Category: Books

Book Review, and yes I think I need to reboot my life

So one of the books that I’ve finished reading this month is “Reboot your life: Energize your career and life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, & Jaye Smith. I actually bought this book sometime last year (I think because the title of the book grabbed my attention), but I actually sat down and read it over the past few weeks.

I’m starting to think that once we start listening and trying to tune into the flow of the universe, little things start to happen for a reason (picking up the book last year, but actually sitting down to read it this year). This is one book that I will be going back to over the years, as I take reboot breaks as needed.

The authors call these breaks, reboot breaks but they can also be referred to as gap months (or gap year) or a sabbatical. During the time I read the book, I’ve realized that since earning my PhD back in 2010 there have only been about eight and a half months (in total) that I wasn’t working. But I also realized that I never really spent a large amount of time during those times to try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I’d started to do that a little with the last “break”, but was also still caught up in the “need a job/need to earn money/need to get off unemployment” mindset.

The authors walk you through the steps that are necessary for planning and taking a reboot break in one’s life—and with the way society is going, we all need to unplug and reboot to make sure that we are actually doing what makes us happy and not just what is earning us a paycheck.

The book talks about everything from planning your reboot break, to how to fund it, talking with others about your break (current employer, family, friends, and others), and what they consider the different stages of the reboot break; as well as a few other things. I also didn’t realize how many different companies were actually on board with their employees doing a reboot break (and some of them might even still pay you while you’re “rebooting” your life).

I’ve realized over the past few weeks that I probably really need to do a reboot break—I’m not happy in my current position (it’s a dead end position, limited pay raises, and slightly limited opportunities for personal/professional development. Noticed I said limited—there are opportunities, but one has to make sure that they don’t take away from the main job—which may mean having to do “overtime” but without the benefit of earning the overtime pay).

Job searching is difficult right now, when I’m still undecided on the path(s) I should be investigating. Also I’ve realized it’s hard to search, when I feel like I’m living in a fog—therefore I also need to be focusing on my physical and mental health as well.

One thing the book does try to stress is that one should try to plan out their reboot break about a year in advance (though they claim that you can condense the timescale if you need to). If I decide to do a reboot break, I’d be doing it in roughly seven to eight months (more or less when my current contract is up), though I’ve also thought of possibly trying to find a part-time job during the holidays for money and then starting my reboot break at the start of the new year.  So far I’ve only gotten as far as acknowledging the fact that I need to take a reboot break—how long it will be, or when I still haven’t decided—but the break will happen within the next eighteen months.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is burnt out, beginning to burnout, or ones who have no idea of what they actually want to do in life. I wish I’d found this book sooner (or actually read it when I originally bought it), that way I possibly could have already done a reboot break and have figured out part of my life.

I will keep you posted on how my reboot journey goes (from the planning, to execution of the break, to then finding the type of industry position that I really want) over the next (let’s say) eighteen to twenty-four months.

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Job Transition plan–part 1a: looking at different assessment tools.

One of the things that I obviously needed reminding of doing is going back over my Clifton Strength Assessment scores. Last fall (after basically being laid off due to budget cuts) I was in a personal/professional development/assessment kick and took the Clifton Strength Assessment quiz to try to figure out what some of my strengths and weaknesses were. After taking the quiz and looking at the results—I basically filed it all under “okay, done, check, and move on”. I’d basically forgotten about these results until I started to read the book “YouMap: Find Yourself, Blaze Your Path, Show the World!” by Kristin Sherry.

One of the things that she suggested in the book was either taking the Clifton Strength Assessment quiz, or reading through the thirty-four different strengths and trying to see which ones would be in our top five. I’d thought that I’d taken the quiz, searched my laptop and wouldn’t you know it—I saved the results. I had both the top five strengths, and the full assessment as well.

This quiz/assessment ranks you on thirty-four different traits—and as the author states even if something isn’t in your top area, doesn’t mean you incapable of that over-arching theme. This assessment is just one of the many windows we can look through in trying to determine what our strengths and weaknesses are—it will also can give us a clue on things we might want to try to improve on; though moving one strength up means that another has to move down.

I’ve always realized that I’m a unique individual and that one of my weaknesses is always trying to get along with other people and not make waves. Taking the strength assessment has allowed for me to see exactly how unique I am—as very few people have the same assessment profile.

My Clifton Strength Assessment Profile is as follows:

  1. Learner
  2. Intellection
  3. Input
  4. Achiever
  5. Deliberative
  6. Strategic
  7. Arranger
  8. Restorative
  9. Empathy
  10. Consistency
  11. Connectedness
  12. Positivity
  13. Analytical
  14. Context
  15. Futuristic
  16. Adaptability
  17. Self-Assurance
  18. Responsibility
  19. Ideation
  20. Focus
  21. Developer
  22. Relator
  23. Includer
  24. Belief
  25. Communication
  26. Discipline
  27. Harmony
  28. Significance
  29. Individualization
  30. Competition
  31. Activator
  32. Maximizer
  33. Command
  34. Woo

These traits are divided into four different categories: Relating and Influencing (People-facing traits), and then Thinking and Executing (Inward facing traits). My top five strengths are within the inward facing traits (3 are within the thinking category and the other two are within the executing category). Even if I look at just the top half (so the first seventeen), majority are still within the inward facing traits (there would only be four traits from the relating category, and one trait from the influencing category).

Basically this is telling me that I’m happier (or maybe more at ease) when I’m in a position to do more investigate work (or as I see it—being at the bench). While harmony was low on the list—I still feel like this is a higher trait at times, because I do try to get along with everyone and not really rock the boat (I don’t like confrontations) when at work. This also has me realizing that I really don’t like (or put much effort) into trying to sway people’s opinions (which could also explain why I haven’t really built up my Beachbody business), as the bottom five traits are all within the influencer category.

Basically I’m someone who is more than willing to think on a problem and come up with possible ideas/solutions for said problem. Seven of the eight “thinking” traits are in the top half of my list (ideation is towards the top of the bottom half at number 19). Five out of nine executing traits are also in my top half. I’m better at relating to people than I am at trying to influence them.

This also means that as I’m moving forward in job search/transition this coming year I need to make sure that I’m going with jobs that reflect my strengths (and still try to strengthen some of my “weaknesses”). This means that I also need to start pushing myself again in terms of becoming a lifelong learner again (something I’ve been slightly slacking on the past couple of years).

So what are my goals (based on this assessment)?

            Become a lifelong learner again.

            Job search strategically

            Network strategically

            Find unique ways of accountability

Basically the main goals for 2019—transition into an industry position, and find the joy in learning again. Also as I start looking at other personal and professional development assessment tools, I will find a way to blend them all together—this will allow for me to develop a transition plan that uniquely me and hopefully help me start my reinvention of myself.

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November in Review

Well we are now down to the last month of the year. I’ve realized that I’ve fallen behind on doing posts on the blog—I totally forgot about the full moon last week, and didn’t make my full moon (Gemini) resolutions for November. I’ve realized that I really do need to start making to-do lists in a journal again (and start journaling again as well)—if I have things to check off, while I might not get to everything—I can at least see what I tried to plan out for the day (or week) and have an idea of what the hell I need to be doing instead of flying by the seat of my pants.

 

So my goals for November included:

 

1) At least 420,000 steps (this breaks down to 14K/day—which will help me get above & beyond my yearly goal of 5 million steps—or have me close by the end of the month).

2) Shakeology daily—either breakfast or snack

3) Read (or finish) at least 3 non fiction books (write & post review)

4) Write reviews for the above books that I haven’t done yet

Science of Intelligent Achievement by Isaiah Hankel

Self Talk: How to train your brain to turn negative thinking into positive thinking & practice self love by Aston Sanderson

Minimalist Living: Declutter your home, schedule, and digital life for simple living (and discover why less is more) by Aston Sanderson

Rewire your Habits: Establish Goals, Evolve your habits, & improve your relationships, health, finances, and free time by Zoe McKey

Thinking in Bets: making smart decisions when you don’t have all the facts by Annie Duke.

            What your clutter is trying to tell you: Uncover the message in the mess and reclaim your life by Kerri L. Richardson

5) Limit my spending on campus (try to have consecutive no spend days)

6) Start another workout program (either another round of LIIFT4 or maybe Insanity Max30 or a mix of different programs)

7) Spend at least 45 minutes a day on personal/professional development (e-course related)

8) Networking & working on transition plan

9) Restart the photography challenge

10) Work on drafting editorial calendar for the blog and trying to post at least twice a week.

 

So how did I do with each one?

At least 420,000 steps (this breaks down to 14K/day—which will help me get above & beyond my yearly goal of 5 million steps—or have me close by the end of the month).

            I managed to just get past my 420,000-step goal for the month. I managed 427,621 steps for the month—which has me at a yearly total of 4,886,625 steps. That means I can almost sit on my butt during the month of December and still hit the goal of 5 million steps. It will be nice to have achieved this goal this year (since I think I’ve set it as a goal for the past three years & this will be the first year I’ve done it).

 

Shakeology daily—either breakfast or snack

            I was good for basically the first three weeks of the month (more or less up to Thanksgiving). I think I only had a shake once this last week—mainly due to my allergies (I’m not really hungry in the morning and it takes me awhile to finish the shake & I don’t want to get up any earlier than what I’m already doing).

 

Read (or finish) at least 3 non fiction books (write & post review)

            I actually managed to finish reading four books this month (though I haven’t written or posted any reviews yet). The books that I’ve finished (and could be adding to the next list) are:

 

            Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream by James Altucher

            Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

            CareerCode: Know Your Code, Find Your Fit by Jan Lowe & Tracy Lungrin

            YouMap: Find Yourself, Blaze Your Path, Show the World! By Kristin Sherry

 

Write reviews for the books below that I haven’t done yet

            Nope, still need to write these:

Science of Intelligent Achievement by Isaiah Hankel

Self Talk: How to train your brain to turn negative thinking into positive thinking & practice self love by Aston Sanderson

Minimalist Living: Declutter your home, schedule, and digital life for simple living (and discover why less is more) by Aston Sanderson

Rewire your Habits: Establish Goals, Evolve your habits, & improve your relationships, health, finances, and free time by Zoe McKey

Thinking in Bets: making smart decisions when you don’t have all the facts by Annie Duke.

            What your clutter is trying to tell you: Uncover the message in the mess and reclaim your life by Kerri L. Richardson

And now there are four more books added to this list of book reviews needing to be done.

  Read More

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National Book Lovers Day

Well today is National Book Lovers Day and I wish I could have spent it reading—but I had to work. Though I’ve found time today to read (this is something I’m very good at making time for).

 

I love to read, and I love to buy books. Growing up I’d spend probably too much money on books, most of which made it to my to-be-read pile, which grew to several bookcases and shelves. Once the electronic book reader came out, my parents bought me one so that I could slowly start converting over to digital. The main reason was that I was going to be moving and book boxes are heavy.

 

There are still some books that I don’t have on kindle (and I gave away the paperbacks or hardbacks), but every so often depending on my mood I’ll get on amazon and buy a couple of books.

 

Some of the books that I’m currently reading (one thing I love about the kindle—you can be reading as many books as you want) include:

 

Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal

Rich Bitch: A simple 12-step plan for getting your financial life together finally by Nicole Lapin

What color is your parachute? 2018 Edition: A Practical Manual for Job-hunters and Career Changers by Richard Bolles

Plus there are numerous other books within my 101+goal list that I’m going to be getting through. This is also in addition to all of my fiction books that I read (and re-read, and re-read some more).

I’m going to work on getting other book reviews up on the site over the next couple of weeks (since I’ve read more books than what’s in the collage at the top). In addition I’m going to start writing reviews for several of the fiction books that I’ve also finished over the past couple of months as well.

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Update on my reading list for the 101+ Goal Challenge

So I thought that I’d give an updated reading list for my 101+ Goal challenge. These books include personal and professional development books, autobiographies, and then other books of interest (science or otherwise).  Some of the books are short reads, mainly because they revolve around answering a series of questions (see # 32 and #111), these could even become a series of blog posts on their own (depending on when I get finished answering the questions). While I’ve finished several of them so far (look for the bold lines), I haven’t finished writing all the book reviews to post on the blog yet. But the new goal is to now finish at least 112 books before September 28 2020.

1. Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel
2. Rewire Your Habits: Establish Goals, Evolve your habits, & improve your relationships, health and finances and free time by Zoe McKey
3. Minimalist Money Makeover by Michelle Moore
4. The No Spend Challenge Guide: How to stop spending money impulsively, pay off debt fast, and make your finances fit your dreams by Jen Smith
5. Minimalist Living: Declutter your home, schedule, and digital life for simple living (and discover why less is more) by Aston Sanderson
6. Self Talk: How to train your brain to turn negative thinking into positive thinking & practice self love by Aston Sanderson
7. Tame Your Emotions by Zoe McKey
8.The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
9. The happiness advantage by Shawn Achor
10. Am I making myself clear by Cornelia Dean
11. Escape the ivory tower by Nancy Baron
12. Kiss that Frog by Brian Tracy and Christina Tracy Stein
13. The Science of Intelligent Achievement by Isaiah Hankel
14.Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Berstein
15. Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Berstein
16. Science Blogging: The Essential Guide. Edited by Christie Wilcox, Bethany Brookshire & Jason G. Goldman
17. Hiding in the bathroom by Morra Aarons-Mele
18. The Little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
19. Introvert Survival Tactics by Patrick King
20. T is for Transformation by Shawn T
21. Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss
22. The Scientist’s Guide to Writing by Stephen Heard
23. Write Science in Plain English by Anne Green
24. The Science Writer’s Handbook edited by Thomas Hayden & Michelle Nijhuis
25. A Field Guide for Science Writers Edited by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson, and Robin Henig
26. 7 Habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey
27. The confidence code by Katty Kat & Claire Shipman
28. You 2.0 by Ayodeja Awosika
29. Thrive by Arianna Huffington
30. The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobensteine
31. Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher
32. Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself by Henri Junttila
33. I thought it was just me (but it wasn’t) by Brene Brown
34.What color is your parachute? 2018: A practical manual for job hunters & career changers by Richard N. Bolles
35. Manage your day to day: build your routine, find your focus, & Sharpen your creative mind. Edited by Jocelyn Glei
36. Raise your vibration by Kyle Gray
37. Sugar Free: 8 weeks to freedom from sugar and carb addiction by Karen Thomson Read More

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Personal and Professional Development Books that I plan to read from 2018 until either the end of the 101+ challenge or until I’ve read them all

So you might remember from my 101+ goal list I put that I was going to read at least fifty different personal and professional development books by September of 2020.

I decided that I would share the list of books that I have (Yes–I think I already have fifty books for this particular challenge, if not a few extra).

So with out further ado (and in no particular order), my list of personal and professional development books that I will read (or potentially re-read) are (I’ve included some autobiographies, and one or two non-fiction science books as well):

1. Black Hole Focus by Isaiah Hankel  Finished and reviewed
2. Rewire Your Habits: Establish Goals, Evolve your habits, & improve your relationships, health and finances and free time by Zoe McKey Finished, but I haven’t written the review yet
3. Minimalist Money Makeover by Michelle Moore Finished, and while a short review has been posted on amazon, I haven’t expanded it for the blog yet.
4. The No Spend Challenge Guide: How to stop spending money impulsively, pay off debt fast, and make your finances fit your dreams by Jen Smith Finished, and again while I posted a short review on amazon, I haven’t expanded it for the blog yet.
5. Minimalist Living: Declutter your home, schedule, and digital life for simple living (and discover why less is more) by Aston Sanderson Just finished this book tonight.
6. Self Talk: How to train your brain to turn negative thinking into positive thinking & practice self love by Aston Sanderson
7. Tame Your Emotions by Zoe McKey
8.The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
9. The happiness advantage by Shawn Achor
10. Am I making myself clear by Cornelia Dean
11. Escape the ivory tower by Nancy Baron
12. Kiss that Frog by Brian Tracy and Christina Tracy Stein
13. The Science of Intelligent Achievement by Isaiah Hankel
14.Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Berstein
15. Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Berstein
16. Science Blogging: The Essential Guide. Edited by Christie Wilcox, Bethany Brookshire & Jason G. Goldman
17. Hiding in the bathroom by Morra Aarons-Mele
18. The Little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking
19. Introvert Survival Tactics by Patrick King
20. T is for Transformation by Shawn T
21. Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss
22. The Scientist’s Guide to Writing by Stephen Heard
23. Write Science in Plain English by Anne Green
24. The Science Writer’s Handbook edited by Thomas Hayden & Michelle Nijhuis
25. A Field Guide for Science Writers Edited by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson, and Robin Henig
26. 7 Habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey
27. The confidence code by Katty Kat & Claire Shipman Read More

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