I had a lot of anxiety around my progress in my PhD program. I would use “productive procrastination” to avoid working directly on my thesis while still soothing my anxieties. Overtime, it got to the point where I simply became avoidant and would allow my negative self-talk to get in my way preventing me from completing my PhD and even living a contented life.

Although I am very much still in process, I have begun noticing how negative self-talk and high personal expectations no longer motivate me or serve me as they had in my previous degree programs. Before working with Melissa, I wouldn’t have even been able to identify these as some of the key issues that inhibited my work. I have also begun thinking about my PhD program more broadly, seeing it as an opportunity for personal growth and development not just another milestone degree.

Although initially uncomfortable, Melissa’s encouragement and focus on celebrating achievements has broken the negative cycle of constant striving that had led to many of my anxieties around my PhD. I now see that allowing myself to participate in this coaching is an act of self-compassion; it has shown me that I deserve positive reinforcement and support. I feel like Melissa’s coaching has opened me to seeking help, and I now see that learning how and when to seek help has been a crucial step in my journey.

The program has allowed me to create a space where I put my needs at the forefront. Melissa’s positive support has reinforced the notion that self-compassionate reflection on my journey and progress is more effective and sustainable than using negative consequences to increase productivity

Having someone to break the negative spell I was under has been invaluable. I have started to actively evaluate what works for me. Through Melissa’s encouragement, I have been able to give myself permission to begin listening to and trusting my inner voice for guidance.

Jennifer