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Archive for the ‘regret’ Category

A caller asked if I had ever coached someone who had become stalled on a house renovation project.  My answer was no, but what came to mind was how similar all big projects are.   How difficult it can be to keep going.  How crushing the project can become. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Let’s say it was you who started the renovation project. You envisioned the changes you were going to make. You put together a plan to accomplish those changes.

And you took on this project in part because of what you wanted to prove to yourself.

Following through on such a commitment takes courage and resilience.  I’ve seen someone with these qualities accomplish an amazing home renovation project.  He almost single-handedly built a large room onto their house. He’s an accomplished man, but he’s not a carpenter, nor is he an architect. Nevertheless, over many months, the structure came together, and it’s a lovely addition to their home.

Completing such a project must be more than satisfying.  I would guess that the end feeling would be relief coupled with enormous joy in the accomplishment.

But if the renovation project, just like a stalled dissertation, is yours and if you’re stuck, re-starting takes courage and a willingness to look with new eyes at what this project will require from you.

Here are the five steps to help you restart:

1.  You need a plan, the more detailed the better.  A plan, with specific details, will guide you, and it will also be a way of keeping track.  It’s easier to keep going when you can check off items on a list or a plan.

2.  Make realistic, manageable goals each and every day or work session. Short-term goals and next steps keep you focused on the present.  And that’s where you have to work.

3.  When you accomplish the day’s goal, stop for the day—it may be counterproductive to push yourself beyond a reasonable stopping point.  Stopping when you’ve reached a realistic goal gives you the strength to come back another day.  If you go beyond the realistic goal, you start to risk burn-out or exhaustion. Exhaustion makes it much harder to return to the project.

4.  After you quit for the day, acknowledge yourself for the courage it took to come back to the project yet another day and to do what you said you were going to do.  Big Gold Stars!

5.  Draw on that feeling of renewed courage and the surge of joy to start your work another day.

Embarrassment, discouragement, and shame are likely to accompany getting stuck on something as open and visible as a home renovation or building project. Having one’s failure on public display can be brutal.  But the dread of being found out when a failure isn’t so visible, as in being stalled on a dissertation, is also brutally hard to bear. 

Life’s too short to live in dread or shame. You have a choice. I say get started on that detailed plan, plot your first step, and then take it.

Are you stalled on a dissertation, or have you been stalled?  What is your next step?  I’d love to hear from you.

All good wishes to you,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC

Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
http://www.smarttipsforwriters.com
http://www.dissertationbootcamp.net
http://www.nancywhichard.com
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

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Are you writing at a snail’s pace?  Are you stopping short of making your deadlines?  Are you still not meeting your goals?  What’s it going to take at the end of the day to have completed what you said you were going to do? 

Try a fast, easy adjustment — making a small change can sometimes have a good effect.  Let a quick-fix jolt in you into action. 

Here are 3 quick-fixes that are truly Smart Tips: 

1.  Put your dissertation on your Desktop.
How many clicks does it take, for you to get your writing up on your screen?
Make it easy to get to your work!  At the same time, lessen the possibility of getting distracted by another file or (Quelle horreur !) email.

2.  Be a good boss.
You’re the manager for your writing project, so act like one.  Decide how much of one hour you work.  A 52-minute hour sounds good to me.  Work 52 minutes and get an 8-minute break. 

One of my relatives, who is coaching his son’s first team sport, told his son, “While we’re practicing and playing, you can call me Coach or Mr. ______, but not Daddy.”  His son smartly said, “O.k., Coach.” 

When you’re writing or on a break, call yourself Boss and listen to that Wise Person within that you’re addressing as Boss.

3.  Plan your breaks.
What are you going to do during each break? Make sure the break refreshes.  Sitting down in front of yet another “Law and Order” or “The View” will not refresh.  Take it from me, TV is addictive and exhausting.  Go there and you’ll regret it! Instead take a shower and wash your hair. Or see how far you can walk in 4 minutes. At 4 minutes, turn back in order to be at work when the “boss” starts to look for you.

A colleague told me yesterday that her coach told her to “get out of your own big, fat way.”   How about you?  Do you need to get out of your own big, fat way?  To get into action fast, it’s time to get serious.  Put one of these Smart Tips into use today.  Try just one quick fix and say to yourself, “Thanks for that tip, Boss.  I needed a change.”

I have more Smart Tips for you.  I’m just about ready to send out my Smart Tips newsletter.  I think you’ll enjoy it – the lead article in this issue is “5 Strategies for Drastic Situations.”

Go to my website at www.nancywhichard.com, and underneath my picture on the home page, sign up for Smart Tips.

My very best to you,

Nancy

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

 

 

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Several ABD’s have told me over the last few days about issues with parents, spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, and even friends.

The boyfriend of one of my clients has made it clear that he thinks it’s taking far too long for her to finish her dissertation.  And the process drags on because she hesitates to work late at her office or to work on week-ends because she doesn’t want to irritate or even anger him. Another of my clients broke up with her boyfriend because he said she wasn’t giving the relationship the attention it needed. 

One young woman has told me how she lost friends when she was getting her master’s degree—they said she didn’t spend enough time with them. Now she’s resistant to throwing herself into writing her dissertation.  She doesn’t want to give even more friends a reason to desert her.

Most parents of ABD’s are incredibly supportive, but some parents want to give advice that isn’t welcomed—the unwelcome advice can be barbed or worse. 

I’ve heard stories of parents undercutting their offspring’s decisions in various areas, such as choice of topic.

When one year drags into another, the parents of some ABD’s have compared their adult child’s lack of progress to the quick attainment of a PhD by someone they know. 

 I’ve even heard a couple of stories about truly intolerable behavior from parents who had never completed dissertations themselves.  They had had to settle for remaining an ABD. 

No ABD should put up with emotional abuse, whether it’s from a boyfriend, spouse, or parent. 

But if your dissertation process is affecting your relationships with people who are important to you, people you love, you do have choices. 

People matter.

Has your dissertation process affected your relationships with others?  I hope you’ll contact me and tell me your experience.  I’m sure many people could profit from what you have done to maintain relationships and what you’ve done to take care of yourself.

Until next time,

Nancy

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

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1. What is the key to perseverance?
 Getting started is the key.
 The first step is the hardest.  Sit down and then stay there.

2. What is sending you right over the edge? 
 You are– Catastrophizing only raises your blood pressure.
 Who needs the drama?
 Remember: Catastrophizing is just another form of procrastination. 

3. Who could work at a desk stacked so high that you can’t see the computer screen?
 Decluttering is a terrific focusing mechanism.
 Just don’t get carried away with it—we’re talking desk top, one surface.

4. Even if you get going, something seems to stop you. 
 Ever hear of a momentum-breaker? 
 It’s usually something you do to yourself, when you’re at your self-sabotaging best.

5. How did creativity get to be #24 in your list of strengths? 
 Oops—time to try a new approach.  Give yourself a moment to let your mind wander—in the grocery  store line or driving to take care of an errand.  Turn the radio off and let your mind do what it loves to  do for a bit.

6. How can you write when you’re feeling so mean?
 So you didn’t have a great holiday.  Or you don’t want to go back to writing after having a great  holiday.  Meanness is uncalled for.  Time to practice gratitude and empty that mean-spiritedness before it really gets in your way.  What do you have to be grateful for? 

7.  Think how irritated you will be with yourself next week if you goof off all of this week. 

8.  Bonus Tip:  Go my website (www.nwcoaching.com) and sign up for my Smart Tips newsletter. I have  something you can use!

Until next time,
Nancy
www.nwcoaching.com

 P.S.  Get in touch with me–what would help you move into action?

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