Finding My Focus


Lately, I have been simultaneously energized and paralyzed. True, this is an oxymoron, but strangely it is how I have felt for the past few weeks. In the realm of creativity outside of my 9-5, I have been struck with spurts of excitement about certain ideas, which if I am being honest with myself, are in a million different crazy directions. At the exact same time, I feel completely paralyzed about where to turn and direct my focus. Of course my family is and always will be my number one priority and I am not shy to say no or be non-committal about certain things if it means sacrificing time with my family.

BUT, there is and always will be this extra “thing” nagging at me somewhere inside, driving me to do something else. To do something extra. To do something that fulfills my creative side. I’ve never really been one to just have one “thing”. In college I always had two, maybe three different jobs at one time. Teaching gymnastics, working at restaurants, working as a student assistant for the state, or filing papers at a law office. Take your pick, my job was never singular. I couldn’t just work and go to school. (As an aside, who even ONLY goes to school these days, is that a real thing!?) I enjoyed working, working some more, being hyper-involved in my sorority, and going to school.

Fast forward to my adult life and professional career and you see the same thing. I quickly fell in line with my marketing direction for work and I truly like what I do. But, once I was in a secure and stable job at the Public Health Institute (PHI) doing marketing for nutrition programs, I felt that nagging “thing” again, urging me to do something extra. It was the right season in our life and many people around us were getting married, including Gino and I. After the design of our wedding stationery and paper goods, I thought I found it! I began courses in graphic design and photoshop to build my skills and confidence in design. I loved this and without kids, it was easy to dedicate my outside of work energy to it. I started Sarahfina Designs and have a healthy portfolio of experience to show for it over the past six years. I loved what I was doing and had big dreams of opening my own paper shop or becoming a full service custom stationery designer, largely based on wedding invitations.

And then there were kids! My sweet baby Luke came along and suddenly I realized that I preferred spending my time rolling around on the floor, blowing zerbers on his belly, and trying to make him laugh. I still did design work but took big and conscious step back. At this time in my career, I decided to leave my long standing job with PHI and went on to pursue the marketing agency life. That year forced me so far out of my comfort zone that I was literally a hot mess. I was already out of my comfort zone as a new mom working full-time, and that job pushed me even harder professionally. Looking back, I am extremely thankful for that experience. I truly did learn a lot (trial-by-fire) and am much more confident in my skills and expertise in my line of work because if it and the great things I learned from the wonderful people I worked with. But that was a hard time and during that year, I felt all of my creative outlets come to a screeching halt. I was just surviving, let alone thinking about doing extra “things” on top of what was already on my plate.

Through all of this, my blog has remained a slow and steady platform for me to share and express some of my feeling, not really having a true focus, but that’s always been ok with me. Now that we are blessed with #babysciandri2, our life is very full and happy. We have our new house and I spent the majority of my maternity leave (while Leo was sleeping of course) on my hands, knees, elbows and a ladder, working with Gino on our remodel. Neither of us were afraid to jump head first into our home projects and we were able to accomplish a lot in our first six months here. This was the extra “thing” for me, the place for my focus, the source of my creative outlet. But, we’re done for a while now. All the bedrooms and main hallway are complete so we are just saving more for the next round of projects.

That brings us to today. I’m happy, feeling settled with life and getting excited about a million different directions, but lacking the ability to set a focus.

  • Maybe I’ll get involved in my community a little more
  • Find a Board to be a part of
  • Volunteer for causes I care about
  • Finally set up that Etsy shop I’ve been ignoring for nearly seven years
  • Start doing more design stuff
  • Take photography classes
  • Begin blogging consistently
  • Reactivate my library card to read some business books
  • Write something
  • Start some sewing projects
  • Apply for a seed grant to develop a website to promote South Land Park and surrounding neighborhoods
  • Take interior design classes
  • Open up a drive up coffee kiosk at the South Hills Shopping Center….seriously, it totally needs one! 

You see, I am all over the place, I know this and I can’t get out of my own head to focus! I have been working with Gino for some Primo Landscape + Design stuff, but there is something else. I feel a desire to go in a new, unchartered direction but I don’t know what that is.

Last week I attended an event called Emerge Summit, a conference for young professionals put on by Metro EDGE, a group of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. I felt excited to hear stories of success from peers who are achieving great things in their careers and communities. I left feeling energized to do great work for my firm and help elevate the work that I do as our Marketing Manager and also inspired to do some “thing” that fulfills my life. I will always need that extra “thing”, outside of my job, that I can do with passion and creativity.


The keynote speaker at the Emerge Summit, Ben Casnocha – Author & Entrepreneur, talked about finding your entrepreneurial spirit. He urged us to recognize that thinking like an entrepreneur doesn’t mean we all have to open businesses. I resonated with his message so much that I bought his book, The Startup of You, on my phone right there on the spot while he was speaking!

Do you want to know my secret? I think that I do have an entrepreneurial spirit but it is hiding. It is hiding for silly and non-valid reasons and I sometimes feel inadequate to admit it, like I won’t live up to it or something, so it’s better to just act like it’s not there. That’s dumb, I know. So for now, I’ll take a baby step on this journey of finding my focus and finish the book. In the meantime, please enjoy these random pictures of my little men =)
LeoRobert5months LukeSantino3.5

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