about it as a society, as a lie, as not, it's not not that it's not a thing, but like it's not gonna sustain you. Momentum will sustain you. So if you can continue to take little small steps and keep going, that will continue to build up and keep you pushing longer and further than you know, you getting, you go and get an all hyped up from somebody and think that's motivation. You can only go as far as your mindset. So if you are not continuing to work on your mind and your thoughts, then you will not be able to continue to progress further. Which is where like all the, the fears and the doubts and all of that, that's a result of how you're thinking about yourself, Your Business, your dissertation or whatever it is that you're doing.
And if you don't have a mechanism in place to really examine your thoughts or be able to start to shift them over time that goes back to like understanding what it is that you want who you want to be and having a a way to like manage that. And that's really why I believe that I had such a hard time with like anxiety and depression. Not to say that it's completely gone, but that's, I think it compounded it I guess. Because I didn't have something in place to help me navigate with that, which then leads to my next one, which I don't know what number I'm on, so we're just gonna go with it. The next thing I would say is that you have to have faith in something bigger than yourself, even if you don't believe in God per se or no, not Christian or whatever.
Having some sort of faith or belief system or this universe, whatever, Buddhism, whatever, that is, having something bigger than you to believe in because there's going to come to a point where you're just going to have to let go and just believe that it's gonna happen. But if you don't have something to anchor yourself, it causes a whole other host of challenges and problems. And then the last thing is to get help because nobody can do it alone. Even people you think are doing it, they, they appear to doing it alone. They're not, they have a team behind them. There's always usually like a person that's like a silent partner that you may not be able to see or they have a community of folks that just helps them. But you cannot do this by yourself as humans. We are not meant to be by ourselves.
And so whatever you have to do, whatever community you have to join, that's going to help you and you will see so much growth and I'm getting distracted cause I'm guessing my job has been announced. So I'm going to go see if it has. But yeah, I wanted to share. Those are the lessons that I've learned. I've been in business for two years. It'll be two years on September 7th. And I'm so excited about what the journey has been and what it will be, and I'm happy to share it with you all. So I be curious to know if any of these lessons resonated with you, anything that you taken from this live, please let me know. DM me, whenever you're watching on the replay and I'm going to do and go, go and do actual work now because I'm supposed to be working. But thank you for watching and I will talk to you later. Do something to show yourself some love. Until next time. Bye for now.
Transcript of Episode:
Hello. So I'm going to record, and this is my last episode in this batch and series. So who knows what will come out of my mouth, but I would like to welcome you to another week. After this I am going to the gym and work out to get some energy. And that ties in perfectly to what I'm going to be talking about today. So today's episode is about how do I get focus or energy. So I received...I Asked folks to give me their questions on Instagram. That's how I figured out what would be the best thing to talk about. And I got a lot of responses about, you know, feeling like don't have energy or I can't focus. Feeling like I should quit my job and then maybe that'll help me finish my dissertation quicker. What else do I have? Health issues. In what ways have you found it helpful to set up yourself for a good night's sleep? Which I also will lump into this category. So yeah, and people just come to me. I mean, I had an episode what, two weeks ago about
How to, Now, I just went blank. Y'all.
Oh, how I balance it all. I'm in a lot, some of that I'm going to talk about this week. But I really want to talk about this feeling of like burnt out. Yeah. Burnt out just over it, exhausted. People will tell you that this is a common thing throughout the phd process or in life. I don't believe that has to be true. I don't believe that at all, especially being on this side of things. Cause it's different when you are working towards a goal and you are like, your body is tired because you've been doing a lot, right? You've been performing but you don't feel burnt out or stressed versus you feel burned out, stressed exhausted and your body feels that way as a result and you don't feel it. You don't find any joy in the process whatsoever. So, you know, like my favorite thing is to look at it particularly like athletes or just even performers, you know, Beyonce, the GOATs. And just thinking about like, you know, like watching your interviews and whatnot and
Them pushing their bodies to the limit to achieve a goal right? To 'em that the way I'm drinking my water. So achieve a goal or to be a better performer or in the field or arena or whatever. That's a different type of stress on the body and energy output. Right? But their mental state is that they're focused on their goal to be the best to win the game, to have more ticket sales. Right? That's a different type of energy and mindset it's not depleting energy. It's building up cause you're working, building momentum towards something. Whereas where most typically I find that people are asking me about is that they feel depleted. They feel like, you know, this dissertation process does not fill them and in, in any way, in any capacity that they're not, they can't find any joy. They're falling out of love with their dissertation and they don't, they are actually thinking of leaving their program and quitting.
And I want to talk about how to get from that energy to more of the, this process. I'm learning a lot. It's filling me up. I feel joy from it. Okay. So I hope that like makes sense. So a lot of what I talk about is like the process and the focus on one thing at a time, right? You can't go from step one to step 10, right? We got to go from step one and step two and how do we do that? And even when we get to like step six and step seven and we can see step ten in the distance, how do we stay at the step six or seven instead of trying to hop over to step 10? Cause again, it doesn't matter how far along you are in the process, you need to continue to do the steps cause that's how you get to step 10 quicker.
Than you trying to jump over all the steps. Okay. so to you know, I had to talk about Beyonce. It's been weeks. I haven't even talked about her. Y'all. Okay. So now I'm big Beyonce fan. And be honest. I had just reached a new high of fame and her career after her third solo album, I feel like a Beyonce historian or something. But after her third solo album, I am Sasha Fierce, right. More people started to know who she was. You have singles like like Single Ladies Diva and the biggest Halo, right? That it's international success. And that tour was bananas, right? She was on a tour for a very long time. And she started to record her fourth album and her but I actually started thinking about that because those things overlap.
And her Mama said to her, hey girl, hey, you're doing the absolute most right. You don't even, she was, she, Beyonce even said like, it got to the point where she didn't know what city she was in country. She was in. Everything started to look the same. She couldn't hear like, she couldn't see like all the fans, it just all became a blur. And she was working all these hours. And if you follow Beyonce you know, like for her to say she was working a lot meant that she was probably working 20 hours a day and not sleeping very much. And so her mom said, hey girl hey, you need to take a break. I don't know what you're doing but you need to take a whole break. So she decided to take a whole year off to experience life. Now you know, that may have been some other reasons why I have my theories, but we don't go with it at face value.
So she took a whole year off where she just traveled the world, she got to reconnect with loved ones. She got to take her nephew to school and be with him and spend some time with him in Paris. I felt like a stalker that I have this information anyway. Uhang out with her husband, get married. Ujust have all these experiences that she said gave her time to reflect and really think about who she was and who she wanted to be and where she saw her career going. Because for all intents and purposes, she had made it to the point that I'm sure she dreamed about right when she was nine years old and wanted that first record deal. Like she had reached a height of success that most people wish they could. Like most recording artists wish they would get to like diva was,uI am Sasha Fierce, excuse me, was like the album of this is it.
Right. And the next level above that, it's a whole new level that most people don't even get to. So this year that she took off I think gave her a lot of time because then when she comes back to introduce album four she also makes the announcement that her father would no longer manage her. She will manage herself, that she will own her own management company and manage herself and have her own team. She will have her own production team. She will be in control, complete control of her whole career. She got married, she got pregnant. And it was also like a new sound because a lot of people don't like four the album. It sounds different than I am Sasha Fierce. It felt more mature it felt, I don't know, it just felt to me, I don't know other language is failing me right now in terms of, it just felt different.
But it gave her space to be able to say like, if I'm going to go to the next level of my career, right, if I'm gonna go to Michael Jackson status, I'm gonna have to get some people who can help me get there because what got me here is not going to get me to that level. The people who I'm grateful for who got me to this height in my career can't get me to their next level of where I'm trying to go. So she cleaned house for the most part, got some new teams, still had core people around her who've been with her from day one. But people rose had to change and they had to adjust and she had to get a new team around her. She had to become more confident or knowing herself because to manage yourself, it's a whole other thing.
Find people who could get her in markets and avenues that she hadn't been in before. You also see differences in Jay z career, but this not about him, and we don't talk about him really that much, but you know, you see them two, that there was a different type of alignment between them two because it's title and all those things started to come out. I'm digressing, we're not talking about Jay Z. But yet you see all these changes and then after four, right, self title comes out, that's a whole new level of success. Lemonade comes out, it's exploding, right? That high is like it is it, but it has, she not taken that year off, got a chance to refocus, change her team around. Right. And then do something different. We wouldn't see the first black woman to headline Coachella though we are today. Now.
What does Beyonce have to do with the dissertation process? I use that as an analogy to say this is your year of, Four like the year before your quote unquote "Four" dissertation comes out. This is your like defining moment up to this point. You've been in school for 20 plus years, right? Like some of us did Pre-k, you got k through 12 you got Undergrad, some of us have master's degrees and then you have your whatever your program is like two to three years of coursework. Right up to this point, we've been in school for a very long time. Meaning we've been showing up to places where someone hands us a syllabus or some sort of information that says this is when you need to meet, here's your schedule. Classes are these days. Here's the topic of the class, here's what we're gonna hear, the sub topics that we're going to cover and use.
This topic that you will learn over the next 16 weeks. Here are the readings that you need to do. Here are the assignments and very great detail to make sure that you understand those sub topics and to make sure you understand the larger topic and here's your exam dates, right? You've been showing up to our room where other people are there in some form of fashion when most of it has probably been in person. Maybe as you have grown in your educational journey and made me more of those classes have been online, but in some capacity you have shown up with other folks to learn about these, this one thing in each of this, in these classes and doing assignments and activities to make sure you have mastered that topic. Someone has been checking in with you weekly if not more. Someone has been responsible for giving you feedback on your mini assignments, someone who's been responsible for planning class discussions, right, and it has helped you to get to this far like get this far in this far being now you're at the dissertation stage in the final thing for you to become Dr for everyone else to know that when they see those three letters behind your name or they see doctor in front of your name, they now know that you are an expert in your field. Right? Because that, that's what that denotes, that you are an expert about this building. You should in theory be able to talk about this and this one area in very great detail in day, you should be a producer of knowledge within this area of focus. Right? So I equate you getting to this point in your dissertation to Beyonce getting to, I am Sasha Fierce, because before that she had what? That would've been four albums, five albums, cause there was a Christmas album, five or six albums with Destiny's child and she would have had three albums of her own, if not more. I'm probably missing some things plus some random singles or whatnot. Right. She had put in a consistent amount of work to get to I am Sasha fierce. Right. She had made it and people had been telling her to do things and is very cookie cutter type way a course like
Yeah, she brought her own thing to it. Right. That's what made her successful. But up to that point, people have been telling her like what's been working over the years and for her to have achieved what has been working and get to a level of success that most people don't get to. She did that, but now it's like, what's next? This is your, what's next? It is up to you to figure it out. So how are you going to now be like Beyonce and manage yourself? Be Your own manager because your chair is there, yes, to guide you and to help you. But really you're leading this ship, especially if you listen to last week's episode, you're leading this. So what are you gonna do? And I would say that one of the biggest reasons why you probably feel like you can't focus and you don't have energy and you're burnt out and you're over it. It's because you haven't either realized that, that you're the one leading this ship or you have realized it and it freaks you out and you're like, I don't know what to do. I'm not ready. So I always say that everything comes back to mindset that you have to come to terms with. I'm the one that's leading this process and I have to show up for myself and that I'm willing to put into the work, put the work in and take ownership of this dissertation process and that I'm ready to do it.
That is really what it is. You believing that you are ready to be the one that's leading your dissertation ship. All these analogies.
That is the first thing. Even if you can't fully believe that you're ready, at least me in saying at least saying that I'm ready to take the next step. Right? I'm on step four. I'm at least ready to go step five. I may not be ready to be at step 10 but I'm the least ready to be at step five. I'm at least ready to figure out what I need to do to be at step five. So that is the first thing of the first way to like shift energy of like getting out of victim mode. Nothing is happening to you. It's happening for you. So you can get out of that mode of like, oh, woe is me. And being like, okay, great. I have control over my actions and my thoughts. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next level. Okay, what do I have to do? That's step one. Step two then is getting some first. So in this, in this this vein of like mindset, I'm taking control. How do you keep this momentum going in your mindset? What is going to be your routine for managing your mind?
I believe that you should have some sort of spiritual component, whether that is God, whether that is meditating, whether that is some eastern practices, whether that's like yoga, having something, being able to believe in something bigger than you to lean on in terms of that you can have faith in. Will help keep you grounded. The third piece is having some sort of daily routine to remind you that yes, you have control over you. And you have something that's bigger than you to help keep you anchored in having some way to reconnect with that thing that's bigger than you and reconnect with yourself. So having some, a daily practice that helps you with that.
The next thing is picking one thing to focus on in the moment. So we're not trying to do the whole dissertation right now on step four. We're just trying to know that our topic and get really clear about what our topic is. And then step five, we're just trying to get done with chapter two. That is it. We're not trying to do chapter three and then jump to chapter two and then think about IRB and then come back to chapter one. Then go to chapter two again. That is how you gotta slow yourself down. Find that one thing that if in the moment it feels like this is too easy or I'm never gonna finish this way, if I just focus on one thing, when you start to think like that, that's how you know you're in the right spot. Finding that one thing that you feel like in your mind. And so easy that you will finish it in no time. Focus on that. Do that first, and then move to the next thing.
How am I going on a rant? I'm avoiding going on rants, but finding one thing to focus on finishing that one thing and then movingq to the next thing. No more doing all the things, because that is why your energy has been divided. That's why you're feeling all over the place. And that's what leads to feeling burnt out. Focusing on one thing, finishing that one thing. And remember when we're finishing that one thing, we're giving it a B minus c plus effort when it gets to that level, right? We're just passing. When we get to that, that's how we know we're finished. We finished it, and we're gonna move on to the next step because we're not getting stuck and making things perfect. Or a is there a plus? No. A a. We're not doing that. We're, we're about making progress over perfection. Okay? And then the final thing going back to Beyonce Who's going to be your people, who's going to be your team? And your team's going to have to change cause we're, we're at a different point now. We're no longer just going to class and being real cute with our assignments and what not. We are writing a dissertation and many of you are writing a dissertation that a lot of people like there's not a lot of other people who have done it before. A lot of you are writing dissertations that is speaking truth to power. This talking about equity and justice. And that's gonna require a different set of team around you because not everybody is woke, quote unquote,
You'll chair might not getting your committee may not get it. They might not have the level or depth of analysis about systemic oppression as you do. And that's a whole separate mistake that you may be making an assumption you may be making that you think everybody knows what you know, that is obvious to them like it is to you, but it's not. And so you're gonna need a team of folks around you who understand what it is that you talk, that you're talking about, that believe in what you're talking about and sees the importance in what you're talking about. Because even if that's not your committee or chair, who else is going to be around you to help you prepare for presenting your, your research and your data to your committee to get that passed. So you can be doctor who's going to be those folks and it doesn't got to be a lot of folks, but having someone who can do that, having people around you who will help you make sure that you're showing up for yourself and for your dissertation consistently having folks who you can bounce ideas off of. Who can push you and make sure like they're giving you things that you probably haven't thought about who can read over your stuff and give you feedback.
Who can love on you when you just having a moment. And you just over it. Cause we all have our moments. Getting you a team in place. Okay. When you have those things. So when you have your,uwhen you take ownership for your life, when you have, you believe in something bigger than you, when you have a daily routine, when you get focused on that one thing that you need to do, and when you have good people around you, I promise you, they, you will see a major shift in your energy and focus. You will even probably believe that you don't even need to quit your job to finish your dissertation because you believe that you know how to do it.
Now, there are some other things about schedules and whatnot and like time management that you need to do, but that is like nothing compared to these five things. These five things are what really will keep you going. And I talk about the other time management productivity, productivity tips on like two weeks ago, that podcast about how I like balance it all. But this will give you a renewed energy because then when we look at Beyonce and we look at after Four the momentum that has happened, the shift in her career to shift how she even showed up, the risks she was, she was able to take the more confident that she even appeared to be. You know, going towards the area of like talking about feminism and women in business and like being free to explore. We started to hear from her more like in terms of her philosophies and career and whatnot and not necessarily her like during the interviews, but that's a whole other thing.
My point is you, you see a shift and so this is now your time to shift. This was the make or break. This is your year that you like reorganize things and get it together because your dissertation is just the beginning. The goal of this is just to be the beginning is not meant to be the best thing that you've ever written is meant to be your starting point. It is your year before you produce. Album four is your year to figure out what it is that you want and where you're going, what you're going to do, and how you can do it. Because after you have those three letters and you are called doctor, there's a what's next? What are you going to do next? Cause a dissertation and a phd is just starting point and I want to see amazing things from you and I want to see you do great things, but it starts here. So I would love to know what you thought about this week's episodes. Any ah-has, any takeaways. Come on over to Instagram at @Marvettelacy and let me know. Or you can come over to Facebook at Qual Scholars Facebook group and we will be happy to talk with you about the podcast. That is all for this week. I'm going to the gym. I'm going to eat lunch and enjoy the rest of my day. So until next time, do something to show yourself some love. Bye for now.
Hello, it's Marvette! I'm back again. So this week's episode comes from a question I received on Instagram from the impressive educator who said how to keep committee on schedule so I can finish. And this is a pretty common question that I receive from folks who in some form or fashion, they are having trouble with communication from their chair or their whole committee. They can't get everyone in the same room at the same time. They are trying to get feedback, but it has been like weeks and they haven't heard anything. And this can make for a very frustrating parts of the process. So what I'm going to share is some things that you can do at the start of your dissertation journey. When you have all your like committee members in place or even just if you're starting us off with your chair. I also believe that this would work even if you're in the middle of your process and you find yourself like, you know, things were cool in the beginning, but now they're not in, you're having trouble.
I would just say also adapt some of these strategies. To help make life a little bit more bearable when it comes to committees and whatnot. Again, the short answer I would say is people have whole lives. Your chair and your committee, they have whole lives. They have other folks that they are advising or serving on other committees. They have their own research projects in writings that they have to do. They have classes that they're teaching other service things, life, family, friends, right? Like their whole thing isn't about you pause, full stop. And so it is really up to you to do everything in your power to make this a very seamless process as possible, right? Because at the end of the day, it is your dissertation. It is your degree, it is your journey. And so the dissertation process is very much guided by you.
You're controlling it. And up to this point you have been used to people telling you, being very prescriptive with you and telling you exactly what it is that you need to do and where you need to show up, how you need to do those things. And you learn really quickly that the dissertation process is the opposite. It because it depends on you. Like if you don't show up and write and do what you need to do, they can't do what they need to do for you. So that's a little mini rant there. I just wanted to make that note of like, that's my short answer of like, you need to be the one that is driving this process as much as possible. Not that you're telling your chair or anybody when you're gonna like that, you will be defending and they have to, you know, agree to that.
That's a whole other thing. What I am saying is, as much as you can control, the communication part, and I'm using the word control, and maybe that's the wrong word, but as much as you can be organized in, get clear on expectations for the process, the more that like, the easier or simpler it will be for everyone involved is really where I'm going with that. Okay. So I wrote my notes on an old envelope, let's hope that, I can remember what order I want to go in. Yeah, I'm going to be better. I'm going to get a system that's better. But you know, again, if you know me and listened to last week's podcast, I'm over here about the B minus, C plus work. So yeah. Okay. So you get to the point where you are ready to do like the dissertation process. You're like, I'm good.
Let's go. The first thing you need to do is create or think about a plan for the dissertation process. And I would even say take it one section at a time. So section meaning dissertation proposal is one section, collecting data and analyzing data as a second section, and finishing writing, chapter four and five edits and all of that is a third section, right? So depending on what stage you're in, just choosing that one part, we don't need to have the whole answer yet. Just choosing the one partner that you're in. So for the sake of this conversation, let's just say you're working on your dissertation proposal, right? You're at the beginning of it. Hmm. Deciding when is your ideal end date? Like when would you like to defend your proposal? If you have a process in which you're defending it, but when would you like to defend it?
I suggest for people to at the least say four months out. Okay. But if it's even longer, six months to give yourself even more time, that works too. Because life will happen, other things will come up and it's a whole journey. So you want to give yourself as much time because even if you finish early, then that's fine. You can just move the date, but there's no point to stress yourself out trying to meet this very quick deadline and trying to do it in two weeks. And you'd stress yourself out and you don't meet that and then you're beating yourself up. And then it takes you even longer to finish your proposal because now you have to go through months and months of saying like, I'm a failure. I didn't do this. You know, the whole shame spiral that many of us go down. You have to go through that process and you have to pick yourself back up and then you have to start back all over again because you don't remember what you were writing before you went down a whole spiral.
And so you look up a whole year has passed and you still don't have a proposal. I don't want that for you. So I would say my suggestion would be four months from today or whenever you're planning is a good timeline to say, I will have this proposal done and be ready to defend it. Or at least I'll be submitting it to the committee for final review. Okay. So being clear about, okay, that's your overall goal, right? And then breaking that down into chunks and saying roughly how much time is it going to take you to do each portion of your proposal. So I say aim for four to six weeks for each chapter or section. Now some of you may have panicked a little bit but if you work with me or been around me on any length of time, then I believe in you writing very... I'm not going to curse on here, "workable" drafts. And then the editing is a whole different thing in with that system you, you are able to get chapters done in the four to six time period. Plus when you, wherever you start, which most people start with chapter two, I say that that whatever your starting point takes the longest. And once you get into a groove or writing the chapters that follow go much quicker cause you're already, you already have a system, right? So I say give yourself about four to six weeks for each section and I want you to write down those dates. So your first date is I will have my dissertation proposal done by x date. So four months out and then for each chapter, four to six weeks. These are the dates, right? So where we are in, I think this is September, we're in, I record these ahead of time. So I had to like do the math in my head. So like just say this is September 1st right at the time of recording.
So let's see that October, November, December right. So say by January 1st right, you're gonna have the whole proposal done, ready to send to your committee for final review, right? So then September could be by like October 1st I'm going to have chapter two. This will be the system I would use. October 1st I'll have chapter two November 1st I'll have chapter three. December 1st I would have had chapter one, I would spend all of December editing, make, polishing, APA, all those things so that I can then have a final draft to submit to my committee by January 1st. That's a very simple plan to follow. That's what I would do, okay. So first you need to figure that out because you need a plan. Have a very dear mentor who said that you got to show up with something where you're asking folks for help. So this is, you're showing up with something.
So having that plan going in, right? The second thing is having a topic, I would argue to say that you have your topic, you have, this is the problem I'm solving with this topic and having the why we need to solve this problem. For the topic. Those are the three main things I would say you need to know before you talk to anybody, chair, whatever. So you have your schedule of when you want things to get done and then you have your topic, the problem and the "so what". And really take time to work on the topic problem. And so what to get it down to. It should be three sentences at most 50 words at most. Nobody wants to hear you ramble on and on trying to explain. They just want to know what it is. You will notice that a lot of this of what I'm going to cover is you being concise and clear on what it is that you want to do.
Okay? And again, it doesn't have to be perfect. We just need a starting point. So once you have done your pre-work, then you want to send an email to your chair. Most people know who their chairs are before you necessarily know who your committee members cause that. I mean that's a whole process. Sometimes it takes a little bit, but I would encourage you to follow the same process for each committee member, if that makes sense. Okay. So then you have your pre-work later you're going to send them an email and you're going to be like, hey chair, it's me. I would like to schedule some time with you to talk about my dissertation process. I have taken some time to think about and outline like a rough schedule in the rough idea of what I'm going to do. And I will love to meet with you to discuss a few things.
I want to talk to you about my overall dissertation plan. I want to talk about communication styles. I want to talk about feedback, expectations. And, I want to talk about scheduling additional meetings. This meeting will only, take no more than 30 minutes because I want to be respectful of your time. Please see the following questions that I would like to discuss to give you some time to prepare answers. Here is some times that work for me. What works for you. Look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day. Your favorite doc student, that's what your email should say. You want to treat this relationship in this way to set up, especially in the beginning. It's just, it's helpful for everybody to know expectations and being clear about what's going on. Because when you start flying by the seat of your pants, is that the saying?
And even if you have a very close relationship with your chair, things can start to get really muddy. When you get deep into the dissertation zone and you are frustrated and you're over it, things can get muddy. And so it's best to set up clear things or to start this off this way. So you both know and, no matter how much you enjoy being with your chair, they enjoy being with you. No shade, nobody has the time to sit with you for hours and hours and hours. Okay. And if they are doing, if they're doing that, yeah, if they are doing that with you, they're doing it out of the very kindness of their heart. But they got shit to do. I said I wasn't gonna curse. It didn't last. They got, they got things to do. And that's only so long you're going to be able to do that with you.
Now this is like a summer or as a slow point then maybe they've got time to sit there, but more than likely they don't have time to sit there with you for hours and hours. And so that means you've got to come prepared and being very clear about what it is that you want to talk about. Here's a side rant, please stop scheduling meetings with anybody, whether it be your chair committee member or the faculty member telling them you just want to go in there and talk. Now it's different if both of you are on the same page and you know that y'all are scheduling meeting for the purpose of kiki-ing. That's different. However, if you're scheduling a meeting with the intention of you're supposed to do actual work and talk about your actual dissertation, then it is up to you as a doctoral student to come in there with a plan of what you want to talk about and what you want to accomplish, right.
To have a starting place. So everybody is clear on the focus of that meeting. Second of all, it is very important to before the meeting send an email to say, here are the things that I would like to talk about because you give the other person a chance to prepare for that and to prepare their thoughts. Especially my introverted friends, you give them time and they're not caught off guard and you're not using precious meeting minutes, minutes or time to for people to have to look up stuff and have to like figure out things they could've done before so that your meeting can be as productive and short as possible. Because again, nobody likes meetings, especially when you open up your calendar and that's all you see. Nobody likes it. And then you know, that meme that goes around us at this meeting could have been been an email.
If you have, if you would've put down the things that you wanted to discuss and your questions ahead of time, most of them could have been, could be answered before you even step foot in the office with your chair. Or you can eliminate that time and get to work even quicker. But this is not this. No, this is not social time. Your chair doesn't need to be your best friend. It's good at it. You can have that relationship. However it is time for you to graduate, for you to finish a dissertation and not, we don't have time for you to keep scheduling meetings every week to go chitchat. Okay. I'm done with my rant. All right, so that first email, you're going to list some questions and I'm going to talk to you about what those questions and those topics are for the rest of this podcast episode.
Okay. So so the first thing is I highly encourage people to use some sort of scheduling software or a scheduling system. The most frustrating part is going back and forth with a person about what time do you have available, oh, is that day open? Well, this does this work for you. It takes too much time and it's too many emails speaks. Like from someone who hates checking email. I hate that even more that we got to go back and forth and figure it out a time. So I highly suggest that you find something like I use acuity scheduling A, C, U. I, T. Y, that's there's Calendly, C, A. L. E. N. D. L. Y. Um, I've seen folks use, she's like Google and sharing like a spreadsheet and having available times and slots. Now this is going to require you to be organized on your end to say, when am I available and when I'm going to, when am I going to do meetings every week?
Side note to the side note: I would even suggest that you have one or two days per week where you only do meetings with other folks no matter if you are a full time Grad student, you have, you work nine to five or whatever. Organizing your life in this way makes you so much more productive because you don't have a meeting over here, a meeting over there or I go do these things. Have one to two days, two days where you only do meetings right? Go set up a free account on one of these apps because they're free and you block off chunks of time. So say like you're going to do meetings Tuesday and Thursday from nine to 12. Great. You put that in the app and then when it comes down to scheduling meetings with people, you just send them the link.
And say find the best time for you. In admin world. People love to, especially in student affairs. That's why administrators love to use outlook. You know, people quick to put a meeting on your calendar. And so I would also suggest that you block off times that you are not available and only have those times free again, if you're going to do those two days, Tuesday and Thursday from nine to 12 at your nine to five, that you're only going to do meetings with folks outside of your office. Just make sure those, those are the only times available for people to make meetings. Okay? So yes, get your nap, organize your life. Have these set times so that when you write this email to your chair committee member, you have that link in there. Now they have their own process even better cause you can go ahead and just schedule the first meeting but a lot of people don't.
So you be proactive and you have your own link to say here's my link for scheduling or my availability. If it doesn't work for you, please let me know. Right. Cause we also want to be flexible that everybody's on your time. Okay. So the first thing is having the the app, the email scheduling app, right? The second thing then is you want to ask them what their preference for communication is. So you know, I want to make the most of our time. If I have a quick question, what would be the best way to communicate with you? If I have something where I want to talk things out, what would be the best way to communicate with you? And what what frequency of meetings do you feel works best for you when you're working with someone in their dissertation?
Right. So some preferences for communication could be people prefer email to communicate by email, especially if it's a quick question or something like that. People, some people prefer like face to face meeting meetings. Some people prefer you call them or text them, but you want to ask them how they prefer communication. Again, because we're setting up expectations. So it was very clear to say if it's a quick question, if it's something where you know, you need to talk things out or if you need to share progress, asking them their thoughts about that and then asking them how often, would they like to meet with you throughout the semester or throughout the dissertation process.
Okay. as far as the frequency of meetings, I would say to give more structure around that, tell them, you know, like as a starting point, I was thinking that if it's your chair, I would say scheduling at least three to four meetings per semester. If it's a committee member, I would just say two meetings a semester or in this four month period, whenever that is starting for you. And say, you know, I think two to four meetings a semester works well. Each meeting will be no more than 30 minutes. These meetings would be used to share with you my progress, what I've been working on. It will be used to tell you where I'm stuck or that I have questions that are not able to be answered by the quick question method that we have. And I'm going to tell you what I've done to work on the problem that I'm having and how I believe that you can help me. So I'm a side note again. So whenever you are asking someone for help and you are scheduling a meeting with your chair or these update meetings throughout the semester, you again, you always need to be doing your work before the meeting. You want to ask yourself before you step foot in our office, you want to write this down and be able to clearly articulate what have you been working on since the last meeting?
Where are you stuck? What haven't you been able to do? What questions are lingering? The third thing, what have you done to answer those questions? To get unstuck, to solve your own problem, what have you done already and then for how do you think your chair or committee member can help you get unstuck? Again, we're not going to meeting in nobody's office to just ramble. You are taking ownership of your process. You are taking ownership of what you can do and what you have control over and we are not expecting people to do the work for us. So if you don't have answers to those four questions before you walk into somebody's office, you can give me to cancel your appointment because no one is doing the work for you. This is your dissertation, it's your degree. This, I'm saying real harsh.
It is what it is, but I'm willing to bet that the reason why most of you are having trouble with your committee or with your chair or keeping them on track is because you didn't do what you was supposed to do. You're not like, and you're not doing what you need to do to organize yourself and you're not putting in the work to solve your own problems. But instead you think everybody else needs to solve your problems and you're probably saying, oh, it's unfair and that nobody wants to help me, but you're not doing what you're supposed to do. So if you can't answer what you've been doing, what your progress is, if you can't identify for yourself where you're stuck and what you've done to get unstuck or what questions you have, and if you can't clearly articulate to the person and you're asking for help, how they should help you, then you need to cancel that meeting.
Okay? Sure. Sometimes you can't all the way, like figure out what it is and you, you can't know what you don't know. However, you can sit there and try. You can try to write some things. I have some sort of starting point. So putting in some effort because why should someone put more effort into solving your problems than you are? Okay. End rant. Y'all, I'm getting hot. I'm getting hot. Okay, so we have, you did your pre-work, you're going to write an initial email to your committee or chair member. You're going to email them this outline that we're going over right now.
You know, I'm also going, I'm gonna make this like, I'm going to put this on the website, like the transcript of the podcast is already on the website, but I'm going to make this something that you can download so that you can have it for your reference when you are setting up this process. Okay? So you're gonna send the email, you're going to set up your own scheduling app, right? You're going to ask them about their preference of communication. Whether that's a quick question, whether that's something more that you all have to talk out. You're going to ask them about their, their preference for frequency of meeting and how they want to do that, right? For every meeting, it's gonna be no more than 30 minutes unless you all decide that it's going to be something different. But are we're going to try our best to be respectful of folks' time.
So no more than 30 minutes and you're going to come into that meeting saying what you've worked on, where you're stuck, what you've done to get unstuck, and how you think they can help you, and you're going to send that email like you're going to send it and answers to those four questions ahead of every meeting. So every meeting needs to have an email of an agenda or things that you want to talk about to give folks time to prepare for you. And then whether they do or they don't has nothing to do with you. It's not your business if they prepared or not. It is your business to know that you did everything that you could do to make that meeting as efficient as possible.
Okay. For that first meeting, you're also in, periodically you're going to ask them about their schedule. Right? So you knowing your pre-work that you have planned to finish your proposal in the next four months. Right? Asking them, do you have any significant days that I should be aware of for the next four months? Are there going to be times where you're not going to be available or you're going to be off contract, you're going to be on vacation, you want to be on sabbatical. What is that like so that you can prepare that during these times they're not going to probably going to be responsive and so you can plan accordingly. Okay. You want to ask them that because most people know that ahead of time. The final thing that you want to ask about is feedback, you want to ask them about their philosophy as it relates to feedback.
What type of feedback do they provide? Are they like Oh it's good if they read your whole 30 page thing, I'm gonna come back to that too in a minute, but, or are they someone who get very light? It gives very detailed feedback. Like are you going to open up the document and want to close it back because you see all these bubbles and marks and things of whatnot. Asking them how they give feedback. If you don't know that already, ask them about how long they need to to review a document and to give you feedback in like when you should expect it. So if you turn it in on Monday, when should you expect it back? Do they need like 72 hours a week, two weeks? How long do they need? So again, that you can plan accordingly. And then do they prefer that the thing that they are giving you feedback, does it have to be absolutely Polish and perfect or would they like to see more consistent drabs even if they are not as perfect as you go along?
Asking them and asking them what they care most about. So some people really care that they don't care about your content because they know that you can edit, but they really, they're a stickler for APA. Or maybe they're like, APA can come later, but I really care about if you're using citations or I really care about that, this is a readable paper and it's structured properly. Again, asking them these questions and being very detailed about that again, will help set the expectations for you. So you know you can prepare yourself. This may seem like a lot in one meeting, but again, this is why we're going to put it all in one email because you need to know what you're doing and what you, how you should be working for the next four months because these, this is the person or these are the people who decide whether or not you move on or not and you want to make sure you know who they are, their expectations, what you're getting yourself into. Right. And then you may also want to ask them, do they have any other suggestions for you as a student who is completing our dissertation? Any like things that worked really well with other advisors that they have things that they've done in their own process that they think would work well for you at any piff pitfalls to avoid.
Doing all of this and getting all of this out of the way will help tremendously. It will help you avoid feeling as frustrated and annoyed. Right? Because again, we don't have control over what other people do or don't do. But you do have control over what you do. And so if you again, can make sure that you do these things ahead of time as much as possible. And again, go ahead and download the pdf and use that. I don't care if you use my words verbatim, I just care about that you are getting what you need.
Okay, so that is all, I hope that is helpful. I would love if you came over to Instagram at @MarvetteLacy, and tell me anything that you are taking away from today's episode in Aha moments. Let's just continue the conversation there. Also, you can come over to the Facebook group, Qual Scholars. We are there talking to them about today's episode too, and it's just a community of awesome doctoral students supporting, helping one another. So that is it for this week's episode. I hope you have a great week and until next time, do something to show yourself some love. Bye for now.
Transcript of Episode:
Good Morning! So I am going gonna try something different. I am recording a podcast and I'm also going to video record it just to see how it works out. So we are at the time that this would be released, we will be finishing up or coming to the end of August and many of you are just starting your semester really like reality has hit you. And so you may be wondering how to balance it all. I also get the question a lot about how do I balance a nine to five, having a business and writing and keeping my sanity and in general or like my short answer to that would be I don't believe in balance per se. Like in the sense of everything gets an equal amount of time and energy. I believe in harmony in things you choose in life or you schedule out or design it to the best of your ability in a way that works best together.
And when things are in harmony, sometimes some areas. Sometimes some areas in your life receive different amounts of energy and time. So like at the beginning of the semester, you know schoolwork, and writing might take priority over your business or even like your free time with family and friends, right? And vice versa depending on what season you're in. So we all have a season things at different points in seasons take different time and energy and the goal isn't to be perfect, but continuously striving to do your best and to keep moving forward no matter how slow you had to move. So that's the short answer, but I'm sure you're like, okay, well what are more tangible ways to do that, right? And I also don't have notes so this is going to be really dangerous cause I'm going to just be talking off the top of my head.
So let's hope that it's, you know, it's organized in a way that you can best receive it. Right? So the first thing mostly when people are asking me this question, they are looking for very like tangible. Tell me the steps and sure people can tell you steps and tell you like, this is what I do. Right, but is that going to help you. And before we even get to actual like steps or tangible do these things. You first have to start with your mind and mindset. As cliche as that sounds, everything comes from how you think about life, how you think about yourself, how you'd think about the things that you have to do. And one of the most difficult lessons for me was choosing those key things that I wanted to focus on and being okay with letting the other things and other people go because I am a recovering people pleaser and you know, I just want people to be happy.
I want to try to be there for the people that I love. I want to give as much as possible. If you are familiar with the enneagram assessment, I am a two. And so people pleasing is in my nature. I'm working very hard on my mindset to remove the unhealthy aspects of people pleasing. But that was the most difficult thing in my mind. I'm like, I love people and I love the people who are in my life and I want to help them. And doing so as a detriment or neglecting of myself, my needs, my goals from the outside looking in, people would say, but you're still doing so much or accomplishing things. Yeah. But it was at the expense of my health and just general wellbeing. And so something really had to change. And when I graduated my doctoral program and move into this full time role as the women's resource center director, I realized that I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.
So when I first started the role, I would I had moved away. So school wasn't a thing per se, but I still had writing projects or research teams. I was a part of. And, I was really focusing on my business and trying to get that up and get clients and stop playing around like I was doing for the previous seven or six months before. And I was at a new place where I didn't really know anyone. Family, it was like two hours away. But in Milwaukee, not knowing anyone and so starting over. And so I'm always like, well I can bury myself in work until I meet people. And so I would wake up around like five, six o'clock and then I would do like an hour and a half to two hours of work on my business. I would go to work from like nine to five and then from five 30, cause I would drive straight to Starbucks from five 30 to when it closed at 10. I was doing work on my quote unquote business making no money.
I think I had maybe one client who did not pay me very much and I was putting in hours and I was doing this like not only was I doing this Monday through Friday, putting on all these hours, but then I would also go on Saturday and work the whole day from like eight or nine until it close. Like I didn't leave Starbucks, I was still in dissertation mode. But I didn't leave Starbucks. I would order in foods and then I would go home, sleep, wake up and do it all over again on Sunday. And that was like weeks and weeks and weeks of doing that until a, of course I hit a wall because you can only do that for so much, especially when you're not seeing other people in real life or talking to anyone. I mean, I saw people at work, but again, they were unfamiliar because it was a new job and I wasn't necessarily going home all the time either. And so it was just very lonely experience. I was overworked, I was tired. And I was really frustrated because at that point I thought like, time equals money. And so if I was putting in all of these hours, why wasn't the money coming that match the amount of work that I was putting in?
And I had to find something to be like this, this is ridiculous, right? This is not this, not this. It can't work. So now this side of things like I, I do not work seven days in my business. I work three to four days depending on the week and each day is roughly that I'm working is around the anywhere from three to five hours. My goal is to stay under 15 hours total a week for the business. And so that I can have time to still do my job effectively and still have time for writing and writing, setting aside like six to eight hours a week. To do that. I will admit that I haven't been writing as one should. Cause I've been making excuses. But again, this whole harmony thing of it's there, there's time allotted for it. It's just hasn't been my focus of, of late because I've had other major projects that are loosely related to writing and academic side of things.
That will be revealed shortly. But I've been doing that instead of like actually sitting down and writing for publications. Okay. That was a whole tangent. But I wanted to give you an idea of where I am now. I am making way more, like I'm actually profitable in my business. It's, it's steadily growing month after month after month and I'm doing very well at my job getting what do you call it? Getting praise wasn't the word I was looking for, but getting praise for my performance. And actually, you know, being around people and spending time with loved ones and friends and so I feel like it's a more healthy version of what I was doing two years ago. And I'm very excited and so not to say that it's never difficult and at the side that I don't slip back into old patterns because I do have like doing the most and having to pull myself out of there, I can say that I can do that quicker now, pulling myself out of it and I can easily or more easily catch myself when I'm slipping to those patterns and seeing how and correcting myself and taking the time when I need it.
So you're like, okay, well that's great. You've been talking for a very long time. Please tell us how you're doing it. So I started off by saying first was the mindset of having to really think about like what type of life do I want to have? Like in this season that I'm gonna work a nine oh five I'm going to have a business and I still want to be publishing. What does the ideal day look like for me? Right? Like if I could, if I had a magic wand and I could do whatever, how would I feel throughout my day? Cause cause two years ago I was feeling very rushed and very frustrated and very like desperate for things to work. It was just very like desperate, high anxiety energy. And that was just making me feel even more beat down. And so I, so it's easy for us to say how we don't want to feel, but it can be difficult to say how we do want to feel.
And so that's a question that I encourage you to journal on or to think about or to talk into your phone using your voice notes or whatever app that you have and really ask yourself over a several day period of if I could feel anyway, how would I have my day could look anyway. What would that look like? You know, like how much time in a week would you like to spend with family and friends? How much time ideally would you like to work on your side hustle? How much money would you want to make on your side hustle? How much writing would you ideally like to get done? How would you like to feel while you were doing those writing projects? How many publications a year would you like to have? If you're still in courses, how do you want to feel when you go into class?
How do you want to feel when you're preparing for class? How do you want to feel when you're writing? What's your ideal? Would you like to have assignments done a week ahead of time? Now? I don't know these people, I don't, I mean, but there's some people, some of y'all like to do that. Me and my procrastination tendencies, we like to, there's a deadline. There's deadline. That was a tangent. But just thinking about those things of do you not want to be a procrastinator anymore? What do you want? It's the central question. Like what do you want? It could be one of the most difficult questions if it is the most powerful question because a lot of time a lot of us have been socialized to not think about what it is that we want. I was having a conversation where my brother who was saying that a friend of his was saying that you can't when you, cause they were talking about praying, saying doesn't pray or ask for too much because if you asked for too much then you won't get it.
But if you asked for a little, you will you more likely to get that. And my brother was saying how he was listening to Steve Harvey and Steve Harvey said the opposite of, Yeah. If you keep asking for a little, you didn't get a little bit of, you asked for a lot, you make your intentions known, then you'll, that's where the real magic happens. And there's a whole another podcast that I will make a note to go out to get more into that question. But I want to get to the other things that I've done for this episode. But really it comes down to what do you want and don't speak in generalities. Speak in very clear details because you are going to be working, you're going to put in this effort and time and how would you know if you made it to your destination if you don't know what your destination is.
Like how do you know if you're being successful by your own standards if you haven't defined yourself for yourself, catch the quote Okay. Hashtag side assistant. Yeah, if you haven't defined it for yourself, what do you want? So once you figure that out, then designing your life in a way to achieve what you want. Cause that makes it easier. So that's what I did. I sat down and was like, why do I want this to look like? I don't want to be working every day in my business. I don't want to feel like every time I sit down to do something, it's taken me forever and I don't have anything to show for it. I don't want to go to work. And I know I said it was easier, right? But this is how I started. I was like, I don't want to go to work dreading work and not liking what I was doing and I just don't want to go home every night just feeling like, why am I here? So instead I said, it would be nice if ideally I could just work three to four days a week in my business. It would be nice that when I went to work, it was clear that it was a system. I felt good. I felt like I was actually making a change. Uand it would be nice if I could have at least two publications come out every year.
That was what I said I wanted. Okay. So I did that. The next step then was I hired a coach, several coaches actually, but I hired two coaches to start off with. I, I had one before, but I realized that wasn't the fit that I was looking for. And so I signed up to work with two other coaches. One coach was going to, well yeah, one coach was going to help me in organizing the systems for my business too because I was doing too much and I didn't have a set routine or a system to follow because I was just trying to brainstorm and do all these things where I will see something on Instagram and then I would try it again. So I got a set system, right. Hire someone to help me with that and to stop doing team too much. That's, I mean, I know Tamar says it was also like her tagline, so get off the team too much.
And then I found, and then I hired a coach to help me with my health and my like mindset and all of that. Right. So I had some accountability there and it had some support and I had someone that I could go to and ask for guidance because sure you can do this alone alone and you can try to Google everything, but you're going to keep spinning your wheels and putting in all this time like I was doing all those days and hours. And it is 10 times a hundred times a billion times better to just find someone who can help you get there without us and all that time and money. Because you may think, well I don't have the money to hire a coach. Okay. But I would say how much money will, will it cause you not to hire someone and money or at what? Or what would it cost you in terms of your time, in terms of your wellbeing and in terms of everything, like at what costs with friends and family? Will you have to pay for not hiring someone to help you.
Right? Cause that's also another podcast with money, it's just an exchange of energy. And if you're just trying to keep it, keep it and hoard it then you're telling whoever your God is universe, whatever, that you don't need anymore cause you, you're okay with what you have cause you're holding so tight onto it. So yeah. So hire someone to help me to get a plan. Right. And three, I looked at really how I was spending my time and as I was looking at my time, looking at what was I actually producing. So a lot of times we've been told to write a to do list of things that like we may say like emails, grocery store um. Reading assignments, the class a chapter two, right? We might write our to do list like that. And when you start your day, you just may take the list and just start from the top and go from there.
Right. You may not, prioritize it, you may not really think about how long those things are going to take you or if you were like me three years ago you got really deep into trying to plan out your life and made it a whole hobby and had stickers and three, four planners that you would spend hours every Sunday decorating and trying to figure out the best way only to get to Saturday of the week and not have any of it done. But I digress. But yeah, we've been taught to like write out to do lists like that and instead thinking about, okay, what is going to happen at the end by, by you doing these things on the lists, what will that produce? And that's really the list that you should be having is the one, what am I going to produce? What are my results? I got this concept from the life coach school, which is a podcast that I have been listening to for, Ooh, I don't know, like four or five years, six years. It's been a long time. But I'm Brooke Castillo, who is the host of that podcast talks about having a results list instead of a to do list. So what do you want to achieve?
Right. So instead of me saying I need to write my monthly emails, I would say 15 emails scheduled in my email management system and then I would go to my calendar and actually plug in or where I was going to do that and give myself a set amount of time. And that's the only time that I had to do it. So when I'm writing, I give myself like two hours and at the end of that two hours, that is it. We're done, we're done. It doesn't matter if it's not finished, we're looking for like B minus c plus work and we're putting it out because I also know that like I was trying to make things perfect and make sure I didn't have any typos. That's not real life. And I'm not saying that you shouldn't care about the quality of things that you're putting out.
However, a lot of us use that as an excuse to stop making progress or to stop moving forward. So I always am in my head saying B minus C plus work. Is it good enough for that? Okay, we're done. And I move on to the next thing that I'm supposed to do. At first putting everything in my calendar a little bit. It's a little bit scary to open it and see all of it. So I don't do it for the whole month because I can't, my brain cannot handle that. But I do that for the week. And if I'm really having a hard time, I do it for the day just to say like, I'm getting these things, these things done and this is what I'm going to do it so that my brain does not have to think throughout the day and I can just look at my calendar. Okay, I need to do this, I need to do that. Right. It's like your results list, but to go a step back, right? So you have a results list and you have the things that you, you know, want to produce right. Get done. I also, before I even schedule it on my calendar, I say what are the things that only I can do?
I highlight the things that only I can do. Like I am the only one who can record this podcast right now. I am the only one in my business who can coach. I am the only one ethically, I mean the only one who can write my section of the paper or write my article, right? However, there's a whole other list of things that I'm not the only one who can do it. So if I have something that needs to be mailed out to clients, I don't have to do that. Someone else can do that. Um if I need to go get a couple of items from the store, I don't have to be the one that does that. There's Apps, there's other people that can do that. Right? So looking at your list, what are the things that only you can do? And I want you to be honest, I don't want you to, I want you to try to step out of your controlling tendencies. Cause I know you, yes. You step out of your controlling tendencies. Like do you have to be the one to do that? Or you're just doing it because you don't trust anyone else to do it? Remember, if the goal is to do B plus, I mean to do B minus, c plus work. Do you have to be the one that does it or are you just trying to control the outcome or what's happening?
So those things that you don't have to be the one that does it. You need to identify as someone who who can do it, whether that's friends and or family or, or people in your office, nine to five, like especially if you're the director or something like that. Are you doing things that you have no business doing that maybe other employees could do? Or are you looking and holding tight to something and being controlling about it because you want it to be perfect? Are you doing things that is just taken up a bunch of time, but it's very simple to do that. You could show somebody else to do do it.
So what I did was I hired my first person at like a virtual assistant to work to do things for me for five hours a week. A lot of times I was really scared cause I was like, who am I to hire someone? And I don't know if I want to pay that money, but let me tell you that it was the best decision I've ever, ever, ever made. Sure. In the beginning there's going to be a little bit of like slow down a little bit going backwards because you have to stop and train that person and tell them what it is that you need. And be very clear about what you need them to do and how they should do it. Right. But once you get past that point, I cannot explain to you how much that frees up your time, your mind, your capacity to get things done.
And there are so many people out there, you know, people, you know, other people like who just, they need a little bit of money. And five hours a week? Hell if it's even if it's only like two to three hours a week. Because I want you to think about, cause you know, I just did this, I want you to think about how much money you're spending on eating out or doing things or spending money on things that just doesn't, they don't, they don't matter. [inaudible] And you could take that money and say, hey, so and so, would you mind working doing some things or having me out for two to three hours a week because that, I mean it will just be a big help and I'll pay you.
And what you choose to choose to pay is y'all business. But yeah, what you consider to be fair, what agreement you come up with. Would you mind doing this? Also not being afraid to ask friends and family for help too, for things that are maybe more personal that you don't feel comfortable asking someone who may not, who may be a stranger cause your friends and family wants to help you. Cause again, people like me, I'm like, I don't want to burden them. They already have a going on, but that doesn't stop You have a lot going on and it doesn't stop you from helping them and people want to be able to reciprocate, especially if it's a good relationship. A loving, caring relationship. They want to be able to give back and pour into you just like you're giving to them and pouring into them.
So allow people that chance to help you. And, Being very clear about what it is or how they can help you, does wonders too. That will make people more willing to show up for you. So if you say, hey, can you go drop this off at the post office in the next two days? That's very clear. Then like, I dunno, I just need help running errands. That's not clear. Or have you say, hey, so and so, I know you like to go to get your groceries on Monday. Would you mind picking me up some ice coffee on your way? Because you probably only have to go to the store for one thing where they're doing their whole shop or you know, paying the extra whatever, 10, $20 a month to be a part of like a shoppers app like instacart or shipped or Amazon is Amazon pantry or fresh one of those and getting your groceries delivered. I know I'm talking about groceries. A lot of it is because I really hate going grocery shopping and so if at any point someone could go get the groceries for me, I'm all for that. And I feel like it just takes up a lot of time. I don't know what it is about grocery stores is a time suck.
Okay. Some other things that I used to ask, like I asked people to do is I do a lot of writing. I had to do a lot of writing in terms of for my business, in terms of emails, blog posts when I was, when I was doing blog posts Instagram captions or just, or even writing for publications, I would, you know, I like to do the shitty first draft. I would do that. And then I would just send it to one of my virtual assistants to edit. Right. And it doesn't mean that they like this is what they do, that there's like they're like English majors or anything that's not it. It's just helpful to get somebody else's eyes on it and for them to do that like first round of edits so that when I get it back I can read it and I can go faster.
Most of the time when it's emails or something for like social media, I just go ahead and post it because again, we are about B minus c plus work, but when it's like publications and you know reviewer too, I don't want to hear them. I will then go back and like rework it and rewrite it. But having someone that I can just know that I need to send it to and I only have a certain amount of time to send it to them and it's like my virtual assistant that gives me the accountability. I need to go ahead and write it. And it takes the pressure off because I know that's not the final version. Someone's going to give me eyes on it and not have more time to write. It is also helpful. So I just as you are thinking about what it is that you want and you think about writing your results list and you're thinking about the things that only you can do versus the things you need to delegate, I highly, highly would encourage you to hire someone for like two to five hours a week to help you do those things.
And again, I know there's a lot of mindset things that comes with that, but that's why I said you working on your mindset, it's the number one thing and the most important thing. Okay. So talked about that. You know, figuring out what I wanted, prioritizing my time. Hiring out help, getting coaches. And then the final thing that I would say that really has helped me to quote unquote balance at all is making sure that I'm taking time for me. I'm not in a, so self care this also let me write all these down cause you know, self care is a whole other thing. To me. Self care is not necessarily about bubble baths and going to get massages and the capitalistic sort of way self care for me is doing what you know you need to do so you can do what you want to do.
Right. So part of those things that I just shared with you is it's what I need to do. And being more consistent with that. And then the other part that I started to focus on is doing things that I want to do, having a way to give back and pour back into me. So the first thing I did was go to hot yoga. And at first it was the thing that I needed to do. I did not want to do it, but I said that I needed to do some sort of physical activity and at that time I was not, I did not want to go back to the gym. I just wasn't feeling it. It was freezing outside and I wasn't going outside to walk. And so I was like, you know, like yoga doesn't.. You don't have to do too much. And I'm like, I'm a jazz it up and making it one notch harder, I'm going to go do hot yoga. For those of you who do not know the room at any point is depending on the studio is like around 85 to 90 degrees. With like, I don't know, 80 to a hundred percent humidity. And you are doing yoga. It feels like you are running up hill the whole time. But yeah, to Bikram Yoga for an hour hot Yoga. And I said that I had to go at least once a week.
At first it was really difficult. My body just did not move. Being the bigger or the biggest person in the room most of the time, if not all the time was also a whole like mind thing. But I said that I'm going to go at least once a week for a year and see where I am on the other side of that year. While I'm getting close, it'll be a year in October and I have seen major improvements in my flexibility major improvement in my mind, like mindset and I really look forward to it now. It's something that I want to do and it makes me feel good to know that like if nothing else happened for the week, at least I did that one thing, that physical activity. The second thing that I started doing was going to the movies. I love watching movies.
And so once a week on Tuesday I mentioned this I think last week. Well on Tuesday that $5 movie ticket going to watch something. And then that also gives me freedom because I can go and watch awful movies and not feel bad for it because I only paid $5, but it's still something at least two hours that pours back into me. And then talking to people, making sure I talk to family, and to friends is that can also be a person who goes in that like talk to people. So whether I'm doing that or I'm on Marco Polo, whether I'm doing that like through like voice notes or Instagram, that has helped and saved me. So I hope that was helpful. I'm hope it wasn't too long winded, but those are the things that I have been doing to live my life in a more balanced, harmonious way.
So to recap, first figuring out what it is that you want. Writing it out in very clear detail. Second, finding you a coach, a mentor, a somebody who is living a life or who has been able to achieve a particular thing. So whether it's like writing, whether it's organizing your schedule, whether it's like a business coach, dissertation coach, someone who could, who's who you can see actually getting the results that you want to have in your life. Finding a way to work with them to be around them in a very formalized like capacity where they will show you and they can help you and support you and hold you accountable to achieving the same things. The third thing is figuring out what is it that you need to produce or get done, right? Separating that list into only the things that you can do versus things that you can delegate out that other people can do.
Four, is finding people to delegate, delegate to, whether that is that you're hiring someone for two to five hours and, or you're asking friends and family to help you with those, with those tasks and even employees. If this comes down to work things, yes, for a, I don't know what number we're on. Five. putting the things that only didn't you, you can do into your calendar. Giving yourself a time limit that you will get those things done and only giving yourself that time to do it. And only aiming for B minus c plus work. And then the last thing is doing something to fill yourself back up to, to for you to be for your wellbeing. Right? So that's what I've been doing. I would love to know your thoughts on this episode. Please come on over to Instagram. I'm @marvettelacy and I would love to continue this conversation there. Or you can join my free Facebook group, Qual Scholars. And all these links will be in the show notes below. Thank you so much for your time for listening today. And until next time, do something to show yourself some love. Bye for now.
Hello, welcome to office hours with Dr Lacy. Glad you can come back for another week. I'm going to make this week's episode as fast as possible because I am about to go outta town and I'm supposed to be packing and preparing for my trip. But I also needed to record this and I live in an apartment with the AC. It doesn't have central AC. And so we have one unit in the living room and my room, it's all the way in the back of the apartment, but I needed to close my doors that you didn't hear it and I'm burning up. So I'm going to try to make his as quick as possible. So this week's topic is titled "It doesn't matter".
And first I want to talk about myself as a fellow procrastinator. I like to say I'm a recovering procrastinator, um, because I used to look at my procrastination as a way of life and I've now have learned to tweak my language. Um, in that I used to feel this immense pressure to be like constantly on top of everything and turning things in early. And then I got to a place where I was just like, that's not who I am like, I get things done right. Don't get me wrong. It's not like don't want to get things done. It's just that I had a different relationship with deadlines. Right and Undergrad I had a, I had a instructor who was like, you just, you just think the world is supposed to like rise or like revolve around you. I was like, no, I don't think the world should revolve around me.
However, if you have a stated policy and you had a stated rule in a due date, then I feel like you should abide by it. So if you, I'm a type of person that if you say like something I have two days. I had until like Friday at 11:59 PM to do something or get something done. Best believe, like nine times out of 10 I'm going to take all the way up until Friday at 11:58 PM to do it is I have the attitude like if you wanted it done earlier or if you wanted me to give it to you earlier, then you should have set the real deadline that you have. And, or you could have been honest with me to say like, you know, it's, it's due at 1159 on Sunday, but is it possible that you'd get it to me by Saturday afternoon? Right. I'm just looking for some communication.
But if you don't tell me those things, then I take what I thought was the allotted time. So I used to be very much like, I don't care about your feelings. It is what it is. Right? And you can't, I've learned that, you know, rubs people the wrong way sometimes. And so now I do my best at the beginning of a project, whoever I'm working with, someone else to say like, what is your, what is the deadline that you need this by? Is it your real deadline? And like what is the best and what do you need from me in terms of communication? Cause I'm also a person who likes to just take it once I understand what's expected of me, I go and I do my own thing. And you may not hear from me unless I have like questions and then I present it to you because I think part of that is that I'm operating off of things are flexible, deadlines are flexible, requirements are flexible in that if you're asking me to do something that you're not expecting, the final, final version that what I'm going to produce for you is open to discussion to a, I dunno, interrogation or criticism like we all need a starting place.
So if you are asking me to do a project, I'm thinking like that first due date you give me is just our starting point and we're gonna change things around and the final version isn't due till much later. I know that means that I'm making an assumption that people have it together and they have a plan and they see the bigger picture. And I know that not everyone operates like that, but that's just how I am. So I went on a whole tangent about who I am, how I show up to say that. Um, um, a lot of people will see that as a very severe procrastinator and that I do procrastinate. I am not going to sit here and say I don't want that. I always meet deadlines. No, because I procrastinate. I'm recovering. I mean, you know, I'm working my steps, I'm doing the program and the whole me communicating ahead of time.
It's about me being in recovery instead of being someone who is not actively procrastinating. Okay. Um, maybe you can relate to that. Um, do you consider yourself to be a procrastinator and maybe it's not like in all areas of your life and maybe when you come to like class assignments or writing or turning drafts into your chair, maybe you procrastinate on those things or maybe you haven't unpacked your bag in a whole week. I see that. Or maybe you, you know, the dishes have been in the sink for a few days now and maybe you hadn't did that or maybe you did your laundry two weeks ago and the clean clothes are blending into the dirty clothes and you're not really sure what's what but you just don't go off the smell because that's life. I don't really know what your brand of procrastination is what I'm wondering for this episode though, is how do you talk to yourself in the middle of procrastinating?
What are the messages you're thinking to yourself and it's the way that you're talking to yourself, sort of reinforcing the cycle of procrastination that you're probably in right now. And one of the biggest things that I have said to myself that I hear other people saying to themselves in some form of or other is it doesn't matter. So like it'd be something simple like, oh I'm know I said that I was going to read that article today, but it don't matter. I could do it tomorrow cause I got a time. I don't feel like it today. Or you may say something like, I know I sat down and wrote this long four page plan out about how I was gonna Map out my whole dissertation proposal and that I was going to have it done in two weeks. But you know, it's beginning two weeks and I could just start tomorrow because it doesn't matter.
Like I got the time and maybe you're not saying that exactly. It doesn't matter. Maybe you're saying something similar as like I don't feel like right now I got all this time, I could do it this way or I can move such and such around and how you know, you're saying it doesn't matter. And one of his form is that particularly if you're only saying like rearranging or rescheduling something in your brain and you don't go to whatever you use to track your time, whether it be a calendar or planner or whatever system you're using. If you don't immediately get up and go and actually schedule like I know I'm supposed to do this thing today at four o'clock but I, for whatever reason I'm not going to do it at four o'clock if you don't physically get up and change it to a new date and time or you don't put it in your planner for a new date, then, you're sending yourself unconsciously and consciously.
You're saying that your goal or whatever you were supposed to do doesn't matter. So your dissertation doesn't matter and subconsciously your brain continues to store that information and and then a future is going to be even easier for you to put things off or to watch that next episode on Netflix or to go out with your friends to Chipotle because you already told your brain that like, in this situation, your dissertation doesn't matter or those clothes, they don't matter or whatever `it is that you were supposed to do, doesn't matter because you keep putting it off and so it's no wonder that when you do decide like, okay, today is the day I'm going to write, I'm going to fold those clothes is it seems like the most difficult thing in the world to do, to take the first step. Cause your brain now is confused. It's like well girl, you told us it didn't matter.
We had all these plans, we were all set to go and when it came down to it, you put it off or you said that we didn't need to do it then. So this is not a priority. And what's more of a priority is watching Netflix because that's what we do all the time. What's more of a priority is going out to Chipotle cause that's what we do all the time was more of a priority is checking those emails cause we always put that ahead of everything else. What's more important is going to scroll on Instagram because we do that all day, every day. Or talking to so and so. Whatever you are putting ahead of what you're supposed to be doing or what you'd need to be doing then tells your brain that that's more important. And so then your brain will fight and program yours like you to react on a subconscious level and an automatic response to do those things that you keep putting before the thing that you need to get done.
So no, it's not going to. Now when you're like, Oh let's sit down and write and no it doesn't. Your brain doesn't want to write. It's kind of, it's confused. It's like that's hard. We're not used to doing that. That takes too much brain power. Let's just go back watching Netflix or scrolling Instagram cause that's easy. We know how to do that. We don't know how to do this writing thing. And so I just want you to think about and how many ways are you constantly telling yourself and very well the small ways or big ways. How often are you telling yourself that it doesn't matter because they started to add up over time.
Yeah. So I'm gonna leave it there. Like I said, I was going to keep this short and this is something I'm probably, will keep coming back to over on Instagram. Um, even though I just talked about you procrastinating on Instagram. Yeah, it's work in progress. Um, but I just feel like you could do those things when you schedule it out, like if you have, so I look at Instagram is like my reward. Cause now I feel like I'm going down a tangent, but go with me. I look at Instagram as my reward. So I, every morning I get up and I, um, write out three things, three small tasks that will take me roughly less than like five to 10 minutes to complete each. I write those out and those are my like must do things that I have to do for the day. And once I get those things done, I can do whatever else I want it.
So I can watch all the Netflix Watch, like be on Instagram as much as possible because I did those three things. And that's what keeps me moving. And I guess that's a good point to bring up in, which contributes to the procrastination is that a lot of times we will put too much on our to do lists and there's this pressure to feel like you have to cross out everything. I get to do lists every day. And w what ends up happening is your brain can only make so many decisions in a day. It only has so much energy throughout a day before it's like "I need a break" and it shuts down. And it makes you engage in activities that are not, um, probably like productive or conducive to crossing out things on your list. And it's probably [inaudible] but it is something that your brain needs to do to take a break.
So if you had like 10 15 things on your to do list for the day and they all required massive amount of time, energy, brain capacity, there's only so much your brain is going to let you do. You might get through a half or maybe one of those things before your brain is like, and we're done. Cause probably like to take even some more steps back. How you wrote out your to do list is probably, it's huge tasks that have multiple steps within them. And it probably takes two, three, four hours to complete one of those things. So if you're trying to do 10 to 15 of those things, one, is out of hours a day and then two, your brain just can't do that. And so that's why I set up my schedule in a way of I choose three things. I'll take five to 10 minutes.
So, let me see, what was on my list today. I'm gonna find my little plan here. But like I like I've seen small things I'm not trying to like, so like today's was I needed to call the dentist to schedule my cleaning and fillings. I needed to update my W2 forms at work and I needed to check my business email like, and check it means, cause I write this out and we used to read each one, delete the junk mail and respond to clients. Now the gmail, like all of these things, the call to the dentist took maybe five minutes if that, the W2's took five minutes. And then the g-mail probably took the longest, which was like 10 to 15 minutes. Cause I've been doing good about staying up on it and not procrastinating. Ha Ha. Um, so I feel accomplished because that helps me keep things moving.
So I'm doing things for myself. I'm doing things that I need to do that I've been putting off like the dentist, but I need to do it updating W2's and then the client stuff is to keep my business going. Well what's not on this list is I didn't say I need to check all my emails cause I have a personal one. I have a business one, I have one for clients to like or like people who are like, yeah one on one clients are respond to me. Um, I have one for like other programs or education materials or organizations I'm a part of. I don't have my work email and so I don't say check all of those at one time cause that's a whole lot. I've done that some days and it just takes a long time and that's probably the only thing I would do for the day.
Um, I don't have, let me go write all these blog posts, let me go do this project for work. Like I don't have all that on the list cause that's too much and my brain can't handle that. I have these three small things that combined takes me less than an hour. You will resist this at first because you'll be like, oh that's not enough. I need to do more than that. You don't understand Marvette. Like, I have so much I need to get done in your day and I can't just identify three small things because that's not going to get me anywhere. And what I'm saying to you is if you think by putting all those things on the list, it's gonna make you want to do them more. You're wrong. And if so I want to, I want you to take a look at your life like are you getting those things done?
If you are, how do you feel like, do you feel like you, you're good. Do you feel alive? Now there are very few people who thrive on that and getting a bunch of things done and that's their jam. And I'm willing to bet like most of you, you're not feeling real good. You're not ready to go do some cartwheels and jumping jacks and like fill in the best. After doing all those things, you probably feel real cranky. You probably resent that, you don't get to do other things like other people. You probably been putting off sleep and eating and just enjoying the summer. Right? Cause it's the summer when I'm recording this. If you are able to feel like you get to get things done and enjoy yourself without feeling stressed out, then yes, I'm gonna applaud you however if you're like anything like me and you try to do, all these things that are on your to do list and when you're trying to do all the things, you personally, your health, your wellbeing suffers. Or if you're focusing on your health and wellbeing and your to do list suffers, then I invite you to try out this strategy because it is helpful and when I do this, I am the most productive ever. I get so much done because usually what happens is I'm not fried and my brain isn't tired and so I'm able to do other stuff throughout the day because I'm riding off the momentum of that. I know if I don't do anything else, I got those three things done and on the days when I'm just not feeling it, it's a bad like mental day, health day. I just know I need to show up and do those three things and I'm good. And sometimes those three things are like brush your teeth, wash your face, drink your water. Sometimes that's all it is because sometimes those things are very difficult to do on a daily basis.
So I tell my clients to do this, they still look at me like probably how you're thinking right now. Like that's not going to work. And then once they get into it in a week or two, go by like they're amazed, amazed at one how they feel and all the things they've been able to accomplish. So I invite you to try this. You're gonna wake up every morning, you're going to write out three things are going to take you five to 10 minutes or less to do for each item. You're going to say, no matter what happens today, I'm doing these three things. And then at the end of the day you want to come back and say, did you do them or not? And that's it. You don't need a complicated thing. You don't need to write out all these massive fancy to do listen priority programs and project management or you don't need to do all of that.
It's just these three things, especially if you're in a deep hole of procrastination like you've been putting things off, especially if you're like I don't know how to go back. I disappointed so many people. I've been putting it off so long I dug a deep hole, especially if it's that and I'm going to invite you just for tomorrow or even today. What are three things that you can do that will take you an hour or less to do all three things. What is something that is so easy but moves you in the direction, a step closer to the end goal. What is, what are three things that you can do and if three is too much, what is one thing you can do just to get started? Okay. For Real, I said this is going to be short, but we're here so I would am curious to know what you thought about this episode. Please come over to Instagram at @marvettelacy and let me know any takeaways, any ah-has. I would love to continue the conversation with you over there and then until next time, do something to show yourself some love. I will talk to you next week. Bye for now.
Transcript of Episode:
Welcome back to the podcast. Um, today I have, you know, you have something in your spirit to say, but you're not exactly sure what that is. So I am not an external processor, I'm an internal processor. However, every now and then there are times where I just need to talk things out because I have a lot swarming in my mind and today is one of those days, I don't know where this is going. I just got something I want spirit to share. And so I just decided to put in my headphones into my phone and just start talking. Um, which is a sign, you know, for many of you, um, who are always looking to have the right things in order to start. I do this podcast with a set of headphones and my phone that I already own and I just turn on the voice memo app.
I have an iPhone and I put on some headphones and I record and is it perfect? No. Does it get the job done? Yes. It gives me a starting point. And I'm really focused on showing up here consistently. Week after week, helping people, sharing my knowledge, giving whatever, I got to help you finish your dissertation, help you get to that next step. Or if you're just having a moment and you just need a little motivation or help getting to the next minute, I'm showing up and I'm not letting, not having um, $600 mic or mixing equipment or a studio or a producer or the right music or whatever, stop me from showing up, doing my best and helping you as much as possible because, excuse me, that is what I want to do. I'm here to help people. I think about my journey through the phd process and how much frustration I experienced, how much loneliness I experienced, how much unnecessary, I don't know, strife, conflict.
That didn't have to have happen. Yeah. And if I could have just even had someone's podcast to listen to, videos to watch blogs to read, just to like, Oh, if they can do it than I can do it. If I could have just had that, I think I would have just felt a little bit better. It would have helped me to get through it a little bit more easily. And so really that is the why behind like why I had this business and why continue to show up every week and continue to put myself out there. Um, you know, I know a lot of people start their own business because they're all about the money and maybe they're looking for a get rich quick scheme or maybe they are, I don't know, like they just want the fame and notoriety that comes with having a large following and people looking up to them.
If you know me, that is not, that is not my thing whatsoever. Like I am about helping people. And so that's why as much as possible, I'll continue to give out free content because I know that not a lot of people, um, have the access to pay for services. Um, and I want another side to the side of like not having access and truly not having funds is completely different than saying I'm just not going to do it. I don't think it's worth it. But that's a whole nother rant for a whole nother day. But I do, I did want to say that of like question are you, whether it's a coach, whether it's a conference, whether it's some other thing that you know would be good for you, that will be an important part of your, um, development. But you are looking at the dollar sign and you're just like, no, I'm not going to do it.
How can you like, say like, something will be really helpful for me and not show up for yourself? Um, and that's really in line with what I want to talk about today of people. The number one objection, objection I get to working with me or hiring me as a coach is that, oh, I'm just a Grad student. I don't have the money for it. And what I think about is either you're gonna pay, we all are paying for things either with our time or with money. Right? So cool. This system, this world, the society we live in, it's controlled by many systems, particularly capitalism. Right? And that means some people are going to have it, some people are not even going to be in between. Right? We're all in the spectrum and you may need like additional resources or whatever to help you and you may not have the financial resources right to contribute. So if you don't have the finance resources to contribute, then that means you're going to have to pay to get to that same place that other people are getting to with your time.
And that's what I want people to really like. The main takeaway from this episode is like, do you have money or do you have time? If you have neither, then you probably are not going to achieve this goal. I'm, I'm almost willing to go as far as you're not going to achieve this goal. And in this case, the goal is finishing your, um, doctoral journey, your phd or whatever program you're in this terminal degree, you either need money or time, you need both. But like what's going to get you to the end is how much more of money or time you're willing to invest, right? Because by the time you get to the point of enrolling into a phd program, right, everyone has shown that they whatever meet the requirements to get in. Right. So everyone, like for most people they were the smart person in their family and their school, whatever.
For most people they had the test scores, they need it. They had, they were willing to devote the time they were willing to devote the energy right to get into the program itself. Right. And then a difference comes in is, okay, you may have two, three years of coursework depending on your program. Right? We've all been in school. You've heard if you're going to follow me, you've heard me say this like we've all been in school. Many of us have several degrees. So we're, we have proven with our many degrees and pieces of paper. We have proven that we're really good at showing up into a classroom, getting a syllabus, showing up week after week, taking the notes, um, doing the readings, completing the assignments, writing the papers, taking the final exam and moving on to the next class. Like we've done that.
We've been doing it for 20 plus years, we're good. Right? And the real division comes in like everybody can do that. The division comes in when it's time to take your preliminary or comprehensive exams and maybe you can even do that because I mean at the end of the day, right? People look at that, oh is a big test. Right? And that could even be, I'm like, that's like the really big first a marker that separates and starts to weed people out. Because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do this test to, to do these exams. And, but like for most people that can like wrap their mind, like they can think of it as another class, I can, they can do whatever is necessary to, you know, get all their literature together, pull all the pieces together. It's still pretty much a very supportive process.
Even if you don't feel like you're being supported, like there are people telling you at least like, this is what you need to do. Your chair, your committee, your program has structured in a way that if you just follow the steps right, you're good, right? And usually you're not the only person who's going through the process. Or if you are the exam is tailored to you by your committee or your chair, then they again, are setting it up in a way to make sure that you can pass. Like for the most part, you show up and do what you need to do. You can pass. However, when we get to dissertation, right now, you're at the top of the top. Now you at, you are aware 50, 60% of the people who started with you didn't make it there, right? We're saying at best are you 40% of the people who started with you in the program making it to or making it to that point of the dissertation, and we're not going to even talk about the people who actually make it to the end, but that's what you have to ask yourself.
Are you going to be one of those people who make it to the end? And if you are, what are you willing to pay? How are you willing to pay to get to the end because it's going to take some additional resources to get to the end. You can't continue to do what you done to get to that point to get to the end. Getting to the end of the dissertation process, getting to your defense, passing your defense takes an extra set of skills, maybe not extra, but a different set of skills, strategies, etc. To like support to get you there because it's no more, it's no longer you showing up to a class with a syllabus, with a script that's telling you you do steps a, B, and c and you're good. Most programs don't have dissertation classes and if they do have dissertation classes, and we're going to be honest, they're geared towards quantitative projects, right?
Because people think that like, oh, you're doing qualitative well that's easy. You're just going to do some interviews and you're good. Right? No, because I'm sure if you're in this process in any step of the dissertation process and you now know it's not, it's not that simple. It's not that simple, right? So this dissertation journey no longer has a class where you're showing up every day and someone gives you a script or a syllabus and they say if you just show up every week and you read these articles and you take this like test and you write these papers and you have a dissertation, it's not a like a paint by numbers type thing because now you, your final step in the doctoral journey is to contribute back to your field. To contribute something unique, different, something that's missing some perspective that hasn't quite been explored. It is your job now to find that and contribute it back to the field to help the field grow, to help the field become better you as a contributor of knowledge to your field. So no, there's not a a step by step. You just show up and you do this and you're done.
Especially for those of you who are talking about winning dissertation of the year awards, you don't get to just show up and say, see, I've put in all these years of work. See all my degrees, see how many classes I've done, and now you want to be called doctor. That's not how it works. All of that was just the warmup. That was the warmup to get here. Now we're playing the game. Are you ready to play the game or you ready to give up? And do you feel like you don't have to devote extra time and financial resources to get to the end to win the game? Or do you feel like you should just get it off of GP because you showed up to some a few classes? You think you should just get it, man, I feel like I got all off, but I want you to feel me on this episode.
Who is your team of people who are helping you because truth be told, your chair is not there to be, to be your personal assistant, your personal editor. Your chair is not there to hold your hand every step of the way. Sure they are there to help, help guide you. Right? And maybe they listen to you at your standing meeting, but they got other people, they got other things to do. This is their job and it's no shade towards you as not saying they don't care about you. However, this is your journey and if you're not willing to devote your time and your energy and show up, why should they show up for you? So what are you doing to show up for yourself? Who else is on your team besides your chair? Who else are you spending your time with? Who's going to help you finish your goal?
Like I love, love hearing people's stories. I love watching like athletes, and, you know, I love Beyonce and I love their story. I love going back and watching old videos because they reminds me of what they had to do to get to where they are now. Sure. It looks cute now to headline Coachella. Sure. It looks cute now to have special after special and to show up at Grand Slam. Grand Slam have over 30 plus Grand Slam titles. But there was a journey that got there, right? Both of these women, Serena and Beyonce, their fathers were very important to building the foundation of who they are, helping them to build a foundation of their craft. Those men were there teaching them how to have a work ethic, right? A lot of that's innate and, they had their fathers there as like coaches, as, as leaders to help them practice and practice and practice.
When no one knew who they were, when no one ever believed they would be where they are now, when everybody saw two little girls from the hood, right? Their fathers were there and they kept showing up practicing since they were little kids and the single digits like six, seven, eight and nine practicing singing, playing wherever, tournaments at the tournaments, concerts, pageants, all of these things, right? And then they get their break. So Serena comes to the pros at 14 and Beyonce gets a record deal at 15 but still people just saw two black girls from the hood who like, oh, that's cute that you got a few people following you. But they still just showed up and they practice and they practice and they practice. Right? And start winning titles and start having number one albums, right? It started to grow in popularity. Well truth be told, like even 10 years in the game, it was cute.
Like people now knew them, right? People knew Serena and Venus, right? As the sisters, people knew Destiny's Child right they're on number one movies soundtracks, right? But still people wasn't looking at them as these huge stars. And they also realize that a moment between, you know, 10 to 15 years into the game, their fathers were not going to do it anymore. Their fathers had taken them as far as they could with the knowledge that they knew and in order to get to the next level, right? In order to become who we know them to be now today, they needed to work, they needed to expand their team. They needed a different level of coaching and support. So if you ever go and look, right, Serena has a coach, he, this French guy, I can't remember his name right now, but his whole thing is about his, his whole life is about turning out like number one tennis players.
He has a whole like compounding business and organization and coaches under him helping to produce some of the biggest names, right? And then you have a Beyonce who left her father so that she could manage herself, but she has a whole team that's her. So it's not necessarily one person just like it's not one person in this arena. But you get what I mean? Like they had to leave their first like person who helped them get this far and they had to get a whole new team of people because you don't get to be at the top of your game of your fields of whatever without strong coaching and support and people who help get you there. You cannot do this by yourself. And so many of you took a pair this and to bring it home like Serena, Beyonce had their father's sure you had your family and you had your chair, right?
Many of you, your chair with your advisor throughout your whole process and they got you to this far to get you to the point where you now need to start working on your dissertation. But now it's time to expand your team, right? Because their fathers are still there in the background, right? You still see them show up to the games. You still see them talk about their fathers like Serena, Beyonce, credit them for their foundation. They're still there and disappear and you see all these other people who know how to play at this different level. Who could help, who helps them build up the infrastructure to that strong foundation that was laid by their fathers to get them to being the number one tennis player in the world did number one entertainer of the world, right? They had his whole team of people and they had to put in the time and the money to do so because these things are not cheap and these people in their knowledge and that cheap. And so I'm asking you, you did, you have, you put in a time and you put it in the money cause you are enrolled in these programs, right? You gotta pay for it somehow. But are you comfortable staying where you are? Are you ready to go to the next level?
And, how can you use your financial and your time resources more wisely by supplementing with people who can be on your team to help you use those things more wisely? Or do you want to continue to try to do this by yourself and continuing you to use up all your time, resources, your money resources in your health resources? Because we're not meant to be by ourselves. And if you say, well, I'll just continue and like talk to this person and talk to this person and get everybody in for the advice and I'm a work smarter, not harder, you're spending your time, right? Because the time it takes to continue to reach out to these people, find these people, get on their schedule, listen to everybody say a different version of something else. Right? And I'm sure it's real help or information, right? Cause they did it so you can learn from them.
But if you're not with someone, someone who's dedicated to you, who knows exactly what it is that you're going through, who's in it with you day to day, who gets your style of playing or style of performing, your style of writing, who gets your, the particulars of your dissertation and helping you along the way and move you forward and who can dedicate the time and the love in the toughness and the criticalness when you need it to help you with your game. And they're not just speaking in general and it's not just a five minute, 30 minute, 60 minute conversation here, there, the coffee shop, whatever they are telling you, they're like reliving the glory days of their dissertation. But if that person isn't sitting with you day in and day out, how are you going to get to the next level? That information is useless.
That's not going to help you. It may get you like a little bump up, but you're trying to finish this thing and so you're gonna look up and it's going to be one year, two years, three years and you still haven't finished my dissertation proposal because you keep thinking, oh I'll need to spend money on this. I'm already spending the money on a degree. I'm a just, you know, gonna go talk to these people and keep trying to do this on my own and every year, every month, every week, every day that you keep trying to spin your wheels and figure this out on your own.
Yeah, you're wasting your time. That's valuable time and energy that could be going somewhere else to something you actually enjoy doing and you love doing. Because to be honest, I'm sure you don't love your dissertation anymore cause you're not making any progress. So who can you put on your team? How can you expand your team to get you moving so that you can actually make progress so that you can get to your prospectus defense and collect research and then write up the dissertation, finish it, get to the actual defense and become doctor to get to the awards. To win dissertation of the year, who are you putting on your team to help you get there? Your chair isn't enough. This is not shade to your chair. There's just one person with limited time and energy to like give you, you're not their only advisee. You're not their only thing they have going on.
Right. And we, we're being real honest, a lot of the advisors and chairs, this is just a necessary evil of the job. They don't even like advising students, they probably won't tell you that today to your face, but they don't like it. So they just meet with you. Cause they have to because it's a requirement of the job. But I mean they probably really indifferent to if you pass or if you make any progress on your dissertation and they don't get paid regardless. So who else are you putting on your team to make sure you get there because you're responsible for you. You're responsible for making sure you finish. Nobody cares that you've been in school for 20 plus years. Nobody cares that you shut out to all the classes. Nobody cares that you're getting to probably get all A's in your classes. That doesn't matter in this process.
This is a whole different game. All of that was just practice for this part. And Are you going to finish this part? Cause what got you here won't get you to Phd, like won't get you to being called Doctor. And this isn't saying like you got to come work with me. I'm just saying and you know and the opportunities have one across your email or somebody told you about this dissertation bootcamp or this writing retreat or this editor. Somebody told you something and you turned your nose up at it saying you're not paying for that. Well, I hope you got a whole lot of time and I hope you got a whole lot of patients and energy to keep spinning your wheels because it's going to take so much longer and it's going to be so much more difficult then if you would just take the step and get people on your team.
You don't got to pay for everyone. You'll have to do some things that's gonna make you uncomfortable. You gonna have to do some things and maybe some of your family and never had to do before. You gonna have to pay for some resources or a goal to some conferences and some things that may seem like why I gotta spend the money. You don't have to do it to get what you want, cause you're trying to go to the next level. If you're not trying to go to the next level, then none of this matters. But if you try to go to the next level, you will have to do something.
I'm hot, I'm about to go. But I just wanted to say that for today. What do you have time or money. How even, you know, argue like, the third thing is really it comes down to your health. How important are you and your health and your goals to you? So I would love to know what you thought about this episode. Please come on over to Instagram at @marvettelacy and let me know, I'd love to have a conversation with you there. Until next week, do something to show yourself some love and I'll talk to you then! Bye for now.
Transcript of Episode:
Good afternoon everyone. Well maybe it's afternoon for you. I am on a lunch break and it was on my list to record a podcast. So here I am. It is finally summer in Milwaukee. And so, you know, that's exciting. Um, I really enjoy the Midwest or being in Milwaukee because, um, in the evening for the most part it does cool off and there's a nice breeze coming off the lake, especially now cause the lake is still it. Um, it's not as warm. It might be like 50 or 60 degrees, but um, so it gets a nice, cool breeze. But anyway, today's episode is something that has been on my mind. Um, something so I don't know, maybe most of you know that I also have, um, a full time job where I work as the Women's Center director, um, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
And uh, part of that job is having to go to various meetings across campus to work on different projects or events. In not too long ago, I was in a meeting and the person who was leading the meeting was, um, we were planning like an annual event and we got on the topic of evaluation and looking at, we use like a paper, uh, we historically use a paper questionnaire for students just to get more information about their experience in, in how, like how the event went from them for them, what did they learn, et cetera. Like, you know, suggestions for new or upcoming events or things like that. Just to give feedback. And the person who was leading the meeting was saying, you know, like, I really liked the open ended questions or it's like three or four questions at the end of the evaluation.
Just really like it, but it's very time intensive. Um, the coding process was very long and tedious and we had to do all these rounds and people had to learn and she essentially said, you know, it's just too much work. And so I'm thinking we could either s um, significantly reduce them or get rid of them and just have the likert scale questions, um, to make things easier for my staff because it took us almost a whole year to, you know, analyze the open ended questions. And so there's about 10 people in this meeting. So I have to the leader got through talking than someone at the table. It was like, Oh, you know, I'm from a different office I'll gladly, you know, volunteer my staff to help you with the coding if it's a matter of you needing additional people to make things go faster.
And the leader was like, no, no. I mean she just kept saying like, it's just so much and I just don't want to do it. And then someone else was like, well yeah, we would also be willing to help you if you know that make it easier. And she just kept going on and on about how it's just was too hard and like if we could just help her reduce the questions, that would be really helpful. And so then I chimed in because by this point I was just irritated. You know, like you said, you had a problem, two people offered you solutions, but you're still saying how difficult it is. So part of me was frustrated because I was like, oh, it must be nice to be a leader of a meeting in to have the privilege to be able to say how this is too much work and your, you don't want to work that much and you don't want to do your job.
That must be nice on one hand. But that was a petty part of me. The second part of me was like, don't say that out loud. You just try to be helpful in this meeting. And so I, I said, well, it sounds like to me that the questions aren't so much the issue as it is your process for analysis. It's seeming to be the issue and the timing of it. So I said, you know, I'm wondering, one, is there a rush? Like did you, because she was saying how it took, um, like the event is an August and she was saying that ideally, you know, they would do the analysis right after the event, but the first six weeks of school was very busy and so they were not able to get to it until winter break and she wasn't able to get the report out, um, until maybe April and May. And that was too much.
And so I said, you know, one, is there a time constraint? Like do you have to have it by a certain date or in, what is that date? Does it have to be by September that this report is finished? I said, two, is there a way that you can change your analysis process? Because there's different ways of analysis and analyzing, um, qualitative data. And three, I don't think we need to get rid of this because we already privileged quantitative data because it's easy, right? We, we quote unquote think it's easy. Um, because we could just put it through a machine and it gives us information. Whereas when you have to analyze qualitative data that requires people and could you reduce the amount of people and you know, she went back into how difficult and how hard that was and it just, so I stopped talking because to me it was clear that she just wanted to be in her frustration.
She just wanted people to say like, oh, like, yeah, I understand that is hard. Yeah, let's not do it. And you know, beyond the other ridiculous of being able to do that in a meeting and take up a significant portion of the meeting talking about how you're frustrated and one to do the woe is me. And we still didn't walk away from that meeting with a clear solution that she accepted. Um, it just had me thinking like, how often do I do that? How often do I see clients do that? How often do we do that in regular life? Right? Like we are talking about our problem or frustration we may be having and the person or people that we're talking to may offer solutions, but we dismiss them, right? Because we just want to stay in our own wallow or pity or feelings in the moment you feel justified like, yeah, this is wrong and you should agree with me and you may even say something like, I don't want you to solve my problems. I just want you to listen and understand and people who are about their business, who are winners, who are in, they are concerned with about getting things done. They don't have time to listen to you complain.
Let me say that again. People who are moving forward, who are about their business, who are about getting shit done, don't have time to listen to you complain. Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't be able to be vulnerable with someone or express your feelings. However, if you're like home girl from the meeting and you're complaining about something that's very fixable, that doesn't have to require you to be in pain, it doesn't have to require you to be frustrated and people are trying to help you get out of that. But you're so committed to being frustrated that you don't even take on the solutions or sit or stop for a minute and consider it, then they don't have time for that. Like no one has time for that. And particularly I think about this when I'm working with clients, you know, the question that I asked them to consider and that even when I'm working with my own coach, like if I am I willing to be coachable in this moment and how you're, how you know, if you're willing to be coachable, if like despite how you're feeling cause feelings are live this by how you're feeling, no matter how justify you feel or how you like no I done wrong.
No matter that are you willing to stop for a minute and listen to the person who you are venting to or being vulnerable with quote unquote. Um, are you willing to stop for a minute and consider what they're saying to you? I'm not saying is someone who is coming from like a high horse because I'm definitely guilty of not being coachable in the moment and not willing to listen, right? And, if you're saying you want to achieve a certain goals or if you're saying, I want to finish my dissertation proposal and you constantly keep scheduling meetings with your chair and week after week, you go into their office and you're complaining about how you don't have any support in the program like other people or how it's so much more difficult for you or you don't understand what you're doing or you just wish people would show up for you or whatever the complaint is in your chair constantly is trying to give you suggestions of who to talk to, things to look up, steps to take next.
They're spending their good precious time with you, hours and hours with you and you still come back week after week with the same problem. Then the issue is you, it's you, it's you not being willing to be coachable. It's not that you can't do it, and it's not that you don't understand. You aren't put down your victimhood or your wanting to be right and dignified in your frustration. You won't put that away long enough to even listen to what they're saying to you. And eventually what happens is that your chair is going to stop giving you that. Those suggestions, your chair is probably just going to let you talk and talk and talk and just say, oh, okay, well, well that's nice. Or they may stop like scheduling meetings with you all together because no one wants to listen to that. Particularly someone again who was about their business. Nobody wants to hear you complain because the other part to consider with that is, okay, so, so you're right. Okay. Yeah. So people, so-and-so did that to you so and so is not being helpful to you. So and so is being difficult. Oh, and. Okay. It's hard to do, to write about x, Y, Z. Oh there. There's no literature around this topic. Okay. You're right now what?
No, what? You're right. You're right. The, everything you're complaining about you're right, what's going to be your next step? Have you ever thought or consider? Okay, so you're right. And if somebody did say you were right, okay, what's next? Like is that all you want? You want somebody to be like, oh, woe is you? Okay. And they give you that and then what? Because just because you're right, it doesn't solve your problem. And just because such and such happen doesn't help you get to the next step. It doesn't help you get what you want. So take some time and really consider what do you want? What do you really want? Do you want to be right or do you want to be doctor?
Because it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, like I've had some shitty experiences in my phd experience and program, I felt like people didn't show up for me in ways that they showed up for other people. I felt like things could have been easier for me. I felt like a lot of things. But at the end of the day, I had to take responsibility for my own experience. I had to take responsibility that it doesn't matter that these people are doing that or these are the conditions or whatever. I don't have x, Y, z. It doesn't matter. What am I going to do in this moment? What choices am I going to make? What am I going to believe so I can finish this dissertation and graduate because they got theirs and I want to get mine right? So do I want to, um, you know, stay stuck in this moment and fight this fight about how you did this to me and so unfair, or do I want to get my dissertation and move on and have a business where I can help other people avoid the things that I had to go through?
You have to ask yourself that same question. Are you willing to be coachable? Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to take responsibility for your situation, for the results that you have in your life right now so that you can achieve what it is that you want to achieve? And if you're not willing to do that, if you don't think it's worth the cost and that's very fair and legitimate, that you don't think it's worth the cost. Like sometimes it's not worth being around certain people. Sometimes it's not worth jumping through certain hoops to achieve a certain goal. Sometimes it's not worth it and that's okay, but at least you made that decision.
Don't leave it to the whim of circumstances to be like, oh well I guess I quit. No, you make the decision that it's no longer for you and you exit stage left, but if you still want to achieve that goal, if that's still something that you want to have, then what are you going to do to make sure that happens and how can you not give up so that you can achieve those things because it doesn't matter how you feel. And I don't mean, I don't mean any disrespect or try to come off too harsh. I guess. Clearly I'm still in my bag, but I, you know, I'm not trying to come at you per se. I'm just trying to say, you say you want to achieve this. What are you going to do about it? Cause no one is coming to save you.
No one is coming to like, yeah, you know. Yeah that was, that was wrong. Let me do all the things for you to make sure you get there. No, that's not going to happen because if that was the case, everybody would have a phd. Everybody would be called Doctor. So what are you going to do to make sure that you can achieve your goal? How can you get out of your feelings long enough? It really take a step back and figure out what it is that you need to do to achieve your goal. So as I think about home girl from the meeting, what I really wanted to say to her, like, I mean this cute that you took up 30 minutes to complain about something that we just offer at least three solutions to you and you didn't want to take, it's cute that you did that but what are we gonna do next?
But you know, jobs and professionalism and whatnot. However, if you're a client and that's what you think you're going to do on a call and me, that's not going to happen. I'm going to ask you, what are we doing? Like I don't, it's that I care about you and because I care about you and because I care about your experience, I'm not going to let you sit there and complain. Instead, we're gonna spend our good time, our valuable time and energy, figuring out what we can do, what we can control. How can we take the next step to get to the like closer to the end goal. Because winners win and we don't have time to be complaining and be in victim mentality. Instead, we need to keep moving forward. And I have to say that, um, cause you know, I'm all about taking time for yourself to be and to be in peace and have joy.
How and ever when you are sitting there and you're complaining about how things are not fair, that's you being a victim. That's not you focusing on your peace and joy. That's the opposite. So when you get into a frustration around your dissertation or your phd program or you feel like so and so is being fair, I want you to take a minute, stop and ask yourself, how can I be coachable right now and figure out the next step, just the next step of something I can control that's going to get me closer to my end goal. And if you want to talk more about that, then definitely you should schedule a meeting with me, a call and we can talk about how we can work together to help you get to your end goal to help you finish this dissertation and graduate and become doctor. All right, so that is all I have for this week. Come on over to Instagram at @marvettelacy and let me know what you thought about today's episode or if you want to talk talk it up, um, if you want to talk in a dms or whatever, but I wish you much love and success for the rest of this week and I'll talk to you later. Bye for now.
Get it done framework. It's about the systems that you have in your life to keep you organized or prioritize the things that matters. It is about your mindset, like who do you have to be the show out to do the things that you need to do so you can have what you want to have and it's about the community, the environment that you are setting up around you and the people that you're surrounding yourself with. Because this is the 95% remember I talked about the 5% like that being just like the, the content, the how do I do the literature review? How do I write this and that? That's 5% this systems mindset and community is 95% without these things, you will not be successful, It does not matter how much content you know, these things will get in your way if you don't have them in order.
So the first, here's why. This is why you were going to put into action your system. I want you to look at your schedule. I want you to go to your writing schedule and for real, for real, pull out your calendar. You're going to find 10 hours, no more, 10 hours of what you're going to write. You're not doing this in one day. No one writing session can be more than four hours. Right? So you got to find 10 hours throughout your week that you're going to write and it's just for writing time. It's just 10 hours.
Do you need to find, you assemble a writing routine. What is the thing that you can show up and do every time they use a diner? Right? How? What is your process from going from step a, which is opening up your laptop to being done for the day? What is the same thing over and over? What I like to do is I open my laptop, I open up the document or a new document and then I just brained up for a good five or 10 minutes, whatever's in my head. I just type that all out and then eventually like I just typed it all out and then I just let that go and go and go. Until I can't say anything anymore. And then I go back and I edit that because usually when I'm not thinking I can write and it gives me a system to follow open laptop, pull up document. Right. And it doesn't matter if what I'm writing has anything to do with what I'm supposed to be writing or not.
Because I know eventually my brain will go to what I'm supposed to be writing. And then the third piece of your system is that you need to find someone who can give you weekly feedback. You need to be in drafts of what you're writing on a weekly basis. It gets you in the habit of consistently producing something so that you know that by the end of the week I gotta turn in something to this person so I can spend all my time reading and writing notes. I got to write something. It also gives you used to getting feedback because that's usually the hardest part of the dissertation is getting a feedback from your chair and a committee. You get used to that and it helps you clear, like get clarity on your ideas and making sure that you're communicating what you want to communicate and then it holds you accountable.
Right. Because again, you know, you gotta show up with something, you do it. So for your systems that what you need to do a schedule, 10 hours or less, a simple writing routine and gets you writing and then weekly feedback so that you can get, um, you get feedback on what you're writing. So that's systems. Okay. This is what I started with my clients on. We were start here.
Right. Because this doesn't, you have to be accountable and you can't just do this by yourself because we'll lie to ourselves quick. Right? So I want to introduce you to Aaliyah. Aaliyah is a client of mine and when she came to me, she was, I remember she telling me she was like working 10 hour days, multiple days, like her whole weekend. Um, she's taking courses in doing her dissertation and she's in an online program and she just felt like she had no time for herself. She was tired. She was overwhelmed. We started working together and getting her on a consistent schedule, putting her on the time restrictions about not working more than four hours a day, working seven hours a week. We got her system so that she can read and review her articles and actually write and she completed her draft of her literature review in three weeks.
Like she had a draft to work from in three weeks and we just spent the rest of our time like editing, getting feedback on back so she can make it perfect and make it what she want it to be like. She can turn it into her chair. She's feeling more confident about her literature review and about her project overall and just feeling really good about her writing routine. Like life has come up for her, some other things and she has had time to focus on that and do other things and not worry about if she's making progress or not because there's a system in place and there was accountability in place and that's what I'm asking you to do.
Right. Again, this isn't about like you have to work with me. It is about you can do this for yourself. You can build it for yourself. So the second piece of the get it done for framework, it's mindset. You need time in your schedule. This is why the 10 rule and an a no more than four hours in a day rule is important because you need time to just be, especially like at least, once a week you need a day where you just get to just be. And throughout the day your brain needs breaks. And throughout the week you just need to know that there's time that you can do the things that you need to do and you want to do because your brain needs a break. Remember, it wants to be lazy. It doesn't want to constantly have to work. And if you're constantly doing these very relaxed days it has to work.
It needs downtime to just do nothing, to like recalibrate, to get a break. And if you don't give it that, you've got to have way more problems, a good way. And I like to set myself up to just be in the, be in the, like a positive mindset. As I have a morning routine, I have a morning routine that helps them meet up, get my thoughts down, to be intentional about who I need to be, how I need to show up every day to get the things done that I want to get done. And I also have time and a system for planning for the worst. Planning for the worst sucks. Like what if you're not able to get any writing done this week, what have you. Right? And you get to your dissertation defense and you fail. What if you turned this draft into your chair and they hate it?
What's your plan? What are you going to do? Because this is much easier to plan for that when you're at your house and you're feeling good and then you can think through those, you have the space to do that. It's way more difficult to do that in a moment. So when I was in the moment, I was felling net defense. I couldn't, I couldn't tell you what to do next. Cause I was like so freaked out that that was happening. But fast forward when I was preparing for my dissertation, I was able to prepare like what if I go here and I don't know what to answer, what is my response going to be? And I already had that written down and I already practiced what I would do. So that that helped me to be more confident when I walked into the room. So working on this is so, so, so, so important.
Having a daily practice, having time just to be planning for the worst will make all the difference. I would argue that mindset is the number one thing you need to do. It doesn't matter about a schedule or downtime or any of that, like if you don't have the right mindset. So client Margaret came to me and she was working on her comprehensive exams. It was six week process that essentially she needed to turn in a 50 page document that would outline the background of her topic that she was talking about for her dissertation. And she had to write three like research, um, like designs possible that she would use for her dissertation when she came to me at the end of week three. Your members, she has six weeks when she came to me at the end of week three and think she maybe had a page done, a page written of the 50 pages in and she was tired and burned out and ready to give up.
Now we worked or mangled after three weeks on how to give her, um, space in her schedule to just be, so yeah, we did the whole set up of the schedule and a writing, but I really talked to her about taking a break. She fought me on this, but I was like, you need a break. I get that you think you only have three weeks left and you're running out of time, but you need a break. So taking breaks, spending time with her boyfriend, going into other responsibilities and hanging out with people. We also worked through what she needed to do to write more. Um, but she was able to not only pass her, um, her written part of her comprehensive exams, but she walked into the oral part like, like a boss Ferrell. Like she owned the room. She was so confident she answered all the questions her, her committee were going back and forth and she just showed up different like she, it was like night and day from the person that I saw who signed up to work with me. Then the person who I saw commented their oral defense because we focus, we focus a lot on mindset and you can actually watch our video on [inaudible] side of her talking about her experience and you can see it even in that video of how like she just lights up talking about her research project and her experience. Because mindset is that important. I've been taken by voice. It's going out.
Okay. So the third part is community. I'm going to give you some rules. I think it's important to organize a writing group cause it's, it's, they are key. This dissertation process is lonely. Like you think about it, you go from, excuse me, being in class with people for 20 plus years, like you know you have k through 12, yet undergrad degree got master's degree, you got um, now yearning as like doctoral process. You had like two to three years of coursework and then you get to the dissertation phase and it's like no people, most of us don't have classes that like for your dissertation. And so you go from something where you're showing up on a weekly basis with other people and learning to something was showing up to nobody with no focus. It's all up to you. So that is why your community and your writing groups are so important.
However, not all writing groups are created equal. So for our writing group to be successful coming up with a designating writing time, right? Like what is the time that you all are going to admit you are all going to commit to, right? It's not negotiable. We show up, we write and we write for this long because I like how long are you going to write? Right? What are going to be the rules about writing? Are you going to talk any before? Do you need to check in with each other? How long are you going to let that go on for? Where are you going to write? Are there other people allowed to come into the writing group at different points? How long are you going to do this for? A semester, for a year. Those like get really clear about that in the beginning. No assumptions.
You want to have a point in where you check in about progress. So that can be in the beginning of the writing session where you say, I'm going to work on, I've got, like these two articles. I'm going to get two pages done and our writing time and then at the end as I writing time checking in to see where people are or what they said they were going to get done. Because what you outlining, what your intention is going to be in the beginning helps keep your burning focus on what you need to do. And then at the end when people asked you if you did that, it helps keep you accountable. Ask each other powerful questions like don't be afraid to ask each other questions. Like what do you mean by that? Or how are you going to write those two pages?
What's your process for reading those two articles? Being each other's help cause that helps us to think and then having a place to celebrate wins. We don't celebrate enough. You just think that like only defense time do we need to celebrate but celebrate it. You wrote two pages, celebrate that you actually showed up for the writing session. Celebrate that you got your topic pass by your chair. Having people to do that and sometimes you may not have anybody in your program that you can have a writing group with. Maybe that means you're going to have to go online and form a group with people that you probably never met face to face before, but y'all are Facebook friends or you're in this group. It doesn't have to be this big thing. It could just be one, it could be two people, it can be a group of 10, but just making sure that you have structure is gonna really be helpful for that.
I'm just like my client, Dr Layla McCloud, um, Layla came to noon at the end of last year. Um, she was, she was tired. She was at the edge. She was working on her proposal and I just didn't think I, like, she went through some things in her program and she was just feeling like maybe, you know, she just, she didn't know how she's going to continue. And while I didn't think working one on one with me, what's going to be the the right thing for her just because she, I mean, she had a system, she was doing very well at progress. Um, you know, she had to balance just because she's a mommy and kids will do that. Um, well what, what was, what was missing was community, like having that sense of support and people that she can show up with. And so she joined my right away group and she showed up week after week.
Oh and cam were working, she share with us what she was going through and we celebrated with her when she, you know, pass her proposal and she was working on her like dissertation in data and she had Hashtag to get her through it and we all were like hopping or her pictures and stuff and say the Hashtag. Um, but her showing up week after week help me. I know personally to be even more committed because it's like it's motivating when you know somebody is serious, a member, the people you hang out with keep you going. And we were all just motivated by with her, cause she finish where she was six months before graduation, she didn't think she was going to be able to do it. There was no proposal defended and nothing. Six. Yeah. Like five spies. Six months later she is doctor McCloud just because that's the power of community and that's what I mean like one thing can throw it off. She knew that she needed to write. She knew what she was doing. She had a schedule, she was organized.
Speaker 1: (16:17)
She knew that like she had the knowledge to do it. She just did not like that spirit to keep going. She was getting tired. Community will help that so much. So again, I want you to think about your numbers. Remember I had you to do those three numbers and thinking about what I just talked to you about the get it done framework. How do, based on what I said and things I said you need to include, do you want to change your numbers? Do you feel like you need to look at them again, tweak them a little bit. Are you, did you identify anything that you're like maybe I need to add this or do more of this. Do you have a better idea the difference between like the Sponge Bob and Jeff or the Blue Ivy GIF. Like who do you want to be? Did I say something that resonated with you that you're like, oh, I would love to have that, but I just don't know how to do the next step. Oh, I don't know what to do. I get that I need these things perhaps or how they might be clear that you need some type of help or something, but you're just not sure what to do.
Then you are who I created the dissertation proposal solution for. This is why I created this four month program is four months of some structured support, accountability using the get it done framework.
So you show up just like you are now in their weekly, like videos that tell you exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it so that you set up your system, your mindset, and your community to help you get that 95% of what you need so you can do the other 5% that you know you need to do. Right? We have a daily system where I'll walk you through the daily writing routine that you didn't go through to help you set up your mind and be intentional of who you need to be. And then we, it helps you also set up your clear, simple writing goals of what you can accomplish. Very small steps every day and how are you going to accomplish that? And it gives you accountability to check in to see if you did that. We have group coaching calls where you get to, um, we get to talk with each other, you get to talk with me and you get your questions answered.
I work with you directly to see like what's going on in your project and what you need to be working on. So while you have the videos to help you direct yourself, you also have that added layer of support with me as your coach, making sure that you're doing what you need to do for you because it's not a one size fit all. I'm not just leaving you to videos, the culture, you still get that with me on the calls so that we can make sure you're making the progress that you need to do the in between calls, you have the Facebook group, this is where we as a community comes and gather. We talk with one another, we support one another, we help each other. That's where you can come event where you can celebrate your wins. If you had a quick question and answer, I have a community managers, Ollie's looking, um, and I'm in there in and out every day to to answer any questions. And then you have personalized feedback on your drafts. Remember I say you should be getting weekly feedback on your writing. That's used hearted something to me every week because again, I am not about you wasting your money. This is about people who are serious about making progress in Fort Months. So we need to do that on a weekly basis.
And then bonus cause you like girl, I came here no for a literature review and I still got questions. We're having a workshop about that. I walk you through how to set yourself up for your literature review. I'll walk you through on what you need to include for those things we have right away, which is your weekly writing accountability group. So if you're like, I need a writing group that I don't have people, I got you. It's already built into this program. We meet every Sunday for 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM for three hours and rewrite. Right? And don't worry if your schedule doesn't allow for that. Again, there's enough structure in this program to make sure that you're making consistent feedback. Even if you can't make the calls, which are recorded, calls are recorded or you can't make the right Olay session and the room is open all Sunday.
It's just that someone from me or someone from my staff or me or me or I, yes. And they're, um, 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM but you still can use that space and other people will be in and out to right throughout Sunday. And then when you pay a fool, you invest the full, you get to private one on one coaching sessions with me as a bonus. You can have a completed draft of your proposal and for months people have done it. If you're willing to show up and do the work, you can have a completed draft. It could be like Stacy who says, Dr Marvette has a talent for a movie. All of the Fox surrounding the process and breaking it down into easy and manageable pieces. She also held me accountable, which I needed and she was honest with me about my work, which is also that I needed.
Yes, I am honest. That's another thing. If you're not ready for someone to give you detailed feedback and honest feedback, then maybe I'm not the best coach for you because I know that the more honest I am and detailed I am with you, the better it's going to be for you. It could be like Mika where she says, my red is dope. She is helpful and she pushes you without being overwhelming and judgy. She asked good questions that help you clarify your own thoughts. She is well worth the money. I've benefited greatly from working with her. I do not pay anybody to say any of this. Um, but yeah, just helping me get very clear on her topic, getting them very manageable system for writing her literature review and prep, preparing for her proposal defense. That's what we've been working on. And then we'll Ameesha who has completed her proposal, completed data collection and record amount of time and it's turning in and four and five and working on the final edits of that to say if you want to get this done, you need to work with Dr Lacy.
She'll help you. She will keep it real in with you and give you the feedback you need to move forward. Let me show this back to be finish. She is a few weeks from being finished. So I want to recap with you. I what you get when you work with meaning and you sign up for the dissertation proposal solution. Remember, get a daily system where you go through at planning your day, keeping yourself on track, um, and knowing what you need to do the get it done. Writing System. When I talked about here of how to set up your schedule, how to plan it out, get simple goals, how to have a simple writing system when you sit down and open your laptop, knowing how to go from that to writing. Um, you get group coaching calls. We do this every other week. Um, there are recorded answer questions.
I give personalized feedback whether or not you're on a call and that I answer your questions. Again, there's a system for you to follow up in the Facebook group if we need to do some back and forth because sometimes we need to do that. But I'm there in the Facebook group in between calls to be helpful. You get personalized feedback on your writing, on your drafts. So I give you feedback what you turned into me every week. I give you feedback. And that's usually within 72 hours is my turnaround rate. You get access to right away, which is our weekly writing group. Full adult scholars come together, holding each other accountable, pushing each other, celebrating what each other, every Sunday. And then when you invest in fall, you get two one-on-one coaching sessions with me. It costs six like it cost 6,000 to work with me one-on-one and you won't even pay even like call anywhere close to that for this. Plus, I love to do bonuses and surprises for my clients to give you that extra push you need to get through the process. All of this is over 6,000 in value. Remember I said when I work one on one with people, it's up there.
This episode is part 2 of a 3-part webinar presentation.
Transcript of Episode:
5%. I believe that me telling you how to write your literature review or knowing the difference between a conceptual and theoretical framework or trying to figure out what's the best methodology. I believe all those types of questions and things are only 5% of what you need to finish your proposal. I'm going to say that again. I believe content-based things like how to write a literature review, how to choose a methodology. What's the best topic, are these great research questions. That's just 5% of what you need to be concerned about. Now remember you said that you were going to keep an open mind.
I could tell you exactly what you needed to write. Your chair could tell you exactly what you needed to write, how to frame your questions. What's the best methodology, exactly what you need to do and what you write. I have done it for people. I can tell you and you know what? You still won't do it. I could tell you exactly what to write and you still, when you sat down to go and write it, you're going to argue. You're going to feel the need to go and research. You're going to feel the need to go back and forth about why it's not right and it's hard to make a choice and it won't matter. I can like literally your chair can sit down with you right now one-on-one until you exactly what you need to write to pass. They can guarantee if you did these things, you would pass and you still won't do it. So while this presentation is titled, How to, like do your literature review, we're not gonna to spend time on the like nuts and bolts of literature reviews because it doesn't matter.
You need it to pass into write it. But if you don't do the other 95% of stuff, it won't matter. It won't matter. If you know how to do a literature review, you'll just be like caught up in the same cycle of consuming, consuming, consuming information. You'll listen and you won't do it. It is not because you can't. It's not because you're not capable. It's because you're so busy focusing on his content and this like, what do I need to do that? You're not focusing on how to do them, like not like how to do it from like using the right words, but like who do you need to be? How do you need to think? What type of environment do you need to be in? Who do you need to have around you in order to write what you need to write. Because remember if you go back, I already said you already know everything or at the very least you know how to get to the information you need to know. You don't need me to tell you how to do a literature review because you know how to do it and the thoughts that are creeping out right now and I saying, but I don't. That's why I'm here, but I don't know. I'm still learning. That's not true. It's your doubts. It's your mindset and that's what I'm going to be talking about for the next few minutes. That is the focus, the basis of my coaching.
I am talking about all the other stuff that nobody else wants to talk about that they think doesn't matter, that they think is a waste of their time. But it's the biggest reasons why you can't, write. Biggest reasons why I failed that publishable paper defense. Biggest reasons why I was able then two and a half years later to show up in my defense ready.
The other stuff, cause nothing like as far as knowledge, yeah, I had a couple of more research classes. Sure. But if I'm being honest, I didn't really remember like I remember stuff but I didn't remember it and that was not what I leaned on and those three and a half months when I was finishing a dissertation at warped speed, that is not, I didn't go back necessarily to my classes and be like, I need to know exactly it was all the other stuff that I'm going to talk about and get it done framework. That was important.
This is why this is so important. Now listen, if this is your, like if this is your area of expertise, do not come at me. I am just explaining this next set of information and the way that works for me in best ways that works for clients in a very simplistic way. Okay. I'm sure it's more complicated. I got you, but and, let's focus on the spirit of what I'm saying. All right. Let's see. We're keeping an open mind, so your brain at its most basic forms wants you to survive above all else. It wants you to survive and it wants to make sure that you're able to survive with the least amount of effort as possible. What does the have to do with your literature review?
If your main, if the main goal is survival, right? Then the main thing that the brain is looking for is threats to that survival, like what is popping up in our environment or in our world? What are we noticing that is a potential potential threat? Potential threats are usually something that's new. It's not like regular schmegular happening every day. It's unfamiliar. We don't know, that seems real off is looking for things that are offered different and it's constantly scanning in the like in the background, even though you're not conscious of it, it's constant scanning your environment and the things that you're taking in for something that's new or unfamiliar because if it's different, new or unfamiliar, then your brain says there's a high chance that that's a threat to our survival and we're going to die. There's a higher chance because that's a threat. It's different. We are going to die and we need to figure out the best way to avoid it or to incorporate it as quickly as possible and make it normal so that it's no longer a threat. Your brain is simply just trying to save you from danger.
And any time that you come into contact with something that is a threat that's unfamiliar, doesn't feel good. Your brain is like, how do I switch to autopilot or to something that feels good? Because right now I'm feeling real scared and your brain cannot distinguish between, there's a lion, I don't know, he's a lion. You're jumping out of the bushes and about to attack you and you sitting down to write cause they both feel the same in the body, right? Cause when you sit down to write, you get, maybe you me, if you're like me, you get really anxious. You're real nervous, you get real confused. You're not sure what to write. You're not sure if it's going to come out right. The stakes are so high that if you don't do this right and you're not going to pass and you're not going to graduate and you have wasted all these years for nothing, it is very scary. Or it can be very scary to sit down and write in a blank document on your laptop, not being sure what you should say exactly. Right?
And your brain again, just wants to save you. And so what it does as you sit down to writing, you're like, but what if I said it this way, but let me go look this up. But like, like all these thoughts and you get flooded with something that you were just fine a minute ago, but now you sit down in front of his laptop and you're, and you started to get really nervous and anxious. Your brain, then says, this is a threat. We shouldn't be sitting here because when we sit down at our laptop to type, we get real nervous and that clearly means that's wrong. It clearly means we're going to die. So how do we switch to doing something else?
So then your brain begins to lie to you because it's trying to save you. It begins to tell you things or send you signals to try to get you to do something else that you enjoy more. Maybe that's social media, maybe that's TV, maybe that's eating, maybe that's sleeping. Maybe that's talking to someone. It gets you to do things so that you can stop the scary thing which is sitting in front of your laptop typing and do something that's more familiar like eating or watching TV that's more enjoyable and that feels better and we know what to expect and we don't have to think that hard when we do those things. Your brain lies to you and I'm going to talk about three major lies, especially when it comes to writing that your brain will do. Let me know if you agree with this. I want you to type yes in the comments.
Lie #1: The longer I work, the more I'll get done.
So the more, excuse me, so you know who you are. Those of you who are having these a marathon writing days, you're like, mmm, I'm going to cancel everything on my schedule. I'm going work from 12 to eight. I'm not gonna go somewhere, I'm gonna order food in so I don't have to spend time going out and I'm just going to work. I'm go to my office, I'm gonna just work. I'm gonna work and work and work at work. Because if you feel like if you can block off like eight hour days, 10 hour days, 12 hour days, and you can write more, you'll get more done because you'll be uninterrupted and you won't have to worry about anyone else or anything else and you can just write, Right?
That's a lie because if you've done it then you definitely know it doesn't work out that way. If you've blocked off, like blocked off those that time and you actually manage to show up to your office to ride for the eight hours, or you showed up to the writing group to work this 12 hours, then you know you didn't spend eight hours or 10 hours or 12 hours writing. Two hours was spent on getting set up. So making sure you had the right snack, talking to your friends another two hours. It was like rereading what you wrote the last time, maybe another two hours. It was that, oh, you forgot something at home that you need to go make a run or you needed a new notebook so you went to the store or you had a craving for something else. And then you go get a drink from like Chipotle or something and maybe you spent a good hour, two hours writing. Like if you're going to be honest about the time you spent, maybe it was two hours out of that 10 hour day or are you sat there and you just stared cause you didn't even know like okay I have everything but I don't know what to write. But so instead of trying to do these series of marathon days instead, think about your writing goals. Now most people will just say, well I'm trying to have chapter two by then and I'm a write chapter three in a week. It needs to be more simple than that.
Okay. If it needs to be more simple than that, how do you simplify our writing those so that it's more about what you could do realistically in a day instead of trying to figure out how can write a whole chapter, how can you write one section of chapter two, how can you write one to three pages in a week or a writing session? Cause I know some of you just then are like, a week?! One to three pages will never get done. That shows then we need some more work. But like how do you simplify your writing goals to think about, okay, how long is it gonna take me to write chapter two, how can I break that up? How can I make sure if I'm hitting these three main points, how long is it going to take me to hit each point and that trying to do everything in one session because you may say to yourself, I'm just saving myself time or I'm being efficient if I do more on the front end as last I had to do on the backend to editing and that's a whole other thing. Well, what also happens when you do these marathon, marathon days, then you'd have no time for yourself.
How can you set up your schedule where you can consistently make progress on your writing?
....and have time to spend with family, with loved ones going to work out watching TV and doing those things without feeling guilty? Cause I'm sure a lot of you do those things. You do go out. Especially now it's summer. At the time I'm recording this, people will go out, but you'll feel guilty. You'll feel like, oh I'm supposed to be reading something. Oh I should be writing. Oh I can. And then you really don't enjoy yourself. So you don't enjoy yourself when you're out doing what's supposed to be fun. Cause you feel like you're supposed to be writing. And then when you are writing you're feeling like, oh this sucks. I'm sitting here for 10 hours and I could be with my friends. And you're never present in the moment.
So how do you set up your life where you simplify your writing goals and you take time for yourself? Because when you're able to balance those two things, that's when you get more progress. But you're able to have simple achievable goals where your brain isn't like, we're gonna die, we're gonna die. You can then get more done cause you're spending less brain power and energy trying to fight off up quote unquote potential threat. That's not a threat. As you said, you've got at your laptop writing. When things are very small and manageable, your brain is in freaking out. So then it allows you to use that energy that you would have used on being stressed and anxious on writing so then because you're using less time to be freaked out or procrastinating. You're using more attack, like less to right. Then you have more time for yourself. You have more time to be with people that you love to be with. You have more time to do other things that you may need to do that you've been putting off, and when you have that imbalance, then you're able to accomplish so much more. Less is more. It's cliche, and it is true.
So based on that baseline, the system, your schedule, how much you write, how much of a balance that you've had between getting writing done and helping yourself. I want you to rate yourself on a scale of one to five, one being, oh, I need a lot of work who are working on my schedule and balancing my life out. And Five being like, I'm good. I got a good balance. I see who I need to see. I don't feel guilty when I go out. When it's time to write, I show up and write. I don't spend hours writing. I'm on a consistent routine and schedule. I'm good. On a scale of one to five, how would you rate yourself? I want you to write that down because it's important because we're gonna come back to these numbers. I want you to write it down. How well would you rate your system? Remember one being needed, a lot of work, five being and I'm good.Okay. You have that down.
Lie #2: If I had just had a writing plan, I could finish my proposal.
It's like all I need is somebody to help me organize like five time and help me like plan out. That's to simplifying the goals and the chapters. I be good. If they could just give it to me, I'll be good. No, no, no. Remember going back to the beginning of what I say, like I help people and I tell them this way, you need to write is how you can say it. Choose this. The same concept applies. It doesn't matter if someone, I can give you a plan right now. I'll tell you what to write. I could tell you what to do. I could tell you how you should structure your time. It won't matter. It won't. Um, because you'll feel good. You'll like go out and buy a planner. You'll put all your little like, like you little writing sessions in there and you're like, I'm good to go. And then you'll show up for the writing session and you still won't feel motivated. You're like, I just need something to get me going. What can I do? And maybe you're like being go find a video. I'm an inspirational video, a good motivational video. Find something to get me together. I'm going to get my favorite snack. And you're trying to do all this things to build up your motivation. Okay? But you have to keep doing something outside of you to get that motivation.
Instead, you need momentum, right? Because the brain comes back, the brain is like, oh my God, I can't do this. I don't, I don't feel like it. I'm tired, man. I'll just put it off until tomorrow. Oh, we'll start that on Monday. Oh, I have enough writing sessions throughout the week. I don't need to do it today. Oh, well this show came up and I forgot I was supposed to watch the show or something. So I want to go get something to eat and I haven't seen them in a long time. These things are going to start to come up and then next thing you gotta know, like, I mean, yeah, you plan a date and you have a good plan, but you didn't follow it. Instead, you need momentum. Remember, I'm about small steps every day. How can you make the habit of writing, writing your literature, review your proposal so small, so ingrained in your day that it becomes routine? Because success is in your routine.
If you could show up and do that small step and your brain doesn't even have to think about it, it's on autopilot. You're good. Think about it like you eat every day. You brush your teeth every day, right? You get dressed every day? It's these small steps. Like most of these things you do on autopilot, your brain doesn't even have to think about it. Like you go into the bathroom, you instinctively like grab for the toothbrush and toothpaste and you just do it and then you go about your business. The way that you start to write your dissertation proposal needs to be the same way. That's what I talk about. Having small steps in a writing system. That's how they needs to feel that you show up every day and you do these small steps and you do it over and over and it becomes second nature with all the, without all the stress and the headache. That's the second thing.
So I want you to rate yourself again, one being it needs a lot of work. Five being I'm good. Rate yourself on the following statement. I feel good about writing and consistently making progress on my draft. How good do you feel about your writing progress? How good do you feel about your ability to do that in a very small but building momentum way that you can sit down at your laptop right now, open up and you have a system that was take you from opening up your laptop to writing in five minutes. That in 30 minutes from now you can have a page or two of content written for your proposal. How confident are you in your ability to do that right now in this moment? If I asked you to do that on a scale of one to five, that's what I'm asking you to rate yourself on. Write that number down and let me know.
Lie #3: I can get more done when I work by myself.
Now how many of you said that I can get more done when I work by myself, I don't like working with a lot of people. They just going to distract me ain't nobody on my level. Right? And you go and you seclude yourself by yourself. You go to your favorite writing spot or whatever and you still don't get anything done. Now we all have friends where we go and then we right away and we do more talking than we do writing. Sure. Is that what's happening with you? Are you a part of writing groups but y'all spend more time socializing than writing? When you get around a good, like a, like a group of people who are serious, like who are actually about accountability and writing that people who socialize on you get around a good group of people, you will stop, have a, what I call Shiny Object Syndrome. You will stop jumping from topic to topic. You will stop, oh this methodology look good or this method looks good. Oh I can do an interview few. Oh what have I do? Action Research. You will stop that because you'll be in the company of people who are serious. That they know, like we're making a decision, we're committing to it. We're showing up every day. We'll put it in or work, so cause we're graduating. You will also get people who will give you cost of feedback. You can bounce ideas off of each other. They're going to build you up when you need it. They will getting your butt when you need it. Good. Now, for y'all who don't know that term, that just means they gonna call you out when you need it. With love though.
That's what I'm talking about in terms of being around good people because if we are, maybe we heard like we're the sum of the five people we hang out with the most. Who are you hanging out with the most? Whether that's online or in person? Who are you listening to the most? How much are they helping you become better writer? A better student? A better scholar? Do you want the results that they have in their life? Do you want to be how they are? Do you want to show up as them? Because that's what's happening when you spend all your time with them and who in your circle do you want to be more like, do you wish you had the discipline they had, the productivity that they had? How much time are you spending with them?
Okay, So this last thing I want you to rate yourself on your community. My community helps me be a stronger scholar by supporting and keeping me accountable. On a scale of one to five, how true is that statement for you? Remember being it needs a lot of work and five being I'm good. How would you rate your community, your scholar community?
Okay. Now look at your numbers. Remember I asked you to look at your systems like your schedule, your goals, how much you're writing, as to look at your ability to crank out pages. Like can you sit down at your laptop right now and write something out? How good you feel about your ability in your system for doing that. And then this third thing I asked you to rate your community. How would you rate them? Their ability to support you, keep you accountable and make you better. How are those numbers looking?
How are you feeling about your numbers? Are you like Spongebob over here? And for those of you who cannot see it, it's the gif of Spongebob trying to do all the things. He's cleaning, he's ironing. He's cooking, he's vacuuming. Do you feel like you have all these projects going on and you're just all over the place or are you like Blue over here, chill and she's at the pool is a picture of her on a yacht and pool. Had a little mocktail purse, and glasses living her life. Which one are you? Which one do you want to be? Who Do you want to be? When you're thinking about your dissertation, if you're like Sponge Bob or somewhere in between, then you know that your current strategy is not doing anything for you, but keeping you stuck, confused and overwhelmed. There's something about, like even if you don't completely feel like spongebob or you didn't completely have all ones, but you know there is a voice inside of you there like something's not right.I need to do something better.
If you're still watching this video series and you know like something is not quite right. And that's what I'm going to be talking about for the rest. I'm going to talk to you about my "Get it Done" framework...
To be continued in Part 3 of the webinar presentation next week!
Hi, welcome everyone to finishing your literature review with less stress. I am your host, Dr. Marvette Lacy, and I would like to thank you for taking the time and spending the next 40 minutes with me or so to talk about all things literature review dissertation proposal. We are going to cover a lot today, so I'm going to ask that you as much as possible eliminate distractions, anything running in the background and take the next 40 minutes for yourself because there's no point to waste your time. Um, being here if you're not going to be fully committed and focused on this because I know that what I am sharing with you today will truly help you accomplish not only your goals as it relates to your dissertation, but any other goals that you may have in life. So with that, please eliminate distractions. I want those of you who are here live on a call, please introduce yourself, take some time, let us know who you are, what's your name, your institution, year in the program and the hardest part about being a doc student that you are having right now. Let us know in the chat and any other information that you think it would be helpful for us to know because this is very interactive and the more that we get to know about you, I'm going to share some things about me. Um, it just helps with the time and helps make this a very positive experience. So while you're doing that, I'm going to share a little bit about me again.
I'm Marvette. I currently live in Milwaukee, WI. And I graduated from the University of Georgia in the College Student Affairs Administration Program. It's a whole other topic thing about what student affairs is, if you're not familiar with it. Um, but I just want to talk to you about a critical point in my dissertation program. So my program was set up in that between your first and second year, you as a student were required to do, what is called publishable paper. Publishable papers, some can say that it's kinda like, um, a pilot study. So it gives you an idea of not only what you could potentially research about for your dissertation, but it also gives you an idea as you are completely designing and conducting in writing up your own research project, but on a smaller scale as a way to prepare you for your exams and for your dissertation.
A lot of people in our program do not continue on with the same topic from their publishable paper to their dissertation because the time in between and what you learned in between can, it's a large gap in, so this is truly meant as an educational tool, right? And it's happening in between your first and second year. So I started working on mine. I remember taking at least three or four months to really focus on the literature review because I knew that like people usually say that's the hardest part and that I knew that I was only in the program for about a year. And I knew I didn't know a lot, right? I didn't even know how to, um, like build a research paper. I only, I think only how like an intro to research course, um, at this point. And so I just did not know what I was doing. And so for me, you look at what people have done before and you model what they do right. And that's what I was doing. And so I spent a good two or three months just reading article after article and like seeing how they set up their literature reviews and which topic. I just knew that I wanted to study black women, but I was like, I don't know exactly what. And so I was just doing my best to collect all the references and write all the notes and I just remember having notebooks and notebooks and documents and documents of notes right. And, Somehow after like three or four months, I managed to put together some sort of document or a proposal because you also have to go through the process like you would and and dissertation and that you defend your proposal, you conduct the research and then you defend the entire paper.
And so I really worked really hard and I got it down to like a 30 page proposal. I was so proud of it. Right. Cause I was like, I went from somewhere, I was like overwhelmed with all these notes and now I have a whole thing. And I was so excited about my committee cause it was like dope faculty members, like the two black women. I had a new chair, I was like support it. Um, and if you haven't heard about my story and my first semester and how I failed then you would know like why this was such a big deal that I was making it to this point to be able to defend this. And, I was prepared to answer all the questions right about like my literature review. I was just so proud, Like, it's well done. And I failed that defense.
Let me tell you why I failed the defense because they started asking me question after question like what's the purpose of your study again and what were you going to study and why black women. And like what are you planning to do? And it was just all these questions about like methodology and methods and exactly what I was going to do to, I couldn't answer and I was like, nobody even asked me a question about my literature review, which is what I spent all my time on. I was so upset. I started crying and that defense when it hit me that I wasn't going to pass, I was crying because I was like, I should know better. I should have known this. I made a fool of myself and then I was crying because I was crying cause I was like, you can't show up and cry. There's no crying in phd process. And then I just was also crying cause I'm like, they're having pity on me, I suck, blah blah. Like all of this came up to the surface and I just walked out defeated and I have to Redo my whole proposal and where before I had months to do it. This time I only had like, I believe like a few weeks, like a couple, two or three weeks that I had to turn this around because it was really close. I felt like people were going off contract or something and that was a reason why I had to finish it.
Now fast forward two and a half years later, after this whole fiasco of failing that publishable paper, I got through that. I got through my exams, I've defended my dissertation proposal and now it is April, 1120 17 and I am walking into my dissertation defense and most of all I feel good. It's like night and day from that publishable paper. Um, defense. I was nervous though and I wasn't nervous because I didn't feel like I wasn't going to be able to do it. I wasn't nervous from the fact that I had to write this in like three months, which I did. Again, another story, I had to finish this. Like I do my dissertation in three months. I was nervous because I knew that it was gonna finally like be over. Like I had reached the end point did that day I was going to walk away and they were going to call me Dr Lacy.
Like I knew it deep down, but I was scared. Like I was like, I can't believe that it's almost going to be over the picture at the bottom right - I look a hot mess, I was tired y'all. And because you know I did it in three months and I was also confident that I was walking away being like I was passing it. It was nothing that anybody was going to say that was going to stop me from being Dr. Lacy and I rocked it and I was able to answer all the questions. It was, it felt like a discussion that was happening. All my friends were in the back room. People were live, tweeting, streaming and I didn't feel nervous about that cause I knew there was no way that it wasn't going to go the way I thought it was going to go.
I don't share my story because I want to brag to you. I share my story. So, one, you get to know a little bit about who are you listening to. Two, so you can know that I know what it feels like to on one end have no idea what you're doing. Like have no idea where to start and just like trying to make it up as you go along and it's still not working out and you fell in completely on your face to knowing how it feels to walk into a room and own it and be confident and your study, your decisions, who you are as a researcher and be able to look at your committee and be like, prank it. I don't like do your words. Whatever question you asked me, I'm going to be able to answer it. That's why I shared that story. And, I want you to know that I believe that your story one doesn't have to be as difficult as my, but that you have something that you must share with the world. There's a reason why you have the topic that you have on your mind, the topic of your heart that you want to do, the research that you want to conduct. There a reason why and you have to do it and to not do it, to pass it up, to give up on this process would be a disservice to yourself, to your participants, to the world. You would be like robbing people of a necessary experience, of a necessary, like data and research and your perspective if you don't share it. I also believe you already have everything you need to finish this dissertation and graduate.
I know today we're supposed to talk about literature reviews. And, if you don't walk away from anything but that, I want you to walk away with knowing that you don't need anything else. You don't need to know more. You need to be more. You have what you need to finish this. So I want you to imagine walking into your dissertation defense like you've collected the data, you've written up everything, had all the conversations you needed to have. You walk in and you're ready. You walk in, your committees there, your chairs there, maybe your friends are there, maybe the hating so-and-so person is there, the person you don't like. Maybe all of those people are there. Your family friends, your loved ones. They're all in the room waiting for you and you walk in to give your presentation for your dissertation and maybe a little bit nervous because it still makes you nervous to speak in front of people, but that's it. Like you know what you're going to say. You feel so good about your dissertation that you're like, I can't wait to tell them it's going to blow their minds and you kill it. Like imagine just you are there now you're killing it. People throwing questions at you. Even that hatin-a... See, I'm trying not to curse, but you know, hating ass person, they, they trying to throw questions at you, and it don't matter. You can answer it and you can move on. They're not, you know, they don't phase you none. You sit down, you have not the conversation where your committee is like you tell it, like your people. Y'All just having a regular conversation. You're talking about what you are gonna publish. Like you already know. You Pass. Y'All are just talking about next steps. You're talking about what's next, what else you gonna study. Imagine what that feels like. That's what I'm offering you today. This is the first step to getting that.
So. You're in the right place because I don't want you to waste your time. Remember, and I'm not about wasting your time. But if any of what I just said resonated with you, you're in the right place. If you're like, yeah, that's what I want. You're in the right place. If you are working on your comps or your exams or your proposal, you're in the right place, but maybe you're feeling like cat. That what I just imagined. That's for me. I want that, but right now I'm having a hard time figuring out how I'm gonna get there. Maybe you feel like you're doing all of these things or you're writing, you're in writing groups, you're reading, you're asking questions, but you feel like you're still not getting anywhere. You don't have a completed draft to show for any of that hard work and all those questions you should try to figure out what, what do I need to do next, what's the most important thing I need to do so I'm not wasting my time so I can be as efficient as possible.
Or maybe you feel like you're falling out of love with your dissertation. You're like, yeah, I feel you. I need to share with the world. But I just, I'm not feeling it no more. Maybe this phd thing isn't for me. Maybe for like your, you have so much going on at your constantly forgetting to do something. Like I know I'm supposed to do something. I know I'm supposed to do something but you don't, you're not quite sure. And You keep looking at all your to do lists and whatever you use to manage your time and you just felt like you can never be on top of it and feel like you're getting everything done and she needs to get done and you're exhausted and you're like, I'm just, I need something else. Cause it's not it. This is who I'm talking to today. This is what this training is for is for you.
My promise to you is for the next 40 minutes or so, I'm going to talk to you about how I went from that person who failed their publishable paper defense to somebody who walked into their dissertation defense. Ready? I'm not sharing with you theories or what I read in book, even though you know I have two degrees on that like development. That's not the point. I'm not sharing about that. I'm sharing like actually what I've done and what I've done with clients to get them to the end. I'm talking to you about my "Get it Done" framework. My three step process from taking you from feeling busy, exhausted, overwhelmed, to like intentional, confident, excited about that business. I'm explaining it to you over the next few minutes and I want you to use that and implement it because it's cute to sit here and listen to this and consume it, but if you don't do anything, this doesn't matter. You're wasting your time. Remember, I don't want you to waste your time, so I want you to listen to this and do this. That's what I'm going to share with you, but I need something from you, right?
Right now I need you to make a promise or at the very least for the next few minutes, you can agree to these things. You can agree that you're going to keep an open mind because some of the stuff I want to talk about you and be like, no girl, what? It's gonna seem a little bit out there, but I'm asking you to keep an open mind right now. I don't want you emailing me or clicking off cause you like what? That's not what she said. I'm asking you now. You decide to keep an open mind. I'm asking you now to take responsibility for where you are today. Take responsibility. If you're not writing, like you're supposed to take responsibility. If you don't have pages or you're not meeting deadlines, take responsibility for if you wish your relationship with your chair and your committee was different. I'm not saying you control other people or you're responsible for their actions. I'm telling you to take responsibility for where you are. Because the moment that you can do that, you become in your power. You step into your power. You're not a victim anymore. Life isn't just happening to you. You are controlling your life. Cause the moment you can say that, that means you can change things to get to what you want, like to happen, to get to the results. And then the third thing is you're willing to put in the work. Cause what I'm going to say to you, it's gonna take work. It's not going to be easy. It's simple, but it ain't easy. But I want you to say you agree right now and that you're willing to put in the work. Okay? Now don't go past this without agreeing to that.
Hey friends, the time has come to finish your dissertation, graduate and become doctor. Welcome to "Office Hours with Dr Lacy", where we talk about finishing your dissertation with joy and peace. Let's get started on today's episode.
So today I am just going to talk. I'm getting my notes. I have my wine and I just need to get this episode out because I've been procrastinating too much and we're not about perfection over here, so I'm just gonna talk. Um, I hope it makes sense. You'll let me know if it all makes sense or if you have questions and we'll go from there. So I've been um, singing this meme floating around Facebook. Let me pull it up. So I'm sure you have seen, it's a tweet. It says, you know how you'll see those things. It'll be like somebody says, and then there's a response was this one says like "Nobody:" and it's blank. And then it says "Black women: I'm going to get another degree". And the caption just says "black women get bored and just decide to go get their doctorate."
And every time I see it, no matter where it pops up, if it's a private Facebook group or just somebody sharing it to their personal pages, you'll just see all these black women like, "yes". And "I feel attacked" and "I can relate to this. so much" and, "This spoke to me on a personal level" and like, so many people are resonating with this And at first it's like at first glance it's like, Haha that's funny. But as I like started to think about it a little bit more, I just one so, on one hand I see like that power, right? Like because black women, you can put your mind to anything and you're like, Yep, I'm doing this. Um, and I, and it gives the impression like we're so used to doing all the things, you'd being all the things to people that it almost comes off effortless as if it's not difficult.
Like, oh, I'm bored girl, I'm just going to go apply to this PhD program and do this cause I ain't got nothing else to do and it takes away from the other part of the story of how difficult it is. How much work actually goes into it. It also doesn't give space to really talk about, for a lot of us, what's behind that? Like this need to stack up all of these achievements because we're trying to be seen, and once again, we're, when we're used to doing all these things and going after all of these goals where a lot of other people are just like, they're just trying to do one of the many things that we accomplished in a year. Right? And I'm not trying to diminish like where you should feel bad. Cause you know, black girl magic is a real thing, and...
There's another side to that, right? It's not just magical. It's not just something that we didn't work hard for, or we're not putting in work or effort. And it also doesn't leave space for the hard parts of it. The loneliness, the isolation, the constantly running out of steam and energy, not having the privilege to just be, to just sit still. Right. It doesn't speak to those parts. And that that's a really, that's a real thing, a really real thing, um, that we have to contend with, right? It's like, Oh, you just do it. It's fine. But there's so many of us that are having such a difficult time in our phd processes. There's so many of us feeling like, oh, there's something wrong with me because, this is too hard. I'm lonely, my health is being affected. I won all of these medications. I'm going back and forth to doctor visits and I'm stressed and I'm burnt out. But I can't tell anybody because black women are supposed to be strong. We're supposed to have it all together were magical, right? So I can't let anybody else know that I need some help. I'm too busy. Like I'm supposed to be there for everyone else. I'm supposed to hold everybody else up. I'm supposed to help everyone else.
I'm not supposed to be the one to asking for help. That's not allowed. And so, so many of us struggle in silence because we're not supposed to. We're just supposed to do everything right.
And then some of us even get to a point where somehow we kept this up, right? We got to the end, we're supposed to write our dissertation and we did everything right. We did everything we were
Hey friends, the time has come to finish your dissertation, graduate and become doctor. Welcome to "Office Hours with Dr Lacy" where we talk about finishing your dissertation with joy and peace. Let's get started on today's episode.
Hi friends! So, today I'm going to be telling you a little bit about my story as a PhD student. I went to the University of Georgia in the College of Student Affairs Administration Program. Um, that is a whole other conversation about exactly what that degree means later. But um, I want to talk to you about my first semester and failing my first semester. Like, um, to say that that semester was a struggle would be a severe understatement. I was just, I wasn't doing well. Um, and I, part of the first semester was required to take our foundations in student affairs course, something like that. I'm not completely sure of the name, but it's a foundation course, right. It was a course where me, any other people that I came in with my cohort members, it was the only class that we were in together that we were not being in with any other people from the program.
And so it was minute for us to be able to not only have a bond as a cohort, but to like help us ease into the program. And this course was with an instructor who had been there for a very long time. He was coming to the end of his career. Um, Indians, we just, I just was not a fan of his teaching style and I'll say it that way and I just felt like he used the classroom as an opportunity to relive his glory days and I didn't understand why I needed to be there, to be a witness to that. Um, and everyone kept saying, you know, you just, it's just part of the process. You just got to go, you listen to her stories, you pretend like you're interested, ask them questions, blah, blah, blah. And I just, if you know me, I've been like this my whole life.
I just feel like it's a complete waste of my time. Um, and I just had no interest. Um, I was also just really struggling to make the adjustment in a new place in a new town. Um, all this stuff that came up for me, like an Undergrad as a first generation college student was also coming back up for me during that semester. So there's a lot of things of course. Um, and I really felt like despite me not being a fan of his style, that I was still trying my very best. Um, but I just didn't get it. I Dunno, it was just like, it's seemed like everyone else was speaking a different language and everybody understood what they were supposed to do in that class or in the whole program. And I just was confused. Um, so I mean I did, I felt like I did what any normal quote unquote normal first year doc student would do.
I took the time to read assignments carefully. I mean, and this material is dry cause it's foundations, it's like history, blah, blah, blah. And I thought we were done with that from a Master's program, but clearly not. Um, I would take like notes and notes, like pages and pages and notes. I would try to think of questions to ask, but I was really like, I mean in his history it happened. It's not like we're going to cover this in the class anyway, so, but I still tried to do my best. Um, but then I would go into the class and I would be speechless. And again, if I'm also generally not a talker, um, especially in class and in my mind, I just remember thinking now I know in the back end they're excuses. But at that time I was like, oh, I would say things like, oh I'm processing and I'm just trying to take it all in.
But really the truth was I was just scared. I was scared that I was gonna say the wrong thing. I didn't want to be wrong, cause it's, it's stakes, right? Like you made it all the way to this phd program and you don't want them to know that, you know, that they made a mistake. Like somebody made a mistake and letting me into the program. And so why would I show up to class and say the wrong thing and confirm that they made a mistake and then they kicked me out of it. It just seemed like everyone else seems so smart and ready to say something. Like everybody always seemed like they always had something to say. And I was just coffee, booze and I just felt like there was something wrong with me. And I did know like what I had that every, what I didn't have that everyone else had.
Um, and I was like, maybe it was because like some of the people in my class, they did their masters program and that same with the same faculty until I was like, oh, maybe they're just more comfortable. They know something. I don't know. Like I kind of felt like everybody got the Phd, like Starter Guide and I missed it or something. And I just felt like, because they knew more what to expect and they already had these preexisting relationships that there was no way for me to catch up and there was nothing I could do. Um, and if for some reason I was called on in that class or you know, didn't fall asleep while he was saying the same story over and over, I would just get really anxious and I wouldn't be able to talk. It was like the words could not physically come out of my mouth and I just, I dunno, I was just at a loss and then I wouldn't say like the middle of the class, like this semester.
I mean this is after weeks and weeks of just Imposter Syndrome, feeling like I suck. I didn't belong. Um, we had to do a paper assignment in the feedback that I not only got from that instructor, but that I get from my advisor was, you can't write, um, you really need to work on your writing. Um, and it's clear that like, you have a long way to go in. The instructor wanted me to meet with him about my paper. That's how bad it was, I guess. And he essentially told me that he didn't understand how I got into the program, even though he was the program coordinator. But I digress. Um, that I honestly didn't have what it took, um, that I clearly didn't care about being the program because I never said anything in class and I didn't listen to other people when they were talking and that my writing was absolutely awful and I needed to get it together or leave.
And I left that meeting like in tears because I felt like no matter how much I tried to defend myself or I have a response to him or try to explain everything that was going on, he just was cold and he just shut me down. And it just seems like he just, it seemed like he just didn't care. He didn't want to hear what I had to say. And so that meeting ended with me in a bathroom stall, completely breaking down in tears. Like I remember I also was sick, I was, had a sinus infection because of all the stress and I just remember feeling like, Yep, it's right. I need to go, I need to leave. Um, and I tried to keep going for the rest of that semester, but that semester ended with me on academic probation because even though I thought I was doing well in my other classes, apparently not, I'm my grades at the end of all my classes did where it's not a passing GPA.
And I went into winter break. I went into winter break just smoking weed every day and even a jar cookie butter from trader Joe's and watching all nine seasons of army wives. I never left out of my room. I didn't talk to anybody. I was just all in my feelings, all depressed and just was feeling like completely hopeless. And, uh, one day a friend calls me, um, and just trying to get, like, trying to figure out like, what, what's going on with me? And he was like, I don't know who this person is right now. Like, I don't know what you're doing. I remember a person who hurt my feelings one time ago. Um, and he said, but even though my feelings were hurt, I had an increased my respect for you. Um, and so we, this friend, we used to date and I think like he came to visit me while I was an Undergrad.
I was studying for something and he was trying to get my attention or trying to get me to go somewhere. And I think as I looked up to him, deadass looked up at him and was like, nothing. And no one would ever come between me and my education, not even you. So I mean, that sounds harsh, but at the moment, I mean, it is what it is. I said it and he was just saying, where is that girl? Where is that person who said that in meant that, where did she go and why is she not fighting? Um, right now in this program? And so I sat back and I thought about it. I mean, I probably smoked again and watch another episode of army wives, but, um, I did, it did start to sit and I start to think about that. And then I just decided in that moment that I'm not going to quit.
Um, this is something that are born in something I've said I always wanted. And even if the people in my program or in my class were smarter than me or has some sort of advantage over me, they were not going to outwork me. Something that I pride myself on, that hard work will beat talent every time. And so I made up in my mind that I was going to do it. And then I did because that next semester I had a 4.0 but I do, I think it's important to talk about not the sole good moments because that's what makes the journey right. And I want to talk about like what this situation taught me, right? So number one, this situation taught me that I'm not a victim and nothing was happening to me before me. So before I told the story about all how, you know, I was so upset about this instructor and that I felt like he was doing this and this and this, but the truth of the matter, he had his phd and he had a whole career in a field that I was trying to get into and he was teaching.
And so he, whether you want to say earn the right or whatever it was his classroom and he could do whatever he wanted to. And it was my job as a student to learn from him because despite what our agreed with him or not, or liked his style or not, he still had something that I was, that I wanted, that I didn't have. And so that meant that was still something to learn from that. And so instead of being a victim mentality of like, oh, he just doesn't like me, um, he's not talking nice to me. I could have stopped and reframed my thinking and said, what can I do? Or what am I not doing or what do I need to do to pull it together? Now I'm also not trying to make, um, I'm not trying to belittle the experience cause it was really hurtful or to say that I shouldn't have felt hurt.
Yes, it was hurtful and I wish it could have been different. And at the same time you are responsible for you just like I'm responsible for me and the, it doesn't serve us or it doesn't serve me to think about, oh poor me. Look what they're doing to me. Because at the end of the day, that's not going to help me. That wasn't gonna help me become doctor. It was going to help me get my phd. And so that is something like I carry with me continuously to this day of you're not a victim and you're not a victim. Nothing is happening to you. And maybe if you reframe that thought and said, maybe this is happening for me, because it was, that was a big part of me. Going through that and crying in the bathroom was a big part of me tapping back into something that I lost about how important his goal was for me and that I was going to have to work hard.
And just because I've been smart and successful in school up to this point didn't mean that I didn't have to work in this phd process and that the race was just getting started. So that's the first one. The second one was, the second thing I learned was I was at fault for that first semester and I could have, it could have been different if I wanted to be so similar to the first thing about not being a victim. I a true believer that your life, the state of your life, what it is, how it is now is a direct reflection of the thoughts and beliefs that you have. So I believe your thoughts control your emotions, which control your actions, which determine your results in life. So if your academic experience is not going the way you want it to go is because you don't believe it's possible for people like you.
I'll say it again. If you, if your experience, your academic experience is not going to way you want it to go, it's because you don't believe it's possible for people like you. I do not believe I was good enough to be in the program. I believe that I was only allowed because of a mistake or to meet some sort of quota or some sort of favor to somebody. I didn't believe I belonged. So because I thought that way constantly and I believe that way constantly. It, it made me feel like shit and that's how I showed up. So because I felt that way, I behave that way. So because I felt like I didn't belong when I came into the classroom, I didn't talk cause I didn't feel like I belonged there and because I didn't talk and engage and do what I needed to do inside, I didn't do well in that class.
However, that next semester shows when I made a decision that it didn't matter if I belonged there and that I was going to do the work necessary. I showed up that way to do whatever was necessary and I got the results of having a 4.0 GPA for that second semester and when I decided that it was, I was going to keep going and make it no matter what it took things change. It was the same program! It was the same cohort members. It was the same instructor. The only thing that changed was my thoughts and my beliefs. And if you want things to be different than you need to start with your own thoughts and beliefs.
And then the third thing was self care is about self responsibility. So I did desperately needed self care and I don't mean self care and uh oh like the capitalistic way of going to do the things and by other things. So no you don't need another planner, you don't need to go and buy another outfit or whatever. If you want to do those things, fine. That's not what I mean when I say self care of me. Self care is about taking responsibility for yourself. It's self care is also about thinking about who you are surrounding yourself with. Are The people that you surround yourself with, are they helping you to practice self care and responsibility? Because think about if you're spending your days complaining and whining and saying, Oh, poor me. Those very people that you're talking to, the people who are actually willing to listen to that and not correct you on that, they are willing to let you continuously complain about your program or doubt yourself or make excuses. They're not their not your real friends and or they're not winners. When I say winners, like people who are serious, people who are moving through this doctoral process but ease, they're not getting stuck on the complaining and the whining and the making excuses and the doubting they're doing what they need to do. They're taking responsibility, they're taking care of themselves and doing what they need to do to get the results that they want.
And it's not necessarily about like caring about you or that they're mean or they're selfish. They just don't have time for the bullshit. And you obviously want to stay in the bullshit because you keep complaining and whining and doubting. You keep saying poor you. So like me. That's why I really have any friends. That's why the other people in my cohort probably didn't want to. You don't really talk to me. And it's not about fitting in. And what I want you to hear and this message is the morning you stay in self pity and victim hood, and do you want to complain? Instead of putting that same energy into figuring out what it is that you need to do to get the results that you want, the more you'll continue to just have results in your life. So you have to decide and commit to showing up. That is the ultimate form of self care, taking responsibility for yourself in your life. So take responsibility, take daily action and repeat because no one is coming to save you. You need to save you. So thank you for joining me on today's episode. Remember tagging you on Instagram at @MarvetteLacy and let me know what your thoughts are. And so next time until next time do something to show yourself some love. I'll talk to you next week. Bye for now.
Name: Shamika (Mika) N. Karikari
Program: Student Affairs in Higher Education Ph.D. program at Miami University
Year In Program: 3rd year
Where Can We Find You: @MikaKarikari (Twitter), http://mika-nicole.blogspot.com/
Words To Live By: "When I dare to be powerful, to exercise my strength in the service of my visions then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid- Audre Lorde
Podcast: This American Life