The term “Self Care” has an association with bubble baths or indulgence in material comforts. Self Focus can sound selfish. However, Self Care and Self Focus are what make us thrive as individuals and is much more rooted in self empowerment and the reality in which we create.
For many of us, Self Focus sounds like a foreign idea, because its hard to think about ourselves. Some of us have no idea what we want, how we feel, or, even, who we are. Many of us feel pulled in a million different directions with day to day life. Plus, the idea of making a change sounds terrifying. I was stuck in this mindset and pattern of thinking for many years.
I am a co-parenting mother of a seven year-old insurance/legal professional. I graduated law school by the skin of my teeth in 2013, on the heals of my divorce from my son’s father. My son was one years-old. I had no immediate family in the state and had to juggle much on my own. I am a two time bar exam failure, third time success story as of 2020.
Beyond my failed marriage, I never had failed at anything in my life before the bar. I was a model student and fantastic employee. I worked hard and loved to learn. Failing the bar was a devastating blow to my self esteem and confidence. I knew the law well. I taught most of my study group concepts they struggled to understand. How could this have happened to me? Not to mention, the bar exam is only offered twice a year, and my legal assistant job, at that time, was barely paying the bills. My life had been on hold for the bar for over a year, and I was in no better position than when I sat for it the first time.
In 2015 I took a job in insurance for better pay and a change of landscape. I took to it quickly and excelled. It didn’t take long before I got bored, but comfortable.
From 2015 to 2019, I lived for 5 o’clock, Happy Hour and vacation time. I distracted myself from my feelings of dissatisfaction (among other things) with anything that could keep me preoccupied. This started a period of my life where I simply lost passion, including for law. I climbed the corporate latter and experienced a lot of wins, but I felt a little dead inside.
It hit me in the Summer of 2019 that I was essentially one position away from “topping out” of my current area of insurance. The bar exam was never far from my mind, but the idea of even planning how to embark on that monstrous voyage- seemed impossible. However, I knew I would need to think about what next, sooner rather than later. As my child was getting older, and my circumstances were changing, I needed to think about expansion and what that looked like.
In the summer of 2019, I started to take baby steps toward the bar exam. I found some bar prep materials on Amazon, and a friend donated a lion-share of her prep materials upon successfully passing. At first, I didn’t really tell anyone that I was doing this- especially not my employer. The embarrassment of failing it again, and facing the entire world was of upmost avoidance. I studied in the evenings and on weekends.
Fate presented me with an opportunity to go to my last stop, in my realm of insurance. I am a remote or “work from home” employee, and just so happened to be in the office one day for a systems training, when I heard of a former colleague of mine was giving his notice.
The search for his replacement had not yet begun. I would get the first bite at the apple. The role my colleague was vacating, was the role for which I got into the insurance gambit, albeit my last stop.
The system training ended. I chatted with a few of my coworkers wherein I heard the news. I walked right into my old manager’s office, asked for the job, detailing my plan to take the bar exam. Therefore, suggesting that I do insurance related legal work for my company.
My secret, was no longer a secret. The pressure was on now. I had to get this done and it was going to take everything I had in me to do it. I have a very demanding job and I am a mom. I tapped into the resources in and around me. I woke up early and stayed up late. From August 2019 until February 2020, I lived and breathed Bar Exam Prep Materials. I replaced television with Torts lectures and Facebook scrolling with Evidence Outlines.
The process of focusing on the one thing that I knew would give me the key to create the life I wanted for myself, was one of purification and cleansing. Bad habits and distractions fell away or had to take a back seat. I had to be highly diligent with my time. No, left my lips more than it ever had before. Social niceties for the sake of nice became unimportant. Further, I had to recognize the people in my life that took more than they gave, and what that meant for me and our relationship. It showed me the ways I gave to get love, and how that in turn caused me to deeply resent people for not living up to my insatiable expectations, which caused disruption in my life.
Whatever I lost in those months of study, I gained back ten fold. Focusing on what I needed to do for myself to create a life I don’t have to escape from, was nothing more than a great act of self care.
Whatever your “bar exam” is, in your life, now is the time to go towards it. Whenever we set a new intention, start a new path, or embark on a new idea, the universe echoes back to us. The echo can come in the way of a redirection or opportunity. You could experience synchronicity and strokes of luck. You will never know unless you try.
What if you dont know what your “bar exam” is? Now is a time to figure that out. What lights a fire inside of you? The thing that you do, that some call work, and, you feel like its play, that is your purpose in this collective consciousness.
Its easy to tell ourselves that we can’t do it, we are too old, or we have too many responsibilities bogging us down. That’s not true and a lie we tell ourselves to keep ourselves stuck. The world needs your light more than ever before, so go towards your passion or sit with yourself to find what that it is.