One of the hardest parts of marriage and motherhood is the constant struggle to operate in your own identity independent of your husband and children. When you don’t know who you are, it is almost impossible to focus on where you’re going or where you’re leading your children.
I’ve been there, so caught up into the gender role that I forgot my personal role. So caught up in the wife role that I forgot that I was a woman with hopes, dreams, goals, and desires long before I met my husband. So caught up in the mom role that I forgot how to carry on conversations about anything other than kids, homework, and extracurricular activities. You have a place and a purpose in the world beyond the roles you play.
You probably don’t know how it happened. One day you were confident in yourself and knew your likes, dislikes, goals, and motivations. At some point, you started saying yes to things that didn’t matter which resulted in saying no to the things you’ve always wanted. Instead of having your focus directed on your purpose, you moved your lense to focus on fulfilling another person’s purpose. This realignment isn’t always home and family-related. It could be spending too much time on the phone with girlfriends dissecting their problems instead of actively solving your own. Or, you’re dealing with a client who is engaging in severe scope creep. Instead of reading that self-help book on financial management you’re using your lunch break to do work that wasn’t assigned to you.
Whenever you align your life to someone else’s purpose, you lose your own. It is okay to be in a place to support the work of others but you must be willing to set boundaries. If you don’t you will find yourself watching the people close to you live their best lives while you struggle to figure out how to make ends meet or how to simply be happy.
If you’re in a place where you can’t decide on simple things such as hairstyles, where you want to go for date night, or your next personal or professional move, you may have lost your focus.
All is not lost. You can re-focus your attention to start building the life you want. But, it is up to you to do the work.
- Make “Me-Time” a Priority. Some people say it’s over-rated. It might be if the only thing you use it for is manicures and pedicures. While self-care and personal hygiene are important, finding the time and space to sit quietly and listen to yourself so you can rediscover you is critical for success.
- Tell Yourself the Truth. We lie to ourselves as much as we lie to others. Stop being afraid of your personal truth. You must face yourself before you can face the world. Think of it as a GPS. When plotting a course, you must have a starting point and a destination. When you tell yourself the truth, you gain a better perspective of your current location so you can chart the best past to your destination.
- Set SMART Goals. Every goal must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
- Practice Self-Management. All too often we place our success and failure at the feet of others. Focus starts with a mindset, the desire to see clearly. When you don’t make time to take care of you and to practice honesty with yourself, you cheat yourself out of the success you want. Self-management is you using your mind and body to move towards your goals. You cannot manage time but you can write out your goals and the steps you need to achieve them then do the work. Self-management is you taking action.
- Nurture the Right Relationships. Accountability partners, mentors, like-minded family/friends, supportive spouses, and eager children are the best people to have in your corner. Treat these relationships like the treasure they are.
- Set Boundaries. As you refocus your efforts, you will need to set clear boundaries. If you’re working on starting a business or taking a class, you might not be able to deliver meals-on-wheels every week. That’s okay. You just might have to deliver every other week because the path you’re on is moving you from volunteer to major financial donor.
Finding focus isn’t hard when you deliberately pursue a clear vision. You just have to take the necessary steps to get there.
Have you ever lost focus? How’d you get it back?