May 24, 2005

Reasons to Share Your Work

I had six appointments today with six coaching clients, including ABD graduate students, postdocs, and professors. What I found remarkable was that in five out of the six sessions, the person had had a conversation with a colleague or advisor, and then felt immensely better afterwards.

The irony is that many people avoid just such interactions. They dread showing their colleague what they have written as a contribution to a jointly-written chapter or paper. They are sure that their dissertation advisor will hate their latest draft. This causes them to procrastinate during the writing process, and avoid setting up the much-needed meeting.

Yet nine times out of ten, the imagined criticism either doesn't come or is just not that painful. I think that such people die a thousand deaths, yet actually they are strong enough to endure should they get negative feedback.

The moral of the story? Bite the bullet and schedule that meeting. You will feel more energized and eager to work afterwards.

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