January 11, 2021
There is a dangerous venn diagram in academics – we seek papers, grants, and opportunities because they allow us to make change and have our work make an impact. Also – those same grants, papers, and opportunities are undeniable *gold stars* that us achievers have been hustling for since this rigged game started. We go through our careers with these motivations enmeshed.
It becomes quite easy to be led astray.
We think we can’t take risks because we’ll lose it all.
My dear friends, we have to stop lying to ourselves. You have a doctorate – we sit in a level of ridiculous privilege. If a risk is required to move forward in the work you want to do, then NOT taking that risk is already equivalent to losing it all. It is equivalent to accepting all of the BS you have to deal with as a woman of color in a racist and sexist institution, while simultaneously not utilizing the power of that placement to do your own good in world.
This is where the co-dependence is born. Each decision you make that moves you away from the work you find most meaningful creates a greater need for those *gold stars* to make up for what you’ve lost. Something has to fill the void. Before you know it, the *gold stars* ARE the goal – and you are hooked. Overworking, people pleasing, collecting gold stars and still left with a nagging feeling that you are not doing enough.
The bad news is that no productivity hack in the world is going to break you out of this co-dependence.
The good news is that you can break out anyway.
It’s a New Year, White mediocrity and petulant violence is on full display, and let me tell you, Sis – there is no time like the present.
The Goal + The Intention
One step to initiate your reset from the empty, gold-star chasing frenzy is to consciously set goals AND intentions. Your goal is where you are going, your intention is HOW you will get there. The purpose of your goal is to set your focus. The purpose of your intention is to set your commitment. To make sure you get there with quality, integrity, and sanity. The purpose of your intention is to be courageous for you when you can’t be, to help you take risks when conditioning screams to stay safe….to ensure you actually do what you came here to do.
Your goal – organizes you.
Your intention – guides your decisions.
Your goal – focuses your time.
Your intention – elevates the quality of your work.
Your goal – gives you the resources to do amazing work.
Your intention – motivates you through any challenge along the way.
When your intention is sound, then your goal is the cherry on top. It’s nice to get the accolade (very nice!!!) but it’s NOT the point. It sits atop the deep satisfaction at having gotten what you need to continue to make an impact…a satisfaction that endures.
This is your pivot for 2021.
Do this now because it doesn’t work in reverse. It’s a prospective strategy because your intentions change how you get to your goal. It will change to whom you give your time. It will change which advice you take. It will change whether you waste your time on perfectionism or invest your time executing your ideas.
Keep it simple. Choose each 2021 goal (you should not have more than 3) and write an intention right next to them. If you use a whiteboard, put a sticky note with your intention next to every project.
When questions or challenges come up – your intention is your guiding light, and nothing else.
Watch what happens.
I dare you.