I have my PhD. I have my PhD. I have my PhD.
When you read that, do you roll your eyes and think I’m bragging? Do you think I’m a know-it-all? Or, do you think it’s amazing? Are you proud? Are you impressed? That, my dear Mamas, is my daily struggle. Ridiculous, isn’t it?
Writing “I have my PhD” literally gives me heart palpitations. And, if you think writing that out is hard, check out this graphic I forced myself to create…
Now that was a weird, uncomfortable moment in my life.
I don’t ever want people to think that I think that I’m better than them. I don’t want people to learn about my education and think that I’m bragging or think that because of it that they can’t ask me questions or have a conversation. It’s happened before and it’s a more normal reaction than you’d think. So, I don’t talk about it often. Or, I joke about it which it actually, maybe…worse?
A bit of background here. I have my PhD in Exercise and Occupational Physiology. I am ridiculously proud of it. Though, I’m not certain I’ve ever celebrated that success (that’s a whole other post). I rarely, rarely ever tell anyone about it. In fact, a lot of you reading this will have had no idea. I worked extremely hard for that degree. There were a lot of blood, sweat and so many, many tears. You’d think one would be shouting it from the rooftop. But I don’t. In fact, if someone around me mentions it I shrug or laugh it off and say “it’s not big deal”, or “yup, I have a PhD in gym” then quickly change the subject.
It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.
Recently, I’ve been asked to be more open about my PhD, tell more people, stand tall and be proud of it. Hot Mama is growing like crazy and within the next year we will be an international company (more on that later), and my PhD has some clout. It makes us different from other companies because the programs I develop are based on research, experience and well…education.
I went to school for YEARS to learn how the body adapts to exercise. I went to school for years to learn and educate myself on how to observe and measure the physiological requirements of physically demanding occupations. I then learned how to create physical assessments to ensure people in that occupation were “fit for duty”. Years. And years.
Recently, it has become more and more apparent that my education is an important factor to the growth of my company. It is something I should be yelling from the rooftop and I’m getting to the point where I may, I just may be able to squeak it out from a tiny ant hill. It gives me a bit of authority in the area I work. I get that. But, I don’t want people to look at me differently.
The big question, really, is why the heck do I get so stuck on that label? If anyone told me they had a PhD I would high five them, give ‘em a smack on the butt and say “Good job! That’s amazing! Congrats”.
So, my challenge to myself and to you Mamas is to find that one thing in your life that makes you uncomfortable about yourself and shout it out loud. Find that one thing that you’re ridiculously good at or super proud of but rarely tell ANYONE and start yelling it from the rooftop with me. I figure if we all do it together, we’ll create this big flood of awesome energy and joy and pride. I think it may just be time to swallow whatever anxieties we have about telling people how amazing we are and start shouting about it. Don’t flaunt it. Don’t think you’re better than others. Just be proud. Let them know because I hope they’ll be proud too.
It’s a big step. And hey…some of you won’t understand this post. In fact, this post may infuriate some of you. I simply can’t please everyone.
So Mamas…what’s the one thing you’re going to start telling people? What’s the thing that makes you uncomfortable because you’re proud of it. It doesn’t have to be education-based. It can be something that you achieved when you were younger. It could be something that you’re good at now. It could be the smallest thing…but it’s time to stand up and tell people about it.
It matters. What you’re proud of matters. So, let’s start talking about it. Start shouting about it. I’m certainly going to try.
Stand and shout with me. Then, we’ll drink wine. Maybe lots of wine…because this is going to be hard.
Good luck, Mamas. I’m here with you. Quaking in my boots.