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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

As I sit here, waiting for our daughter and her husband to arrive for Thanksgiving, I think of all the people traveling today.  The bad weather has added an extra dose of anxiety to the trip.  Yet, we saddle up and head for home, no matter the weather.   Well, many of us do.

A cousin in Boston emailed me today to say, “It has been raining here since last night.  Traffic has been a nightmare.  Glad I am not going anywhere.”

My cousin may have the right idea.

With so much invested in the travelling, it’s likely that once we’re all gathered under the same roof, some conflicts could arise.

One dissertation client today told me that, yes, she is travelling, but once she arrives, her plan is to have two one-hour writing sessions during the holiday.  Each session will be at the beginning of her day before she becomes involved with family activities.

I asked, “Is this going to be a good holiday for you?”  And my client answered hesitantly, “I think it will be o.k.”

Maybe you, too, have a bit of concern about how this holiday will turn out.  What can you do to make it an o.k. holiday or maybe more than just o.k.?

  • Be in the moment.  Try to be appreciative of your family.  Think of one special person that you have been looking forward to seeing and either plan an outing or make an effort to ask the kinds of questions of that person that you know will make her feel good.
  • Take time out to rest or to be by yourself.  When you are physically tired or over-stimulated by too many people in one place, small things may begin to bother you.  Anticipate the need to recover before you’re exhausted.
  • Make time to walk or exercise—either with people or by yourself.  Exercise will help burn up some of those calories from the Thanksgiving dinner and will also help you generate positive feelings and a more tolerant perspective on your relatives.
  • If you are not a shopper, plan something special with a relative  in order to avoid the Black Friday shopping expedition. A museum or a park or somewhere quiet that is far from the mall.  This may be your only chance to get to know your cousins a little bit better.

Plan for a good holiday, a holiday with a few special moments that you can carry home with you, memories that might even put you in a good mood when it is once again time for a writing session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a comfortable, relaxing holiday.  Safe journeys.

And bring back a snapshot of a moment to remember.

All good wishes,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC

Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach

http://www.nancywhichard.com

nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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Shopping for pumpkins at Thanksgiving in Ottaw...

Image via Wikipedia

 

I’m grateful for Canada.

I’ve loved my trips to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec and am eager to see more of Canada.  

I’m grateful for my Canadian friends and for my coaching clients in Canada.

Happy Thanksgiving on October 11 to all of you.

All good wishes,

Nancy

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“ABD” is not a credential.  It isn’t a degree.  All things considered, finishing your dissertation is probably the smart thing to do.

It can help you get a job or keep the one you have.  Even if you aren’t going into the academic job market, for now, you may be surprised what a PhD can do for you on down the road somewhere.

Furthermore, sticking with your dissertation may give you the chance to learn something –quite a bit of something – that you didn’t know before.  It’s easy to disregard the dissertation process as a time for learning since the emphasis is on finishing and moving on.  

During the dissertation process, you may be fortunate enough to learn:
•  How to take care of yourself physically and emotionally so that you don’t sabotage your success
• How to understand fully that you have every right to the success you’re achieving
• How to take risks and to be bold in the writing process even though you’re scared
• How to recognize when you need help and to ask for it
• How to be clear-headed and reasonable even if your advisor is not clear-headed or reasonable
• How to write during whatever time, big or small, that you have
• How to find your way and to keep moving toward a big, difficult goal
• How to feel grateful for
       –the progress you are able to make
       –the opportunity to earn a PhD
       –an advisor who does his/her best to help you

All good wishes,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net

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Do you work late into the night, trying to analyze a computer screen filled with numbers?   What do you do when your eyes and mind start to shut down?

A client, who is very near to finishing her dissertation at a competitive university, gave me something to pass along to you.  The other day, she said, “Here’s something your other clients might enjoy.”

First, though, let me tell you a couple of things about her.  She is in the last big push toward her defense, but she has had to climb mountains to get here. She has persevered in spite of incredible obstacles.  Now she is demanding a great deal of herself by working until far in the night.  As a scientist, she often is trying to make sense of numbers on a page or screen. When the numbers start to blur for her, she looks for a moment of fun, a change. 

Here is what she passes along to you:  For a 30-minute break where she can switch brain cells from considering numbers to something more visual, she has found a daily jigsaw challenge on the Houston Chronicle both relaxing and energizing.

She says this 30-minute break has a beginning and a definite end.  You can’t get sucked into staying at the game ad infinitum.

Interested?

Go to the on-line Houston (TX) Chronicle: www.chron.com.

Click on “Entertainment’ and then at the next screen choose “games.”

There among other choices, you’ll see “Jigsaw puzzle.”  You’re asked if you “have what it takes to solve [their] latest game.”

I’ll further challenge you not just to play the game, but more importantly to be inspired by my client to persevere.

This incredible woman is 60+ in age and is giving it her all to finish her dissertation over the next few days.  

I’d love to hear from you.  Let me know if you found the jigsaw game to be the right relief for a short break.  Also, let me know if you’d like to send a cheer of encouragement out to my client, whom I feel grateful to know and who continues to amaze me.

I’d also love to send you my newsletter.  Go to my website at www.nancywhichard.com, and underneath my picture on the home page, sign up for Smart Tips.

Gratefully yours,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, PhD, PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach
www.nancywhichard.com
nancy@nancywhichard.com

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By now, you’ve probably heard that Randy Pausch died Friday at the age of 47.

Though known in the field of computer science, he had gained world-wide fame from his wise, clever “last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon in the fall of 2007.  At that time he had been told that because of aggressive pancreatic cancer, he had only months to live.

I remember being moved six months ago when I first listened to a recording of the lecture, but as I listened to it again today, I was struck by the character strengths he exhibited and also by what a model he was and is for academics– professors and students.

His work in virtual reality gave him the opportunity to use what must have been his signature strengths: creativity, love of learning, curiosity, and humor and playfulness.  And his funny and insightful lecture showed him using those strengths to the fullest.

As important as the strengths of creativity and curiosity are, he also valued and used his strengths of perseverance, loyalty, gratitude, and love.  He wanted his students and his children to remember how hard he worked and how he persevered to try new things.

He preached loyalty, and his own life was exemplary in loyalty, gratitude, and love. His family mattered, his students mattered, and his friends and colleagues mattered.

He had learned from a football coach that the way to show interest and caring is to stick with a student, giving constructive criticism and advice, and asking the student to work harder.  He was grateful for those who had helped him as a youth and as a junior academic, and that gratitude gave him the desire to be loyal and generous with help to his own students.

Chris Peterson, who first brought Randy Pausch’s lecture to many people, recently wrote in his blog “The Good Life” that Pausch gave us a compelling example of an actual person who lived life well: “I watched his last lecture wearing many hats. As a teacher, I was inspired. As a lecturer, I was filled with admiration. As a human being, I was proud.”

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One of the top 5 strengths that many of my dissertation clients share is curiosity.

It’s not surprising that motivated, high-achieving academic people would have curiosity as a top strength.

And as you write a dissertation and live your life, the benefits of curiosity are many. For one thing, curiosity is among those specific strengths which are most likely to make for a happy life.  Positive Psychologist Chris Peterson has found that along with gratitude, zest, hope, and capacity to love, curiosity is one of the strengths most closely related to greatest life satisfaction.  It has also been found in at least one study to be associated with a long life.

So what else can this wonderful strength do for you?

Assuaging your curiosity has its own built-in reward.  It is fulfilling.

Another way that curiosity rewards you for the effort is that the resulting learning usually produces more curiosity.  Knowing that there is more to learn or that you don’t know everything yet can induce greater curiosity.

If curiosity is one of your top strengths and you are using that strength, you know how excited and engaged you are when you are satisfying your curiosity or in a state of curiosity.  One of my clients used the word “joy” to describe the feeling when he is in this state.

What would you be willing to do to experience joy as you’re researching or writing your dissertation?

How are you feeling about your dissertation?

I’d love to hear from you.  I’d also love to send you my Smart Tips e-newsletter.  Go to my website at www.nancywhichard.com to sign up.

Until next time, unleash your curiosity!

Happy writing,

Nancy
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
www.smarttipsforwriters.com
www.dissertationbootcamp.net
www.nancywhichard.com
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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I asked one of my dissertation coaching clients if he planned to make any resolutions for the New Year.

He said, “I make changes throughout the year.”

He has a long-term plan in place and makes changes as needed.  What great planning!

If you also have a plan in place that is working for you, congratulations!  Keep it going.

But for most of us, even if our writing plan or dissertation plan is working, some midstream adjustments might be needed.

We need all sorts of support and reminders to keep the action going.

As you consider making resolutions for 2008, consider first where change would be the most effective and then how you could put a few check points in place.

Here are 5 tips to make sure this year’s plan is solid and well supported:

1. Make a list of the areas of your dissertation where you have control.

2. Check where you could fine-tune those areas. Which are priorities?  Which can you let go of for now?

3.  What one aspect of your dissertation process have you been avoiding? Pivotal changes usually come from small steps.

4.  Buddy up with a resolute partner.  Who do you know who is determined to finish a writing project or to help you finish?  What are you waiting for?

5.  Put check points in place, such as weekly calls, a timetable for submitting work, or notes to yourself in your calendar.  Anticipate times where you think you’ll have challenges.  Every two months or every three months?  Every week?

Sometimes the work becomes a bit bogged down and without clear check points in place, we miss (or avoid) looking at what adjustments are needed.

Resolutions are terrific, but we need added measures in place to keep us honest.

We all mean well, but, heck, we’re human.  If there’s a way out or a way to slow down, we’ll probably take that route.

But not this year!

All good wishes, with hope and gratitude thrown in, too.  Let me know if I can help.  Here’s wishing you a happy and productive 2008.

Nancy
Your Dissertation Coach
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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