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F.O.C.U.S. Time: Watch your steps

Diana Jaworski
Sentinel columnist
Posted 5/7/23

Walking up and down the hallway, I was so excited to receive my new shoes. My mom loved buying my sister, brother, and me new clothes whenever she was able.

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F.O.C.U.S. Time: Watch your steps


Walking up and down the hallway, I was so excited to receive my new shoes.

My mom loved buying my sister, brother, and me new clothes whenever she was able. Her budget was tight and many times we had to do without certain items, but she made it a priority to have us dressed as nicely as possible for church.

On this day, I felt extra special. My shoes were white in color, which up until now, I did not own. Perhaps it was because it did not match my outfits? I could not wait to show my friends at church my new pair of shoes.

Unfortunately, they were more intrigued, as 10-year-olds in my time would be, to play down by the creek, which was just a hop, skip and a jump away from the church. And so was I. Quickly, I followed them to the muddy grounds where I soon realized my white shoes were no longer shiny white.

In retrospect, I now realize why my mom was hesitant to buy me white shoes. She understood my curious nature.

Running back to church, shoes covered in mud, I attempted to clean them as best I could in the bathroom. I thought back to the horror someone might have received when walking into the bathroom with brown mud all over the sink and floor.

All the soap and water in the bathroom could not thoroughly clean my shoes. My mom was not so happy when she saw my not-so -white shoes.

It was apparent that I did not take the time to watch my steps. I failed to realize the outcome of treading through muddy soil. But, as the years went by, watching my steps became a constant theme. I have become more aware of: What distractions are keeping me from fulfilling my purpose or reaching my goals? What is preventing me from being intentional about my personal growth? Where are my steps taking me into the future? How may I continue to watch my STEPS?

S - Set time aside each day to evaluate where you are, where you are going, and where you want to go. As you ponder this, write them down in a journal, along with the progress being made.

T – Think of what is distracting or stopping you from taking your first steps toward becoming who you want to be. What are your weak points in your life that you wish to improve upon to help make those positive decisions? Self-awareness is key to self-improvement. What distractions easily take your focus off your goal?

E – Establish strategies to overcome distractions. Be intentional about what you want to accomplish in your day-to-day life. Implement what works. This may take discipline and courage to avoid distractions that keep one’s focus off the goals.

P – Partner with the right people who will lead you to success. We tend to adapt qualities from the people we mix with the most. From experience, I have witnessed that the people you associate with hold the most influence in one’s life. That is why it is valuable to find those who will help you achieve the greatest heights. Beware of those who will choose to lead you to that “muddy creek” to enjoy watching a person never achieve his or her full potential. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who will push you to become the best version of yourself.

S – Sustain a strong foothold. People become distracted, discouraged, and disheartened along life’s journey. Shoes will become muddy now and then, and that is ok. Clean them up with better decision-making. With firm determination, keep your feet steady on the path to personal growth. Do not waver to the left or to the right but maintain your focus throughout your journey.

Time passed and my mom decided to give me a new pair of shoes. [Brave woman.] What color? Shiny white. Did she not know what I was capable of? Did she not see the mess I left that day in the bathroom?

She knew. She knew it very well. But life at times gives us another opportunity to prove to ourselves, and others, that we have what it takes to watch our steps the second time around. I am thankful that my mom trusted me with the new pair of shoes.

Learning my lesson or maybe it was the fear of upsetting her again, I pulled my old pair of shoes out of my bag, put them on, and waved to my mom while heading to play down by the creek. I was still young, and many more lessons were to be learned. But for now, this 10-year-old girl was about to go muddy up those old shoes once more.

Diana Jaworski, F.O.C.U.S. Coaching Services, is a certified coach, teacher, trainer and speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team. Learn more about personal growth by visiting her website at


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