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Posts Tagged ‘courage’

Writing can be like rowing a kayak.

This past week-end my husband and I visited long-time friends at their lake house.  In the early evening, when it was a little cooler, they suggested it would be a good time to go out on the water.  I hadn’t really noticed that the only boats available were individual kayaks, and when I realized that I would be alone in a kayak in the middle of the lake, I became more than a little anxious.  My friends equipped me (though not my husband) with a life jacket and pushed me out into the water. I was scared, and I had to talk myself into the moment.  As I think back over it, I could have upended the kayak two inches from shore.  But I didn’t.  However, I was spared by a storm.  We had to get out of the kayaks and make for the house.

The next morning, soon after breakfast, we were back in the kayaks, rowing into the little fingers of the lake, gazing at houses along the shore, hearing my friend’s stories about this neighbor and that neighbor.  We were the only people on the lake, and I was fine.  Well, sort of fine.  I had to beat back my many incredulous head voices who routinely doubt my ability to do much of anything, but I managed to turn down the volume of the head voices, settle myself, and keep rowing. 

One point of my story is that having had 5 minutes in the kayak the night before prepared me for the morning’s rowing.  Those few minutes gave me a good overview of the situation.   I knew how to get into the kayak, and I had evidence to support my belief that I probably wouldn’t tip over.
 
A second and even more important point is that there was no choice.  My friend, the self-confident extrovert to my scaredy-cat introvert, had it all planned.  And it was her routine.  We just settled into it.

And now we’re down to why I think this event might be of interest to you. 

Here it is—if you can’t set up your own routine for writing, hang out with friends who will push you to get going or make it easy to jump in.  Get a friend or a writing buddy or a coach, who will put you into your writing kayak and push you out into the lake.  You don’t have to row around the lake the first time out—just get everything into place and make a few attempts.  Row a bit and tell yourself how well you’re doing.  The next time out, it will be easier. 

Writing and returning to your writing gets easier with each outing.  Don’t expect much from yourself the first time or two or three, but do it first thing in the morning before the heat or other demands slow you down or take over your life.   And continue to put it first.  Writing is hard work, and you need to go at it when you’re at your best.

So much comes back to writing for me.  Many things take courage as well as hard work, but nothing takes more courage and hard work than writing.

Courage!
Nancy
Your International Dissertation Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

 

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Have you given yourself until, say, tonight or tomorrow to write and then your plan is to take a break, send the thing off, go on a holiday? 

Time to take stock. 

Stop and breathe.

Where are you in the process?  You’ve put in time, you’ve written some, and you have a bit more to do. 

This isn’t the time to kick yourself for not having done more. 

This is the time to be grateful—grateful that you were able to do whatever amount of work you’ve done.  Grateful that you’re still at it, that you haven’t been derailed, that it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. 

Don’t take for granted what you have accomplished. 

Being grateful—actually practicing gratitude– gives you courage and can make hope possible. 

Gratitude generates hope.

Did you ever see that movie Hope Floats?  No excuses from me for liking the film—I know it’s sappy and, yes, Sandra Bullock has a brief scene in which she wears a cheerleader’s costume and leads a cheer. 

Slip off that critical perch—no smirks now. I confess that I like the line that Sandra Bullock’s character says about hope:  “Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.” 

Keep that gratitude going.  You might not recognize hope, but I’ll bet you it’s there, mixed in with the gratitude.  Lots of power in gratitude and hope that can fuel you to your deadline or planned stopping point.

Take a breath.  Add a smile for the heck of it…and jump back in.

Until next time,
Nancy
www.nwcoaching.com

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The ABD Survival Guide newsletter reprinted a post that originally appeared in this space.  The post’s title is “Ask Steve Nash: How Can I Regain My Motivation?

I first wrote the article for this blog after seeing Charlie Rose interview Steve Nash.  The parallels between  Nash’s mindset that gives him success in the tough, competitive world of professional basketball and my dissertation coaching clients’ mindsets are striking.

One of my former dissertation clients emailed me to say that she had enjoyed reading my article in the ABDSG.  She especially liked “the notion of being mentally tough and deciding not to let things bother you when you get intimidated.”

Being mentally tough and unstoppable was the theme of the dissertation process for her.

The need for grit and courage struck a chord not only with her, but with many readers.

Remember:
1. Choose mental toughness and grit.
2. Choose courage.

Once you are using your mental toughness, grit, and courage, you will also feel motivated to continue working toward your goal.

What’s next for you?  I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC

Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com

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I usually don’t watch NBA basketball because while the players persevere, for the most part they show little passion or even a sense of fun. But I will watch Steve Nash, the point guard from Canada who has played on several NBA teams and is the winner of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

When Nash plays, he shows both perseverance and passion, and he is fun to watch.

He has been on many talk shows, such as the David Letterman Show.  Not only is Nash bright and personable, but on the Charlie Rose Show, Nash also revealed his leadership ability.

The focus of the Charlie Rose show was leadership.  As a point guard, Nash says he “mothers” the other four players on the team, thinking about what they need and helping them find ways to succeed.

But I found myself wondering even if a man earns the huge amount of money that basketball players receive, what does he do to keep himself motivated and at his best?  How does a 6’1” man, a self-described small guy,  play in the midst of those sharp elbows and huge shoulders?  And how does he stay committed during the long season, the training, the traveling, the endless tournament at the end of the season?

Nash knows what he has to do.  This is what he says:

1) Since he’s a small guy in tough territory, he is creative.  He has to come up with new plays.

2)  He is mentally tough.  When he’s jostled or intimidated, he remains “unflappable” because he has decided that “nothing will bother” him.

3) He has no fear.  Without fear, he can charge into the midst of play.

4) He doesn’t give up because he’s committed “to stay the course.”

5) And he does it because it’s fun.

He smiles when he says that, and you believe him.

What does Steve Nash’s strategy to be “unflappable” in the face of intimidation, as well to show leadership for his team, say to you, the dissertation writer? Here is what I think is the take-away for the dissertation writer:

1) Even when you feel you’re out-manned or losing ground, dig deep to find the courage to be fearless.  You will not be intimidated.

2) Like Steve Nash in basketball, you did not get to this level of writing by being a non-starter.  You were training for this long ago. You have everything you need to succeed.

3) Character matters. To be long-lasting, you need grit. Work with both passion and perseverance.

4) Keep your commitment to your team—even if it’s just a team of one.  Or add a coach to your team and have someone along side of you who takes your commitment seriously. 

5) And one more thing, Steve Nash plays hard and plays to win because it’s fun.  You can make your work  fun, too—writing is a challenge and challenges are exhilarating.  Choose that perspective.

You ask about motivation?  Having motivation is a choice.  You must choose to use your courage, grit, and mental toughness to tap into your motivation.

Take risks and charge through tough places. And then you, too, will feel the wind in your hair as you run fast in your arena.

Until next time,

Nancy

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

 

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