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Focus, Integrity and Guilt, Oh My!

I just realized I had it all wrong this whole time.  I hate it when that happens!  It feels like starting over.

Maybe 9 years ago I came back from a trip and had to buy a car.  I knew the price range, the options (everything I could possibly get that I could afford!), and that I wanted it American-made (as much as everyone says our cars aren’t great — this is officially the best car I have ever had and personally I like it when my fellow Americans are working).  Back to the story.

So I bought a Ford Focus ZW wagon.  It was quick, as sporty as I could be needing room for my big two dogs, had a great warranty, and came with every perk imaginable, but still I could afford it.  But you know what the kicker was?  The name.  Focus.

See, all along I have known I had this focus problem.  So when I got back, I thought, ok …  you need to remember every day all the time, FOCUS.  You will then reach your goals.

Things started working.  I traveled a ton, found a job, got married, quit drinking, kicked an eating disorder, started my own business, created a nonprofit, was open with my husband about my addictions / lack of focus, and ended up with a Land Rover.  It was sleek and beautiful (still carried my dogs) and cool and hip and trendy and foreign.

And then I started becoming foreign to myself.  I’m not blaming it on the car, but I lost something.  And I could not really figure out what that was.

So years later / a divorce, here I sit.  Looking out at the driveway back with my Focus, wondering why, if I have had it two years, do I not feel like I am getting it back?  I am working so hard on getting keeping my focus, figuring out new ideas, reviewing new strategies, working nonstop to achieve very high goals that I have set for myself — ones that will help so many others as well.

It is almost like I came to a screeching halt yesterday.  I had this major big lump in my gut and block in my brain, feeling exhausted and like a complete failure because things just are not moving forward for me.  Why?  What was it?  Guilt.

And then I realized.  Focus is great, but you need to focus on the right things.  Probably two of the most important things to me are integrity and loyalty, and somewhere along the way I seem to have lost those in my constant quest for focus.  So guilt crept in me and stood there until I figured it out.  And it is like a light bulb finally went off in my brain.

I have so much guilt for trying to do so much and doing it poorly, focusing on getting a lot done for the benefit of everyone else.  I really felt that my goals were altruistic, so why weren’t they working?  I was focusing on too much, and not following through.  I was counting on others that didn’t follow through, and making promises on things that were out of my control.  I was repeatedly not following through and feeling worse and worse about myself without even realizing it.  You have to focus on following through with the most important things that deal with the most important people in your life.  Otherwise, you have nothing.

So that is it.  Integrity. My new word.  Granted, I’m not going to go out and buy a new car named ‘Integrity’.  There are cheaper ways of doing that.  I have other tricks, like sticking notepads on my mirror (cheesy, but works), creating / putting up posters, writing down the people that are important to me / what I have promised and not followed through doing — and do it!  I will be working hard to be honest, avoid the ‘easy’ answers, and not make promises I can’t keep, 0ne day at a time.

So today I am going to create that list.  I’m not going to make more promises, I am going to work to figure those things out and follow through on them, putting everything else aside (organizing, volunteering, working on new solutions to old problems that I can’t figure out answers to — and sorry to my friends and family that have seen them all along and wondered WHY is she tormenting herself?).  And I will see where that gets me.

I think I just might find out maybe the solutions to my problems were there all along; I was just too busy trying to focus to really see them.

Focus, Integrity and Guilt, Oh My!

Kathryn Goetzke

I own a company called the Mood-factory (, a company that creates products based on how sensory experiences effect moods. I also run a nonprofit for depressio, iFred (, we are working to change the brand of depression. And yes, I have ADHD, along with PTSD, major depressive disorder, and a host of other challenges, opportunities, and gifts.

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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2010). Focus, Integrity and Guilt, Oh My!. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 17 Mar 2010
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