After working on it for more than a year, I’ve finally launched my new blog!
This project is a culmination of 2 years of investigation. When I went to Pioneer Nation in 2014, I had just come back from Costa Rica, and I was trying to figure out some way to brand myself beyond the ‘web designer in tropical paradise’ thing I had been riding.
It turns out, I wasn’t that good at maintaining a brand like that. It’s hard to be a digital nomad when you’ve got 3 kids in tow, and the space was already saturated by newbies (like me) who had just figured it out and were trying to cash in on blogging as a business. Instead of trying really really hard to make it work, I decided to pivot.
I had to ask myself some really hard questions:
- What do I want to write about?
- What do I want to be known for?
- How can my work be of greatest service to the world?
This final question was the one that really stumped me.
WDS Core Values
As my regular readers know, adventure is not a problem for me. I have to actively tone down the amount of adventure I have in my life, or it can easily get out of hand.
I’m a natural extrovert, so dropping me in the middle of a crowd of people is an easy way to integrate me into a community. Now that I’m back in my home country, participating in communities is easy and fun.
But service? What was I really doing to better the world?
Helping Men Become Better Dads
While I was stumped, I kept writing through the problem. This technique has served me well, ever since the beginning of my career when I was a freelance writer. When I was stumped by a problem, I would just sit down and write until I found the answer.
After many blog posts and newsletters, there was one blog post that stood out – the one that really spoke to people, the one that mattered, the one where people came up to me later and said, “That really affected me.”
I published this article on the 10th anniversary of my marriage to my wife. It was full of the wisdom I had learned with her, on how to build a strong relationship, communicate well with each other, and be a good partner to the love of your life. To this day it is the most-viewed post on this blog.
This surprised me.
For lots of reasons, I never considered myself an expert on family matters, on relationships, or communication. I had a very difficult childhood, and while I thought it might be a good story for some project in my future, it’s not a story I’m ready to share yet. I didn’t feel like I had anything valuable to say on these topics, until I said some things and it mattered to people.
This is what’s funny about creative investigation – you often find what you don’t expect. If it was obvious, you wouldn’t need to go looking for it.
So I listened. I dug around. I asked myself, What is the unique service I can bring to the world?
With 50% of all marriages ending in divorce, there are a lot of broken families out there. Helping men to become better fathers can make children into better people – and by extension, that will make a better world in a century or so.
That’s noble work. And while I didn’t expect to find myself in this field, it’s at the overlap the Japanese call Ikigai:
Now that I’ve launched the website and the blog, I’m going to start building products that solve problems that dads are facing, solutions they would pay money for. That’s the next step; but first I’m interviewing lots of dads to find out what I should build.
How You Can Help
My new blog could use some comments. My new newsletter could use some subscribers. If you’d like to keep up with what I’m doing, please follow along. I’m going to transition all of my writing over to this new website by the end of this year, because it’s the platform that will sustain me for the next 5-10 years.
Take a tour around the new website, and let me know what you think.