Office Hours with Dr. Lacy

I help doctoral students learn and apply qualitative research so that they can finish their dissertation, graduate, and become DOCTOR!
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Office Hours with Dr. Lacy





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Sep 4, 2019

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.

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