One lesson that I’ve learned in my post as a postdoctoral fellow is to Believe In Your Own Work. A mentor of mine told me a story about how a senior scholar had submitted his master’s thesis to JRME. His submission was originally rejected. Upon receiving the reviews, he responded to the editor in disagreement with the reviewers, claiming they had mis-interpreted his findings. He later submitted a revised (new) manuscript back to JRME upon which it was accepted for publication. This story attests to the power of believing in your own work.
For me, writing about my work in the form a biography or “about me” section is a helpful step toward believing in my own work. Clarifying my goals, my intentions, the things I have accomplished and had experience doing, and the thing that I am actively working toward was a very helpful exercise.
This experience of crafting a bio is related to crafting other profession sites such as Linked In, or creating a Google Scholar page, or maintaining a Google Plus page in which posts about professional ideas and exchanges with colleagues are welcomed and expected. In some form, I suppose it also is related to having a facebook page.
Believing in my work today takes on the form of working on a manuscript that was originally rejected. My process is to go through the reviewers comments, if I agree with them, then comment on my paper as an area that needs to be elaborated or expanded. From these comments I will prioritize the ones that are “easy fixes,” leaving more complicated ones to “dwell on” for more extended periods of time (maybe a week). From this I can make the review into a more manageable task, instead of something that I dread or don’t believe I can accomplish.
It all starts and ends with a belief. Just like the cat poster in the Lego Movie— ~BELIEVE!~
In close, I should also note that the emphasis on Believing in your ~own~ work also implies a sense of ownership, which can be a healthy motivator for maintaining an active research program and development of scholarship.