Have you ever decided that you were going to work towards a goal and then all hell breaks loose? Before you decided to excel, life was simple. No adversity, no issues, no problems, your life was a well-oiled machine. This was the reason you decided to move forward. Here is another secret, when you are growing and working on becoming better, things will happen because you are moving forward. It is as if you are swimming upstream. When you are breaking away from your normal routine, obstacles will occur. You will need to remain focused, however, to ensure that you accomplish your goal.

Here is the sequence of events that transpired while working on my doctorate…

During those years there were many tumultuous setbacks and adversities. There was the divorce, my daughter had just turned one, about $60,000 in debt and my nearest family member 965 miles away. Loneliness ensued and the grief process began. There was a need for a positive distraction from all the agony, the experience from the divorce and becoming a single parent had brought. It was the perfect time to go back to school and work on my doctorate.

About 18-months into the program I had to move back home to sell my house to pay off the debt. The move from sunny Orlando, Florida back to Detroit, Michigan was not an easy decision to make having not lived in the north in 10 years. Moving back home significantly altered my life.

One of the changes was transitioning from working first shift in Orlando to working second shift in Detroit. Additionally, the rest of the program would need to be completed in Detroit, which consisted of 35 credits and finishing the Dissertation.

The move was devastating for me. It really was a setback and it felt like failure for me with the transition from living in my own home to living in a room in my parent’s home. It was a difficult time. The focus was on the end state, which was to finish school and eliminate the divorce debt.

About 18 months after moving home, we left my parents home and moved into an apartment. A couple months after moving into the apartment I had an outpatient surgery that almost killed me. As a result of the surgery, it was back to live with my parents during my recovery. The surgery halted everything, no walking, no working, and completing my dissertation was virtually impossible. Once again, my progress was stifled and thoughts of giving up entered my mind.

After four years the course work and the dissertation were completed even with multiple setbacks. Remaining focused throughout those years has provided more options for me, and my daughter. Also never wanting to sell another house, move back home or pay large debts were motivating factors as well. Although there were many moments during those four years that I could have quit, in the end my goals were accomplished.

My Final Thoughts…

In life there are going to be difficult moments. They are simply moments, and time is going to pass whether we do nothing or something. Set a goal, stay focused and accomplish it. You win when you persevere and it feels great when you succeed.

Focus on where you’re too, not on what you’re going through!

Dr. Donna

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