Welcome back to the Office Hours With Dr. Lacy podcast! I have missed talking to you each week and I’m so excited to be back with yall as we close out the year. We have spent the past month taking time to celebrate the current students inside of our signature Finish Your Dissertation program. We celebrated the small and big wins of clients through IG highlights, surprised Starbucks breaks, and capped it off with a Zoom party celebration. I couldn’t have ever imagined that when I started this business 5 years ago that we would have helped hundreds of students throughout their dissertation journey. I’m so grateful for all of you who are listening to my voice and for anyone who has been a part of Qual Scholars in any form. Thank y’all so much for listening to the podcast.
Today’s episode is for those of you who feel like they have been in their doc program for too long and need to find a way to the finish line quickly. We are going to discuss the real reason why you’re not making the progress that you want and what to do about it. Even if you think you’re making good progress, I still think this episode will be helpful for you because today’s topic is something that affects all students.
The Price of Shame:
When working with students, they tell me how if they had a clear plan with solid deadlines, an advisor who was available to meet with them and give them helpful feedback then they could make progress on their dissertations and graduate. Here’s the thing yall, and let’s keep it real, even if you had all of that, making progress would still be extremely difficult. Why? Because a clear plan, solid deadlines, and helpful feedback means nothing if you don’t first believe that it’s even possible for you to even be a doctor.
We can talk about at length how the system of education has shaped you to be someone who struggles with self-confidence and belief in your abilities. We have no control over what people say or do, it’s not our fault. However, it is our responsibility to acknowledge how we think and what we do. Meaning, you may not have had a say in how your education was framed, you do have a say in what you want to make it mean about how you see yourself and how you want to utilize your education for your future.
The number one reason why you are not making progress in your program comes down to shame. I define shame as being upset that things are not different in your doctoral process but not taking action because you deep down believe that you don’t deserve for things to be different. In no way am I saying that if you just believe or if you just think positively, then everything would be great!
No, I’m saying that you developed a deep belief (probably as a young child) that you don’t deserve good things or because you were not perfect, then you didn’t earn for things to be different. Your formalized education, particularly the doctoral process, has further reinforced this belief of you not being good enough or believing that you deserve to finish the process. I find that the longer you are in your program, the deeper the belief is enforced.
Think about how course work is designed. There is a syllabus that you receive at the beginning of the semester that tells you exactly what to do and when to do it. If you follow the process perfectly, then you’ll receive an A. If you don’t then you get a lower grade and the full responsibility is on you for not following the process correctly.
You are held to the same standards of following the process correctly in the dissertation process except no one provided a clear syllabus of how to complete the process. However, shame has set in so deep that even though you don’t have clear instructions of how to complete the dissertation, you still believe that it is solely your fault for not making progress.
You deeply believe that you are not allowed to be a student who is learning a new process. Instead, you falsely believe that you should already know how to write a dissertation and the only reason why you haven’t is because you are lazy. This is another way to say you are operating from a deep level of shame.
Releasing Yourself From Shame
Releasing yourself from shame requires time and deep effort. Finishing your dissertation doesn’t require complete healing from shame. Learning to recognize and acknowledge how shame shows up in your writing process will help you tremendously in sitting down, writing, and finishing your dissertation.
You can do this by working with a trauma informed therapist or life coach. You can do this by becoming more aware of your thoughts and beliefs through journaling. You can also be a part of a supportive doctoral community of other students who you can relate to and connect with throughout your process. Additionally, I would encourage you to work with someone who can guide you step-by-step through the dissertation process; someone who could provide a syllabus for the dissertation. You can join us inside of the Finish Your Dissertation program where we provide you with a detailed syllabus for each part of the dissertation process; from topic creation to your final defense. Come on over to qualscholars.com to learn more about the Finish Your Dissertation program.
There you have it, shame is the number one reason why you are not making progress. I would love to know your thoughts about today’s episode. Come on over to Instagram and let me know what came up for you during today’s episode. I will talk to yall next week.