This year I've been mainly struggling. With my work, with my life, with everything. I was stretching myself very thin. It all came down in November, when I found my breaking point. I had lost my way, trying to be everything to everyone. I was all over the place, doing stuff I didn't want to do just because I felt I had to. I was trying not to upset people, I thought I had certain obligations. I hadn't wanted to do web design and development for a while, but instead of ditching it, I had kept it and added on other services. There was no focus.
Backup plans are great. Like safety nets, you can always fall back on them. However, those backup plans don't always work as intended. I kept web design and development as my backup plan, and eventually found myself working for the backup. It was easy. It didn't require explaining and selling services again. Thus I didn't. I just let the web design and development run the show. Not that I even had that much motivation or even energy to do anything else. My backup plan was draining me.
The answer was simple. I would need to find my focus, stop putting my energy to the backup plan. Focus on the right stuff.
Not everything deserves your focus. You may have studied one thing, put years or decades to honing your skills. Still, that doesn't mean the something is worth your focus. Doesn't matter if it used to be worth it, when it's not anymore. Your focus is precious. It's valuable. Focus takes your time and your time is limited. That's why it's important to find the right stuff to focus on.
There are times when it can seem impossible to figure out what is the right stuff to focus on. It may, like in my case, take a breakdown, a burnout, a moment of complete despair. The right stuff may be clear and easy to see, or making it appear can take work and effort. Often, in the process of finding the focus, you fail multiple times. Perhaps it comes down to trial and error, testing what works and what doesn't. Either way, without focus you will stretch yourself too thin and find your breaking point.
Focus goes hand in hand with simplifying. Like with my business and work. I had to simplify and drop off the extra weight. Are you also trying to focus on too many things at once? Offering multiple different kinds of services, trying to keep several blogs updated, pretending to run a serious business on the side of your day job, having separate Instagram accounts for your separate interests, keeping that Etsy store filled while studying hard. Being all over the place, everything to everyone.
The only person who can find you your focus is you. Nobody else than you can tell you what the right stuff to focus on is. Nobody. Not your parents, not the love of your life, not that person you admire above others, not your therapist or coach. They can help. They can ask you the right questions, or just listen. They can give you ideas, or support. You can't ask someone else to tell on what you should focus. Letting other people and their expectations to direct your focus will only lead to trouble. You are the only person in charge and in responsible of your own focus. You choose where you aim your focus.
Slow Sunday is a new series about slowing down, dealing with depression and anxiety, soothing your stress, relaxing, and getting over yourself. Do let me know if you have a specific subject you'd like me to write about. And please, share your personal thoughts and feelings about the subject in the comment area of the article.
I'm Mervi Eskelinen
I'm an artist, nerd and creative business wizard, dedicated to help you build the business of your dreams, market your creativity, and find a meaningful way to support your lifestyle.