Lori Deschene – Passion, Purpose, and Starting Tiny Buddha

In 2008, Lori Deschene held a full-time web content manager job that felt more like a paycheck than a purpose. Looking to inject meaning into her online activities, Lori began tweeting a daily inspirational quote through @tinybuddha, focusing on ideas that address the universal struggles we all face.

This simple daily dose of wisdom quickly attracted a large readership, with over 150,000 followers to date. In the fall of 2009, Lori launched tinybuddha.com as a place where individuals from all over the globe can share stories and lessons about applying those ideas to everyday life.

After years of struggling with low self esteem, discontentment, and a sense of powerlessness, Lori wanted to share her challenges and insights honestly—not as an expert on living wisely, but as someone facilitating conversations that affect our individual and collective peace and happiness.

In an increasingly disconnected, information-overloaded world, Tiny Buddha has emerged as a place for authentic connection—where everyone has the same authority to share what they’ve learned and how they apply it. As the tagline reads, Tiny Buddha offers “Simple wisdom for complex lives.”

Lori has since written her first book, which will be published by the Conari Press at the end of 2011; created an eBook; launched a Facebook page where tens of thousands of friends share their joy and wisdom; and launched a blog consulting business to help other bloggers create meaning online.

Lori attended Emerson College where she studied acting and writing. For the past four years, Lori has written articles for nationally distributed ‘tween publications. To date, she has contributed over 75 articles to Discovery Girls Magazine. Though she speaks to individuals of all ages with her writing, Lori’s message remains the same: We have more power than we think; we just have to believe it and use it.

What are you working on right now?

I’m always working on new features for tinybuddha.com. I just launched a quote widget for WordPress. I’m now looking into creating a forum, and hopefully releasing an iPhone app soon. I’m also in the editing phase for my book, which will be available through Conari Press at the end of the year.

What are three trends that excite you?

Low barriers to publication. Anyone can write a blog and deliver it to the masses. Everyone has an opportunity to find their voice.

Viral content. With social media and bookmarking sites, strong content eventually finds a readership/audience.

The intersection of wisdom and technology. I just participated in the second annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference, and I suspect we’ll see even more of these types of events. Considering that technology is a double-edge sword when it comes to simplifying life, I think these conversations are necessary and potentially life changing.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I commit to doing something every day to move towards my goal, even if it’s something small. I invest most of what I earn through Tiny Buddha back into the site/brand. And I also remember that whatever I don’t know, I will learn if I keep finding ways to remove the obstacles in front of me, one at a time.

What inspires you?

Honesty and authenticity. I’d say it’s the little things that inspire me the most, but honesty and authenticity are actually huge things. Anyone can come up with an idea. Backing it up with heart and sharing yourself vulnerably take courage—and both make a huge difference in people’s lives.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Before I started tinybuddha.com, I made one mistake repeatedly over several years: I chose my work based on what might be good enough instead of listening to my instincts about what I really wanted. I looked for answers everywhere outside myself—what other people thought I should do, what industries paid well, what jobs sounded moderately interesting.

It didn’t occur to me that following my heart was an option because a lot of creative people want to make a living writing professionally. What I’ve learned since starting Tiny Buddha is that I can do more than I think I can if I’m willing to simply start, and then keep moving forward, little by little, every day.

What started as one tweet has snowballed into three years of doing with purpose, passion, and joy. I didn’t know where it would lead when I started, and I still don’t know for certain, but I know it feels right. For me, that’s enough.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any business ideas to give away, but I have a suggestion that will help any idea come to life: Wrap your business around your values. Once you know what matters to you, it will be a lot easier to create a plan and follow through with it.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

An unknown blogger with a lot of heart who is just getting started.

What’s the most exciting project you worked on this year?

Great question! I just completed my first eBook, Tiny Buddha’s Handbook for Peace and Happiness. It’s a compilation of my strongest posts from this past year with a few new ones, not previously published on Tiny Buddha.

After a year and a half of putting my heart into the site, I was thrilled to create a collection of the posts that seemed to resonate most strongly with readers.

If you were playing two truths and a lie, what would your three things be?

1. I have a cliché tattoo on my lower back.

2. I once won a skateboarding competition.

3. I went skydiving with my boyfriend on our second date.


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