During my Phd process, I REALLY learned what it meant to have grit and perseverance. I have to admit that I was able to go through high school, undergrad, and my masters with average effort. I never felt that the work load or the experience was extremely challenging. But my Phd program and particularly the dissertation process made me want to quit ALL the time. The editing and proofing of my dissertation from start to finish was endless, and every time I received feedback from my mentoring professor, I always felt like throwing up. I remember thinking, “I suck! I can’t do this. What was I thinking when I started this?” After allowing myself to feel like crap, I would breathe in and breathe out and fill myself with affirmations on how I was a PhD graduate, and I was going to finish this program. I would write little notes everywhere to encourage and motivate myself. They would say thing like: "Graduating this spring! I am Dr. Merrills! I finished my PhD in 5 years!" All these affirmations/ notes around our home helped me to finish because I started to fully believe them. During my last year, my advisor became pregnant, and I knew that if I didn't graduate before she left for maternity leave, I could potentially add another year of being a Doctoral student. So, I was like….”Oh hell no…this is about to go down! I’m finishing this dissertation before this woman disappears on me with her new baby...lol.
I pushed myself in ridiculous ways. Milan was 1 years old, and I would take care of her during the day. When I put her to bed in the evening, I would write from sundown to sunrise. And then when Milan woke up I would meet Milan's needs. I think I used to take small naps throughout the day when Milan napped. I sustained this type of work level for 6-7 months, which afforded me the opportunity to graduate as I had planned. I look back at this period in my life and I don't know how I was able to do it. But I knew that I had to push myself and now I am so proud of myself for not quitting and finding the strength to push even when my mind and body begged me to stop.
Pushing yourself is a gift that continues to serve you in the future. There have been several times where I feel too tired, not in the mood, or unmotivated to do something, but I am able to tap into this experience, and re-charge my mindset. When you do it once, you know that all you have to do is change your attitude, re-focus and attack the goal at hand.
Lesson: #6 Push yourself
I have recently started to work out with more frequency because I am getting ready for a beach wedding in Liberia. And I have to get ready to wear shorts, tank tops, and a bathing suit. My go-to exercises are squats, lunges, bicep curls, wide grip rows, sit ups, and push ups. I bought my active wear from Target and I was very pleased with the flexibility and breathability of it all! Click on links below for more info on this outfit. Happy Sunday!