Living By Design, Not By Default

Welcome to Essentialist Dad


Essentialist Dad is my personal blog where I write about my journey to create an intentional life and the search for my highest point of contribution in everything I do.

I share my thoughts, as well as, tools, tips, and tactics that are helping me to take back control to create a life of my own design.

Ideas that I’ve implemented include:

  • Mindfulness: Being present in the moment.
  • Gratitude: Being thankful.
  • Kaizen: Pursuing continuous improvement, no matter how incremental.
  • Growth Mindset: Believing that your talents and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I’m driven to learn and share what I find.

My Story

My name is Bud Ward.


Like you, I play many roles in life. I’m a dad, husband, writer, physical therapist, entrepreneur, and aspiring essentialist.

Of all of my roles, being a dad and husband are the most important to me.

In October 2013, my mother lost her eight-year battle with breast cancer. I owned a physical therapy practice at thetime and worked a lot of hours each week – including a couple of hours each night at home.

I was under a lot of stress, wasn’t sleeping enough, and had trouble finding time for exercise. Although I always made time for my family, I sometimes felt distracted and had difficulty being present in the moment. I felt like I was spinning my wheels and couldn’t get anything done.

My mother’s passing reminded me that life is short and that the future isn’t guaranteed. I realized that we shouldn’t always be looking ahead to the next thing on our schedule. Our time and energy are limited so we have to be deliberate about where we spend them. I thought about what type of legacy I wanted to create with my life.

I needed to make some changes, but I didn’t know where to start until I found the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. It introduced ideas that set me on a path to learn more about this new way of thinking.

Since starting on this path, I’ve found many great mentors and resources. I’ve already made some significant life changes including closing my practice and rediscovering my love of writing.

Now, my focus is to simplify, to live intentionally, to help others, and to set an example of a better way to live for my kids. I want to teach them new definitions of success and happiness. I want to show them how to have a positive impact on the world.

I’m living by design, not by default.

I started Essentialist Dad to share my journey and the resources I find along the way. I’m documenting my experiments and my experiences. I hope that it adds value to your life and helps you on your own journey.