Office Hours with Dr. Lacy: The Biggest Barrier To Your Success

The Biggest Barrier To Your Success

Office Hours With Dr. Lacy

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.