Office Hours with Dr. Lacy: Achievements Won't Bring Happiness

Achievements Won’t Bring Happiness

Office Hours with Dr. Lacy


Transcript of Episode:

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 supposed to do. We were there for everyone else and it still doesn't work out. We still can't get past that defense. We still can't get that committee person or their chair to like us or to help us. Everyone else seems to be getting all of this help from faculty and this support people who are showing up doing half ass work, people who don't put in the time and effort as we do, they're getting the help. They're getting the pat on the backs from the faculty. They're getting help with their job interviews. They're getting the help with writing the perfect cover letter or they're getting those recommendations to apply to that fellowship or to that scholarship, but we're not and we're the ones who've been showing up consistently. We've been doing all the work.


If anybody should be getting it, we should be getting it, but we're not. And, the truth of the matter is, people would say that, well you don't need it cause you got it. So it's a double edged sword in that like sure I can wake up one day and decide I'm going to get a phd and it looks good. But the other part is you don't think I need help or support because I make it look easy. And, I want to be clear that I am in no way saying that this is all on black women is your fault that the system isn't designed for you or supporting you. I'm not saying that at all. I am saying that no one is coming to save you or us and at some point we have to take responsibility and recognizing that the system is what it is. And we also have the power to create some space in our lives, whether small or large, to get the support that we need to reach out to people who are worthy to being, reached out to (thats a whole 'nother thing). But there are so many people in our lives and our circles who want to help us in the same way that we've helped them, but the first step is allowing them to do so. Sometimes we do get in our own ways of receiving the things that we need.

If you have, um, been following me for any length of time, I have a framework, it's called the "Get it Done" framework that I use with clients that I use it myself to remind myself of. I am not an island and I have things that I'm responsible for that is not based on what I can do for other people. It is not based on how I prove my worth to other people and instead it starts on the inside of me and how I set up my life to make sure that I can still go after those goals that I want to achieve without giving up my health as a cost without burning myself out. And I want to share that framework with you in hopes that it helps you thinking about "what can I do"? "

So the "get it done" framework. It's about the, that we use to get things done to automate our lives. It is about the mindset that we have, how we approach the work that we do. And it's about the community that we have around us and how the expectations of the community that we have around us.

If you take nothing else out of this episode, I want you to know and hear me when I say: you cannot think your way out of being burnt out, out of exhaustion, out of just feeling tired. You cannot think your way out of that. There's no amount of thinking and like planning that you could do. Eventually you're going to have to do, some things you are going to have to put an action and it's not about going to read a book and getting that type of knowledge is not about what you can do on your own and you don't need anyone else cause you do. We all need people humans were not meant to be by themselves and to do things by themselves. So I start with systems cause usually it's, it's the thing that people, they want to know only like just telling me what I need to do.

Forget all that other stuff. That's not important. So I start with this because that's how important it is. But when I talk about systems, the first thing I want you to think about is looking at your calendar, your schedule. Not, what you wish it looked like. But looking at how you actually spent your time over the past two weeks to four weeks, how did you spend your time and how much at that time did you, were you able to go do things that you like sincerely enjoy that you were able to go be with people that you enjoy being around without feeling guilty, without feeling like I should be doing something else without feeling like fuck it. Like fuck it. I'm just not going to do what I'm supposed to do. I'm just going to do this instead. I'm just going to watch this episode instead. Not doing that, but that you intentionally put things on your calendar that you intentionally said you're going to do it ahead of time and you did it without the guilt.

How much time did you allow for yourself just to be, I also want you to take a look at the past two to four weeks and how you spend your time and how much work you were doing. How much time did you dedicate to working, whether I was like something for classes with or, like dissertation stuff or you know the internship or fellowship or the extra research project you decided to work on or you stayed late for your job or your assistantship. How much time did you dedicate to that in comparison to the time that you spent to fill yourself up?

And, if those two areas are not somewhat like almost even then we need to reconsider some things. You may be like, "Girl, ain't nobody got time to spend on just being". I got things to do. And, I'm saying you're on borrowed time. You. If you are giving more time and energy away, then you are giving to yourself. There is going to come a point whether it's going to run out that your body will break down, that your mind will break down and you won't be able to do anything. And while they may not be tomorrow or next week or even maybe next year just no, it's just a matter of time before that runs out and you will have to stop. You will be forced to stop. There's so many of us who are dealing with severe health issues and even death because we are too busy doing and being everything for everyone else and in society has told us that it's too selfish for us to stop and do it for ourselves to fill ourselves back up and in no way am I saying that you need to advocate our responsibility that you need to just not do anything else. What I am saying is how can you set up your schedule so that you can start to pour it back into you at the very least, how can you set up your schedule so that you can get seven hours a night of sleep? How can you make sure that you actually eat two to three meals a day? How can you make sure that you actually drink water?

How can you make sure that you actually see other people who love and care about you on a consistent basis? Those are basic needs, necessities. How can you at least, make time for those things cause real talk. Some of us are not even eating. I used to be guilty of this. I am not preaching from somebody who has it all together. If you know me or spent any time with me in the past. You know it's a work in progress. I am doing this episode as a reminder that how do you set up systems in your life to make sure that you can do those things. So your schedule being a main thing of you have a set amount of time a week that you do work things and, dissertation, things and other school work, etc. Related things and that's what you stick to, but you also have time. That's not negotiable. That's for you for your basic needs for your health. Because if you're not functioning, if you're not healthy, then none of those other things happen. Those things are dependent on you being able to wake up every day and have the energy in the light to go do them, and if you're not taking care of that, the most important, things, then there's no way you can do those other things like work and stuff. So first, how can you set up your schedule to do that?

Second is mindset. Mindset is important because people will say, okay girl, I got you I'm gonna set up my schedule, I'm going to get a new planner, I'm going to get a notebook, I'm going to set up all these timers and alarms in my phone it's great and everything's going to be good for maybe the first two, three days, maybe the first week you're feeling good and then it becomes routine, right? Then it becomes boring. It's no longer a cause, it's not new anymore and your mind starts to tell you things like, well, I don't feel like it. Well, we've been so good, for these past two days. We could take a day off. It's about little steps, right? It's not about being perfect and everything. You'll start to say things like that and then slowly and slowly you'll ease yourself back into the old ways. And then you're back to giving, giving, giving without putting anything back.

And so that's why it's equally important to have a way of managing your mind and looking out for that. So having a daily practice where you review your goals, you review what's important to you. Not only that you want to be called doctor. Not only that you want this degree, not only did she want to finish your dissertation, but do you want to be healthy? Do you want to have joy in your life? Do you want to feel at peace? Those are all so important. How do you review all of those things on a daily basis to remind yourself, this is what we're doing this for, this is our plan for how are we going to get everything that's important to us done. And this is why we had to let these other things go that are not serving our goals. We had to let them go.

You need a daily reminder because if you don't, then you have all these other competing things, people in their needs wants. Um, all these like things that look like wonderful opportunities. Like this job or this internship or this research project, they start to, you get them all the time, through your email with your social media, social media, and you're like, I should be doing it because I need to do more and more and more. But if you're not reminding yourself, but I also have to take care of myself, then you're just keep signing up for things and you'll keep pushing like sleep and food and rest to the back cause it won't seem as important. So what is your daily process for reminding yourself? For me every morning or most mornings I write my goals down, I have a list of about 10-11 goals that are write down every morning I journal about my thoughts every like I literally just bring down like I take five to 10 minutes in whatever thought pops in my head, I write it down and then I choose one of those thoughts to work through to say, this is how I got to this thought, but here's a different thought that may serve me, that I can practice throughout the day as a way to slowly start to change my mindset and to remember that I'm important and I need to put myself first.

And then the third piece is community. You probably have a great group of friends and you're probably all so busy trying to be strong for one another and help one another that you forget to ask for help for yourself. So one thing I like I've been doing, especially this year, is practicing asking for help and asking for help with small things. So being more intentional about, because I am a person who won't communicate what's going on with me and so I once I'm having a bad day or I'm not, I'm not feeling well. I tried to reach out at least to one of my friends to say, hey, this is what's going on. And try to leave it there and sitting there, and allowing them to be there for me to pour into me because we can't always pour into ourselves. So these people can remind you who you are.

They can mirror back to you like, like the thoughts that you're having or how you're feeling right now. It's not truth. And what they have observed about you. And it's, it's while it can be challenging, it can also be helpful for you to sit in what they're saying and how they're pouring into you and to accept that and listening to them and believing them. And they tell you how great you are and how much you do and how wonderful you are just for who you are and not what you can do for them and letting them loving you, which can be difficult but necessary. And so I briefly went over these things about your systems, your schedule, but your mindset, daily practice and about your community, letting your community pour it back into you that these are important. And if you don't have these in place, I will say that either you won't finish your, your degree or you're gonna reach a point very soon where you're going to burn completely out and your body will start to break down on you.

And you will struggle to see why it was even worth getting this degree or whatever else you were trying to do. Because the truth is no matter how many achievements you'll accomplish, they won't make you feel better. A lot of times we think, well, if I do this or I get this, people were taking me serious and I'll feel confident you won't. There isn't not an amount of goals or whenever that you can get that's gonna make you feel better, that has to come from you. It has to come from you taking care of yourself, from you, surrounding yourself with good people and for you having a consistent practice, which our mindset now some people will use spirituality to help them with their mindset, their relationship and connection with whoever you, whatever you call it, universe, God, ancestors, spiritual world that helps you need something because doing work and just pouring out to people and things will get you there. And I want you to get there with peace and joy and health. I don't want you to get that burnt out. So I would be curious to know what you thought about this episode. Come on over to Instagram at @MarvetteLacy and let me know what your thoughts are. And then until next time, do something to show yourself some love. I'll talk to you next week. Bye for now.