Actuals, Optimals, And Determining Steps To Success!

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Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Our most recent trip around the Sun has ended (thank goodness), and we are on to the next revolution of this beautiful globe. This is the time of year many folks like to make resolutions, or at least set goals for the new year. In previous stories, I’ve talked about determining the kinds of skills and habits you might want to develop, and how to use a strategic planning tool to focus on areas you really need or want to improve.

Once you have a good idea of those areas, it’s time to narrow them down into the specific needs you have. To do this, I use a tool I learned when studying Human Performance Technology and Instructional Technology. …

My Goals and the Five Habits I Will Start This Year

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Photo by Roland Denes on Unsplash

Like so many others, I am happy to see the last of the year 2020. It was a rough slog for just about everybody. However, for me, it was also a year of growth. A lot of seeds were planted that I hope to see grow to fruition this year. I developed new skills and hobbies, rededicated myself to my writing (plotting and writing the first few chapters of the novel I have wanted to write for years now). I’ve also started to see a therapist and am finally getting a handle on my ADHD, among other issues.

I figure all of this is a good start, but it is just that — a start. I’m setting new goals for this year, but I really want to develop habits that will help me reach those goals. …

Use This Popular Strategic Planning Tool to Your Advantage in 2021!

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Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

It’s almost that time of year again. The new year, when everyone around you makes resolutions, promises themselves to start good habits (or banish bad ones) in the coming year. Maybe you want to be one of those people, but you don’t know what you want to do. Or you might have a vague idea what you want to do but no idea how to get there.

While most resolutions are about personal growth, there a lot of skills and habits for you to develop that can help you in just about any part of your life.

If you are a sales professional, for instance, you might want to develop stronger relationships with your clients. Or maybe you are a supervisor who would like to learn to lead instead of just managing people. Realize that the skills needed to improve your work life can spill over into your personal life. If you learn how to communicate better with your colleagues, your enhanced communication skills can also improve your personal relationships. …

But Are Essential To Self Improvement

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Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash

It’s that time of year again. In just a few short days, we will be changing the calendar and starting another trip around the sun. Many people use this as a time to renew old goals and think of new ones, to make resolutions to start new habits. But before you can make goals or resolutions for the new year, you will want to consider what those goals should be. Many of us like to develop new habits or skills that can make us more successful in the new year, but how do we decide what skills and habits to develop? …

These are the Trans Music Artists You Should Be Listening To Right Now!

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Photo by Susan Mohr on Unsplash

An important part of empowerment is representation. When I see someone like me on TV or the big screen, it helps me realize I am not alone and that I, like those I see, am capable of great things.

The same holds true for music. Lately, I have been listening a lot to transgender performers. People, often very much like me, who happen to make music. A key part of good representation is quality. …

November is just another month this year, but there’s hope I am on the way to a breakthrough.

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Photo by Rafaela Biazi on Unsplash

November is National Novel Writing Month — NaMoWriMo. The idea is to write an entire novel (at least 50,000 words of one, at least) within the month. Whenever November rolls around, this event is front of mind for most writers, even if they don’t plan on writing a novel in 30 days.

Although all sorts of people compete against themselves and win, it’s generally agreed that most writers are either plotters, pantsers, or some combination. Plotters outline all of their novel until they know what will happen. Then they write the draft. Pantsers — so called because they write “by the seat of their pants” — write more or less without any outline at all. …

Gender dysphoria is an insidious thing: even when you think you have it under control it sneaks out and attacks.

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Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

I’m coming to realize that gender dysphoria is never completely banished. It can be managed, but never is it gone for good. It’s kind of like any other chronic condition I have — diabetes, depression. I can’t be caught napping or it will sneak up on me.

That has been especially true for me since we have had to stay home, social distance, etc. due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

First, for those of you who don’t know what it is, gender dysphoria is the pain and discomfort felt when one’s outward gender (generally the gender assigned at birth) does not match our actual gender identity. …

You’re never too old to discover something new about yourself.

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Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

It’s strange how I can be alive for more than half a century and still discover new things about myself. Specifically, I’ve started learning skills I thought I would never have; I’ve discovered talents that were so latent I didn’t even know they existed.

It’s absurd the stories we tell about ourselves. And they are usually reinforced by those around us. I have discussed before my experiences with singing, that I was convinced I couldn’t sing until after I joined a chorus several years ago and found that wasn’t true. …

White portable typewriter, off-center
White portable typewriter, off-center
Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

In the 1998 movie Mercury Rising, a character trying to help Bruce Willis get a message through when all phones and the internet are being monitored pulls out a manual typewriter and says, “Low tech rules!”

I barely remember the rest of the movie but I remember that line. I probably took it a little too much to heart back then, but it frequently proves to be true.

Low Tech with a High Tech Price Tag

Every so often I see devices advertised that don’t seem especially high tech, but combine some high tech aspects with simpler, low tech ideas. I am specifically speaking about the Freewrite by Astrohaus, which was advertised ad nauseum on my Facebook pages for months on end. It combined higher tech e-paper screens like you would see on a Kindle with the decidedly low-tech idea of no internet connections and only one file able to open at a time. It was a high tech version of the word processor. The first time I saw it I was intrigued. …

Gender Euphoria and the Magic of Naming Yourself

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Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash

What’s in a name, really? Does it make any difference about who we are? Should it?

I used to have this pet theory about names. I had the impression that people with certain names had similar personality traits. When I would meet someone with a specific name, I would wait curiously to see if they lived up to it.

The problem with that theory, of course, is that it was hogwash. You live long enough and you find more exceptions to the rule than the rule itself.

Still, names seem to have a certain power. If they didn’t, celebrities wouldn’t change their names — Norma Jean Baker would hold the same cachet as Maryilyn Monroe. Fiction authors (like myself) wouldn’t agonize over names of characters. One would work just as well as any other. Would a kid stay up half the night reading under the covers with a flashlight (I can neither confirm nor deny I have done this) if the main characters were the Jones Boys, not the Hardy Boys, or Nancy Smith, not Nancy Drew? What about just some guy named Steve instead of Gandalf the Grey? …


Janelle Annemarie Heideman

Educator, writer, LGBTQ+ advocate, avid reader. Novelist in progress. Website: Empowering the LGBTQ+ community one word at a time.

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