Focus Empowers

Vision 2020 From Founder Devin Ford

Thank you all for making Focus WC 2019 a huge success! We have big plans this year and are looking for ways to serve you year-round. Some of you have reached out and asked where I have been. Well…sometimes when you want to go BIG you have to take a step back and refocus.

Honestly, the last few years were tough.  I struggled a lot. Once I had Charley, I kept scheduling life as I did before she was here. Mackenzie, my stepdaughter, tricked me. I’d gotten the step-mom thing down pretty well, but that’s part time work. AND she was potty trained when she came into my life. SO, in a few short years, I’d gone from a single woman who got plenty of sleep, fun and self care to a wife and mother of two. Yikes. 

I went back to work when Charley was two weeks old. Yep, you read that right. Two weeks. Now, I didn’t go full out right away, but within a few months I was back to serving on multiple boards. And on top of my photography business, we launched Focus. I was completely overwhelmed with commitments, trying to do everything, to be the best at everything. Mentally, physically and emotionally I was exhausted and starting having health problems. Shocking, I know.

In 2017, I was out with my girlfriend (Chris Gibson, you’re the best) and she told me that I was doing too much. She told me to go home and write down everything that is important to me and to quit everything else. So I thought about it…

Being healthy, a good mom, impacting and engaging my community, having healthy relationships, fun, traveling and being financially independent…that’s my core. That’s what I want. But how do I get there?

Here are the things I promised myself: No more being over scheduled. Making time to rest is a top priority. I will no longer waste time on things that I don’t want to do or people that don’t appreciate it and will show up BIG for the relationships that I value most.

Time is literally the most precious commodity we have. It is more precious than gold. When we are overcommitted, it’s impossible to show up fully. I resigned from boards and cut everything possible from my schedule (P.S. You find out who cares about you when you say no.). I took a hard look at my relationships, started taking my health seriously and getting rest.

Next, it was time to examine my businesses and look at how they are serving my personal goals. Focus is pretty new, but I’ve been pursuing photography full time for 20 years. It’s become a part of who I am, but opportunities and big ‘ole student loans sent me on a path different than intended. 

I was retouching an ad and had no idea Charley was watching me. The client wanted more. It was my third round retouching this lady… It was depressing, she didn’t even look like herself anymore. “Mommy what are you doing?” I was ashamed and shut my laptop.

Digital was not even a thing when I started. Retouching women to oblivion is the exact opposite of the work I do with Focus. And it is not an example that I want to set for my girls. Now don’t get me wrong, I am down with retouching—cleaning up flyways, lightening a few wrinkles, but shaving 40 pounds off of people and getting rid of every wrinkle and blemish… Nope. Not doing it anymore. 

Over the last few years, I really started asking myself—What is my purpose? If I am investing time in something, does it align with my values? How am I making the world better for my daughters? I want my work to have positive impact.

I wrote down all my photo clients and rated them. Did they align with my values? Do they pay my rate or try to negotiate? Do I like working with them? Does the project interfere with me showing up for my people? And I let some go. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good people or that their projects aren’t important. It just meant they aren’t a good fit for me anymore.

Then I wrote down all the big things I want to accomplish with Focus, all my ideas for programs and events, where do I want that to go? My list was so long guys. Too long. I ran my ideas by people I respect and spent a lot of time thinking. And thinking…

Then came getting organized, planning strategically and getting a business buddy. I focused on my business and personal goals and decided my “volunteer” work would be doing favors for friends instead of committing myself to boards. More things fell away and my plan came into focus. Saying no enabled me to say yes. Change had come.

Photo by Keyhole Photo.

My word of the year for 2019 was NO. This year my word is TRIBE, but no is readily on my lips so that I can say big yeses to the people and things that matter most to me. Yes to playing Barbie, yes to making calls for friends and yes to completely refocusing my business. That last one is BIG. 

This is the year that Focus truly becomes more than just a conference. We will be growing our online publication and hosting events to serve you year round.  And most importantly, we are going to be there to help you build the relationships that will encourage and empower you. 

The end of a decade. Can you believe it? 2020 is a big one. Let’s make the most of it.

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