At a recent leadership coaching conference, I learned the power of ‘I Must.' Sometimes I must lie on the floor and get nose-to-nose with my black lab. Sometimes I must hug my 14-year old daughter even when she holds herself limp or stiff. I must play the radio too loud, text my husband when he is busy, paint a wall, eat chocolate, drink wine, scroll Pinterest, laugh, cry, write. Sometimes, I simply must!
We all have our ‘musts’ that make us abundantly flawed and beautifully human. I have also learned that to grow continually and develop as an adult I must be willing to break three things.
As a leadership coach, I need to name and know my personal and professional musts. Someone else cannot prescribe them, lest they lose their essential quality and become disingenuous.
What must you do or be? What must happen for you to learn and grow?
1) Doctoral work makes you chubby. Just sayin’...
2) If you are not asked to rewrite an academic paper at least twice, you have a faculty member who lost your paper or might be in a coma.
3) If you have not cried multiple times – ugly, sobbing cries (for reasons see #1 and #2) you are doing it all wrong.
4) Academics hold their nose if you use a metaphor or write in a creative manner (see #2).
5) Wine helps but also loosens your creativity (see point #1 and #4).
6) It is much easier to write 40 pages than 10. Your head may hurt from constant head butting and being told to include more in your literature review but keep it under 25 pages (see #5).
7). It helps to have friends who have experienced points 1-6. If you do not have those types of friends, find friends who appreciate #5 and do not hold you accountable to point #1.
8) Academics do not see eye to eye. Be prepared for your dissertation committee members to give you opposite feedback (see points #2, #3, and #5).
9) When you complain your Ph.D. is too hard and question why you are putting yourself through this remember... I cannot remember which point applies here.
10) Only six people will read your dissertation. You and your five committee members (see #8). Your family members will not even read the abstract unless they are part of your dedication page.
For an additional 25 lessons that will cause academic snickering, see this link: 25-deeply-painful-phd-student-problems-besides-your-thesis.
Life is like one big Mardi Gras. But instead of showing your boobs, show people your brain, and if they like what they see, you'll have more beads than you know what to do with. —Ellen DeGeneres
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University