Lessons Learned

I spent the weekend at the University of  Phoenix celebrating the culmination of a five-year doctoral degree journey.   I am happy to say I am now officially, Dr. Mary Ann O’Neil!

I have come to realize that  achieving this goal offers many lessons learned to those around me.  One obvious learning is that it is important to write down our goals.  I had written “Earn your PhD” on a Goal Planning Worksheet  in 1983.  When goals are written and accompanied by a specific plan on how to achieve them, we are best positioned to complete them.  I have accomplished all my life goals now except one which I shall begin working on this week.

I will admit, my plan was to achieve my PhD many years prior yet there were so many more important things that put my academic dream on hold temporarily .  This leads me to a second learning:  Sometimes things get in the way of our dream and temporarily delay the accomplishment of our goal.  I experienced many things that took priority over my academic dream. There were five children born within seven years  who needed my attention, a career that needed branding, and clients who needed my time.  There were weddings that needed planning,  relationships with grandchildren that needed to be created and solidified,  several geographic moves, and unfortunately a few kidney stone surgeries  along the way.

It was actually the recession and the consequent lack of work, that afforded me the time to put all my efforts into the writing of my dissertation which brings me to a third learning:  Sometimes when there isn’t much to do, we can do great things!  I was no longer designing or delivering workshops and traveling all over the country, and found myself with a lot of time on my hands.  I quickly realized there were just so many tennis balls I could hit in a week!  I decided to focus on my dissertation as though it were my job and that enabled me to complete the 285 page document —a  very good use of my time.

A fourth learning I hope my degree sends to my grandchildren is we are never too old to learn.  The daily opportunities to learn are endless if we are open to learning.  We learn in the classroom and in the kitchen, on the lacrosse field and in  yoga class, while being with others and being alone. We learn from people who are older and those who are younger, those who speak loudly, softly or not at all.  We learn from plants and animals and our environment.  The teachings are there, we just need to want to learn.

And a fifth and final learning is that when we accomplish a goal, especially one that requires that we work hard, we feel good about ourselves.  And I do, today I really do.

I think as women with high SUCCESSTROGEN levels, we  set goals and write them down and often put them on temporary delay as other things in our lives take a higher priority.  We are aware we are learning all the time and enjoy the process. I think as women, we also manage our moments well and so when there is  a cancelled meeting or a “snow day”,  instead of wasting time, we take care of the extra moments. And we know that” feel good feeling” when we have accomplished a goal.

What about you?  Have you defined some goals for yourself? Are you working on them, or are they on delay? Are they written? Will you accomplish them?


10 responses to “Lessons Learned

  1. Congrats! What field is your PhD in?

  2. Hello Joan! My doctorate is in leadership and organization development.

  3. Congratulations MaryAnn! I know you’ve wanted this for such a long time!! I’m so happy for you!

    • Oh my goodnbess!!! I am just realizing it is you!!! How are you?????? I would love to catch up one of these days on the phone and hear all about the kids..Julie Doug and Craig. So many years have passed….I am delighted that you read SUCCESSTROGEN, thank you! I trust all is well with you and you are a reknown speach therapist. Please give my love to the kids whom I am sure how know idea from whom the love is coming..and to mom and dad as well..and of course, Pete!

  4. Thank you! Yes, good things sometimes take longer than we had hoped and they are sometimes more difficult to achieve than we ever realized….but when we do accomplish them, there is nothing quite like it. So I thank you!


  5. Pam Gillette Frye

    As a bystander who was part of the process, I am feeling quite accomplished myself. Thank you Mary Ann for giving me the opportunity to assist in the process. I am SO PROUD of you and even more proud to call you a friend. Your blogs contain the “meat of the person”, which many genealogists strive to capitalize on to know of those who have gone before us. Your grandchildren will remember through your words. Congratulation Dr. Mary Ann O’Neil,

  6. CONGRATULATIONS…seems like a blink of the eye and here you are Dr. O’Neal 🙂 I’m so very proud of and for you. You ROCK!!!

  7. Thank you Doris!!!! I seem to really be “milking this degree” as the congrats keep coming…and I am happoy that all my friends and readers know how important it was to ome. Be well! ma

  8. Congratulations on accomplishing another big milestone in your life! On to new and even greater things! I like your lessons learned, especially “Sometimes when there isn’t much to do, we can do great things!” A very positive way of looking at personal experiences or conditions that we might not have wished upon ourselves or predicted accurately. I will use this for my own daily journal reflection. Hugs, Jane

    • Time for you and me to link up…any free time in August..I can get to where ever you are ..I think we need to help one another think thru our next steps…I cannot think of anyone more suited to do this with than YOU!!!????

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