aNewDomain — The rules of grief apply to success.
Sometimes a friend, or a client, or a student, sometimes they tell me, “I’ve lost my best friend and I don’t know how I’m going to get over it.”
And I reply, “Do you want to be the kind of person who can get over something like that?”
Loss is supposed to inspire grief. The person who never grieves never loves.
You know what else happens in life? Sometimes you succeed. I’m hearing this from people and it makes me very happy. They have new jobs. They’ve gotten their advanced degree, and they’re in front of a class full of people and they think, I can’t do this.
They’re about to finish a dissertation, and they’re not sure they can, not sure they want to. The joy has fallen out of it and defense day is approaching.
They think, I don’t deserve this.
They’re in private practice for the first time, about to see their first client. They’re working on a novel, the next novel after the first three were moderately successful. They’re about to make their first incision on a patient.
And they’re scared, afraid, isolated, certain that they don’t know anything.
Certain they don’t deserve it.
You deserve it, my friend.
If you’ve done the work such that a decent school has allowed you to progress to defending your dissertation, you deserve it. You’ve paid your dues. You are the leading authority in your obscure subject. Get up there and know it’s true.
You are good enough.
Part of the way I know you’re qualified is that you’re unsure of your qualifications. Because what sort of person would get up there, would take the stick, and feel only composed confidence?
An overconfident one, a narcissist, someone with too much self-esteem and too much self-confidence.
Another student came to me the other day. “Dr. Dias, I’m worried about this paper. It’s the first time I’ve written anything like this. In APA style, or in this kind of detail.”
“That’s why I want you to do it.”
I want you to do it because you’re worried about it, not because it’s old hat, Mickey-Mouse bullshit any tosser could manage. I want you to sweat it out because it’s worth sweating. You are just where she is. At the beginning.
The beginning is a fine place to be, my friends. And you have been at so many beginnings now, haven’t you? Sometimes they led where you wanted to go. Sometimes to wonderful adventures well off the prescribed path. Sometimes to tragedy or heartbreak, to regret. But they all led you here, to this moment, now. Another beginning.
I hope you are apprehensive as well as excited, that you have some doubt along with some perspective. The doubt, why, that indicates that you give a shit. You care about those students, those readers, that patient or client. That panel waiting to pass you for a successful defense. You care enough to experience anxiety. When you stop feeling it, let me know — that’s when we need to talk a few things over.
“What? Why’s it great?”
“Because it means you can see what is at stake, and you care. Caring is the first thing, the best thing. If you care, we can do something wonderful.”
For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias.
Cover image: narcissistsupport.com, All Rights Reserved; image one: HackCollege.com, All Rights Reserved; image two: freeimages.com, All Rights Reserved; image three: FractalEnlightenment.com, All Rights Reserved.