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I’m a big fan of the show Friday Night Lights so I was thrilled when my friend sent me to theĀ Academic Coach Taylor Tumblr site. The project, run by a PhD student, is full of motivational pictures of charming Coach Taylor and his lovely wife, Tami, specifically geared to struggling academics.

This one (there on the right) is my favorite. If you click it, it’ll get much bigger.

The reason it’s my favorite is that sometimes when the going gets tough, we think it’s because we’re doing it wrong. But usually the going gets tough because it is tough. It’s supposed — excuse me, suppose — to be hard.

Sometimes clients come to me very, very sad because something sad happened and they are carrying some shame about that sadness because they think they ought to be able to buck up and get on with it. But sad things are supposed to be sad. It would be strange to live through a sad thing and to not have sad feelings.

It is not a sign of weakness to be sad.

Sadness is isolating (sadness can be scary to other people) and when we look out at the rest of the seemingly happy world we might think that we’re stupid to be stuck in such rotten stuckness.

We’re not stupid. It’s just supposed to be hard.

I’ll tell you one thing, when my very, very sad clients come to me and are carrying shame about the sadness, I remind them that they showed up. They’re sitting across from me in the chair and that’s a big, huge step. That’s a step that takes great strength and courage.

Academic Coach Taylor is rooting for you. I am, too.


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