Graduating from college can be both exciting and overwhelming, (as I stated in my June 3 editorial) and even the most structured person can be stricken with fearful thoughts of the unknown.
One can never know too much, especially if you are coming out of college in your 20s like most traditional students. When my mother suggested I read “The Power of Focus for Women: What Successful Women Know about the Secret to Conquering Challenges & Creating Change,” I was both excited and skeptical. I thought, “but I’m pretty focused…she even said so herself,” however, being a bookworm and tad bit curious, I figured it couldn’t hurt to see what the book was all about. As of lately, it’d become my “thing” to read non-fiction books. After jumping into the field of journalism –where everything is non-fiction—you start to prefer things that way.
It took about six months to finish because I was also reading other books for both school assignments and leisure.
How was it?
The PFFW written by husband and wife duo Fran Hewitt and Les Hewitt is a book that every woman –aspiring to be successful in everything she does– should have in her possession. The Hewitts tackle issues many women face such as insecurities, learning how to say “no” and remaining distraction free while sticking to goals we set out for ourselves. The book is 297 pages long and is separated into “eight focusing strategies” (or sections if that’s what you’re use to).
The eight sections discuss things such as change and how to deal with it, masks and roles we play in society, self-esteem, how to prioritize work and family, setting boundaries, eliminating the four burdens: perfectionism, guilt, worry and resentment , The deceptive triangle: image, health and money, and lastly how to be “happy” on purpose.
Although the book has a copyright year of 2003, 10 years later these are still very relevant issues that women face in 2013 and many times we’re clueless as to how to solve these issues because these are things that we feel internally.
Many of us are good at hiding what we feel inside and may continue to hide it until we crash and burn, and that just creates a bigger mess of our lives.
My favorite section of the book is in “Focusing Strategy #2” where the Hewitts discuss “the roles we play and the masks and labels we wear.”
I remember reading this particular section of the book and thinking, “oh, well I don’t wear any of these masks,” only to turn the page and there I was. It was a full description of how I’d lived my life on the day-to-basis.
How could the Hewitts know me so well and they’ve never met me?
It was at this moment that I knew there was no turning back and I’d have to read the book in its entirety. The Hewitts could identify me because I’m not the only person who does these things. I found out that I wear the “busy bee” mask. A person who wears this mask typically likes to be busy and that basically describes me.
I despise having “nothing” to do and I’ll admit that without shame. It’d kill me to be bored and I’m always constantly looking for “something” to do because I feel there’s always work to be done. I also found out that most women wear multiple masks. The masks I wear were listed one after the other and they all go hand in hand.
My Masks: The busy bee, the intellectual and the rescuer.
What I’ve learned about the masks I wear?
Apparently, I prefer to be busy because it’s how I avoid conflicts in my life.
School kept me busy and out of trouble. As you know, after graduating and with extra time on my hands, I was indeed forced to confront issues that I had stored away for a rainy day –issues within myself and also my relationship with others. I’ve always been a school and extracurricular activities kind of gal. Being “busy” helps me ignore the negatives and focus on the positives but I do realize that confrontation can’t always be avoided and sometimes things have to be brought to light.
Another thing, I love trying to help people even if it means my kindness being taken for weakness and my mother would always tell me “you can’t help everyone,” and I’m learning to cope with that in adulthood.
It seems that this book entered my life at the right moment and I can’t say that every woman will be able to relate but I will say give it a chance because it helps you confront a lot of issues that you may have not known were there.
Until next time…
Stay Ambitious! Stay Motivated!