Speaker. Entrepreneur. Author.

Store Rules

Added on by Sam Davidson.


If you look, don't touch.
If you touch, don't break.
If you break, help mend. 

These may also be the rules for the human heart. 

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The Depths of Appreciation

Added on by Sam Davidson.

There are two levels to appreciation:

  • Fascination
  • Identification

The first is what happens when we see a daredevil fly through the sky or encounter the Eiffel Tower for the first time. We're amazed and we sit and marvel, overcome by someone's skill and passion. We can't believe what we're seeing so we bask in awe.

But many times, we can go deeper, if we've got the knowledge or background. The architect appreciates the Chicago skyline more than me because she knows the learning and detail that goes into that kind of creation. Dancers appreciate movement more deeply when they watch it because they identify with all that lies beneath what is being showcased on stage for all of us to gawk at in fascination. 

Perhaps there is yet a deeper level, too, though. Perhaps once you identify with an art form or object, you are so gripped that you want to reciprocate. You feel something deep within and the only way to acknowledge this appreciation is to yourself create something. This is your tribute. You were so inspired that you needed to honor that which you witnessed with art of your own, art that in turn fascinates, identifies, and leads to creation by others. 

Appreciation is not limited to art or architecture, of course. You can appreciate a company, a teacher, a city park, a time of year, a story, a friendship, or a meal. And when you do - when you feel it deeply - then it's time to go make something great yourself. 

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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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