What matters most to you?
Think about it. When faced with this question, what's the first answer that comes to mind?
What matters most to you?
When I was looking at my work and my pathway some time last year, I asked that question. Again and again. As I pondered on what I'd do next with my life, my career, I asked myself: "What matters most to you?"
My kids. My family. It was automatic. No hesitation. I know.
It wasn't blogging or networking. It wasn't about making it to "popularity lists" or becoming known as Miss Influential. It wasn't even art or writing or any of my personal dreams.
My kids and family matter most.
Following that thought pattern, I looked deeply in to what kind of work would suit me best knowing what matters most to me.
Almost the same time as my last Big Project ended for me, I received an offer to do postgraduate studies in a University here in Adelaide. The degree: Master of Teaching, Junior Primary/Primary (additional specialty in Special Education).
Working with Kids.
It was a strange sensation, thinking about it. A career change? A shift in my personal direction? Or, is it just a way of bringing me back on track?
You see, the idea of working with kids has always been something I harboured.
The fact that my first (and so far, only) book published is a Children's Book is probably one big clue about this matter. Plus, some of my first writing gigs were for kid/family/education-focused publications.
And yes, I did teach and tutor in the Philippines. I even considered doing it full-time at some stage.
Even when I was practising in Psychology, I wanted to do Child and/or Educational Psychology. In fact, my first official psych work in Singapore was at a school there.
However, other opportunities came along - and I became sidetracked.
Somehow, though, the idea keeps coming back.
Working with kids? My heart was already jumping with excitement at the thought of it.
After some soul searching and further research, I accepted the postgrad study offer. I didn't know how my experiences and expertise in Media, Social Web, and Psychology would all fit in to my new pathway, but it didn't matter at the time. I knew I was on a new, exciting adventure!
As my mind shifted from my old web-community paradigm to my new working-with-kids-and-education one, something struck me.
Like an imaginary bridge connecting my "old life" to my new one, I saw this project beginning to take form. Not exactly a Eureka! moment, but it certainly felt close to one.
And, not long after, I started working on KIDoosh (kidoosh.com), a content and community network for parents, teachers, and other carer of kids (mostly ages 12 and below).
So no, it's not just a blog. Nor a blog network. It's not even a megablog or a megasite. Or, whatever it is people on the interwebs call 'em nowadays. 😉
However, as it currently stands, it's mostly just a number of sites/blogs linked together with some social networking and such thrown in using WordPress MU and a number of add-ons to make it all work together. But, I want it to be much more than that. I definitely have other hopes and plans for KIDoosh. It's just a matter of time, finding the right people, finance, and all that crazy business and development jazz.
Actually, that's why I've held back launching KIDoosh all these time. It just doesn't feel ready yet. There's so much more I want to do. Including changing our logo/banner (yes, I hired a designer who unfortunately didn't quite deliver--- another reason the launch kept getting delayed). There are still a lot of things that need fixing, editing, adding... So, I keep thinking: It's not right yet. The timing's still off.
But then, I got a massive nudge reading the words of Mark Victor Hansen:
"Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful."
And apparently, Pixar (another kid-friendly place?!) president Ed Catmull shares a very similar sentiment about showing projects early. Or rather, before they're even ready. To improve. To fix. To succeed. (Thanks for the hat tip, @blpro!)
So, that's why KIDoosh is finally out of my Projects Closet. In BETA form, but still...
Even more thrilling because I'm soft launching this baby with a few wonderful women who have been helping me to build this dream...
- Mary Emma Allen - writing Family Food, Writing for Children, and co-writing Reading Books for Kids
- Kari Rohl - writing Kids and Family Crafts
- Kristyn Maslog-Levis - writing Baby, Babies! and Gadgets for Kids
- Nikki Katz - writing Young Authors
- Melvie Yang - writing Kids' Style
Other "minor milestones" / "mini-successes" pre-launch include:
- The site has already over 50 members, even though it hasn't been promoted yet;
- Having its very own business plan to get us going;
- One of my lecturers at Uni saw this project and really liked it; said that he's hoping to mention KIDoosh to other teaching students in his future lectures (oh, and I got a High Distinction from this class - heh); and
- The main site has a Google PR of 2 (with minimal linkages, etc).
Tiny, tiny stuff in the great big scheme of things, I know. But, when you're starting a project, even the tiniest things feel exciting. That's the beauty of a startup. The flip side, of course, is that there's all that work and money that need go in to building and growing these tiny, tiny things. Ah, yes. Those. Well, I'll deal with those things as we go along.
For now, if you've managed to read this far --- and if you've got kids who matter heaps to you too (children, nephews/nieces, grandchildren, godchildren, students, etc etc) --- please do head on over to KIDoosh. Have a look around, sign-up/register (it's free!), leave a comment or two, create a profile, join a group, and connect with fellow grown-ups who just happen to love kids and kids' stuff.
As a member/fan/subscriber, you'll be one of the first to know about the developments over at KIDoosh.
I'm really, really looking forward to seeing you there. And, to reading/hearing any ideas/suggestions/thoughts that you might have about it all.