No one likes to be told they can't do a thing. In this case, I had just said "I'm going to distill [this major research project] into [one] summary article." My colleague looked at me and, knowing full well what I was thinking, said: "you can't really do that."
The most intriguing thing about the exchange for me was that I knew she was right. I just couldn't act on her "rightness." In fact, despite knowing this, I also knew I still had to try and fail before I could figure out what I had to do.
This is an old lesson, one students may never really recognize as an explicit part of their learning process but teachers know it must be true for their students and struggle with it (trying to prevent the failure or prepare a sufficiently clear "I told you so" when the student realizes they haven't "done it right." As a teacher, I have to let a person try a thing and fail in order to learn.
It's weirder when you're a teacher who is also a student. You begin to see yourself as "another" person. As a full time university lecturer and a PhD student I began to have moments where Teacher Beau would turn and say to Student Beau, "You need to do the thing you tell your students to do and [fill in the blank]" Student Beau would usually respond, with an "aha, of course I'll do that." (Though, of course he often would respond with some frustration, "I thought I WAS doing that!" A tense silence would then ensue in this case because every Teacher knows you can't make Students learn anything.)
As an early career researcher and scholar, this same dynamic persists. I can feel Teacher Beau pushing me to draft and send out articles I know that will either be rejected or will require substantial revision to be published. Because precisely in the trying and failing--or, perhaps better, not succeeding fully--and getting productive feedback will you improve/learn/impact. Teacher Beau knew my colleague was right. But Student Beau didn't have another course of action in the moment.
The amount of courage and/or chutzpah needed to persist in such a system is only beginning to occur to me.
And that said, seeing one's self as another is helpful but not inevitably so. I'm realizing how crucial the outside voice is in those moments. I'm grateful for my colleagues' willingness to serve as the outside other so patiently and creatively.