Office Hours with Dr. Lacy: Three Lies That Are Holding You Back From Finishing Your Literature Review (Part 2)

22. Three Lies That Are Holding You Back From Finishing Your Literature Review (Part 2)

Office Hours With Dr. Lacy

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!

Office Hours with Dr. Lacy: What To Do When You Don't Pass Your Defense (Part 1)

What To Do When You Don’t Pass Your Defense (Part 1)

Office Hours With Dr. Lacy

This episode is part 1 of a 3-part webinar presentation.

Transcript of Episode:

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.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the webinar presentation - available next Wednesday!

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.