Kel and I just got back from our 3 1/2 week speaking tour of Ireland, Scotland, and England. We visited University of Manchester, University College Dublin, Maynooth University, St. Andrews University, University of Glasgow, SOAS (in an event hosted by a group of London universities), Oxford, and De Montfort University in Leicester. We had a wonderful time.
academic interviewing and productivity. But no matter the posted topic of the talk, it was inevitably the themes of PRODUCTIVITY and IMPOSTER SYNDROME that prevailed. These challenges seem to be universal to the academic experience, especially right now in the current political turmoil. Whether in Ireland, Scotland or the rest of the UK, whether at De Montfort University or Oxford–everyone is struggling to get their
writing done, and to battle the voices in their heads saying… you’re not good enough; you don’t know what you’re talking about; you’ll never finish this; nobody will read it; this will never get published… and on and on and on. Kel ended up doing versions of her Unstuck Productivity coaching almost everywhere we went, focused on overcoming the two elephant-sized roadblocks to productivity — procrastination & isolation. Kel especially focuses on writing and productivity as *feminist* and *anti-racist* interventions in a world that was not built for those who come from outside the ranks of elite white males.
As I watched Kel lead workshop after workshop based on her coaching principles, and the ways that her audiences responded to her elemental but fierce principles of honesty, integrity, boundaries, and self-care, I was struck anew that no matter where you are in the world, the academic career can inculcate an overwhelming sense of inadequacy that is truly, if it’s not checked,
damaging to your mental and physical health. What her coaching does is provide not only tools for writing, but also a vocabulary for a newly energized ethos of self-value, ie, a valuing of your ideas, your research, your time, and your boundaries. It was truly transformative, not just for those lucky enough to be in her audiences, but for me as well. (Many of you may not know that it was Kel who inspired me to start The Professor Is In in the first place! I tell that story near the end of my book). Anyway, working with Kel is quite wonderful, as her clients can attest. I am a professional slacker! Can a weekly hour long writing workshop actually change habits that took almost a decade and a half to solidify? The answer is a very strong yes! I have written and worked more on my research in the last six weeks than in the last several months combined. The wonderful coach that Kellee is, the very structured approach to writing she teaches, the methods I learned on how to approach writing when it appears to be a very angry Hulk, have indeed changed my work habits. I still get anxiety about writing, I still get the nagging feeling that my work is not good enough, but now, I work as opposed to just worrying and being anxious about tenure. When I read my paper now, I see progress. It is not a paper I have been sitting on for a year now, it is a project that is getting close to submission. I write and I make lists and approach the paper from an entirely new and much improved perspective. I have also noticed an improvement in my non-work related habits. I have just become so much more proactive about so many other things. I might actually stop seeing my therapist as regularly so it saves money too!! ????
- Stop Struggling Alone