The first year was remarkable, even featured by WordPress as one of the top ten daily blogs to follow in 2012. Many nominated it for a multitude of awards and its following rapidly grew to humble me greatly. At that moment I accepted this journey is bigger than myself and I committed to do all that I could to grow this community that we now call Operation-365. A culture that says, “Every day of every year, our individual impact truly matters to someone in the world around us.”
It all started as a self-challenge to photograph and interview a complete stranger, every day, for one full year (a self-healing experiment to cure myself from a life moment that almost crushed my spirit). Originally it was called “The RADSTONEBLOG” and for those 365 consecutive days my life was ever changed for the better (and I hope yours as well) as I published these portraits and essays: One complete year (no days missed) of stories highlighting the faces, the wisdom and experiences of 100’s of complete strangers. A year that I pray had positive impact for all who stuck with me in listening to the many honest accounts that so many bravely shared.
You stood by my side as you daily encouraged me with your comments, your contributions and your subscriptions; and, together we finished the voyage. At our highest point we were receiving up to 4000 visits a day and I must give highest credit to you for trusting me as you gave your precious reading time. To this day I will be ever thankful for all you did in supporting me. You have to know just how much you motivated me to not give up. I’ll never forget the day you accepted a special challenge to email my wife (who has, and continues, to unselfishly lose me to many a 365 day). I still tear up at your kind gestures as you personally thanked her for letting go of me to this project. You are a wonderful people, and once again I find myself openly reaching out for your focused support.
I’m at almost 3 years of effort in expanding our community–have a bunch of ideas in development, and even this current blog site is under a slight reconstruction in order to make it clearer as to what we are doing (should have it launched in the next week or two). A few have aided me financially and in-kind, but the cost and time consumption has been carried mostly by myself. Trust me I am not whining (although it sounds like it). My intention is in this admission is pure and open. It is to expose the passion I have for what I we doing, as well as the faith that I have in Us– You and I, “The Silent Majority.” Everyday people, living everyday lives. We have so much to share and we need a place to be heard–The very core reasoning as to why Operation-365 exists.
Why am I frustrated? Most likely, it’s brought on by my high expectations getting the best of me. I confess; I had no idea of how this project was to blow up during its first year of existence. I was overwhelming how the comments and followers poured in. Perhaps it gave me a false sense of stability: Something that I now somewhat regret. For I worry that in taking an 8 month hiatus in building the current Operation-365 front end, that I unknowingly may have let you down. Then one day I said to myself, “Your voice has faded, you have abandoned your community, it is time to start contributing again.”
Thus, O365blogumentary began and with it a promise to video interview a stranger a day for 365 consecutive days. Now almost 4 months in, my drive is unwavering, but I do question the move to video. I’m not certain that video has the soul and intimacy of still photography. Plus, it is very difficult to capture the full account of the experiences and lessons learned from these random meetings of strangers.
With this, I reach out to you first, to ask if you would rather see stills and essays instead of video, or perhaps a mix of both; and secondly, to ask for your support in growing us back to where we once were (BTW: know that every day we are growing as we welcome new subscribers).
In supporting our growth, I reach out for you contributions. You may have noticed Interview-365 and other special challenges published from time to time (something that will be easier to see and contribute to in the soon to be released update). I’ll be completely transparent for the motivations behind them and as to why I invite you to participate. Motivation 1, I dream of a globally engaged community where we can truly unite in hearing and seeing each other–the more who share, the greater our unity. Motivation 2, that as we do this, we become awakened as a unique and diverse culture of individuals. Motivation 3, I pray for a day where we grow into the thousands, a point where the doors of sponsorship, donors, etc. open; and a point where we can create an organization that is sustainable and ever-expanding. Motivation 4, Through this growth, that we will be funded well enough to put our money where our mouth is–back into helping individuals and communities in any way we can.
So again I admit, I’m a little frustrated. Not so much about what, or why we are doing this 365 thing. But more personally, in questioning if I am working effectively and sharing the right stuff with you?
Yes, we are all strangers, yet in a way I feel as if you are my friends. That is why I am speaking so candidly with you. The cynics might call me codependent or a hopeless dreamer. The hurt might be afraid of me (or you) and the overwhelmed might be exhausted by the excess of interviews and written words that this site provides. Yet in all, a mission is pledged: Operation-365 is here to allow us a portal into the joys, fears, lives and councils of the many magnificent voices who have offered (and still do) their wisdom to this amazing community of persons.
If there ever was a post that meant a lot to our community, to myself, and to my family, this is the one. Your likes, your comments, your shares and your encouragements go a long way in keeping me going in doing my part to grow us closer as a people.
With the warmest of regards, I say, “Talk soon my good friends and I look forward to hearing from you!”