Do It With Doubt…Confidence Comes Later with Dr. Pensacola Jefferson

Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:20:02]

Yes and yes.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:20:04]

Without making a decision to quit. Yes. Just stop making the decision to keep going. And you have to make the decision to keep going over and over and over again to get through this thing that I had.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:20:19]

I started with the class of thirty-six and maybe six of us finished. We all started in the same program, same category, and we would meet every so often at the school and at the end it was only six hours left. So it is not a program that everybody will start and finish. So it is challenging. So the classes I mean, somebody say it is easy for them. I would say good for you. That was a really a blessing. But for the rest of us, I know my class struggled on this class of class to it’s a different challenge.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:21:01]

And we do have students. It’s that and people that say they struggled in a class or two and sometimes more than that along the way. Other folks that say the classes were relatively easy because it’s honestly your doctoral classes. It’s the same thing you’ve been doing since like fourth or fifth grade. It’s really something they tell you. They tell you what to read. They tell you what to write. You do it. They tell you when to turn it in. You do it. It’s it’s from third, fourth, fifth grade. You’re doing a page at a time. Read a page. Right. A page, something like that. You get write doctoral degree. You’re reading 20 or 30 pages, writing 20, 30 pages. So level’s gone way up. Same kind of thing. It’s where a lot of folks face there and not everybody like said, there’s a lot of folks that face this in their classes, but a lot of folks face their first real challenge in school in a long time. They kind of get thrown into the deep end of that dissertation and the guy just says, go.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:21:58]

Yeah. I mean, yeah.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:22:00]

Universities will tell you what they want to see, but how to get there? The structure is just not there. Yes, yes. I’ll tell folks, it’s kind of like Michael wheels, Michelangelo wheels David out of the studio and you’re looking at the statue. And then he goes back in the studio and he wheels a block of marble out and he says, OK. And you’re like, well, I can see where you want me to go, but,.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:22:27]

You know, how do I get. there.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:22:28]

I don’t know how to get there.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:22:29]

Yes. Process. Yeah.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:22:32]

So that’s what a lot of folks say. The process is there, the classes. So you have to be a challenge. And certainly when we say easy, everything’s relative. Right. So these people are saying the classes are easy. They’ve been through the dissertation and they want saying it was easy necessarily when they were in the class. But. Right. But they at least understood the process. They knew what to do. They were getting it done. They’re getting A’s and B’s on their classes, whereas dissertation you feel like you’re getting D’s and F’s on the dissertation.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:23:03]

I got straight A’s too. But it didn’t always feel like I mean, you know, they are use. Yeah. It was so hot. And then with the research itself, I just didn’t think I could write a dissertation has so many components, but they gave us a class on each component and then when we were able to break it down into bite-size pieces and I could understand the process when it actually came to the dissertation, I was ready to write it. Yeah.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:23:37]

What was that process like for you, like you mentioned, that you that you found some of the classes difficult that you were just alluding to? Maybe you didn’t think the dissertation was this difficult. Tell me, how did that process go for you?


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:23:51]

Well, you know how you have to write your initial one. You have to give them a synopsis of what is going to be about. So they you take a class on how to write their synopsis, how to write it without emotions. And everything has to be based on that and and how to write without putting in emotion. And that was really, really very hard for me, for a lot of people. So I’m going to learn how to write in this critical thinking type of way, but breaking it down into what they want. This is what they want and keeping that focus, make sure you don’t go way out in left field where they lose you. So I really going through each piece, breaking it down, seeing seeing in pieces, really made it understandable and made it easy when I got ready to do it. And then I was told, you need to talk like a scholar. So when I presented it to my chair, I had to talk like I knew what I was talking about on this subject. So I tell you a funny story when I did do my presentation and, you know, and I talk scholars like they told me to. So one of my chair said, OK, Dr. Jefferson. Now, tell me what you really mean in layman’s terms. I thought there’s a lot in understanding. So I left the fact that he’s an average of one of us. Tell me what you really meant. That was priceless.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:25:26]

Yeah. And that’s something that’s important that folks need to learn when you you spend all this time. Learning how to write without emotion and in a scholarly tone and everything after that, for most people, if you’re not going to continue doing research as your career, which most of the folks in my audience, that’s not who they are. They work with regular people, so to speak, then you’ve got to relearn how to write with some emotion. You bring in stories and anecdotes and make people feel good and feel sad sometimes when that’s what the story needs to convey. How did you how did you switch back to the transition after what happened to you after graduation?


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:26:16]

You helped me out. You helped me with the statistics and stuff like that. And you and I were supposed to get back together. But that same year, I had a brain bleed and I ended up having to have brain surgery. So I had what they call the anterior venus malformation, AVM for short. And with one of them, you only have a 20 percent chance to live. I had to. So my chances of live was really slim. And so they told my family to get her house in order. She’s not going to make it. So I was in ICU maybe 30 days. I was in rehab. So I think I stayed in the hospital about 30 days. When I came home, I couldn’t even walk.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:27:01]

Aren’t you glad, Pensacola, that doctors don’t always know everything.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:27:05]

Oh, God. Oh, God. I mean, I was talking about it as a yes, you know, and and it was a very spiritual I was in a coma, in fact, that was telling. I can hear people talk and you wake up and go to sleep in a coma just like you do full consciousness. So and so when I came out of that coma about just two weeks, I was only in there two weeks, which I was away. And that was a blessing. Yeah. But I didn’t feel scared or afraid or anything like that when I. I got home in two thousand fifteen after three months and in the first six months is very important with healing so far as the direction of healing. So I couldn’t let my depression. I have to be stress free. So I ended up coming from Maryland. I was in Maryland. I was in George Washington Hospital. So I went there. I had one of the best doctors. He had been on Oprah. His hands were very steady. So he’s the one who did my surgery. I was really blessed to have them. So a lot of blessings and good things were around my my brain surgery. But in 2016, I began to write it. Just all of a sudden, all these books just beginning to pour out of me and I couldn’t stop. So in in the last four years I’ve written most of those books is just nonstop. I can just sit all day and toward the evening. I may have a half a book written. So, I mean, it was just pouring. Those books are three for someone, maybe as much as five hundred pages. And some of them require research because when you get a concept in my book, I want to explain the concepts. So as you study it, you have a concept in your mind about where you know where this is taking you. So it was just amazing. It’s still amazing to me now. But but after that, in 2016, I wrote a set, you know, the transformation set, and then it went from there. And I’m getting ready to finish a book now. So it hasn’t stopped. But yeah, but the research when it comes to research, the critical thinking, I found a way to blend the two. Right. How to take critical thinking and emotional thinking and kind of help me work together, you know, so you’re taking fact and being able to link it with emotion in order to process through whatever it is that you’re going through. So I think that the research is good because you get to ad fact with a person’s emotions. And so you find that they can be really linked together.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:29:57]

And that’s important that when you’re learning concepts, you want to make sure that that that they’re based on fact and based on reality, that how you’re processing certain situations, certainly that that apply to you personally. Yes. Visual emotional thing. And so it is it’s very good that you’re able to include both of those in your writing.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:30:18]

I think being when you’re a little older, doing your dissertation, got some life experience behind you. A lot of my books show me that I had experienced a lot of things in life. So I really don’t like to write things that I don’t, you know, understand. I have some kind of real life experience myself. And I think I was telling you about a process when when I was going through something, something somebody rejected me. And not to internalize that the rejection is hurtful, is very bad. The rejection hurts. It is a painful experience, but it doesn’t change who you are. Right. So knowing how to process that fact, it doesn’t change you. Yes, it hurts the emotion of that. But the fact it doesn’t change who you are. So mixing those two together, it’s OK to hurt, it’s OK to cry is OK to be disappointed. But that’s all it need is don’t don’t go past. There is just a hurtful experience, but it doesn’t change your chances. Yes.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:31:27]

And certainly professionally, as as someone with a doctoral degree, you get to choose those experiences more than a lot of folks do you have more flexibility and opportunities? Is the writing obviously it’s been a cathartic experience for you, has been something that’s helpful to you in that way? How has it helped you professionally? Have you have you experienced people coming to you?


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:31:56]

Yes. So so sometime people are going and this is most mostly a spiritual sense. I’m in pastoral counseling so I can take some of my chapters in a book and actually use them in therapy and give them that chapter to continue to study later on. And it’s helped them some time with processing through some. I’m very, very keen on process because people just don’t, oh, you can do this. You’re going to be OK. Everything’s going to be fine. Just but you want they want to know after I leave you and I go home, how do I live this out. Right. So that’s what I try to help them do. After you get home and you have this information by yourself, how does that play out in real life? That’s what people want to know so we can tell them all these wonderful theoretical things. But after I closed my doors and you’re not there, how do I live this out? So even when it came to being sick and and people asked you, how are you doing? Most people really don’t want to know. They’re asking you, how are you doing? But as soon as you tell, oh, listen, I dare they say something to negate so I realize how going through it myself, how important to really say how are you doing really how are you doing? Because I know when people ask me and I said, oh I’m fine. But last night I was crying in the corner, you know, so sometimes people are not going to tell you because they know you’re not really asking. So it made me a little more sensitive to say, how are you really doing? I really want to know how you’re doing. And so sometimes people. Oh, I’m fine. But when I say no, how are you really doing? Say, you know, this is really happening, they’ll tell you because they know you care. So I’m more sensitive to that process than no one sees. How do I get through that part? And so that’s where I try to be more helpful.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:34:04]

And I think that’s a it’s a key point that you mentioned this notion of process. It’s what we do with a lot of our students, anybody that we help with dissertation on, whether it’s authors or dissertation students. The very first thing is here’s the process that you’re going to go through, because we have that blueprint, that step by step instructions. It gives people a lot more confidence. It gives people, first of all, confidence in you that you have the time and the sense to put together a process, a step by step way of dealing with the situation. So you’re in good hands because they haven’t thought through this and come up with a process. But just having that process then is is it gives them the backbone. It gives them something to lean on. Yeah. The strength that they need to move forward because, yes, there’s certainty and that’s what people do. Like, I think it’s uncertainty, you know, you go out and say, it’ll be OK, just keep working on it, will you? I was not OK when I came to you. So we just keep doing what I was doing. I’m still not OK. Just because it’ll be OK doesn’t mean I feel that yet. You might be right that that will be OK, but I don’t feel that because they feel it right.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:35:23]

I want to know how, how, when am I going to do what’s the next step. They literally need to know where do I move from here? What step do I take? Some people really need to know that I went to someone one time for help who had the title that the experience and I really was desperate need. I really was. I needed an answer. And I think this person always acted like they had it. When I went to that person, they didn’t have anything to give to me. And I remember being disappointed and I never went to them again. I mean, er and I was gone. Oh my God. Because all this time they appeared to have the answer to, to be good in this area. And when I came with a problem in that area, they had nothing to give me. It’s like going to apple tree and there’s no apples on the tree. So I was so yeah. So I think it’s important when people go to you sometime. You don’t never know the level of desperation or how bad they may need the answer from you no matter how they approach you. So sometimes you want to give you don’t want to pay closer attention to what they’re saying and what they need, especially if that’s the way you presented yourself. Right. So as doctors and people come to you, they may be looking for some of your apples. So you want to have some apples?


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:36:59]

Yeah. And like like you’ve indicated that notion of process, if you’re going to help someone have a process for doing that. Yes. I mentioned that with the dissertation done. We start off with giving folks a process. Here’s how we’re going to get you through to graduation with expand your authority, where we’re helping folks write their their book and get it published. Here’s the process you’re going to use to create the book. But even in that, what we’re telling them is in the book, you need to be outlining a process for your reader to benefit from your expertise, that’s what is going to feel connected with you and drawn to you to help them in other ways is because you laid out a process for them to get better. So this thing about the process, it’s everywhere. It’s how we handle people. It’s how we tell people to help other people. It’s really important. So if you are in a situation where let’s say you’re working on your dissertation, make sure you have a process down for how you’re going to get from here to graduation, you can get someone to help like mine. There are other people out there that can help. There are other people who’ve been through the dissertation process before. They can maybe give you some sense of help. But you sit down and write out a process that’s going to work for you. You’re going to feel a lot better. I believe that is so critical to get that process right. But having the process where it comes from is really important.


Dr. Pensacola Jefferson [00:38:35]

And understanding, even when it comes to research, I when I came to you, I had I don’t. I thought I was pretty smart. I can figure things out, but statistics just had my head go so I can do this. Editing is not my favorite thing either. So you have to those are the things you definitely have to get some help on. You want your your dissertation to be edited properly. You definitely want the statistics to be right. Definitely. Because, you know, if you’re my book is out there now and has statistics in it and somebody may want to duplicate that and say, well, I want to know if that’s true, you want there’s no way I was going to get those numbers right. I couldn’t figure it out. So, you know, like I said, humility is a very important part of being a professional profession in any any profession. You’ve got to know what you can’t do.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:39:36]

I wouldn’t say that you couldn’t do it. I think you smartly chose to pick your battles. This is something that I have trouble with, is not a strength. I can get help with it. So why don’t I do that? Because there’s no need for me to struggle with it when help is available. And that’s the important thing. You don’t have to throw your hands up in the air, say, oh, I can’t do this in order to get help. You just have to understand that. Is this the most efficient use of your time and your resources to struggle with certain things?

Previous 1 2 3 Next

If you need extra support and guidance to make it to graduation, I may be able to help. If you'd like to find out whether you qualify for the support we offer throughout the dissertation process, then...

Let's Talk About Your Dissertation
Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.