When I landed my first tenured track position as an assistant professor I was overjoyed!
I was full of excitement and so proud of this accomplishment.
During my first year on the job I remember thinking that it was the best job I’d ever had – OMG, I was so lucky!
However, soon into my second year on the job that excitement began to fade away. I was in the full thrust of academia and boy did it get rough.
I stopped enjoying my job and began to think to myself “Is this it? Is this all that my life has to offer?”
I became disenchanted with academia because I noticed a common theme surrounding it.
It was the theme of constant competition, overly critical judgment and never being good enough.
In academia about 99% of your work is critiqued and judged based on someone else’s criteria.
Students critiqued my teaching. Reviewers critiqued my conference proposals. Editors critiqued my writing.
As a matter of fact, some academic journals pride themselves on rejecting up to 90% of articles submitted.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m definitely not opposed to receiving feedback on how I can become better.
However, this is quite different. Somehow in the world of academia it has become someone else’s job to tell you how great you are NOT.
I began to not feel very smart or accomplished.
I began to question everything I ever thought about and became very uninspired.
The last straw for me came when I was denied promotion to the associate level by one committee based on the judgment of others.
Not the criteria of the university, but solely on the judgment of those on that particular committee.
Although I persevered in that process and was awarded promotion to associate professor, it sent my thinking in a different direction.
While this may be different for everyone in academia, that was my experience.
It led me on a journey of self-discovery.
I began to ask the questions:
Is this my life’s journey?
Who has the right to give me permission to be who God created me to be?
Who has the right to tell me how much money I am worth getting paid every year?
Who has the right to dictate how happy and fulfilling my life is?
And the answers are simple.
No one outside of God and myself has that right. It is up to me access the gifts placed inside of me and allow them to manifest.
This is when I gave myself permission to live my life on my terms, with no apologies to whoever did not like it.
I started my business and did not ask anyone what anyone thought about it because frankly it did not matter.
I created multiple steams of income for myself even when others said no one would pay me to do what I do.
I stopped giving others power over my life and gave myself permission to step into my life’s assignment.
How to Stop Giving Your Power Away
• Ask yourself, what are you really great at? What it is that brings joy to you when you do it?
• Follow your path without asking someone else what they think. Who cares what someone else thinks of your life’s assignment? No one else needs to approve of something that has already been given to you.
• Be your own cheerleader. Following your own path may not be the most popular choice. That’s okay. Learn to cheer yourself on even when you are the only one on board.
No one will tell you how great you are when you don’t believe it yourself.
Believe in your greatness first and others will have no other choice than to follow suit.