What is it that you think you don’t have, but if you had it, your work would be so much easier? What is the difference between you and that PhD on the tenure track at a great school?
Over and over, what comes up as my dissertation clients and I talk is the question of perseverance.
Interestingly, my clients think they lack perseverance. They think this because they find that writing their dissertation is so hard and is taking such a long time.
In their other lives, that part where they aren’t hounded by their dissertation, they pinpoint and complete small tasks. They know that finishing the small tasks often moves them forward toward a larger goal.
But they claim they lack perseverance.
They seem surprised when I say that their showing up each week on their phone call with me shows perseverance.
When I praise them for not over-promising on how much they will write during any one week, and, instead, for delivering on real, manageable tasks, they seem surprised that I call that perseverance.
Perseverance does not mean producing a stellar work in near record time.
The key to finishing a dissertation is steady, even if slow, work—week after week of following through on one small task after another.
To persevere, you don’t have to keep your eyes on some huge mountain down the road that you have to climb. More often, it means just fastening your eye on one pebble ahead of where your foot will fall and keep taking one small step after another.
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Until next time,