You Have to Get Uncomfortable to Get Comfortable with Dr. Jocelyn McDonald

Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:40:07] You’re going to advance eating breakfast, getting like the complete normalcy has changed. And that’s one of the things that we talk about in the podcast. So those are definitely the challenges educators are facing right now and having to still make an impact to still deal with the situation, the environmental and not having the control the other side of the camera.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:40:31] Yeah, that’s true. I mean, it’s really the name of the game has certainly changed. That’s absolutely true of. So you mentioned the the the podcast is the blog pretty much the same as the podcast is going to format or is it a very different thing?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:40:49] Well, no, it’s they’re they’re aligned and so we’re still supporting it. So I’m putting out tips, best practices, and sometimes I’ll go on it to the podcast itself. Others will just be just blogging best practices and education and tips and services to support having a 21st century classroom that’s engaging for students. So, yeah, so they’re they’re aligned to each other. And sometimes I will use the same topics, but other than I still support the same audience.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:41:21] Very good. Then you mentioned some some services working with the educators or working with the kids.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:41:27] What was that, that you were doing it so well? I support educators, so I do consulting work and I do professional development. However, I also hosted where I organized a free camp for students to be able to come and learn and develop digital skills. And that, especially like I was saying, that target the lower income schools. Students were at those schools who may not have parents who may be adverse in technology or these are the norms that they have every day in our society right now, especially more so now. It’s important to have these skills to kind of move and progress forward. And so we worked on like digital portfolios and getting comfortable with the Google platform in so many different things that can really help them beyond school. And so I do. I can’t have them. Coming up in March, the spring break down, where is a virtual camp that they can come into play? And so I gather I get sponsors to help support the advance so that they can have like some trinkets to go go away with and have different educators from different realms that will come help support. And we do a camp to really put that knowledge out there. And so that’s one of the things I do use a digital skills camp.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:42:47] Yeah, I have found that I’ve done a few kind of virtual meetings this past year where normally they would be in person, but. We’re doing the virtually and always we have icebreakers and fun events in the evenings and things like that, I’m surprised at how people have been able to make some of those things happen. I was at a virtual event where we did a murder mystery, which was it was a kind of a kind of a cool thing, another one, a scavenger hunt stuff. The first person back on camera with a whatever, a lots of different little things that people do to make these virtual events kind of feel a little bit more personal, you know, because when people go to these events, again, we were talking about the school kids not getting to socialize. I am an entrepreneur that works for my home, my principal interaction, unless I’m going to meetings and conferences and things like this is either over the phone or with my kids and my wife. And, you know, we don’t even have conversations with the neighbors hardly anymore because of the situation we’re in right now. So to be able to go to these meetings virtually and have it still feel like, you know, that you’re getting some adult time, you get to meet with other people and talk with them is really, really cool. So it’s just amazing how people change and adapt as as the situation needs. So. So what else is going on? I know we’ve hit a long list of things, but I want people to understand that the opportunities are there once you once you graduate. So what else is going on?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:44:26] I want a little additional skills can open up another opportunity because one of the parents that had their child at the camp was a part of another organization. And after the camp, she was very impressed with the camp. They invited me to come do another series of tech series for parents in within the same type of community that I’m looking to to help support. And so that turned into an opportunity. So now we’re doing the tech areas to help develop parents.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:44:55] And yes, that’s important. One of one of the ladies in my mastermind group that I get coaching on a regular basis and she actually does this kind of work, works with parents to make sure their kids aren’t getting into trouble or just making a damn fool of themselves because, you know, colleges and employers and things like that are going to be looking back and seeing what’s been going on on social media. And and it’s important for for kids to recognize that their digital footprints don’t don’t go away any time soon, at least. And so that was something that was that I found very interesting, the work that she was doing with helping parents figure out how to make their kids phones safe.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:45:43] Yes, yes, yes, I mean, it’s definitely a rewarding experience to be able to do in and out in the last how much was going to come out of it. And so, in addition to the camp, also hosts professional development for educators and leaders. We have some fun events coming up next month and the month after. And so I’m really looking forward to partnering with some other local businesses to spread the wealth and help give students more opportunities out there to be able to see themselves become a doctor or outside of their. No, this is new for a lot of people, like you’re a doctor. Some kids are like they think that you’re a medical doctor. Right. Like your practice is. They’re like the kind of doctors, but it’s still rewarding. They still feel excited and they don’t know any other doctors.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:46:39] So just to see, I’d like to say that those guys are physicians. I’m a real doctor because they. Right. But I remember I don’t know if you remember growing up the far side cartoons that Gary Larson did. It was like it was usually like one little little strip, whether or not a strip of one little little frame where they have a picture. And I remember one of them, you could see like the words faculty club on the window written backwards. So they were inside the faculty club and there were a bunch of guys in tweed jackets kneeling over somebody on the ground. And the waiter is is is there saying, no, no, a real doctor. And and the idea was that, you know, this guy was joking. And he says, of course, what is waiter say? Is there a doctor in the house? And all those wondering, oh, no, no. I mean the real doctor.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:47:31] Right. Right. Yes. And so I get some of that, too. And, you know, but I think is a great experience to know there’s more types of doctors out there than just the medical doctor that they all all sorts of flavors, right?


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:47:45] Yes. Yes. And important to go out there and share your message and be in front of people, because as you said, in your case, your modeling that for other people who are now seeing a doctor like them, I can grow up to do that, too.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:48:00] And then you have people who want to start a doctoral program that are scared and they’ll ask me about it, those who are interested, and they’ll find ways to not do it. They’re scared that it’s going to be more than what they thought and kind of put it off to the side.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:48:15] And again, let’s reiterate, single mom, right. Raising kids got her doctoral degree.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:48:23] Yes. Yes. And when I started that to our program, I left this part of the story out that when I I got my master’s first, I was just my my first thought. That’s a program. That’s when I had my daughters that I have a 12 year gap between my son and my daughter.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:48:38] We have a four year gap between our second and our third child. And I’m I’m like or at the time now it’s easy. But at the time I was like diapers again. I know someone in my family had he he was married twice and he had like a 16, 17 year old when he had his his child with his second wife, like. Dude, like he was grown. How do you do that again, right?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:49:09] So it’s been it’s been amazing, it’s been an amazing experience has also been it was challenging myself. But, you know, my case is also a motivation to me. I have to definitely give a shout to my son for being so patient with me because I’m sacrificing there with family time. And happiness, of course, is doing a virtual it helps. That was still with them was just my focus on working on getting through it.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:49:37] And I bet you he learned a whole lot more than you necessarily intended to teach him, more than you were intentionally teaching him about modeling your behavior.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:49:47] Well, I think that that is one of the positive sides that came out of seeing your parents work hard, kind of helps give you the drive that you can do it. So when you have a goal in mind or vision, you’re actually putting the action toward your goals is a great way to model for your your kids that they can also attain their goals, something they’re wanting to do or something to aspire to that they can do with you.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:50:11] Yeah, that’s right. It’s it’s it’s all about process. It’s about doing the right things. It’s about sticking to it. And so many people these days think that they they get lucky to get rich. It’s not that you get lucky. It happens suddenly, usually, but it happens because of all the things that you were doing for all the time to put you in that position so that you get all these opportunities coming the door, knock at the door and stuff like it does for your back.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:50:40] Yes. I mean, I am enjoying it. You know, I didn’t think I didn’t think I’d see the end point. Some days I will ask them. I’m going to have to finish this. Well, actually.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:50:52] And it brings up a good point. Good question I have for you. I asked a lot of my students, I’ll ask this when they graduate, what was the best part of graduating for you when they finished that defense? They tell you, congratulations, Dr. McDonald. Right after that, a few days after that, a few weeks after that, whenever it was, what was the best part of graduating for you?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:51:16] Well, I think it went back to where I started, you know, back to my grandmother. I felt like I was able to accomplish things in my family that. It may seem that they can’t accomplish and that you can just work toward it in the light you’re you’re in a situation that’s in the way of you attaining your goals and so much has happened. I started my degree. I had a house fire, you know, and that set you back.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:51:43] You know, we understand life doesn’t stop when you’re getting your daughter. Just because you’re writing your dissertation doesn’t mean everything else stops. So, yeah, we’ve had students to overcome so many, quote unquote, little things. They were they were big things at the time. But as you look back on them, you’re like, well, that was just a bump in the road because I knew what I wanted to do and why I do it.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:52:03] And there’ll be bumps in the road. And they were playing for me like I have a cloud over my head some days. But I mean, it was different rewarding when I finished to know that I was able to set a goal and attain it and then also be an example for others and remind me that others can do the same and be successful and put their work towards something good. And, you know, especially for young girls, just knowing you can go out there and do what you want to do and take charge and make a difference and make a really a positive impact in our society and leave a great footprint, which is what I’m looking to do with my work.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:52:39] And that notion that you said just a minute ago, I think it’s really important being able to set a goal and achieve it. That’s that develops what we call confidence. A lot of kids these days talk about self-esteem and we don’t talk as much about self-confidence. I think that we need to self-esteem is not based in reality. That’s just you saying you’re good enough and all this. And to think self-confidence is, you know what? I’ve done this. I got hit in the mouth and I got back up. I got knocked down. I got back up. I did all of these things. I made this stuff happen so that the next time you have to face something, you know that you can face it. Right. You know that you can can make this this happen. And that’s what’s so critical and so important is this notion of having done things. Because I think you mentioned earlier that the idea of finishing your doctoral degree is what helped give you the confidence to start your podcasts. Yes, blog. So people need to understand that the benefits that this program or this process creates for you are sometimes the internal the changes in you are sometimes the most important thing. And that’s something we overlook sometimes, is that this thing, this process isn’t just something you go through, but it’s something that goes through you to it.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:53:59] Did I have to give myself permission to be great and be OK with it? And sometimes you’re always worried about what others are thinking. Have you been giving yourself the credit that you deserve and you’re going to have people work and tell you to different things because they don’t understand what you’re going through of the process and the sacrifices you’re making. And they give you advice because they have and have to go through such a thing. And so they don’t always understand. But getting around positive energy and positive people into your circle, that’s workers that understands and is working toward the same goal or either has done what you’re trying to do or attain and know who you are. You hang around so you are looking to be and so make the right people in your circle. Definitely. And support that process.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:54:45] Yep. And it can be difficult sometimes when we’re talking about things like a doctoral degree, there are that many people. So figure out a way to connect because, yeah, the the the actual sort of research was that you tend to be your income tends to be approximately the average of the incomes of the five people that you spend the much time with. So that’s that’s what the research says. What people have extrapolated that to all sorts of things, because when you are around people that behave a certain way, it’s not just your income that’s affected, but it’s your outlook at your politics. It’s your everything. So be intentional about who you’re choosing to spend time with. And if people that you want to model and people you like to be like aren’t close to you in this day and age, you don’t have to move to go find them. There are all sorts of ways that you can connect, so.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:55:34] Yeah, you can connect them to be afraid to ask questions or don’t be afraid. I think I was more reserved when I first started the process in trying. No, I’m used to being independent, trying to figure out on my own and that I was scared to ask for help. And I think being open to just connecting with other people is about as normal, like especially with social media networks. And when you’re going through your dissertation courses or even school like especially, you’re doing virtually OK. But connecting to people, they’re going to the same thing you’re going through. And they’re probably the ones have someone talk to them when they talk to you and connect because they’re in the same boat of having people who are around and they may not understand.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:56:15] And you mentioned three things that I think are really important when it comes to confidence. Again, don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know everything. That’s a source of strength to be smart enough and strong enough to say, I don’t know, that thing is fine. When I was in graduate school, they told us it’s not OK to know nothing because you’re supposed to be an expert, but it’s perfectly OK not to know everything and that you never will know everything. Don’t even bother trying. So that’s number one. And that’s a confidence issue number two kind of tied to that. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Again, that’s a confidence issue. But when when you as you get more and more successful, the more and more confident you’ll ask more questions and better questions. And number three, don’t be afraid to go out and get help. That’s that’s a source of strength, knowing that, you know, now I’m getting to the point where I guess some of the kids would say it’s somebody else I should be quoting here. But Michael Jordan is the basketball player that I kind of grew up with and I still think is the best basketball player ever. He hired his own coaches, not his coaches that the team had, but his own coaches to help with his strength and conditioning and help with all sorts of different things. He had multiple people that were helping him with different things because that made him stronger. Don’t think that getting help and getting support makes you weaker. It makes you stronger. And those things are all tied up in confidence. If you could just be more confident with yourself and who you are, be honest and authentic about that. Then you the sky’s the limit with what?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:57:42] I absolutely agree.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:57:44] If so, if people would like to to reach out to you, to get involved in one of your camps or to hear your blog or read your blog or hear your podcast, what’s the best way for folks to to reach you?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:57:57] Well, they can always follow and connect with me. I would love to have you all part of my network in our program. Each other are on Twitter and Instagram @DrJEMcDonald. However, you can also visit my website, and a lot of our links on there. I’m on my podcast, one anchor. It’s also a link on my website. If you go to, you have access to my blog, my writings, my upcoming events, if you want to schedule with me or whatever the case may be on my own information on that website.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:58:29] So I’ve had a great time talking with you today, Dr. Mac, and I’m sure that they’re going to be folks that do want to reach out to you. So it’s or @DrJEMcDonald on Twitter and Instagram. We get it.


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:58:43] J. E. McDonald.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:58:44] J. E. I may have said it wrong. DrJEMcDonald on Twitter and Instagram, correct?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:58:49] Yes.


Dr. Russell Strickland [00:58:50] Awesome. Now we have our our podcast episodes we put on our blog at So if you would like to be able look over the show notes, we will definitely have links to all of Dr. McDonald’s contacts in there. And you can you can grab that way quick and easy. So thank you so much, Dr. McDonald. Just as good as a parting word, what would you what would you say to to folks that are in this dissertation process right now who are struggling through it? What what would you tell them as a source of inspiration or whatever it might be? What little parting words would you have for them?


Dr. Jocelyn McDonald [00:59:33] Well, my first one is deaf and taking one step at a time. And you don’t have to get to the end goal. Take those. You can take short incremental goals, get there, get support if you need support and reach in partner with someone to help you do the process that you can talk to that can help support you through that process. And don’t try to have to go it alone. And I think some of the things that I wish I would have done differently was to reach out more and network a little bit more in the beginning phases of my program. And I think that would have made me feel more confident in the process. But, you know, I thought I didn’t think that I could I was never finished and just know that you can and just do it in small steps and do take your time. You don’t have to do it. You know, one particular way, as long as you put forth an effort and get the support you need.

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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.