#OneWord2012 – Focus

Over the past few days, I’ve seen a lot of people from the #sachat community posting their #oneword2012 choices. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate, because I didn’t know what my word would be, as so many of the words that were coming across my feed that I didn’t feel I could make a decision that would encompass everything.

Words like progress, share, intentional, cultivate, congruency, connect, confidence, and so many other great choices all made me think about what I could do that could someone combine all of these factors. For me, the word that met this criterion was focus. A fitting word, given that it is one of my five Strengths and something that I recognize I need to improve in 2012. Several areas of “focus” will be important for this upcoming year.

Focus on Friendships: I have let my work be a never-ending excuse for failing to keep in touch with people. I realize that this must end soon, as I know that this excuse has been wearing thin with many people, including my oldest friends. In truth, there is no excuse for failing to focus on friendships other than I have been a bad friend. I’ve always prided myself on having friends that I know would do anything for me (and vice versa), and I do not want to risk losing or further damaging these friendships because of an excuse. Everyone works, we all have outside lives, and the time to reengage with these people is paramount.

Focus on Students: This is an area where I feel I have consistently done well, although, recently I’ve been forced to question whether or not the saying “The higher you rise in student affairs, the less direct contact you have with students” is true or not. Given that my position is still live-on, I’m fortunate that I do get to have some great connections with students, however, these are more frequently occurring on nights and weekends, as during the day, I’m finding myself being pulled into more administrative and planning meetings. That’s not to say I’m not enjoying these new aspects of my role at Siena, I’m actually loving it, I just need to remember to continue to focus on the students that I serve, even if that means “scheduling” time in my calendar to be present and visible for them.

Focus on Social Media: The #sachat community has opened up many new doors for sharing information, ideas, and forging new friendships that I probably would never had the opportunity to cultivate otherwise. At times, my engagement in this group has been lackluster, and a renewed commitment to engaging with professional colleagues and others through these venues is an essential part of my evolving “best practices” as a professional in student affairs.

Focus on Education: Now that the reality of being more than ½ way done with my Ph.D. coursework has hit me, it’s really time to buckle down and plan for the final stages of my final (thank God) degree. The comprehensive examination, and dissertation proposal are the two big obstacles at the moment. Fortunately, I have a very good advisor, so am looking forward to this semester being a time for us to plot out the next three years to ensure everything is completed and I can apply for candidacy in May 2014.

Focus on Health: After almost 5 years of living in Albany, I finally bit the bullet and set up a physical and established a primary care physician. I must admit, I didn’t do this because it was the normal thing to do, I had hurt my knee and wanted to make sure I didn’t do something really wrong to it. Fortunately, I found a great doctor through my friend Jen who didn’t pull any punches with me. My doctor said that while I was in pretty good health in terms of eyesight, hearing, cholesterol, and most other factors, she was very concerned about my weight. This wasn’t a shock, as I’ve been overweight for a number of years. What was shocking was to hear her flat out tell me “You’re going to lose at least 20 pounds by March 22.” I was a bit taken aback by how forceful she was, but I also know myself well enough to know that maybe this was the kick in the butt I needed to get moving. Fingers crossed!

Focus on Family: This one has never been a problem, but it warrants mentioning. Spending the holidays with my parents, while stressful at times, always re-centers me and helps me remember that there are things more important than my career. Seeing my parents still in love after 30 years is reaffirming that anything is possible with the love, devotion, and loyalty that I see them exhibit daily and has made me realize that this is what I hope to have someday when I “settle down” and start my own family.

Overall, I’m confident that 2012 will be a great year. I hope that a year of “focus” will allow me to be happy, healthy, and committed to all that I do.

What is YOUR #oneword2012? Tweet it to me (@adamcasler) or share in the comments below!

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