Why Effort isn't Enough - Purpose #2


Feeling Lost

Have you ever felt lost?  I have.  Many times.  By lost I don’t mean I didn’t know where I was. I mean I didn’t know where I was going or, in most cases, I knew where I wanted to go I just didn’t know how to get there.  That’s probably been my main feeling of ‘lost’ over the years.

The Napkin Dad Daily

My Napkin Dad endeavor is a good example.  I knew why I did it at the beginning, in 1998, obviously. I was drawing for my daughters. If you don’t know that story you can check it out at the ‘Napkin Beginnings‘ page. After they finished school I posted those drawings online for my friends and audience at Flickr.com starting in 2005 and on The Napkin Dad Daily starting in 2008.

And for 10 years now I have continued to do that.  It became a way for me to express myself artistically and intellectually.  I felt I had simply expanded my idea from giving these expressions to my daughters to giving them to the entire world.  And the napkins have gone all around the world.  I have friends in every corner of the globe as a result of the napkins.  I even got a tw0-page spread in a big coffee table book about the history of napkins published in Norway!  

Time for a Change

It also became a way for me to make money.  I became friends and then professional partners with great people in Australia as a result of the napkins.  I sold merchandise based on the napkins; t-shirts, cups, cards, a book and even the napkins themselves. I have also done many paid and unpaid speaking gigs based on me being ‘The Napkin Dad’.

But I don’t make very much money doing this.  It’s been a labor of love that has been made possible by my wife, Linda, supporting us on her salary, for which I am very grateful.  I contribute some, but not nearly as much as she does.  Last year I decided that if I was going to continue doing the napkins I would need to focus on making it a viable business that made substantially more money than it had been.  


So I enrolled in an entrepreneurial class at Tulsa Community College called ‘Launch’ in 2014. It was a 16 week program dedicated to teaching some of the essentials of owning a business and actually mentor the participants so they could actually launch their business by the end of the class.  I had high hopes for the class and many of my hopes were realized.  But some of my hopes were not realized and the reason for that was my inability to find and refine my purpose and direction. 

But not being able to launch my new direction in 16 weeks didn’t mean I wasn’t working on it.  I was and I am.  

What’s In A Name?

While many ingredients go into a business, it really starts with an idea and a name.  My moniker has always been ‘The Napkin Dad’ and that isn’t changing.  The name of the blog has been ‘The Napkin Dad Daily’ and that is changing. It’s now simply, ‘The Napkin‘.  

The reasons?   

  • My 4 daughters are all grown women now.  Two of them have children of their own.  I am not an active dad of young kids that the word ‘dad’ in a blog would hint at.
  • I most often draw and I write about things not directly related to raising kids or being a parent.  This has started to create a conflict in my own head, with the name no longer accurately reflecting what The Napkin is about. It’s no longer primarily about me as a dad, it’s about me as a man and an artist.  My focus has changed over the years and I want the name of my endeavor to reflect that. 
  • I want to broaden the appeal and keeping ‘dad’ in the title immediately puts me in a genre I don’t really fit anymore.  People come to blogs based on those sorts of genre titles and it’s appeal is limited because of the title. 

Absorbent Art

The other element in a title is the ‘tag line’. It’s the descriptive phrase that succinctly says what the enterprise is all about.  At the beginning the word ‘absorbent’ attached itself to the blog.  As I worked through new ideas the word ‘absorbent’ stayed constant.  I recently tried out ‘Absorbent Ideas for Head and Heart’ But it still lacked the definition I wanted.  Last night I changed one word.  

Now it reads, ‘Absorbent Art for Head and Heart‘.  

That clarified and focused my thinking about the entire endeavor. 

The Napkin is about:  

  • My art; the creating, sharing and selling of it.
  • Sharing other artists and their art with you in conversations, studios, galleries, museums and online.
  • Helping other artists via creativity coaching.
  • Exploring the ideas, subjects and beliefs that drive the creation of art.
  • Inspiring and motivating others as a speaker to bring out their creativity in positive ways.
  • My passionate belief that the individual and the world can be changed for the better by art.

Call To Action

Yes, I would like you to do something for me.  Maybe even a few things.

  • Suggest improvements or new features on the website or if see a problem, let me know.  The contact information
  • Donate financially to the building of The Napkin.  There are costs associated with trying to get this launch off the ground and any little bit helps.  There is a ‘Donate’ button over on the right.
  • Hire me as your Creativity Coach. If you need a jump start with your own creative endeavors I will work with you to get you back in the creative groove, no matter how long ago you put that groove on the shelf.  Here is a post about it. 
  • Hire me as a speaker. I am available for corporate and group speaking engagements and can speak on a variety of topics having to do with creativity, art, social media, photography and more.  Contact me if you or your company is interested.  Take a look at the ‘speaking‘ page for more information.
  • Subscribe to The Napkin if you haven’t already. It will come to your email whenever I post.
  • Promote ‘The Napkin’ to your friends and social media followers.
  • Comment on the blog.  Even if you just say ‘Nice’ or something like that, it helps my traffic statistics.
  • New merchandise will be coming soon.  Buy something (maybe as a gift?) when the time comes.  

So, there you have it.  I love creating ‘The Napkin’ for you and hope to continue doing it even better well into the future!






Drawing by Marty Coleman

Quote by President John F. Kennedy, 1917 – 1963, 35th President of the United States (1961-1963)



%d bloggers like this: