Wednesday 25 November 2015

To boldly go...

Just in case you're new to my blog, I recently completed an MSc in Organisational Psychology at City University in London. This blog describes the point of desperation I reached in writing my dissertation. The title was "The experience and management of organisational politics with reference to psychological flexibility" (snappy eh!). It was a piece of qualitative research where I interviewed 17 members of the Senior Civil Service across a variety of Government Departments.

There was a point I reached in my research where everything felt hopeless and I was becoming overwhelmed with my data. In this case, my data was the words from my participants and I was attempting to identify themes and derive meaning from them. Luckily, I had access to psychological science and techniques which allowed me to recognise I was fused, or stuck with my unhelpful thoughts. I was feeling stuck, stupid and scared.

Through these techniques I was also able to revisit and remind myself of the whole purpose of embarking on the MSc. This was based upon my firm belief that psychology has a lot to contribute to the workplace and I wanted to learn more. This was with the expectation that I could share my knowledge with others and enhance their experience in the workplace. Some self coaching helped me to reconnect with my values as did techniques that helped me de-fuse from my unhelpful thoughts. 

Some of my unhelpful thoughts may sound familiar. For example;

"You're not clever enough for this"
"You've taken on too much"
"You've not got enough time"
"This is never going to work - you've discovered nothing"
"You should give up now - thicko"
"You're going to look like a right idiot"

One sentence from my supervisor, Dr Ruth Sealy, brought it all together beautifully. In an email from Ruth, which was commenting on the draft findings of my dissertation, she could clearly appreciate that I was blocked and capable of far more. The email finished with Ruth asking me to reflect on this sentence:

"What is my contribution, if I had no fear what would I claim my study has shown?"

This allowed me to acknowledge and accept my fear of dissertation and boldly go with what I thought I may have found. 

It made me think how often in our careers, we pay so much attention to those unhelpful thoughts that they govern all our behaviours and we end up getting stuck in a repetitive cycle.

I am enormously grateful to Ruth for her knowledge, expertise and honesty throughout the process. 

The self coaching techniques I used are based on the the behavioural science we use at The Career Psychologist - get in touch to find out more.



PS I'll be presenting my dissertation at the British Psychological Society conference in January and I also was awarded a distinction for my research.


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