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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Aug 14, 2019

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.

Aug 7, 2019

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.

Jul 31, 2019

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.

Jul 24, 2019

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.

Jul 17, 2019

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!

Jul 10, 2019

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.


Jul 3, 2019

Episode Transcript:

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

Jun 26, 2019

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.

Nov 24, 2017

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),

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


  • Have an accountability partner who will check in with you about your progress.
  • Ex. When you leave work at 5, can you call me and ask me what I’ve read today?
  • You’re not bothering people or burdening them, most people want to help you
  • Understand why you want to pursue a Ph.D. before pursuing it.
  • Be courageous enough to go after what you want during your process


Book: Present Over Perfect By Shauna Niequist

Podcast: This American Life

Self-Care:  Baking

Nov 18, 2017


Name: Dr. Jillian A. Martin

Program: Ph.D. College Student Affairs Administration

Words of Wisdom:

Read other writers to learn how to write and to help you find your own voice.

Be true to yourself during the process.

Create your own process.

Write every day.

Get a writing partner.

Make yourself a Ph.D. playlist




The Artist's Way By Julia Cameron

Purple Hibiscus By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Color Purple By Alice Walker

What I Know For Sure Oprah

The Charleston’s Syllabus 


The Read


Tim Ferris

The Barbershop Mentality


Jillian’s PhD Playlist on Spotifyy

I’m Getting Ready By Tasha Cobb Leonard

Your Spirit  By Tasha Cobb Leonard and Kierra Sheard

Lady Mamarlade By Pattie Labelle 

Oct 31, 2017

Name: Nicole

Program: Ph.D. Higher Education

Year in Program: 1st year

*information has been changed to protect the identity of this week's guest

Oct 18, 2017

Name: Lauren Harper

Program: Ph.D. Counseling Psychology

Year In Program: 3rd

Where can people find you (website, social media, etc.): Facebook is your best bet! You can find me under Lauren Simone Harper

Words of advice/helpful information: I hope you either hear yourself or hear what you need and that this launches you closer to who you're destined to be.

Anything else you would like to add: Thank you Dr. Lacy for your steadfast commitment to Black women and the Black scholar community. It's been an honor to know you, work with you, and call you my sista-scholar!

Aug 17, 2017

First, figure out:

Topic: What is the general thing you want to talk about?

Problem: What issue will you research address?

Purpose: What will be the point of your research project and how does it connect to the problem?


Once you know those two things, then you can write your main research question. Some other things that you can do to figure out your first question:


  1. Get all of the thoughts out of your head. Take a brain dump, either writing, talking to someone, or recording yourself. You want to say or write everything that you are thinking in relation to your topic. This will help get clear and to focus down on your topic.
  2. Read existing literature. You have to know what has already been done regarding your topic. What have other people found? If there is nothing, what does that mean? WARNING: Please don’t get stuck here. Using reading as an excuse will hinder your progress. [CONNECT ARTICLE]
  3. What is your time frame and capacity with this project? How much time do you have? Is this a project that you can do alone or will you need others? There is more time to do more research projects, however, let’s get this one done first.


Need help writing your research question? Share it in the comments or email me at and I’ll give you feedback on it.

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