Sometimes I get stuck in this mindset of how people see me. Do they see me as the rebellious child, the dutiful teenager, the naive twenty-something, or who I actually am today? And honestly, I’m still figuring out who I am in a lot of ways. This year, especially, has been an opportunity to reflect and evaluate.
Over the last 5-10 years, I’ve taken time to work on my anxiety, leaving me to feel like a failure at times and at peace other times. However, it’s necessary to do the work on yourself before you can give to others. I used to think that was selfish, but now I’ve come to learn that I have to step back when needed. This is particularly true for overachievers like myself who just want to dive in and do the most. But, I also have to give myself the same grace I wish to offer others, in learning and becoming a more critically thoughtful, kind, goal-oriented person.
I just recently graduated with a terminal degree and this was my first weekend in 5 years that I didn’t have editing or work to do on a specific paper or assignment for school. Do I have other projects that I can work on? Yes, I do. But it’s not so pressing that I have to give up my Saturday or Sunday to complete them. With a more open schedule in the week ahead, these are things I can work on starting Monday morning for a more traditional work schedule.
So in light of this period of reflection, I thought I would share some of the resources I’ve used to continue my personal and professional growth.
- Project Implicit – One of the areas I’ve been working on is becoming more actively antiracist and aware of my own personal implicit biases. This website from Harvard allows you to take a series of implicit bias tests to see where you are on a number of important issues. It’s a starting place to then seek other resources to continue to learn and grow, such as “How to Be an Antiracist”, by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
- Inspirational books – Although I haven’t had a ton of time to read for enjoyment, I plan to change that in the near future and dive in to material that inspires me to reach for my goals and aspirations. Two of the books I’ve really enjoyed these last couple of months are “Hello” Fears by Michelle Poler and “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. Both taught me to embrace new opportunities and not let fear hold me back. For example, even putting this blog and my YouTube channel out there is scary for me.
- Free online courses – There are sooooooo many ways to get free knowledge. I paid a lot of money for my degrees, but you don’t necessarily need to pay for information now. You can go to YouTube or websites with free courses. Some are even worth paying for a membership if you intend to continue your professional learning. I wrote another blog post here about some of the websites that I utilize to take free courses on topics of interest.
- Therapy/counseling – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I think everyone could benefit from talking to someone outside their day to day interactions. It’s helpful to process information, get strategies to change thought patterns, or deal with trauma. If you don’t know where to start, you can visit the CDC resources or National Alliance on Mental Illness. The process of counseling has helped me become more self-aware and grow my confidence.
- Affirmations – Along with counseling, the idea of positive affirmations is helping me to grow into the person I wish to become. I try to start my day with affirmations. Additionally, I have all of my 2021 goals posted next to my mirror on index cards by category. Each day, I see the goals I have for myself and I repeat statements that affirm my capability of achieving these goals for my future.
The final takeaway is that it’s never too late to change your thoughts, learn more, and become the version of yourself you wish to be. Don’t let fear or lack of time hold you back. Commit to 5 minutes each day to work on something for your personal self-improvement. Then, gradually increase that time as you are able to do so. I believe in you!!