1. Change the change agent
Something hit me like a ton of bricks during our first Qualitative Research class. Our cohort were all having small panic attacks about the "destabilizing force" of the new doctoral journey. All of us shared our feelings about being overwhelmed, out of control, and de-centered in varying degrees. Our professor noted the irony - we all chose this doctoral program in order to become leaders of change, yet we are disillusioned by the "destabilizing force" of the change that we are experiencing...Enough said.
She also said that this process of adjustment should take 6-12 months. We are expecting too much of ourselves. Instead, we must surrender ourselves to the process.
And so, I am surrendering...
2. Inspire Trust
The action research methodology requires a great deal of reflection from all involved parties, and of course that reflection must start with the researcher (me). So, in a discussion board from the same Qualitative Research seminar, a colleague asked what I believe has helped me to foster democratic collaboration among groups.
I'm only now reflecting on this because she asked me. When you are charged with so many grandiose goals, you forget about the little victories along the way.
I think what has helped me achieve democratic collaboration with my teams is fostering trust. People want to know that you value them as human beings and that you value their work. Ask what they think, what they would do if they had their way. Then implement some of their ideas, and give them credit publicly. I mean, these are just a few ways I've built trust within groups. I have to concede, though, that a leader may never gain the trust of some people/groups, because sometimes their mistrust is based on something within themselves or past experiences that had nothing to do with that particular leader at all.
3. Fitness is important
I have realized very quickly that I not only had to prepare myself intellectually for this journey I am embarking upon, but I have begun to prepare myself physically and metaphysically.
I started running again (almost daily). In order to focus and engage in the immense brainwork of doctoral studies, my body must be fit. I find that if my body is out of shape, my mind is out of shape too. I have also decreased the amount of wine that I drink significantly. Too much drink clouds the senses, and my senses cannot afford to be clouded. I am also eating more healthy. I have significantly decreased processed sugars and simple carbohydrates, and I have started eating a good breakfast each day.
The funny thing is - I did not "intend" to do these things in preparation for my doctorate. I came home from the retreat and realized I had to "make space" and prepare.
And so here I am, a month and a half into the journey, and I have surrendered to the "destabilizing force" of the process. I received my first "A," and I no longer feel like an imposter.