Individual Development Plan


“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates

Have you ever just took a moment and said to yourself, “When I grow up, I want to be….” Many times throughout my thirteen year nursing career, I have found myself constantly recreating myself into this sort of “when I grow up, I want to…” mindset or reflecting back to “when I was a kid, I wanted to be…” Essentially to say, I am telling myself, that what I currently am professionally is not quite what I had in mind or that I have not yet arrived at that destined “when I grow up, I want to be…” role in life.

Believe it or not, when I was a kid, I told myself I wanted to be a teacher, a pediatrician, and a veterinarian. How I was going to be all three, who knows, but that’s just the vivid imagination of a child. Or at least this one. Needless to say at thirty-six years of age, I am none of the above. By the time I reached undergrad, I had conjured up so many additional career interests, passions, and possibilities, and ended up becoming a nurse. Nevertheless, it’s never too late to recreate yourself.

This week for my #MondayManifesto, for #bloglikecrazy November, I am focusing on a little soul-searching with some self-examination and goal-setting for the outlining of my mission/vision for my professional career. Currently, I am enrolled in a Master of Public Health program, with a concentration of Public Health Leadership and Practice. As part of a class assignment for one of my leadership courses, we have been asked to complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP). As part of the planning process for this assignment, students have been assigned to Triad peer-to-peer coaching groups.

Within our Triad coaching groups we are required to meet via Skype, zoom, in-person, or via conference call on two occasions throughout the semester to coach one another through the development process of our IDPs. Since today was the 2nd and final meeting with my Triad coaching group, I decided to share a little insight into some of the thoughts and reflections I personally discovered and still discovering about myself throughout this process.

The IDP in its entirety is a fifteen question self-reflection and career planning assessment and action plan. My group members and I each actually had our own individual difficulties with coming up with exact answers to the first six questions of our IDPs. We realized just how difficult career planning can actually be after undergrad, after career one has passed that infamous decade mark, or when the desire for career fulfillment and following one’s passions overshadows a paycheck.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

~ J. R. R. Tolkein

Currently, I am still pondering the first six questions of this assessment below:

  • Why am I pursuing this degree?
  • What are my core values?
  • Where do I see myself professionally one year from now?
  • Where do I see myself professionally five years from now?
  • What characteristics, qualities, and skills do I have that make me a good leader?
  • When I close my eyes, and envision an idealized future state with regard to my profession, what do I see?

My current response (subject to change)*:

  1. I am pursuing this degree because I am passionate about disease prevention and health promotion. Not just on an individual, person by person basis, but on a population and community level, and found myself dissatisfied with the clinical-medicine approach of healthcare that I personally refer to as “sick-care.”
  2. My core values are integrity, service, inclusion, commitment, and a spirit of excellence.
  3. Where I see myself professionally in one year is hard to pin down, as I will still be in school being that this is my first semester in the program. However, I do see myself finalizing my planning for graduation at this point a year from now. Finalizing any applications for future internships and practicum opportunities for the coming year.
  4. Where I see myself professionally in five years is even more vague, as I can only project for what I plan for and act on over the course of the coming year. Where I plan to be is at a point of complete career transition. What that may look like is still in the unfolding phases. What I do know is that it will include working with the populations I am most passionate about serving.
  5. What makes me a good leader? According to the results of my Keirsey Temperament Test, I hold the temperament of a Guardian. More specifically the Guardian Inspector type. Some of the character traits of this temperament that I found to resonate with some of my core values were: extraordinarily persevering and dutiful (commitment and spirit of excellence), in a quiet way, ensure that rules are followed, laws are respected, and standards are upheld (integrity), and patient tasks and procedures within an institution (commitment and service).
  6. For this particular question, something that arose during my coaching was that there had to be a sense of fulfillment about the work that I was doing. In examining my current career past and present, my career interests as a youth, my current passions and interests, and my personal gifts, life calling, and core values; I consider how they all fit together in the box called Candice Maria. In doing so, I envision an idealized future that involves writing, educating, and consulting on the topics related to all of the above that I wanted to be “when I grew up…”.

To end Part 1 of this two part series of #MondayManifesto, I am leaving you with this question to ponder. Feel free to leave your response in the comments:

So, what did you want to be when you grew up? Are you currently doing this professionally?

Until next time….

Writer from the Heart,

{Just Being} Candice Maria

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