Focus impacts everything we do in our lives every day. What I have come to realize is our focus shifts depending on what's most important and what we are most driven by at that time.
Thinking back to high school, there was chaos at home on most days. One particular day, I remember my parents coming back from Family court, and announcing that the judge ordered myself and my other siblings to be placed in foster care immediately. My brother was already in foster care for a few years, as agreed to by my parents. In that moment of chaos, all I could think about was I need to get my school books, so I can do my math homework. Because in my mind no matter what happened, I needed to keep my focus on my homework, doing well in school, so I could get into a good college, and create a better life for myself. Fortunately, I did not have to go to foster care after all, as I stayed with a friend for one week and then a cousin's place until I was able to return home.
In college, I was also very focused on studying and doing well. I was a very serious student in class and outside of class. During the week, I really didn't go out with friends; rather I was consumed with studying. Previously, I shared how I started at Suffolk County Community College because financially I wasn't able to afford to go anywhere else, so my focus was on achieving a 4.0 GPA, transferring on scholarships to a four year college, and then finishing my BA degree. Once I finally transferred to Long Island University/CW Post, it became about maintaining the required 3.8 GPA, so I would keep my scholarships and graduate with my BA degree in Psychology. It was always about creating a better life for myself and my future, having a successful career, and having more opportunities in my life that I didn't have growing up.
When I started my career, I was super focused and a workaholic. I concentrated on developing my career and going for my Masters degree, and I was also in a long term relationship at the time. In my 20s, it wasn't about settling down and getting married and having children at that moment. Literally, I remember my boyfriend adding to my To Do list, "Make time for your boyfriend." As I was super stressed about all responsibilities I had in my life, I didn't notice this message until I started to work on my list, and then laughed to myself at how funny it was that my boyfriend felt he needed to add himself to my To Do list because I might forget about him. I've since learned from that situation.
As I gained more experience at work, I found more balance between work demands and commitments outside of work. I no longer stay at work 10 - 12 hours a day, day in and day out. However, don't get me wrong, I do need to meet deadlines, and sometimes I need work late, which may end up becoming a 10 hour day. In addition, there are times when I may take work home with me for the evenings and weekends. I also recognize that in the corporate world, it's about building a rapport with your team. By making yourself available you can foster this rapport. One way I've accomplished this is by occasionally coming in as early at 6:30 a.m. or returning back to work at 10 p.m. for trainings or meetings.
So currently, my career is established in HR, in the corporate world, and my focus is to continue to develop myself personally and professionally. It's also about experiencing more of what life has to offer rather than what is lacking in my life. In addition, I plan to travel more. And when it's meant to happen, I will find the right person who will be my husband and life partner, so we can have a family together. Simultaneously, I have this compelling desire to work on my outreach efforts for the youth by means of this blog, motivational speaking, community efforts, and eventually writing a book.
Yes, I have to admit that sometimes I lose focus or get distracted. I've definitely gotten caught up in the excitement of a new relationship, because I don't want to be that person who forgets about my significant other in my life. I've fallen into that pattern before, and I don't want to be that person any longer. I want to make a conscious effort to make that person feel important in my life and that they are high on my priority list. However, I need not forget myself and what truly makes me happy. Sometimes I lose a part of myself or lose sight of my focus when I get into a relationship. I recognize where I need to really focus my energy is on what excites me about life and I can't forget how I come alive from giving back to others by sharing my story, providing guidance, mentoring/coaching, teaching/training, giving support and encouragement.
And here we are. Let it be known, that I am recommitting to giving the world my best self! We owe it to ourselves to do this, because the world deserves the best of us. So no more distractions; blog and youth, you are my focus. Glad to be back!
Originally posted October 2011 on Courageous & Remarkable Self blog