Happy Anniversary to “A Hopeful Sign”

(Post by GARY DOI)

It was only a year ago (May 9, 2011 to be exact) when I launched the blog, A Hopeful Sign (AHS).  It was without fanfare or celebration, a soft launch to ensure that things worked, technically speaking. Fortunately, they did.

The bigger and much more important issue was the blog’s purpose and practice: to spread hope by sharing real-life stories of living-learning-leading.

Back then the blog was a new upstart with an all-volunteer group trying to compete for space and attention against the backdrop of millions of other bloggers. The learning experience was both intimidating and exhilarating. I wasn’t even sure that they (whoever “they” are) would visit the site or read the stories, view the images or watch the videos. Would they really appreciate that hope is a powerful tool for developing resiliency?

I was convinced at the outset (and still am today) that hope is a life-sustaining resource in short supply, especially in today’s world where hopefulness remains fragile and under siege from so many sectors. How do we live life without it? Do our job well? Create a sense of efficacy? Support others in need? I don’t believe it’s possible, without a steady infusion of hope. Hope creates resilience, positive behavior and engagement. Hope is essential for facing any challenge that life puts before you.

During the planning stage before the blog was launched, my two main concerns were site design and content. I wanted an appealing design based on the concept of hopefulness – to live, to learn and to lead. My nephew Chad lent his considerable expertise and customized a dynamic WordPress template making the blog easy for me to manage. The other major challenge was securing fresh and compelling content. I first approached friends and colleagues and several agreed to lend a hand. Most of the site contributors, though, were individuals I didn’t know except through the internet. The plea was simple – please share a hopeful story about living, learning or leading. Thankfully, many took the leap of faith and selflessly gave of their time and talent.

I relished the chance to connect and build a network of VIP’s (Very Interesting People) from across the world. It was a good fit for me as a former School Superintendent. Learning, creating and connecting had been my trademark and AHS offered up many new opportunities.

Social media introduced me to a whole new culture with Twitter, Facebook and Digg. Indeed, it was like living in a foreign country and I didn’t speak the language. So I immersed myself in the social networking community and good things started to happen.

Then there was blogging itself. Initially, I thought I’d be writing and posting many of my own stories. As it turned out, what appealed to me most was browsing the internet seeking out fresh and thought-provoking voices and perspectives for AHS readers, kind of like talent hunting in a vast online (and largely unknown) global landscape. I am so grateful to the AHS contributors for their creative, unique, passionate, smart, funny and inspiring real-life stories. That’s what makes A Hopeful Sign worthwhile reading and viewing!

Thanks as well to all those who took the time to comment on the posts, subscribe to the site or promote the blog. The global network of friends and followers sustains the conversation, generates ideas and builds momentum.

As the first year comes to a close, I can report that the response to A Hopeful Sign has been generous and yes, hopeful. In that time, we’ve published 355 posts, attracted 35,000 visitors and Google-ranked a respectable 4. And, if you google the word “hopeful”, AHS will show up on the first page of the search. That’s a practical measure of the site’s popularity.

I’m sure I didn’t envision (before the launch) where we would be a year later, but somehow it worked out. It is as author Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) once said: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

I can also honestly say that I am still enthusiastic – maybe even gushing a bit – about the blog. Where it will lead (or end) I don’t know. That doesn’t matter so much. AHS is little like the journey of life itself: enjoy it while it lasts.

Thanks for joining us.

Gary Doi, Founder-Editor (ahopefulsign.com)

Gary created the magazine blog “A Hopeful Sign” as he believes there is no greater force for creating change than hope. To encourage and engage. To inspire. To live-learn-lead. Email: editor (at) ahopefulsign (dot) com Twitter: ahopefulsign Facebook: A Hopeful Sign


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(31) Readers Comments

  1. BIG congrats Gary:) I’m delighted to be part of the “team”. Cheers! Kaarina

    • Thanks Kaarina. You have such a dedicated and loyal fan base. I’m honoured that you are part of the AHS bloggers group.

  2. Happy Anniversary! It has been such a pleasure to blog for you this past year in support of your mission to spread hope! Wishing you all the best for a grand Year 2!

    • Thank you Marilyn. Thanks as well to your writing and research. Best wishes on your coming book.

  3. Congrads Gary

    You have created a wonderful Magazine Blog and thanks for considering our humble Photography!

    Kathleen and Erik

    • Thanks Erik and Kathleen. Really enjoy following your work as well.

  4. Happy 1 year to A Hopeful Sign! Look forward to another great year.

  5. Congratulations Gary!! Here’s to many more…

  6. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GARY, This year has gone by fast. Best wishes for the coming year.

    • Thank you my friend. We started with an interview for AHS in May 2011 perhaps we’ll do something special later this year. Thanks Roy.

  7. Happy Blog/magazine-versary! Hope is a beautiful thing and goes hand in hand with shaping perspective. Spreading hope is a hard but selfless task that makes you one of the Angels on the Internet Gary! So glad to be able to lend a story here and there! Keep it up, my friend and congrats!

    • Thanks Karen. I enjoy reading and learning about your journey with your son. Thanks for sharing your writing with the AHS visitors.

  8. Congratulations on an amazingly successful year. Here’s to many more.

  9. I love the inspiration and motivation behind this blog. Here’s to many more years of spreading hope!

  10. Thanks everyone for your best wishes. Of course, AHS only works when we hear the sound of your voices from near and far. Cheers! In fact, 3 cheers!

  11. This is a very special site and I love being part of the team. Kudos and congratulations to you for creating a place where people can receive uplifting messages. It is an oasis in today’s world. Thank you!

    • Hey Aimee. Good to hear from you and thanks for sharing your learnings as an expat with our readers. You offer such an interesting variety and range of topics.

  12. Congratulation on your fantastic blog Gary. Thanks for everything …. Looking forward to many more years!!!

    • Thanks Juergen for your kind words.

  13. Happy Anniversary Gary! So glad to be part of such a great publication with such amazing contributors. Keep up the good work of sharing ‘hope’.

    • Thanks Darlene for your contribution to the site. We will connect again for sure.

  14. Congratulations, Gary and all those who made this blog what it is: a beacon of hope and inspiration. I’m honored to be a part of it. Congrats on making Google rank of 4 and all the media links. It’s wonderful to have a world audience and participation that encompasses geography, culture, age and philosophy.

    It’s a hopeful sign… :)

    Best Wishes,

    • Thanks so much Nina. It means a lot to have you contribute your work with the AHS readers. Your perspective as a published novelist is so inspiring and thought provoking. Cheers!

  15. Congratulations for a very successful year, Gary. Thank you for inviting me to write for this blog. This is the most meaningful and exciting thing I have done for the whole year!

    • Hey Zee. I know you are busy working on another major project in China but I sure enjoyed your contribution to the AHS. Hopefully, you will be able to find some time to contribute again. Thanks Zee.

  16. Congratulations for producing such an inspirational and positive blog. It has given me and, I hope, many others much help during the past year. Thank you, Gary and your contributors. Much needed reading!

  17. Wow, I can’t believe we’re already celebrating the first year anniversary of A Hopeful Sign! Congratulations Gary on a great blog and a terrific year – it’s been an honour to contribute to such an inspirational and interesting publication. Warm wishes for continued success and may year two exceed all your expectations!

    • Thanks Catherine. I agree. The year has gone by so quickly. Fortunately, we’ve been able to maintain a good standard of content throughout the site. You must be pleased with your writing as well. I’m sure your friends and followers enjoy your work.

  18. 3 X Congratulations Gary, all the best in your wonderful communication skills being passed on again. Keep up the great work.

  19. Congrats on AHS’s first year! Gary, you have worked so hard to make this magazine blog amazingly inspirational–and it shows! Thank you for seeking me out and allowing me to contribute to your site. It has been an honor. I can’t wait to see what year two brings!

    • Thanks so much Tara for your warm wishes. Connecting with hopeful people like you makes it all worthwhile.