If you tell yourself you’re lucky, you might come to think that you don’t deserve to pass your viva.
If you tell yourself there were things you could have done better, you might come to believe that your research isn’t that great.
If you tell yourself to be worried about your examiners, then you’ll probably build up your anxiety for the viva.
If you tell yourself that the viva’s all a bit of a mystery, then you’ll likely be afraid of what might happen.
Stories steer our reality. Personal expectations for the viva are influenced by the experiences that graduates and academics share, but these take root in the tales that we tell about ourselves. The tales you tell yourself about your progress, talent and imagined futures can dominate how you feel and act now.
So if you tell yourself you’re fortunate, you’ll know that you’ve found success through hard work.
If you tell yourself what worked well in your research, you’ll find a way to share that with others.
If you tell yourself that your examiners want to have a good discussion, then you’ll smile and thank them for their questions. (hopefully!)
And if you tell yourself that you’re talented, that you’ve not got this far by mistake or blind luck, then whatever you’re asked in the viva you can be confident you’ll rise to the challenge.