Tag: personaldevelopment

Evaluate Your Life Day–reflect & ensure that you’re headed in the right direction.

So today is evaluate your life day. This ‘holiday’ was created to help people sit back and reflect on their lives—are you going in the direction you want to be moving in? If not, what can be changed?

So questions that I found via the web included:

The BIG Question: Am I really headed in the direction I want to be going?

Other questions:

Am I using my time wisely?

Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day’s challenges?

Am I in the right mindset before I go to bed?

Am I letting things I can’t control stress me out too much?

What do I wish to be known for?

Am I spending enough time with loved ones?

Am I putting enough energy into my relationships?

Am I listening to others as I should?

Do I have an open & receptive mind?

Am I taking things for granted?

Have I been taking care of myself physically?

How is my appearance?

Do I trust myself?

Have I been being true to myself?

Have I been avoiding anything?

Have I gone outside my comfort zone?

Are things going well overall?

Am I achieving the goals I set for myself?

Is there something I need or want to change?

If I were to number the above questions 1-19, and then answer totally truthfully—here would be my answers:

In terms of the big question: I would like to think that I’m on the path to where I want to be. Listening to various courses, there was the one conversation between the Chestier Cat & Alice:

“Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” he responded.

“I don’t know,” Alice answers.

“Then, it doesn’t matter,” said the cat.

            I’m still in the process of trying to figure out the exact direction I want to be going in—the reason, I’m remembering/realizing that I enjoy numerous different topics, and I don’t want to go down the hole of ‘specialist’ and become bored.

            That being said, I am reading and doing quite a bit of self-reflection to help narrow down on the ideas/paths. It could very well become a single path to one destination—or it could be the melding of several areas into something that is uniquely me.

  1. So with being totally truthful—no I am not using my time wisely. The reason is that I’m still trying to figure out what part of the day do I have the most energy, and which part of the day does my energy dwindle. I know that it is usually somewhat in the morning and evening—but it varies depending on what I do day-to-day. So currently, I’m trying to track my energy levels to determine peak times for getting things done.
  2. Usually, I do wake ready for the day—though again, this varies. I’ve realized over the past few weeks/months of self-reflection that it is perfectly fine to slow down and not get everything checked off the to-do list (which is why, actually I just make a large weekly to-do list; that way I know that I have all week to get everything done, and I’m not over committing myself to things). I’m also in the process of trying to create my life handbook, to help me choose what things should go on the to-do lists, and what things are worthy of my time and energy.
  3. I try to be in the right mindset (somewhat calm and relaxed) before heading to bed. To get there—I do a oracle card reading; this helps me see if I’m staying on the right course or if something needs adjusting and then I usually try to mediate on the message from the cards. In addition, I’m trying to do quite a bit of journaling and getting my emotions and mindset down on paper as well.
  4. Yes—I am letting things that I can’t control stress me out too much. This is mainly in regards to the current political atmosphere in the US (I’m going to be voting on Nov 3rd, but I live in a red state, so who knows how much of an impact a blue vote will be), and the current pandemic situation (the US is leading in total cases & deaths, and I’m starting to go just g a little stir crazy; as I’ve been in isolation since mid-March, only going out every so often—with a mask and proper social distancing).
  5. This one is tricky and tied in with question one. On one hand—I should know where I’m going in order to know what I want to be known for; on the other hand—that path may change and what I want to be known for may no longer meld with that path or even with the second path. So—currently what I wish to be known for is someone who is compassionate, caring, able to convey complex science topics with ease to others, a good friend, colleague, and someone who also stands by her principals and values—even if it means having a smaller community around her.
  6. This is tricky and with the current situation (SARS-CoV2 pandemic) both a yes and no question. Yes, I am spending time with loved ones—I’m self-isolating at home with my parents, and my younger brother has managed to come in for one visit. It is also a no answer—because it isn’t possible right now to spend time with friends and family that are outside of our immediate ‘bubble’.
  7. Again—tricky question and one that has both a yes and now answer. Yes I feel like I’m putting enough energy into some relationships, and there are relationships that I know I’m not putting enough energy into. With the current situation (SARS-CoV2 pandemic), and still trying to find my footing, plus dealing with imposter syndrome, social anxiety, and not wanting to feel like I’m wasting people’s time—I know that I could be putting more energy into various relationships.
  8. Well—it depends on the topics, if it’s politics and someone is trying to defend the current resident of the White House or anyone in that particular party—no I’m probably not listening. While I have no problem trying to debate politics, I do have a problem when it comes to morals—there are certain things that aren’t up for debate (and a lot seem to be on the ballot this year). Otherwise, I hope I’m listening to other people well enough—but I know that this is something that I work on.
  9. Yes, I have an open and receptive mind. Again—I’m usually open to debating various things, unless they’re either blatantly false (such as those who believe that the earth is flat and the center of the solar system), or situations where we just won’t agree (such as pro-choice vs pro-life).
  10.  I don’t think I’ve really ever taken anything for granted—other than maybe believing that if something can go wrong it will go wrong.
  11. I’ve gotten back into a workout routine, and have even gotten to the point to where I can take the rest days and not fear that I’m not going to push play again come Monday. I know that it will take awhile to get into the best shape of my life—but life is a marathon and not a sprint. It is time to honor my body and work with it, instead of against it.
  12.  Well, currently this is a trick question. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic; I’m self-isolating so that means that my wardrobe currently consists of comfortable clothes. I’ve never been one for makeup and fixing my hair—as far as I’m concerned they both take way to much damn time. So I’m more of clean-faced, and pull my hair back into a pony-tail. While I’m sure that I may have to do a little more ‘dress-up’ for any potential interviews and so forth—right now I’m not going to be worrying about it.
  13. I think that I’ve spent quite a bit of time not trusting myself over the years and I’m slowly starting to slow down so that I can hear the internal voice and guidance of my intuition.
  14. I’m trying to be true to myself. I’ve made the decision that I probably won’t alter anything on any of my social media accounts. Why have I made this decision? Well, everyone is always told to make sure that you haven’t posted anything that can in theory ‘haunt’ your job applications or your career—I’m an introvert, so there isn’t any socially awkward pictures anywhere on the net—but I am a liberal, a pagan/wiccan, and I have a snarky/sarcastic sense of humor. Therefore I have memes on my personal facebook page that make fun of the current administration, I have links to petitions on my twitter feed, and I have numerous pictures of tarot/oracle card readings on my instagram account. I’m proud of all those things—my response to the ‘don’t post things so you don’t offended others’—if my posts ‘offended’ you, don’t send me a friend request and don’t follow me on social media; my feelings won’t be hurt.
  15. What have I been avoiding lately? I’ve been avoiding doing in-depth personal and professional development. The reason why: mainly imposter syndrome and social anxiety. Though I’ve decided that I’m going to acknowledge the feeling and try to find middle ground on moving forward towards my goals.
  16. I find this to be a trick question—because if you look up comfort zone to learning zone, you’ll find graphics that show that between those two zones is the fear zone. So, in a way I’ve been stepping outside my comfort zone—but I’ve realized also that I’ve become trapped in the ‘fear zone’. This zone is one that takes more work to get through, and at least for me a lot of that work is mental—I need to shift my mindset. While I have shifted my mindset, it takes longer to internalize those messages. So while I logically know that not everyone is going to approve of my choices—emotionally it is taking longer to internalize.
  17. I would like to say that things are going as well as can be for it being 2020. The pandemic has taken everyone’s plans and thrown them into the shredder. While I may not be able to do the traveling that I wanted, I have been making strides in self-reflection, personal and professional development. I’ve started to embrace the phrases “progress over perfection” and “slow and steady wins the race”.
  18. Yes, I am slowly achieving the goals that I’ve set for myself. I’ve realized that I can’t change every aspect of life overnight, and going after too many goals at once is a recipe for a nice heavy anxiety attack. Today is still going to be spent looking at various lists of goals, and asking myself the following question: “Am I pursuing this goal for myself or because someone else things I should be pursuing it?”
  19. Finally, yes there are things that I need to change—I need to change my mindset (getting over or through imposter syndrome; feeling like others are judging/mocking me; and so forth); I need to become better at time management (need to tune into my body and figure out what part(s) of the day I have the most energy—and then dedicate those times to pursuing my goals); I need to continue working through various personal and professional development courses—but mostly I need to find the path back to myself. I realize that my next career step may (or may not) be unconventional—but it will be what ever works best for me.

I’ve also realized that I need to go back and look at the results of my Clifton Strength Assessment Tests again (I took it the first time in 2017 and then again back in December of 2019), and see how I can both leverage my strengths and start working on improving some of my weaknesses. Though as one author put it—we all have a little of all the strengths, we just don’t use some as much as others. So while I will never be the outgoing extrovert—I can at least work on improving my people-facing skills.

The biggest takeaway for me this year is acknowledging that I’m still not absolutely certain of what I want to do with my career moving forward. While I know that I probably want to move away from the bench—towards what I’m still not certain on; though I have some ideas.

I have courses to work through, a large network of people I can ask questions to (as soon as I stop feeling like an imposter/idiot), and knowledge that I can adapt to any situation that I need to moving forward in life. My next step is going to be creating my ‘life handbook’ and that way I will have all goals in one central location and can sit and review them on a more consistent basis.

Have you either evaluated your life today, or created a life handbook? If you’ve created a life handbook—did you do it digital or in a notebook?

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Aries Full Moon Goals: Time to reflect/revise, & plan new goals.

So the moon will be entering its full moon stage either tonight or tomorrow night (depending on where you are in the world). This will mark the first of two full moons for the month of October (the second one will actually occur on Halloween this year). So in addition to being the first of two full moons for the month—it also marks the beginning of the last quarter of 2020 as well. Fingers crossed, that the last quarter goes more smoothly than the first three quarters have gone.

So the moon will be moving through the Aries constellation—which means that astrologically we’re ‘starting a new year’ since Aries is the start of the Zodiac calendar. It is the time to reassess, redesign, toss, and make new goals if one is inclined.

So what are some of the questions we can reflect on during this time?

            Have I been hotheaded, selfish, or argumentative this month?

            Have I been going too fast or been impulsive this month?

            Have I been brash, blunt, or too competitive?

            Have I ignored other people’s finer sensibilities?

            Have I had enough fun?

So before answering the questions, I do need to point out that it is the beginning of the month, so I actually going to answer these questions based on 1) how I want to behave during the coming month, but also 2) how I behaved during the past couple of weeks. So as usually I’m going to number the questions 1 to 5 as I answer them.

  1. While I haven’t been selfish (at least I don’t think I’ve been acting selfishly) over the past month, nor do I plan on acting selfishly during the coming weeks—unless you consider setting aside time for self-care (for me that is taking bubble baths, and having at least forty-five minutes of winding down at night before bed)—then I will selfishly guard those times. I’m trying to control my temper—I will admit to getting into an argument with people last month. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and people are getting tired of the fact that nothing is ‘normal’. They want their kids to be in school full time face-to-face. While I can agree that face-to-face teaching is the norm, and what in theory is ‘best’—if you can’t guarantee small class room sizes, social distancing desks, and that your kids are going to wear the masks all day—it isn’t worth the risk. This isn’t a novel flu or cold that is going around—it is something five (or more) times deadly, and even if it doesn’t kill you it will leave you with health problems for the rest of your life. So yes, this is the one thing that I will argue with people about.
  2. In terms of being impulsive—I’m an impulsive book buyer (and that is something that I’m trying to curb. I know that I have hundreds of books on my e-reader that I haven’t read and I should make a dent in that ‘pile’ before buying more). In terms of going too fast—nope, people will probably accuse me of going way too damn slow—but guess what the tortoise won that race. Everyone goes through life at his or her own pace, and I’m finally at peace that my pace isn’t everyone else’s pace.
  3. Well, this depends on the topic—yes, I’ve been blunt in terms of the novel coronavirus. There are things that everyone should be doing (but most people aren’t doing them), that I have kept harping on (wearing masks, social distancing, and staying home whenever possible). But I don’t think that I’ve been brash or too competitive—again I’m slowing down to my pace, I’ve decided that trying to keep pace with everyone else was too damn tiring and if I’m going to make changes it has to be at a pace I’m comfortable with—and not worry if others feel the same.
  4. I don’t think I’ve been ignoring people’s finer sensibilities—it would actually be nice to see if their finer sensibilities would come out during this time. I’m actually trying to ignore their more obnoxious sensibilities, so that I don’t have to downsize my friend list too much over the coming months.
  5. What is this fun, you speak of? We’re going into month seven of the pandemic; the US has over 7.4 million cases, over 200K deaths, and idiots currently in charge. I am trying to figure out ways to add ‘enjoyment’ to my day, but at the same time realize that the ‘old normal’ is gone, and a ‘new normal’ is still at least fourteen to sixteen months off.

I’ve realized that I’m still happy being a wallflower—someone who is happier observing than participating, but that doesn’t help with networking and job searching. True networking is more virtual these days (thanks pandemic), and so are most job interviews—but I still have to develop the enthusiasm for talking with people (and not worry constantly that they’re judging me)—so here is still a small goal to be working on.

Aries is also moving through my sixth house (or my daily work and health zone). This house is where we can sit and reflect on who we are (both in terms of professional/work and personal/health) and decide to work on those aspects that we don’t like.

I had decided a couple of months ago that I was going to push play daily (and I’ve only missed one day so far), and complete four Beachbody programs before the end of the year. I completed morning meltdown-100 mid-September, and am currently going through a combo calendar of yoga booty ballet and LIIFT4. This combo calendar will take me to mid-November, when I will then tackle a new program (which will take me to Christmas). Then I will finish out the year/start the New Year with a different short program.

I’m not really close to where I was hoping to be in terms of my reboot break and transitioning into industry—in part due to the pandemic, but also in part to still not being absolutely sure which direction to go (I do have several ideas that are swirling that I need to get down on paper over the next few days). I have also realized aspects of the past jobs that I’ve liked and that I’ve absolutely detested—those too are going to be written down. The plan is to have an idea of direction(s) that I can go in that play to my strengths, helps me work on some ‘weaknesses’, but avoids most (if not all) the things I learned to detest over the years.

So what are my goals for the Aries full moon?

            Review, edit, and reassemble my 150+ goals to accomplish in 2002 days. I know that there are some things that I can probably remove from the list—I won’t be changing the time period, I will just be changing out goals—seeing what has been accomplished, what needs to go, and possibly what can be added.

            Figure out what other ‘notes’ to post around the computer to help in time management. I’ve currently been telling myself when I can check my email and get on social media—it is slowly helping in managing my time.

            Continue with personal/professional development. This will include working through e-courses, reading, and journaling (especially taking prompts from different books and/or e-courses).

            Draft a ‘master plan’ that includes the blog, the transition (remote, freelance, contract), personal/professional development, hobbies, and life in general.

While sticking to the following reminders: Progress over Perfection; You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one; and not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make.

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessFull Moon Goalsno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Progress on personal & professional development goals: September in Review

So September is over, that means my birthday has come and gone—here is to starting the fourth decade of my life in self-isolation. There are only three months left in the year, and the coming month or so will be interesting—two full moons in October (last one on Halloween), then we ‘fall back’ time wise that night/early the next morning, and then the presidential election is just a few days later.

So I decided that I would try to ‘schedule’ the time that I’m either checking my email or on social media—that way I can hopefully get quite a few other things done as well—I think that the schedule will work (though some days will be better than others). Now I’m thinking that I may also need to ‘schedule’ my time outside—as I realize that once I sit down outside, I’m more likely to stay outdoors for the rest of the day (though like today I have brought my laptop outside to work on).

The US still hasn’t gotten the virus under control—when I published ‘August in Review’ I noted that the US had over 6.2 million cases and now the US is a little over 7.4 million cases (that is an increase in over 1.2 million cases in a month). With elections just a little over a month away, it will be interesting to see how it turns out—I’m hoping the way I want, that way the virus can be brought under control and then travel may be possible by sometime late 2021 or early 2022. I’m still planning on at least (hopefully) one mental health trip somewhere.

So as we head into the last quarter of 2020, I should look back on the goals that I set for September and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for September included:

At least 150,000 steps (This breaks down to 5K/day)

Finishing up Morning Meltdown 100 (I only have 15 days left), and then starting a duel calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python and start learning how to use it

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 150,000 steps—I managed to meet and surpass my step goal; I managed to get a total of 202,386 steps in for the month. Unfortunately, the number of viral cases kept going up for the month (we went from ~952 cases at the beginning of the month to over 1900 cases as of the 30th). Therefore when I do decide to walk at Boomer Lake, it will have to be during the week (when hopefully everyone is at work), and isn’t a full walk around the lake (depending on what time I leave in the morning).

Finishing Morning Meltdown 100 and starting a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4—So I finished up Morning Meltdown 100 mid-month, and then started on my combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4. This combo calendar will now take me through mid-November. I’m tracking change by how heavier I’m going in the weights, am I doing less modifications, and do I feel better/sleep better.

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books: I managed to finish the following:

“Careergasm: Find your way to feel good work; bullshit free advice to help you get after it” by Sara Vermunt

            One of the things that I really liked about this book was the reminder that at times we need to think back on the things we enjoyed as a child to help find a clue to what we may actually really enjoy doing as an adult. I actually have several different ideas now swimming around in my head on things I could try to do and/or directions I could possibly take the blog/site, or even just other pages I could add to the site.

No spend days/no spend weeks/leading to hopefully a no spend month—this is something that I’m still working on—large goal again for October.

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program, install python, and start learning how to use it—I finished the data science syndicate program on the 3rd of the month. While I have installed python on my computer, I haven’t yet started any course that will teach me how to use the program yet.

Finish at least 3 other e-courses

I re-watched one skillshare short course—“The writer’s toolkit: 6 steps to a successful writing habit”. This was an okay short course—basically talking about creating an area that is solely for writing, determining what you’re going to be writing on, having a routine in place, and also reminding us to read books that we enjoy—if you don’t enjoy reading a certain genera of literature it’s no fun.

I had also started watching the skillshare course—“Writing and Blogging with Passion: Create a Flexible Editorial Plan and Calendar”. In addition I’ve also been working through an affiliate blogging short course program as well. One thing I’ve realized with some of the courses—I will have to do a lot of brainstorming to fit the blog to their suggestions, since I’ve decided to stay somewhat multi-facet in topics that I’m covering.

So I’m slowly making more progress on various goals—the biggest thing that I need to get control over is my time management. There is enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want—it may mean though that I don’t spend forty minutes aimlessly scrolling through social media or checking my email every five minutes. Once I have that under control, and remember that I’m the only one that can walk my path I will be on my way to achieving my goals—though they may look different four months down the road compared to today. That is fine—that is evolution, learning, and realizing that in four months I may not be the same person that I am today.

Goals for October will include:

At least 155,000 steps (breakdown to 5K/day; daily step goal may go up, but again that depends on the daily number of virus cases in town)

Continuing with the combo calendar of Yoga Booty Ballet and LIIFT4

Read (or finish) at least 2 non-fiction books

No spend days/no spend weeks/no spend month

Finish the Medical Writers Organization

Complete at least one other e-course that deals with python

Then complete at least two other short e-courses

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments Bookscareercomputersfitnessmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Update on goals set during the Pisces Full Moon

So the moon will be entering its first of two full moon stage either Thursday (marking the full moon at the very beginning of the month) or Friday night. This full moon is the closest one to the fall equinox (which was last Tuesday). The full moon later in the month will be the “blue” full moon. This also means that we’re entering the last quarter of 2020………

So before looking towards the next full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Pisces full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for the Pisces full moon included:

            More creativity time (namely trying to teach myself cross-stitching)

            More time on self-reflection (meditation and journaling)

            More time on personal/professional development

So how did I do with each goal?

            In terms of creativity time—this is something that I still need to work on. I make the time (usually) for practicing my photography skills (currently mainly in the backyard), but I haven’t actually sat down and tried to learn a new craft. I think in part it’s due a little to imposter syndrome—never done it before and therefore I’m immediately judging myself poorly, instead of treating myself with compassion and understanding. This is something I notice myself doing quite a bit of lately, and it is something that I’m working on fixing—being more compassionate and caring with myself.

            In terms of the self-reflection—I would say it was a minor improvement in terms of journaling. For the most part I managed to do a oracle card reading (there were a couple of nights that I didn’t manage), and I feel comfortable in the path that I’m on. I am doing a balancing act—taking it easy, but at the same time moving forward. The biggest insight is that I realized that once I start to feel ‘bored’ on a job, I’d let my thoughts wander during the day—instead of being laser focused on the job. Therefore moving forward I need to make sure that the position is one that will constantly be challenging—also I need to remember that if I feel like I can do more, ask for more responsibility on the job.

            In terms of personal and professional development—I managed to finish the Data Science Syndicate program (and will be writing up my thoughts on both the program and possibly going that route), and downloaded the python program to my computer. I now need to start working through one of the other e-courses that I bought that focuses on python.

            I had just published a post ‘self-reflection, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ vs ‘specialist’, & now more planning’ earlier this week. Within the post I made note on what areas I was going to focus on, where I would consider myself either a jack-of-all-trades or specialist. I also manage to finish at least one book: ‘Careergasm: Find your way to feel good work; bullshit free advice to help you get after it’ by Sara Vermunt. One thing that I hadn’t been thinking on was what if I need to redo my goal list (again)?? I love this passage:

 

           “Sometimes the best thing to do is let go of some old goals that simply aren’t serving you anymore. Lighten your load. Let ‘em go. Make room. It’s time your goals start working for you again, and not the other way around”.

I think that is one of the major things I’ve been doing—recycling/renaming old goals and trying to make them look fresh. I in theory just made a new 150+ challenge list to complete in 2002 days (I decided to ‘modify’ the original 101 goals in 1001 days challenge). Now I’m thinking that I may be having to back to that list and modify it again—though the goals are all ‘me’—I’m just not certain that they’re for the ‘future’ me or the ‘past’ me—and I want to be working towards the future me, not being held back by the ‘past’ me.

So over all, I think I did well with the goals. Yes, I could have spent more time doing creative work—I will probably start doing more, once I remind myself that I don’t have to share the finished product with anyone if I don’t want to (and I think that has been one thing that has been holding me back—fear of what others will think). Self-care is always something that I can strive to be better at (this comes from the fact that I spent way too many years in academia pouring my heart and soul into something that really didn’t give anything back), and personal/professional development should be a never end road—and it is, I’m just slowly finding my way back to it, and will be traveling the road at my speed.

As I keep moving forward, I will also be remembering the following—“Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life, if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

No Comments AstrologyBook ReviewsFull Moon GoalsPandemic2020Personal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Self-reflection, ‘jack-of-all-trades’ vs ‘specialist’, & now more planning

So I’m a little over a week into my fourth decade and still working on answering the question: which hobbies, passions, and interests will fall under the jack-of-all-trades umbrella, and which will fall under the specialist umbrella.

This question evolved from my ‘self-reflection, planning, and yet more self-reflection’ post where I was trying to answer the question of who I wanted to become over the next five plus years.

While for some this is probably a quick question to answer—I’m still slightly struggling with for two reasons: 1) imposter syndrome—since I’m wanting to transition out of academia and into industry, there are times when I feel like a ‘fraud’, even though I know everyone’s journey is their own and that no two paths are the same—also no one has the same history, likes/dislikes, strengths/weaknesses, and personality traits that I do. The second reason is that at times I’m still in an somewhat academic mindset, which has a somewhat “clear ladder” on how your job grows—you graduate with your PhD, you do a couple of postdocs, you then get an assistant professor position, and then work your way up the ladder to associate, full, regents, emeritus professor along with possibly going for department head, or positions as a dean.

Since I’m still not sure which direction I want to go in—therefore there is no “clear ladder”, and even once I decide on a direction or directions to go in—there is no guarantee of a “clear ladder” or straight job trajectory in today’s society. Therefore I’m on a mission to create a mix of things that not only fall under both categories (jack-of-all-trades and specialist), but also encompass all aspects of life.

Through self-reflection, I realize that the times I’m happiest and in the ‘flow’ are when I’m both learning and relaxing—in other words when there is a balance between things. This is something that I had lost over the past decade or so—actually, this was something I closed off when I thought I wanted to go down the academic route—I pushed aside enjoyment, relaxation, and balance while focusing on just one small area for ‘learning’.

I’m thinking that the best route will be something that allows me to both—work for a company, but also be an independent freelancer as well. This way I can juggle different hats (under the umbrellas of jack-of-all-trades and specialist), and hopefully never get bored.

Boredom for me is like the kiss of death for the job—and one thing I need to work on is asking for change in the job when I start feeling boredom sneak in—because if I don’t ask for a change, I know I will start to get a little laid back in things and let things start to slide—which is something that I want to avoid moving forward.

So that brings me back to the question: how am I going to divide up my hobbies, passions, and interests into the categories jack-of-all-trades and specialist?

One area can be quickly filed under jack-of-all-trades currently, and that is crafts. These include knitting, sewing/quilting, learning cross-stitching, making my own jewelry, doodling, and hopefully at some point painting. The time I spend on any of these varies—knitting is usually done only in the cooler months, I currently don’t have a sewing machine, and the others have had very little time spent on them.

Therefore until I start spending a good amount of time on any of them during the week, they will be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ topic. These will be things that I write about maybe once a month or every couple of months on the blog. I have ideas on how to try monetizing some of them (knitting, jewelry, and cross-stitching), but haven’t spent any time trying to work up the plan or even a few showcase pieces.

There are other hobbies that I spend more time on: bird watching, photography, reading, and at times journaling/writing. These are areas of my personal life that I could slowly start working on more and move to what I would consider ‘expert’ level.

In terms of bird watching—seeing how many species in North America I can have identified by a certain age. This would then also allow me to include traveling, being outdoors, hiking, and photography as well.

In terms of photography—I can work on becoming a better nature photographer, and also start learning another form (say architecture or portrait photography). I would consider myself an expert if I then start selling my prints (either through my own site or another site, and/or have a small photography business on the side).

In terms of reading—start writing book reviews and posting them on both the blog and where I purchased the book, in addition to promoting books as well on my blog and social media sites. This way I could also then start possibly reviewing advance-reader-copies (ARCs), in addition to maybe working through affiliate programs—earning a little money, by referring people to buy different books.

In terms of writing—there is quite a bit I need to work on (and actually can be applied to all areas that I would like to become an ‘expert’ in) to get better at writing. The first thing is scheduling time every day to write/brainstorm/outline. Saying I want to become better at writing does nothing unless I also put in the work to become better at writing. So what are the things I need to work on?

            Time management

            Brainstorming, researching, writing, and editing—on a schedule

            Publishing my writing (in more places than just the blog)

            Asking others to read what I’ve written and give constructive criticism

            Different types of writing

                        Creative/Fiction

                        Scientific

                        Non-fiction

            Creating a portfolio to highlight my work

So in terms of my passions and interests—which should be jack-of-all-trades and which should be specialist?

If I look to my scientific background that has spanned a little over two decades I’ve noticed that I can focus on any of the following: recombinant cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, sequencing, HPLC, MALDI-TOF, NMR, transcriptional and translational assays, small RNA biology, plant biology, cell culture, yeast, bacteria, fruit flies, the cell cycle, and bioinformatics.

If I had to chose areas for jack-of-all-trades those would include: bioinformatics (data science, programming, and data analysis), cell culture (basic mammalian and insect), sequencing, HPLC, MALDI-TOF, and NMR. These are the more technical things—though cell culture isn’t very technical, I just didn’t do that much of it through the years.

The areas I would chose for specialist would then include basically everything else: recombinant cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification, transcriptional and translational assays, small RNA biology, plant biology, yeast work, fruit flies, bacteria, cell cycle and almost anything that falls within these categories.

If I looked to other topics that I enjoyed during college—these were classes in social sciences and humanities (history, anthropology, sociology) that I got good grades in and never really stressed out over the exams (unlike all the other science classes).

So I would probably include some of those topics—medieval history, art history, anthropology, ancient North/South American history (prior to the arrival of the Europeans), archeology, and paleontology within both categories depending on the amount of time I could give to each area.

Other interests that could probably bounce between being jack-of-all-trades and specialist include spirituality, personal finances, and health/fitness.

These are areas that I’m interested in gaining more knowledge (finances—getting out of debt, saving more, retirement, multiple streams of income), becoming the best version of myself (health/fitness—completing programs, getting outdoors, and setting fitness goals to achieve and celebrate instead of spending money), and embracing (spirituality—I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m more spiritual than I am religious, therefore I want to become better at reading tarot/oracle cards and be able to meditate longer than say two to four minutes).

Therefore within the next five to ten years I would like to become a more well rounded person and scientist—this means over all balance, some days may be more science than crafts, more time at the computer than behind a camera—but also more days crafting, reading, and meditating. It is time for me to forge my own path forward that allows me to embrace all aspects of who I am, my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger), while also working on my weaknesses.

The next step will be creating a plan that will allow me to slowly start moving in that direction.

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Goals for the Virgo New Moon

Well we moved into another ‘new moon’ phase this week (specifically for me, it was last night) and I realize that I didn’t get around to posting my double new moon post last month (since the moon cycled through Cancer twice, it was a review of the previous month’s goals and trying to set new goals for the next Cancer new moon), and then I forgot about the Leo new moon last month.

Instead of trying to look back at the things I should have been trying to do for the Leo new moon, I’m going to move ahead and look towards the Virgo new moon that we just transitioned into.

The new moon is pretty close to my birthday this year (which is still two days away)—three years ago, the new moon was on my birthday; and next year the full moon for September will fall on my birthday. Since, Virgo is my start sign—it means that I’m semi-neat, semi-organized, and semi-neat freak (constantly cleaning). My other signs are Scorpio (rising) and Pisces (moon).

So what are some of the things that one can do during the Virgo new moon?

            Take an inventory of your life. Figure out what is working and what isn’t and then figure out what needs to change for the things that aren’t working.

            Be of service—help out more at work (if able), do the little things that can help make someone else’s day a little more bearable.

            Be healthy—see what is and isn’t working in your health and fitness routines and then figure out what to fix—what new habits to start working on.

            Avoid nitpicking—this is where the motto “progress over perfection” really comes into play

            Get organized—pay bills, figure out the monthly schedule (workout, eating, so forth)—things that can make life a little more bearable going forward.

The moon is also moving through my 11th house—or my friends’ zone. So what are some things that one can do during this new moon in regards to friends, hopes, and dreams (and take into account the new “normal” of social distancing and so forth, due to the ongoing pandemic)?

            Sign up for an evening class in something you’ve always wanted to do.

            Ask your friends to introduce to friends of theirs you’ve never met.

            Wish on a star every night for a month.

            Introduce a childhood pal to a friend from your life now.

            Say ‘Hi’ to someone you see nearly every day but never talk to.

            Thank your best friend for being there for you.

Well having a ‘real’ social life during a pandemic isn’t possible right now. I’m currently still self-isolating, and most of the people I know are trying to keep their ‘bubbles’ small (i.e. the people they interact with on a daily basis). So having physical meet-ups right now is out of the question. I know that I could probably do virtual meet-ups, but first I still want to purchase some thin drapes to cover up the bookcases that would be seen behind me in my room when doing virtual meet-ups (unless I sit on my bed).

Usually I would be meeting up with a classmate once a month for lunch—but we haven’t done that since right before the shelter at home orders were given—six months ago, and it may be at least another six months before we may be able to meet up face to face for lunch.

So what will my goals be for the Virgo New Moon period?

  1. Take inventory of various aspects of life and try to develop a working schedule that will allow me be both productive, but at the same time enjoying time outside as well.
  2. Continue with daily workouts (currently it is a combo of Yoga Booty Ballet with LIIFT4).
  3. In combination with #1—organize the schedule, possibly alternating days that certain things are done on (for example networking on Mondays & Wednesdays, but following up with people on Tuesdays & Fridays).
  4. Continue with nightly oracle card readings and also try to spend at least two to three minutes meditating (either before or after the reading).

Finally continue moving forward while remembering: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

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2020 Update on my Level-10 Life. Reflections & future plans.

All right, I realize that I haven’t posted a level-10 check-in since July of last year. I did do a level-10 check-in in December 2019, May 2020, and then this most recent one—beginning of September 2020; but two of those three were only in the journal.

So, just a quick reminder of what a Level-10 life check-in is:

There are 10 areas of life: family & friends, personal development, spirituality, finances, career (and I also include professional development here as well), social life, fun & recreation, giving & contribution, physical environment, and then finally health & fitness.

You then rank each area on a scale of 1-to-10, quickly and without thinking too hard on each one. Then you can compare your most recent Level-10 to the previous one and see how (or if) each area changed. Then depending on how you score them, and the change you can set up goals for each for the coming cycle.

Instead of doing three months, I stretched it into four months this year—because it’s 2020. Usually areas have been either staying constant, or just going up or down a little.

Though, with this check-in there were two areas that had slightly higher ups and downs.

Those two areas were finances, and the physical environment. My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my finances went down 1.5—due largely to my impulsive e-book buying (and therefore a slightly larger than normal amazon bill). My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my physical environment went up 1.5—due mainly to me keeping things better organized than I have in the past.

So what are my goals for the last four months of 2020? These goals are going to encompass basically seven out of the ten areas—leaving out family/friends, giving/contributions & social life. Not that I don’t care about those two—but 1) we’re still currently in a pandemic, so if I want to socialize with people, it will have to be online (or a minimum of 12 feet apart); 2) I try to keep in semi-touch with family/friends via social media; 3) there may be things to be donated or given away—just not sure on that particular point.

1) Finish the following workout programs:

            Morning Meltdown 100—I should be finishing my first round of the program on 9/15/2020

            Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4—I should finish this combo by 11/15/2020 (marking the first finish for Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt Makeover & the 2nd time through LIIFT4)

            10 Rounds—I should then finish this program by Christmas (and it will be my first round of this program).

            I will then start either Muscle Burns Fat & then Muscle Burns Fat Advance or another round of 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix Extreme (either of these will then carry me into 2021).

2) Finish the following professional development courses:

            Data Science Syndicate (finish by the end of September; only 1 ½ modules left; actually finished this on 9/3/2020).

            Medical Writers Organization (by the end of October)

            Management Consultant Firm (by the end of November)

            Project Management Consortium (by the end of December)

3) Start learning python (tied with #4 and #2)

4) Finish at least 6 other short e-courses

5) Read at least 8 personal/professional developments books and write short reviews

6) Daily mediation and tarot/oracle card readings (bi-weekly or monthly oracle card review on blog)

7) Learn a new hobby (try my hand at cross-stitching). Also get more yarn and start another afghan possibly.

8) Determine way(s) of earning extra money (or free-lancing options)

9) Start building up a varied portfolio for looking into free-lancing/remote/on-line job options.

10) Go to the storage unit and start repacking boxes that need it, plus maybe start seeing what I don’t need.

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Goals for the Aquarius Full Moon–reviewed

Somehow tomorrow marks the beginning of September—that means we’re down to the last four months of 2020. If it were any other year, I’d crack some type of smartass comment—but since it’s 2020, I’m not going to. The next full moon is within a couple of days, so it is time to look back on the goals that I set for the Aquarius full moon and see how I did with each of them.

So what were my Aquarius full moon goals?

The goals included:

            Photography—while it will mainly be backyard bird watching, I can still try to improve my skills.

            Journaling—this is actually for multiple fronts: getting back into the habit of writing daily (I mean if I’m going to try to be a freelance writer, I should be trying to write daily), work through various personal/professional development questions, and as a way of working on keeping positive mental health going.

            Other personal/professional development: crafts (try my hand at cross-stitching, maybe get a new sewing machine and fabric, create some jewelry), reading, and working through e-courses.

So how did I do with each of them?

            In terms of photography—I managed to take pictures almost every day. I’m getting better at using manual focusing—though I haven’t totally started playing with the other features (which is slightly sad, since I’ve had this particular camera a little over 2 years). One thing I’m going to try to start doing is actually using the tripod and zoom lens and maybe try to get a picture or two of a full moon.

            In terms of journaling—I’ve managed to write in the journal every day, even if it was just to write down the weights for that particular workout (or even just logging the workout). I have several ideas for how I can improve on my journaling, and also expand into possible blog posts.

            In terms of working on other personal/professional development: I’m almost through one of the professional development courses I’ve bought (I have one video and the test for the 5th module and then the final module), though I still need to download python (the data analysis coding language program) and start learning actually how to use the programming language. While I had hopes that I managed to get a good deal on a sewing machine—it turned out to be a scam (I managed to get my money back though), so now I’m waiting to see if/when sewing machines become available again through Joann Fabric’s store. I have also bought a couple of books to help me further my ability with photography and jewelry making (just in case I actually want to start selling the jewelry)—so I just need to read through those books and start implementing the ideas and suggestions.

Overall I’m happy with how I did with each goal—yes, I could have written more in the journal, or worked through a couple more e-courses but I’m currently striving for progress and not perfection. Also, I’m trying to be kinder to myself and acknowledge that sometimes not doing anything is just as productive (at least mentally) as striking everything else off the to-do list.

All three of these goals are goals that I’m going to continue working on going forward into the rest of 2020 and on wards. The reasons are simple—I want to become a better photographer, writer, and continue to learn and grow. I may have stubbornly taken a hiatus from actively learning after a couple of the positions—but now that I know my strengths that I can use and also what other traits I can improve—personal and professional development are becoming fun again. In addition, currently I can make my own hours.

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Aquarius Full Moon Goals–a couple of days late

So the moon will be transitioning into its full moon stage over the next two or three days (depending on where you live)—for me, it was a couple of nights ago—as I’m two days late in posting this. The full moon is early this month, but that’s fine—with the way 2020 has been going, I’d like a little extra time to focus on my goals and blessings for the full moon.

The moon is going to be transitioning through Aquarius, and if one looks at the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland there are a series of questions that one reflect on during the next few days:

Have I been pragmatic to the point of losing the romance of life?

Have I been living too much in my head and not enough in my heart?

Have I been trying to do things my way, just for the sake of it?

Have I been trying to hard to befriend people, and for the wrong reasons?

Have I allowed myself to move forward this month?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would be as followed:

  1. I would probably have to say this depends. This year, with the SARS-CoV2 virus running around, even if I wanted to get out and met people, I wouldn’t be able to. I know that there is more to life than just work, and that humans are social creatures that usually don’t do well on their own—but one needs to learn how to be alone in order not to fear it. Also, since I’m trying to get my life in order—I don’t really have the time to deal with too many other people.
  2. The answer to this question is probably yes—I live way to much in my head. Currently I’m not in a relationship, and due to the current pandemic—I’m also in no rush to meet anyone. While humans are social creatures—there is actually quite a bit to say about being at peace with ones own company.
  3. Hard to answer this one—mainly because what are we talking about?? Anything scientific and I’d ask what the protocol is for the experiment, or I’d do a large literature review if I needed to design an experiment. As to normal life—yes, I probably do things my way—but only after doing research and making a plan.
  4. No, I haven’t been trying to hard to befriend people, for the wrong reasons. I do try to expand my professional network, and work up to asking for informational interviews—this hasn’t happened yet, as I am still struggling to figure out which direction to go in. I feel like I should be fairly confident in the direction that I want to move, and therefore not feel like I’m wasting people’s time asking for informational interviews.
  5. Since the month is just starting—the jury is still out on whether or not I’m allowing myself to move forward this month or not.

Aquarius is also moving through my 4th house or my home and family zone. This is the time when one should try to find a balance between one’s personal life and one’s career. This year things are a little different for this zone: for starters, I’m still self isolating due to how poorly both my state (OK) and the US are in dealing with the SARS-CoV2 virus; and secondly, I’m still on my “reboot break” from work. So my personal life and career are totally twined right now, due to the fact that I’m home more or less all day, every day.

If I were to think of finding balance—it would be between personal/professional development time and time for other things (reading, crafts, photography, and relaxing outside). Currently, when the weather is nice I will go sit outside (sometimes with my journal, kindle, or camera) and just bask in the natural vitamin D. But at the same time, neglecting the other things that I could also be doing (working through e-courses, networking, and so forth).

So what mini-goals should I set for the Aquarius full moon?

I’m going to aim to find more time during the day for the following activities:

            Photography—while it will mainly be backyard bird watching, I can still try to improve my skills.

            Journaling—this is actually for multiple fronts: getting back into the habit of writing daily (I mean if I’m going to try to be a freelance writer, I should be trying to write daily), work through various personal/professional development questions, and as a way of working on keeping positive mental health going.

            Other personal/professional development: crafts (try my hand at cross-stitching, maybe get a new sewing machine and fabric, create some jewelry), reading, and working through e-courses.

I need to remember that I should be working towards the future I want (though the first thing I need to do, is determine exactly what type of future I want), instead of just sitting around and hoping that the world isn’t going to detonate over night (just my jaded current world views).

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Month in Review: July 2020

So July has come and gone—which means there are only five months left in 2020. As I’ve stated before—2020 hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to go so far, and the next five months probably still won’t totally go the way I would like to go, but I have to keep reminding myself—the only reactions I can control are my own—so it’s now into month five of self-isolation, I go.

While some parts of the world seem to be getting the virus under control—the US isn’t one of them. Our numbers are still climbing (over 4.7 million confirmed cases and over 157K dead), and we’re still more or less on a “global timeout”. This means that any and all travel that I had planned is delayed for at least another year (which means the earliest—August 2021), if not longer. While I don’t mind delaying travel—I am getting a little tired of self-isolation (though I will continue to do so as long as necessary).

This means that any type of interviews (informational and job-related) will be done via online applications, which also means numerous other things need to be taken into consideration and dealt with—such as making sure that the sound and everything works well (microphone over using the computer), creating a neutral backdrop for the office area of my bedroom, and whatever else I will be needing to add to the list. But for now, it is time for a brief reflection on the goals that I had set for July and how I did with each one of them.

So what were the goals for July? The goals for July included:

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

So how did I do with each goal?

At least 155,000 steps (since I’ve made a tracker for the journal, it is easy enough to write down the numbers at the end of the day)

In terms of steps—I managed to get to a total of 182,969 steps for the month of July. There were seven days that I finished below the 5,000-step goal—which is why I was about 20K below the final total that I managed for June. But at least I managed to move around enough that I got about 25K extra steps during July (and some of the days that I was short—the days were hot and humid and I didn’t feel like moving around that much).

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 24-54)

I have been continuing with Morning Meltdown 100, and finished days 24 to 54. While I measured at the end of phase 2 (which was July 17th), I’m not going to measure again until the end of the program (which will be on Sept 15th). The reason—water retention and bloating can cause numbers to be off.

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

During the month of July I managed to read (or finish reading) the following books:

“How to be an imperfectionist: The new way to self-acceptance, fearless living, and freedom from perfectionism” by Stephen Guise

“Hello Fears: Crush your comfort zone and become who you’re meant to be” by Michelle Poler

“Better than Before: What I learned about making and breaking habits-to sleep more, quit sugar, procrastinate less, and generally build a happier life” by Gretchen Rubin

All three of the books would fall under the personal development category (though it is very difficult to try to separate personal and professional development—they are two sides of the same coin). They all dealt with similar topics—our comfort zones, and trying to push past the “fear zone” to get into our learning/growth zones. While I know that I haven’t stated much on the books, that’s because it’s on the August to-do list of writing a short review on each one to post to both the blog and amazon.

No Spend Days/No Spend Weeks/and hopefully no spend month

I’m getting better at having no spend days/weeks—but I’m not quite up to a full no-spend month. During July I still spent money during the month—the money was spent on books, masks, and I had hoped on a sewing machine (I’m actually probably be demanding my money back on this one—as the order was placed almost 3 weeks ago, and all of my messages have been ignored).

I’m hoping that during August, I can manage not to spend money on books, or other things. Depending on how I progress through various e-courses during August, I may purchase other e-courses to continue my learning (but this is only currently a possibility).

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program

This hasn’t happened yet. I started module four of the program and made it about halfway through. I had decided that I’d been pushing too fast through various programs and that it would probably be more beneficial if I slowed down and actually took the time to review and think on the information I was learning, instead of just powering through to be able to check it off my to-do list.

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

Like, the data science syndicate program—this also didn’t happen. In part to wanting to be able to think on the information I was learning, but also due to the fact that most afternoons, I would go and sit outside and read—instead of being inside and working on something else.

And finally,

Continue working on devising a goal list and breaking it down, plus working on various different ways to translate those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas I want to focus on: the blog, personal/professional development, fitness & health/mental health/crafts.

This is slowly coming together—I managed to find my old bulletin board—so I can also have my to-do lists tack up, instead of needing to look in the journal to see what I had planned for the day/week. Though I will also be using the journal as well. The main thing I’ve realized—I need to figure out the answer to the following question: “Who do I want to become over the next five to twenty years?” Once I can answer this question in great detail—I’ll have a better idea of what goals and the breakdown of said goals I need to focus on.

So I managed to get about half of the goals accomplished for July (the steps, the workout, the reading, and going 80% of the month not spending more money). I’ve also realized that one reason why certain goals (e-courses/certification programs and sometimes the non-fiction reading) aren’t always met—I haven’t quite figured out the end goal. In other words, I think once I can determine the answer to the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?”—Some of these goals will become easier to accomplish.

Therefore, the goals for August will include:

At least 155,000 steps (again breaking it down to roughly 5K/Day)

Continuing Morning Meltdown 100 (Days 55-85)

Reading (or finishing) at least 2 non-fiction books

No Spend Days/No Spend Week/ and hopefully a no-spend month

Finish the Data Science Syndicate program (or at least modules 4 & 5)

Finish at least 3 other short e-courses

And finally,

Answer the question: “Who do I want to become over the next 5 to 20 years?” The answer to this question will help me to continue working on my long term goal list, figuring out how to break it down to short-term goals, and finally translating those goals into an overall editorial calendar for the different areas that I’m trying to focus on: personal/professional development, career transition, fitness & health/mental health/crafts, and the blog.

While reminding myself: “Progress over Perfection”, “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one”, and “Not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make”.

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