Speaker. Entrepreneur. Author.

Stories Grow Us

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Over the last year, I've been working on a new keynote speech. It involves leadership and storytelling, focusing on how any leader - regardless of position or experience - can use stories as a tool to help shape and guide a team, better (more deeply) measure success, and share values through transitional times. 

So I love finding wisdom about stories like this, how storytelling may have grown us as a species. From the piece:

Daytime conversations usually revolved around economics and work, including complaints and criticism. However, at night, that changed. Around the fire, Bushmen told stories, talked about people not present at the time, and discussed the nature of the spirit world. There was also singing and dancing.

Stories make us all better. They make us deeper. They grow us individually and collectively. So why wouldn't we want our leaders to be equipped with the power and possibility of story?

Go and tell a story today. To your colleague, to your team, to your students, to your family. See where it takes you all together. 

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You're not bad. You're just never.

Added on by Sam Davidson.

I was siting in a board meeting last week.

"How is our data measurement on that?" someone asked.
"It's bad," came the reply.
"Why? Where are we coming up short?"
"Not sure. We've never done this before."

Don't mistake bad for never. 

I've never been skiing. But I don't say that I'm bad at skiing. It's just that I've never been. Of course, should I set foot on the slopes or the lake, I'll probably be terrible. But by setting foot in either place, I'm willing and eager to try. And with trying comes improvement.

We're all bad when we're new. That's how it works. But when you're at never, don't jump the gun and assume you're bad. In fact, if you're willing to venture out of never, you have to go through bad first. 

And when you do, keep going. Because after bad, it gets good. Really good. 

Good doesn't live at never. And great doesn't even go close to it. 

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My daughter can wear what she wants

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Since she was old enough to make her own choices or even wanted a say in what she was wearing, my wife and I have allowed my daughter to wear pretty much whatever she wants wherever she’s going.

Certainly, we’re mindful about safety and comfort ("Watch out - those shoes give you blisters!"), but by and large, our daughter doesn’t match much. She’s never smocked or monogrammed or particularly dressed for a holiday or occasion.

She’s left the house with shirts on top of shirts, in masquerade princess dresses and Halloween costumes in summer. She’s worn two headbands at once and leg warmers on her arms. We’re quite certain other school parents - who make all of their children’s clothing decisions - look at us upon entering school each morning and wonder if we know what we’re doing.

Rest assured, we do.

Unless it is blatant or scandalous or dangerous, we will let our daughter dress as she chooses. Especially since she’s four.

She will get judged enough for her appearance later. There’s no way we're contributing to that now.

We want her to understand choice (and consequence). To learn that there is freedom and power in the ability to make decisions, but that decisions are not made in a vacuum. 

So what’s a bracelet or 12 here? A Hello Kitty tattoo there? A combo of mismatching and clashing pants, skirts, shirts (both long and short sleeved), and a toboggan? 

It’s nothing. It’s innocence before the stares and critiques of adolescence and media. It’s learning one’s identity and comfort. It’s understanding that there are boundaries and where exactly they’ve been set (and by whom). It’s designing your own life. It’s a start. 

The world is big and at times it gets scary. Parts of it are mean. A lot of it is wonderful and beautiful and captivating. But my job is not to protect my daughter from the world. Rather, it’s to help her navigate it. To deal with it. To lean into it, to taste it, and to discover it. A Minnie Mouse dress and a set of galoshes are but one tool I have. 

Let’s get dressed and start our day.

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The End of Silly

Added on by Sam Davidson.

"I've got a silly idea..."

"Here's a crazy thought..."

I bet you've opened a conversation this way, or blurted out something that came to mind with either preface above in a staff meeting. You've got a wild notion and in order to have it taken somewhat seriously, you decide to offer up a disclaimer so that those listening can honestly critique without regret.

Stop doing that. 

The age of silly is over. 

Once upon a time, someone wanted to build a theme park full of waterslides. And someone else wanted to build a waterslide roller coaster. Read this full article to learn about them. 

Silly is only silly to those who may lack vision. And without vision, silly doesn't become normal. 

Your idea for a career is not silly.

Your notion for what makes a happy family is not crazy.

That new product line isn't silly. Neither is your marketing idea nor your mission statement. 

Silly only stays silly when it's not followed by action. 

So, go nuts. Then, get busy.

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You cannot be the only game in town anymore.

Added on by Sam Davidson.

There is no exclusivity when it comes to your line of work. 

You want to be the only one with the idea? Good luck. There are lots of people trying lots of things. Ideas happen. 

I remember back when you could still get one- or two-word domain names. I don’t know the official number, and certainly you can get creative with your naming, but if you’re looking for a .com to set up shop, better get creative with your spelling or naming. 

You can wish away competition and copycats, but time is better spent standing out from the field rather than lamenting that it’s getting crowded there on the lawn.

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