Have you turned up the heat on your dissertation now that summer is here? Is your summer writing starting to take off yet? What are you using as an incentive?
One of my clients has a new powerful incentive—one that she says has given her a sense of purpose about finishing her dissertation.
Let me tell you her story of how she found this incentive. There are three parts to her story.
1. First of all, she admits that she has had fear and uncertainty around what finishing her dissertation might mean for her. And that fear has at times held her back.
She has resisted seeing herself as an expert or emerging expert. She has also resisted the idea that she is carving out a niche for herself in the academic world as she writes her diss.
Because she has questioned her own knowledge and the quality of her research, she has at times avoided people and avoided situations where her self-described inadequacies might show her to be the fraud she feared she was.
2. The second part of this story has to do with a shot in the arm that my client received by going to a conference.
As a graduate student, she has been to many conferences, presenting and discussing, but even so, in many ways, she has held back and hid out. She said that the most recent conference got off to the usual slow start that she’s experienced at many conferences. As she usually did, she spent the first night in her room, resting, and missed an initial gathering.
The second day of the conference was the beginning of her transformation.
Her advisor said that at the gathering which my client missed, that he had talked to several people about her work. In addition, some of the other graduate students and professors attending the gathering were interested in talking with her and hearing more.
This was the push she needed. She began to drop her fear of being revealed as an imposter and gradually became more at ease talking about her work.
She dared to think more boldly about her diss and tried out some of her ideas by asking questions in the sessions she attended. She sought people out and for the first time enjoyed networking. This was all new for her and took courage, but she was acting on the sense that had come from the revising and honing of her ideas as she had worked on her diss over the last many months and years–that she did indeed know a great deal about her topic. Furthermore, during the conference, she almost allowed herself to feel like an expert.
3. The third part of this story is that she came home with a new realization of why she is writing a dissertation—she wants to share her ideas and thoughts. Sharing her ideas and testing her ideas at this conference were such powerful experiences that she no longer sees research as a way to stay insulated or in her bubble. She is starting to see the excitement that can be hers, and she wants to burst out of her self-imposed academic bubble. Getting her dissertation out the door is the next step, but she no longer feels that the diss has to be perfect before she lets go of it. Now she says that she needs to get her ideas out in the market place, and she has hopes that finishing her diss can be the start of much more work on her ideas.
With this wind at her back she says that she needs to do a last, strong push toward the finish line, rather than hovering around the last mile or two. This confidence in her future is just what she needed.
And that’s as far as the story goes today about my client and the boost she got from
(1) getting out of her own way,
(2) enjoying the thrill of sharing her ideas with others at the conference, and by
(3) acting on her excitement from the conference to fuel her rapid movement toward the dissertation finish line.
How about you? How can you motivate yourself? What if you acknowledged your expertise and started to act as if you, too, have ideas and writing that you want to get out there into the world? It could be a brand new day!
Have a brilliant writing session today.