Purpose and productivity. Those are the two key words that sum up everything we (Ok it's just me!) do here on the blog. What most people don't know is that the work I do today online took many iterations before I reached clarity.
Back in the late 1990's, my friend Allan Wright and I launched Catholic Ventures. I used Frontpage to do the website and had nearly no idea what I was doing. Our photos were stretched, of low quality and as for "blogging", it really didn't exist.
Years later Allan would go on to become a successful writer and speaker and his new website was born. It is a great homebase for folks to learn more about Allan and his niche- Scripture and how it impacts daily living. Good stuff.
Trying to figure out what was "next" after Catholic Ventures, I launched The Daily Saint and puttered for years as a productivity blogger. There were guest posts on LifeHack, Mike Vardy and other sites as a means of gaining exposure. This was fun until I realized that, in the sea of big time websites, my little outfit might not make it.
So I flipped the switch. It was time to not abandon my "voice" and alter it just a bit.
I felt drawn to shift from productivity to writing about purpose in daily work. I would link spiritual concepts to everyday aspects of work. As the church at large does a pretty bad job (just my opinion here) in linking faith to work, this iteration of The Daily Saint was a genuine contribution to people's lives. There were probably 10 people around the world talking about work and spirituality at the time. It was a great time to be a writer with one exception: people didn't dig it.
Article after article and post after post. The response from readers was loud enough- crickets. My message, while a passion to me personally, wasn't resonating with readers.
I realized over time that a change was needed. Another shift in the works. Turns out, other writers like Jeff Goins have made similar turns in their craft. Jeff says that he had to create 7 or 8 different blogs until he found a voice that was a) unique and personal and b) connecting with readers.
And so the new site was born. I rarely use the "Daily Saint" phase any more, preferring to build a brand around my own name. Today's writing and speaking are all about two things: purpose and productivity. As I look back, these two ideas summed up all of my prior work even though I didn't know it at the time.
The hard part- I had to go through all of those chapters to be able to create the "book" that is unfolding today. My voice is clear today but that's only because it wasn't before. Is your message clear? How about your sense of personal mission and calling?
For Follow Up
Where are you today in your career that you weren't at 5 years ago? What paved the way for your current success (or even your current struggles)? How are you stronger, more purposeful and more focused than you were last year or the year before?
Write these responses down or simply type them up. Then, share them with someone else. You just might inspire them to keep trying.