Building an effective writing habit

In this post I’m going to address three key issues that get in the way of building an effective writing habit. I’m going to call out these three gremlins: Inspiration Perfection Permission Firstly the inspiration gremlin: I was lucky enough to teach about Romantic poets and writers, and one of their lasting legacies was a belief – now filtered into popular culture – that inspiration is key to any artistic activity. However, if you wait for the muse to arrive before you write, you might be waiting a while – especially if you are [...]

By |2022-07-04T09:28:05+01:00July 4th, 2022|Academic Life, General, Productivity, Writing|0 Comments

Shaping your job to fit you

These are my favourite shoes.  I’ve had them for a while, and yes, I can see that they’re tatty.  They are so comfortable, so much so, that I’ve worn them through.  They weren’t always this way though.  They were inflexible when I first got them, they rubbed, and they were too tight around the widest part of my foot. Yet I wore them in until eventually they fitted, and they fitted well.  Why am I telling you about my shoes?  Because my shoe is a metaphor for a job.  Some of us at the moment might be contemplating going [...]

By |2022-06-21T17:10:53+01:00May 9th, 2022|Academic Life, Careers, General|0 Comments

Embracing challenge

Embracing challenge sounds like an oxymoron.  When challenging situations rear their heads, it can be easier to default to some of the following thinking styles: Catastrophizing: “This is going to be a disaster!” Interestingly – if we look at the medical effects of catastrophizing– patients who catastrophize a higher pain expectation have worse pre-operative pain than non-catastrophizers.  However, after the procedure, pain for both is similar.  The implication here then is through magnification, rumination and a sense of helplessness, we can tend to make the situation worse for ourselves. [...]

By |2022-02-21T18:10:09+00:00February 21st, 2022|Academic Life, Personal development, Productivity, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Giving ourselves permission to rest

As I write this blog, we are in the run up to the Winter break at Universities.  I wanted to focus on this break particularly, because many of us have a manic autumn term, and the break is our chance to rest and recuperate.  Except, actually, it becomes a time to cram in all those other things we just didn’t manage to fit in during the term.  Vitae’s ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Researchers’ survey (Feb-Mar 2021) showed that 58% of those surveyed found it impossible to do the research they had planned during COVID, and so now, many of [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:41:06+00:00December 10th, 2021|Academic Life, General, Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments

Academic promotions: Tips to help you make your best case

Thinking about promotion? As we head towards the end of the year, it’s the time many Universities start to open their academic promotions processes. I love it when clients ask me to support them with their promotion applications because it is an exercise in helping someone to reflect on all the tremendous progress and achievements they have made through their career. Most people (naturally) find it somewhat daunting when they start to examine the promotions criteria, with all of the high-powered buzzwords  ‘Excellent’, ‘Inspirational’, ‘Innovative’, ‘Impactful’, ‘Distinctive’, ‘World-leading’, ‘Strategic’…..etc, and it’s an inevitable trigger for the old imposter syndrome [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:40:51+00:00November 23rd, 2021|Academic Life, Careers|0 Comments

Stand tall: Academic Authenticity

What is authenticity? The other week I found myself telling my class a familiar anecdote about submitting my PhD for what must have been the seventieth time in 7 years (this is not an exaggeration: 10 classes per year x 7 years).  I’ve always used anecdotes as a way to try to connect to students and coachees, as I believe they express something authentic about attitudes, values, or motivations.  Yet I found that I had reused the anecdote to the point that I felt the phrasing speak for me, and I wondered then if the story was still truly [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:40:24+00:00November 12th, 2021|Academic Life, Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments

How to say ‘No’: Moving from ‘default yes’ to ‘considered response’

'No' - such a little word, but so difficult to say One of the things I hear most frequently in one-to-one coaching sessions with academic clients is ‘I need to say no more’. Whilst that it is easy to say and to know in theory, it is a whole lot harder to translate that into practice. No is such a tiny word, but the reality is, it is often very hard to say! Why is that?! From my discussions with clients over the years it is evident that there are a variety of genuine reasons why ‘No’ does not [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:40:07+00:00November 9th, 2021|Academic Life, Personal development, Productivity|0 Comments

Writing an effective PI response

In UK funding processes, for example with UKRI funders, it is common for you to receive the reviewers’ comments before your proposal is considered at a funding panel. In many cases you will be invited to provide a written response to the reviewers’ comments for the panel members to consider when ranking your proposal, this is usually referred to as the ‘PI Response’. In my former life as a manager at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, I convened more funding panel meetings than I care to remember, and consequently, saw the influence a good (or bad) PI [...]

By |2021-12-16T15:39:01+00:00October 22nd, 2021|Academic Life, Research and Funding|0 Comments

Managing the ‘Imposter Gremlin’

Why do 'Imposter' thoughts show up? Right now I’m in the middle of making a bunch of exciting (and scary) changes to my business. Starting to blog, launching a new look website and new coaching programmes, planning a podcast, and taking on a new employee! It’s all great stuff, but with all this ‘newness’ comes a ferocious comeback of my Imposter Syndrome, aka the ‘Imposter Gremlin’. (Yes, coaches suffer with it too, even though we are supposed to know what to do with it!). Imposter syndrome is estimated to affect at least 70% of us at some point in [...]

By |2021-12-16T14:14:46+00:00October 21st, 2021|Academic Life, Personal development, Wellbeing|0 Comments
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