As most of you know, I’m a professor. And while I absolutely love teaching, for most of my career, I have felt like a “fish out of water” in the academic world. Not in the same way as I wrote about in my last blog - this is a different way. If you read last week’s post, you are probably wondering why I ever entered academia in the first place, right?! I know you are. Ha! But stay with me. I will explain myself.
For those of you who are not a part of the academic world, let me fill you in on how it works. When you are a professor at a state university (such as I am), research is valued above all else. In other words, the university expects you to be a “publishing machine” in order to be respected. And you can’t just publish anything. You have to publish scholarly articles in competitive academic journals or write a research-based book(s). That’s the way it works. And that’s fine. It’s just how the game is played.
So here’s how I feel like a fish out of water. I never enjoyed doing this. Yes, I did publish quite a bit of research - I had to do it to get tenured. But in my heart of hearts, all I really wanted to do was teach and write about self-help topics. While I think my academic articles are kind of interesting, I have a bad feeling that they are simply collecting dust on people’s bookshelves at universities across the country. That’s my humorous way of saying that my academic publications are not really helping anyone - at least not in the way that I like to help people.
As you can tell from the fact that I have this website, I have since ventured into what I love doing – motivating people on television & radio, writing self-help books & articles, doing videos, and creating e-courses. And I think they all provide real-world, useful, and applicable advice for people to help improve their lives. Now that makes me feel like I’m making a real contribution to the world. Even if I help just one person, it’s all worth it.
As you might have suspected by now, none of this non-research, non-“academic” work that I am doing is valued by my university. And I’m not complaining – it’s fine. Like I said, that’s just the world of academia and how the game is played. And I’m not even trying to change the game. I couldn’t, even if I wanted to.
So because I don’t feel like my self-help work is valued, that got me thinking about how many other people don’t feel valued. Maybe you don’t feel valued at work, at home, by your kids, by your parents, your friends, you-name-it…and the list goes on. There are many times all of us don’t feel valued by others.
So what do we do about it?
Here’s what you do about it: stop caring.
I don’t mean that you should cop an attitude and give the metaphorical middle finger to the people who don’t value you. That’s definitely not what I mean. But what I do mean is that you need to get to a point emotionally where you don’t NEED to be valued by other people because you already value yourself.
As for me, would it be great if my university valued the kind of work I do on this website? Sure. Do I expect it or need it? No. I am doing this work because I am passionate about helping people, and if that means not getting professionally recognized for it in the academic world, then that’s fine with me. I know my work is helping people. That’s all I need to know.
Once you feel that inner peace inside, you no longer need other people’s approval, acceptance, or praise. You know in your heart that you value yourself. And that’s enough.
So take some time to think about where you are not valued in your life. Then think about why it bothers you. Why do you need other people’s praise, acceptance, or validation? Sure, having that is fantastic – we all like it. But you can’t control it. All you can control is how you view it (or lack thereof).
Bottom line, my message is to love yourself. And value yourself … because your happiness begins and ends with you!
When I started my Ph.D. program at the University of Nebraska, I felt like a fraud. I mean, I knew I was smart. But this was a whole different ballgame. Not only were these people smart, but they were the smartest of the smart. The cream of the crop. Not that I’m bragging that I was among them (LOL). But seriously, I was blown away by everyone’s intelligence. Suddenly, I felt like they made some mistake letting me into the Ph.D. program. I kind of felt like raising my hand and saying, “Excuse me, are you SURE you want ME here??!?” I just kept thinking that I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with all of them …
After a while, I figured since they hadn’t kicked me out yet, then maybe I did deserve to be there. But that feeling of being a fraud didn’t go away for a long time. The reassuring part of it is that after I got to know people there, they all secretly confessed to feeling like a fraud, too. Whew!! That made me feel better. I mean, I have always had pretty good self-esteem in general, so I didn’t really like that “fraud” feeling. But I took some comfort in knowing that at least we all felt like frauds.
Fast forward about 20 years. A few days ago, I was talking to a good friend of mine who runs a company. And during one of our conversations, he mentioned feeling like a fraud. I burst out into laughter saying, “OMG you feel that way too?!?!!” Then it hit me. Maybe everyone feels like a fraud from time to time. And it doesn’t have to be in your professional life either. I kind of felt like a fraud when I had my first child. He was not an easy baby (huge understatement), so I literally cried myself to sleep in some of those early sleepless nights thinking “I can’t do this! I’m a fraud of a mother! Why am I the only one who can’t handle this?!?! Why does every other mother cry tears of joy and I’m crying tears of frustration?!?!” Almost 13 years later, and many conversations with other mothers, well, lo-and-behold, many of them felt the same way.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that no one is a fraud. And here are 3 reasons why:
1. You’re doing it, right?
I don’t care if you’re a President/CEO of a company, a college student, a new mother, or you just won a huge award…guess what? You’re doing it! Or you DID it!! If you were a fraud, then you fall flat on your face. And you’re not. You didn’t. So you’re not a fraud.
2. Our culture doesn’t reward schmucks.
Seriously, if you’re not doing a good job at something, then someone will let you know! You’ll either get fired, demoted, flunk out, or something to that effect. Our whole society is designed to reward greatness, so if you’ve achieved something or are currently doing something, then other people obviously thought you deserved it – and are capable of it.
3. You’re awesome.
That’s pretty self-explanatory. You are awesome. Everyone is awesome in their own way. So pat yourself on the back and don’t feel like you’re not worthy. YOU ARE WORTHY.
To close this blog, I will tell you about my newest professional venture. I was asked to be a part of Inspiyr.com’s Expert Network. It is truly and honor and a privilege to be asked to do such a thing. This website is all about self-improvement and inspiring people to be all they can be. So that’s why I feel like I fit. But as I looked at the other experts’ biographies and websites, suddenly I felt like I was back in graduate school again. I mean, these people are ROCK STARS. Seriously – you should check them out. Just click on this sentence to see for yourself. For a short time, those fraudulent feelings started to creep in again. But this time, unlike 20 years ago, I quickly dismissed them. Hey, maybe I just don’t give myself enough credit, and maybe you don't either (although I can always count on my sisters to giggle, snort, and point at me and say, “They call you DOCTOR Morgan?!?! You’re just our little sister!!! Bahahahaha!!!”). So go ahead – toot your own horn!! You’re not a fraud!! You’re awesome!! And also check out Inspiyr.com too. It’s an amazing website where you can learn a lot. And stay tuned for some of the projects I will be collaborating on with them in the future that will also benefit YOU!!!
Valentine’s Day. It’s probably one of the most loved – and hated – holidays we have. So as we approach this day of diamond rings, chocolate, marriage proposals, romantic dinners, flowers, and candy hearts, I decided it would be appropriate to write about my assessment of how most people approach this love-filled (or not-so-love-filled) day. And most importantly, the lessons we can learn…
First, let’s talk about the people in a relationship. Some people are giddy. I don’t mean to stereotype, but it’s usually the women - especially young girls (stereotyping again…sorry!). They expect romance, flowers, jewelry, and declarations of undying love. That puts a lot of pressure on their partners - and not just the guys. Valentine’s Day used to stress me out, too. I could never figure out what to get a guy for Valentine’s Day. It’s really more of a gift-giving occasion more suitable to giving women the gifts. Anyway, I do remember getting a college boyfriend a pink paisley tie (yes, am dating myself by making fashion references to the 80s!). But I digress. Sorry. Guys either love it or hate it, too. Regardless, Valentine’s Day puts pressure on people in relationships to give gifts and make it an overall special day for their partner. And if they don’t deliver, then relationship problems may ensue…But if they do, then the day can be blissful!
Then there are the singles. These are usually the people who really don’t like Valentine’s Day. I know so many people who just look at it as a reminder that they still don’t have anyone special in their lives. Some people want to ignore the day. Others decide to go get drunk with their single friends and raise their metaphorical middle finger at love. Hey, whatever floats your boat.
Regardless of whether you have a sweetheart for Valentine’s Day or not, there are 3 lessons that we can all learn from February 14th.
Here they are:
1. Love yourself.
Even though Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about showing your love to other people, use this day as a reminder to love yourself too! Hey, love is love. I’m not talking about conceit. I’m talking about a real, genuine liking for yourself. Are you someone you would want to be friends with? Someone you would want to date or marry? You probably are! You just need to realize that. Repeat after me:
I am lovable.
Because you are! Don’t ever forget it!
2. Make every day Valentine’s Day.
It might sound cliché, but just think about it for a minute. Why do we need a “special day” to remember to love one another and give gifts and be romantic? Shouldn’t we already be doing that every day? In theory, yes! In practice, not so much! So take this Valentine’s Day as a reminder of how precious people are in your life. Promise yourself that you no longer need Valentine’s Day (or Sweetest Day, or anniversaries, or birthdays…you get the point) to show your loved ones how you feel. Do it every day!!
3. Focus on advantages of your relationship status.
Not everyone in a relationship is happy, and not everyone who is single is unhappy. But there are definite advantages to both kinds of relationships statuses! If you’re taken, then focus on all the good things on your partner (again, not just on February 14th, but every day!). Remind yourself about why you love them, not why they might drive you crazy. Whatever you focus on expands. So focus on the good stuff. And if you’re single, think about all the freedom you have! And your single status just opens up possibilities for the right person to walk into your life. But meanwhile, use you time “alone” to explore who you are and become a better person. And for all of you – single or hitched - focus on what you are happy about, not what you aren’t.
So there you have it. My Valentine’s Day lessons. The overall lesson here is to be positive. Focus on the good stuff, and make a promise to yourself and your loved ones that you will spread more love around – every day.
Dr. Carol Morgan &
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