Dr. Marvette Lacy Ph.D., (she/her) is the founder and CEO of Qual Scholars where she helps higher education folks finish their dissertations and start a profitable consulting business.
In this episode, Marvette goes over the top 3 reasons why you may be feeling stuck during your dissertation right now and some tips for moving past any stalling you’re having so you can finish your program without being stressed.
Hey friends. The time has come to finish your dissertation, graduate and become doctor. Welcome to office hours with Dr. Lacy, where we talk about how to finally master this time management thing. So you can stay on top of it without losing your mind. Every Wednesday, you can find a new episode wherever you listen to podcasts. Make sure you hit the subscribe button to make sure you never miss an episode. I’m Dr. Marvette Lacy, your dissertation writing strategist here to be with you along every step of the way. I would like to thank you for coming to today’s office hours. Let’s get started on today’s episode. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your own consulting or coaching business? Did you pursue your doctoral degree because you wanted to get into speaking and consulting? Well, I would like to invite you to the dissertation to consultant webinar happening on Tuesday, February 23rd, at 7:00 PM eastern. Hit the link in the show notes to sign up. I will be sharing the top ten steps you need to take in order to get your first three paying clients. See you there.
Hello. Welcome back to a new episode on the podcast, how y’all doing right in the middle of this black history month. How you have been celebrating. I have all the plans in the world to go to Target because you don’t know, they have a whole black history section happening. They have t-shirts and bags and all types of things from black business owners available for purchase. I highly encourage you to go to the website. I mean, you know, this ain’t sponsor, but you know, if Target wants to sponsor me like sponsor okay., I’m planning to get some stuff there and I’m a little bit late, but you know, it is what it is. But I have to like, you know, put some parameters around this because I don’t know how to act, whether I’m on the target website, the app or in the store, I’m like, just give me all the things.
You know, my life’s mission is to get to a place like to get financially secure enough that I’m going to just go into Target and put whatever I want to in my car and not even worry about how much it costs and not even, you know, flinch when they tell me the price, that’s the level that I aspire to. And so if you can relate, you know, we can be in this together. We can hold each other accountable to getting to that level of success. And let’s see what else was going on with me besides being silly. Y’all all it is. You know, this polar vortex that’s happening. I needed to go away. I understand that. I’m the one who moved back home to Chicago. I understand. Like I grew up here. I know what winter is like, but this is a whole other level.
Okay. I feel like it has been snowing for like three weeks straight every day. It’s snows on top of it being cold. Like the temperature right now, I think is one degree. But it, the, with the wind chill, it feels like negative 18. And it’s been like that consistently for the past two weeks, I was looking at the weather app today. And I think like next week, next Tuesday, it’s supposed to go up to the thirties and you would think that it’s summer for me, I’m so excited that I get to just go outside. And like, not that my soul isn’t crushed when I go outside. So I’m looking forward to that. Please send me some good Juju y’all because there’s weather is about to take me out and knowing that we still got like a whole nother, possibly two to three months of this I’m over it.
Yes. It will. Snow in the Midwest, in Chicago, all the way to the end of April. You’ll be in the beginning of May talking about, oh, we made it as 40 degrees outside. So let’s just please send me some good Juju because I’m a make it, cause the dog is not going to make it. You know, it don’t send it to me, send it to a little, sir, because you know his little 10 pound self, he ain’t gonna make it either. It’s too cold, you know, not, uh, he just, you know, it’s a lot. So you didn’t come here to hear my like complaints about the weather. You didn’t come here for that today’s episode. We’re going to be talking about the top three reasons why you may be feeling stuck right now. I just knowing where we are in a year, knowing that we’re about to make a whole year in this pandemic life.
And just in general, this time of year is when people start to really get overwhelmed, really feel stuck, start to feel burnt out and start to look for ways to come out of that stuckness. Is that a word? We don’t go with it, but I’m thinking about the conversations I’ve been having with people who are just ready to get to the finish line of this dissertation. People who are looking to start consulting businesses and just, you know, they see all these people out here on these internet streets doing different things. And they’re just thinking to themselves like, why not me? Why can’t I do the same thing? And then I looked down at their to-do list and then like, that’s why, because I got too much, like, I don’t even have time for myself right now. And you have time to sleep or eat or just be let alone like wanting to start a new project.
But here’s what I know about job, because I know me. Here’s what I know about you though. Even though you may have those thoughts of like, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the energy, you know what you are doing. You’re still saying yes to everyone who comes to you and ask you to be a part of something you’re still saying yes to the extra research project. You’re still saying yes to the extra committee. Right. And you are thinking that you’re saying yes, because it’s like, oh, my favorite faculty member asked me, or, you know, my friend asked me to do something. And the point I’m trying to is that even when we’re overextended and overwhelmed and stuck and burnt out, if someone that we know and love right. Comes to us and ask us to do something nine times out of 10, we’re going to say, yes, that’s due to people pleasing.
That’s due to not wanting to appear like, you know, I can’t do it all. Um, you having fear around not being able to find a job. And you think like the more things that you can add to your CV, the more marketable you will be as a candidate. And the more you’ll be able to stand out and you know, hard truth is those are all stories you’re making up in your mind. Let me just let that land. All things that you made up, it’s all things that you’re telling yourself. And you’re making a decision from a story that you made up. This is not what this episode was supposed to be about, but I’m just going to take this, this little detour for a minute, because I wanna say that if you find yourself overwhelmed and you keep saying yes to other people while saying no to yourself and saying no to the things that you really want to do, we need to do some reevaluating.
Like you like sitting down and really asking yourself, what are you doing? All of this for? What? Like, if this is the way that like, right. I think most of you that I’ve been talking to are, you know, in the job search process and you would say, well, I’m doing it so I can get a job. But if you have to overextend yourself and burn yourself out for a job, are you willing to continue this pace? Even when you get that job, there’s a lot of you are also telling yourself this story, that when I do get this job, everything will be so much better. And I hate to break it to you. It won’t, you know, like that old cliche saying enough in a relationship is like how you got them is how you lose him. Same thing in this job. This is so random how you got the job, right?
It’s how it’s going to be in the job and how you’re going to end up leaving the job, because you’re going to be resentful and burnt out. And so where can you allow yourself a little moment to pause and really interrogate your motives? Well, first of all, getting very clear on all the things that you’re responsible for, where are you spending all of your time? Who are you saying yes, to what projects are you on? And then asking yourself, do you want to be doing these things? Do you really want to be doing these things? And what are some things that you can let go that is for free? Y’all I didn’t even get to my notes yet, but I just hope that, you know, somebody is listening. Cause I know that just bless somebody’s spirit, who’s listening, but I want to go deeper into this, this feeling of like feeling stuck and overwhelmed.
And what I just talked about is a big reason as to why you’re feeling that way, because burnout doesn’t come from having like a full to-do list or a full calendar, because there’s so many people who have full calendars and full to-do lists who love it and enjoy every moment being burnt out or being stuck or being overwhelmed, comes from a thought or your thoughts that you’re having. And it comes from like how you are or not managing your mind and how we know that because there’s plenty of people who probably have the same circumstances issue in terms of their schedule and their to-do lists, but have a completely different viewpoint of it. And I can hear some people now talking about what those people are privileged. Nope. There’s somebody who has the same identities issue, same circumstances, issue that they live in their best life.
And so that is, I’m encouraging you to sit down and really do some deep reflection. Yeah. But here’s the three reasons why you probably won’t do it. The three reasons that you’ll be telling yourself and the three reasons why you’ll continue to be stuck. Number one, what I hear is that people will say, oh, I don’t have enough time or money. It was usually like one or the other or something guys as like not having enough time or money. Right. And so you may say to me, I don’t have time to sit down and figure all that out. Things are just moving are coming at me so fast. I don’t have that. Or I don’t have the money to like, to think of an example, right? Someone may say like, maybe you should delegate your grocery shopping to like something like or Instacart. And you may say, well, I don’t have money to do that.
Or, you know, getting some support therapy or a culture or being in a, you know, a dissertation group, you may just say, I don’t have the money to do that. Or you may be saying like, I have to do all these things because I need that job to get the money. Or I have to do all these things because that’s just the part of what comes with my job or that comes with my responsibilities. But I want you to be clear and I want you to be honest with yourself, you always have a choice. You may not like the consequences of it, either option, but you always have a choice. You always have a choice of where you spend your time in your energy. And because you have that choice, you have the power to decide what you will give your time and energy to.
And to take this deeper, asking yourself, am I willing to continue to put my needs and my wants and my dreams on hold for other people, because that’s what you’re doing. So that’s, that’s number one. Number two, there’s some version of you that just doesn’t believe that it’s possible for you. Like it’s possible for you not to be overwhelmed. That it’s possible for you not to be doing the 50 11 things that you’re doing. You may have a story about why, right? Going back to number one, like why you’re not good enough or why you don’t have enough, whatever. Fill in the blank. You may be telling yourself, oh, everybody has it easier than not to do. Or other people don’t get overwhelmed. Like I do. Or other people don’t have anxiety. Like I do. That’s wrong. You’re not the only way you’re not a special snowflake is what I say to myself.
When I’m like in these moments, you’re not a special snowflake. You’re not, you’re just making some decisions that are not the best use of time and energy for you. That is not in service for you. I mean, you’re not in this alone. And that, you’re the only one with these particular set of circumstances. As you continue to tell yourself that story though, you will, your brain will seek out evidence to prove why that is true. Our brains are amazing. Brains are like machines. Our brains are constantly trying to solve problems is all, it is constantly trying to identify problems and come up with a plan for survival. And that is true too, when like in regular life. And so you’re brain in a survival mode is telling you that you need to do all these things and be a part of all these committees or whatever you’re doing.
Because you think like, right, going back to this whole thing, like it’s going to get me a job where it’s going to get me approval, or it’s going to help me build relationships because we need that in order to make money. I am willing to bet that for 95% of y’all is going back to money and it’s going back to money. If we get to the core of it. And that’s the survivor, right, is for basic needs. I’m not saying that I don’t get it, but when we can start to take a step back and really evaluate our motivations, our thoughts behind the things that we do, we can start to make different decisions that are more in line with who we are and what we want for ourselves. So that’s number two that you don’t believe as possible. And then number three is you’re looking to be you rescue, like you see yourself as a victim, you might be like, I’m nobody’s victim, but when you are sitting down or when you’re in the bed at night, or when you finally go home and it’s quiet, you don’t have notifications dinging.
And the phone dinging. Cause it’s like two, three o’clock in the morning. What thoughts are coming up? And more likely the thoughts sounds something like, oh, like, why is this have to be my life? Like, why doesn’t anybody want to support me? I’m there for everyone else. But nobody wants to be there for me. Why doesn’t my advisor see me? They treat so-and-so. They treat their other advisors better than they do me, but they don’t, they don’t want to support me. Or maybe it’s something like everybody else seemed to be able to just go pass all these milestones really quickly. But not me. I don’t have that support. I don’t have the knowledge that they have. Right. And these three things overlap. Right? Cause you’re hearing me saying similar things, but in this particular victim mentality, what you’re doing is you’re looking outside of you externally for all the reasons, right?
The brain is looking for evidence for all the reasons why things are happening to you. But instead of things happening to you, what if things were happening for you, you might be like, okay, here you go with this cliche coach speak. But like seriously, what, what if things were happening for you? Again, going back to what I said earlier, what if everyone had the same circumstances as you, but they decided to tell themselves a different way story because that option is available for you, but being in a victim mentality, waiting for someone to come rescue you, it takes the power away from you. And it, it means that you are dependent on someone else or something outside of you coming in and fixing and changing things. But you have to be the one that makes a decision about where you spend your time and energy.
You have to be the one who would be willing to do the work to ask yourself, what do I want for life? What do I want life to look like after this dissertation? Do I want a business? Do I want a faculty position? Do I want an admin job and whatever path I choose, what does that look like? What is a day to day basis? Look like? What does my schedule look like? How do I feel? What am I wearing? Where am I going? Because in that you can start making decisions towards that. That gives you the power to make your life the way that you want to make. But as long as you’re sitting back and telling yourself all of the reasons, seasons, why it’s not good enough, or you don’t have enough time or money, or you need somebody to come help you and rescue you.
And I’m not saying we can’t ask for help. I’m just saying, where are you taking responsibility? Where are you taking responsibility for the decisions you have made? Where are you taking responsibility for? How you use your time, where are you taking responsibility for when you don’t speak up and you say, no, I don’t want to do that. Or I don’t like this. Or you failed to put a boundary in place. Where do you take responsibility for that? And I’m being a little bit tough on y’all today because this is coming from a place of love. And I just wish someone would have just talked to me like this. When I was deep in my moments, where are you taking radical responsibility for yourself and for your decisions? Because moving forward, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to take responsibility because being stuck or being overwhelmed or being confused, they’re all choices you are indulging.
And those emotions, because you won’t take action because that’s the way through it, way through it is identify your next best step. Figure out how you can let it be easy and take the action. The reason why I have clients a top three every day, which are three tasks that each take 20 minutes or less is because it helps you get into action. Because when you’re in action, you get more information. You get clearer on what you want, what you don’t want, what you like, what you don’t like. And you get to make different decisions in the future because you have that data. But if you’re just sitting there trying to figure out everything in your head, trying to figure out like what everybody else has and who’s going to help you. And I got to do all these things I don’t want to do and talk to all these people I don’t want to talk to because I need to survive.
Ask yourself, is that really true? Is it really true? How do you know it’s true? And then ask yourself, but what do I have control over? What is my next best step? How can I move forward? So that is going to be all for today because I feel like that’s a lot. And I, I really hope that y’all sit with this and know that this is coming from a place of love, because I know that you have the potential to live a life that you have always dreamed about. I don’t care how Google or cliche that sounds. I know that to be true. And I know it’s possible for you, but here’s the thing. People don’t want to help people who don’t want it. Right? Like I think about other people that I’ve come in contact with and I say, I can’t want it more than you do.
It’s your dream. It’s your life. I can do my best to encourage and to be an example, and to share my knowledge and wisdom, but you have to make the choice and decide what you want and what you’re going to do with your time and energy and take action. The reason why you, the big reason, right? I shared those three, but like how you get from being stuck is you find one thing that you can do. One little small thing you can take action on and take that action and repeat that’s it. So that is going to be for real all today. I hope y’all have an amazing week and I will talk to you next week. Bye for now.
Thank you for joining in for today’s office hours. If you’re ready to take this work to the next level, I invite you to join the happy free and pay collective. We will show you how to finish your dissertation and build your consulting business, using the skills and knowledge you already possessed. Come on over to Marvette lacy.com and let’s get started. I’ll see you on the inside of the collective. Yeah.