Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

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Posts tagged goals
8 Things That Do Not Exist

In addition to unicorns and Big Foot (maybe), here are eight things that don't exist. So, stop hoping you'll find them:

  • Getting rich quick

  • An overnight success

  • Something that is easy to do and worth doing

  • "It's not personal, it's just business."

  • That which is valuable or meaningful that came about effortlessly

  • A life without regret

  • The perfect man/woman/child

  • Having it all

What else doesn't exist?

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How to Motivate Someone

If you need to motivate someone you manage (or if you could use a little motivation yourself), it seems as though most of us can stay spurred on by two things:

  1. Clear goals
  2. Immediate feedback

On clear goals

Ever started a job or been working on a project and you're not sure what's expected of you? It can lead to a lot of confusion, frustration, and spinning wheels, like George Constanza when he took the job without knowing what he was supposed to do (other than work on the Penske file):

Clear goals give us direction, let us course-correct when needed, and help keep our eyes focused on an outcome. In short, we know where we're going.

On immediate feedback

Why wait until the end of something to know whether or not we did it right? If something is amiss, we'll need to start all over again, which can be crippling to morale and motivation. Make sure you let people know how they're doing as often as possible. If they're doing great, the affirmation will keep them working well. If something isn't going as you'd like, then your team can know to make changes instantly (like when you need to move a couch).

How do you stay motivated?

How do you keep others focused and working towards a goal? 

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Feeling Trapped

I was waiting to board my flight out of Fort Lauderdale, talking on the phone with my friend Adrian and pacing as we caught up, told stories, gave advice, and offered encouragement. And as I walked and talked waiting for boarding time, I heard a bird nearby. Sure enough, two small birds had found their way into the terminal and were chasing each other, flitting about rapidly, resting on a ledge near a big tall window.

I wonder if they looked out the window in between bursts of indoor flight. I wonder if they saw the planes making their way from the gates, revving up, racing down the runway and quickly climbing high above.

And if they did, I wonder if their heart longed to do what they were best at: fly freely.

We find ourselves in similar situations, I’m guessing. We have natural talents or skills we've honed over the years. We each have something we enjoy doing so much that it makes our heart sing. But sometimes, all we can do is look out our window at everyone else who looks like they're making it, taking off toward their dream of doing something great.

And where does it leave us? We feel trapped. We feel misguided by the advice someone once told us to do what we love and what makes us happy. We tried and it just got us stuck somewhere near the Internet and every time we stopped for just a moment it looked like everyone else was taking off while we were stranded, flightless and nearly hopeless.

Take heart. Just because you’re not soaring right now like everyone else doesn't mean you’re ultimately incapable of flying. You know how to increase speed, create lift, and climb higher.

You just need to get out of the terminal and onto the runway.

That’s the hardest advice to come by, truthfully, and I wish I could conclude this blog post with a handful of easy ways to do that. I wish there were a book to read, a video to watch, or a guru to consult to make sure that you’d be at cruising altitude by lunchtime.

But all I can tell you (and tell myself) is to keep trying. Keep flying where you are, even if big windows and a ceiling have you feeling like you can’t escape. Because I really believe (for you and me) that very soon, the door or window will open up and we’ll be free.

We may even find a crack in the wall we can slip through. Our job in the meantime is to make sure we’re ready for flight when the conditions become favorable.

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How to do a 1080 on a Skateboard

It looks like the first person to ever land a 1080 on a skateboard is 12-year-old Tom Schaar. Here's the video:

As you'll notice, most of the video is of him falling. That's what success looks like - lots of falling down and getting back up.

Two things also made the impossible possible (as noted in the video description here):

  1. The right tools - Tom needed a ramp that was long enough to get the speed he needed without being so tall as to lose the momentum created. Most ramps aren't built for 1080s. He needed the perfect platform to do something great.
  2. The right team - To get the ramp (and some added confidence that someone believed in him, I'm sure), he needed someone else to believe in his dream and help. Red Bull came through and helped him get the tools.

If you want to succeed at something, then, you'll need to fail a lot. You'll also need the right tools and the right team. As long as you're doing one of those three (failing or assembling your tools or your team), then you're on your way.

Keep moving.

What's Your Lens?

Here's an interesting and short video about perspective (h/t: Kottke.org):

When you change your perspective, things can look very, very different. This is what empathy does for us. Just imagine how different our social, political, or economic conversations would be if we could take the position of the jump rope.

Part of what shapes our perspective, however, is our lens. Call it our upbringing, our background, our experience, our preferences - call it what you like. The truth of the matter is that each of us has a different lens through which we view the world. This lens then brings into focus what's important to each of us, thereby setting us out on a desired course.

Literal example: The lenses used by a microscope and a telescope are very different. Depending upon which lens you're using, an item will look very large and you'll notice fine details. Or, you'll see an object closer, something you couldn't really make out before. One will help you see a star better; the other will help you see a starfish better.

Application: Whether your lens is optimism, pessimism, hope, joy, skepticism, or pain (or any of thousands of other lenses), your view on the world will be different. Perhaps I'm not hopeful because I start businesses; I start businesses because I'm hopeful (in new ideas taking root, in the economy, in my ability to create something out of nothing).

Task: Through what lens do you see the world? When you encounter something new (an idea, a person, an opportunity, a news item), how do you respond? Is there a consistent reaction you have?

If you understand your lens, you'll then be able to align opportunities to meet goals and dreams you have. You'll know the right thing to look at in any situation and you'll respond appropriately. In short, you'll be able to navigate life if you know that you'd rather use periscopes than oscilloscopes.

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Four Reasons to Start a New Business

If you're thinking about taking the leap to start a new business, there are lots of things to consider. You'll need to set a budget for yourself and your family, you may need to find office space, you'll need to get all the legal stuff in order. But I believe you must also consider the "Why?" behind starting a business. Your heart, soul, attention, and time will be poured into this endeavor. Therefore, you need a compelling reason to do it.

For me, when I'm asked to co-found a company, be the lead entrepreneur on something, or join a founding team, I have to have all of the following elements in place to jump in:

The right people

Who else is a part of this? Do I like working with them? Do they work hard? Will it be enjoyable to work with them? Do I admire what they've done so far? Will I learn something from them? Do we have similar values? Do we have different skill sets?

A big idea

I'm not interested in opening a coffee shop; I want to open 100 of them. Does this idea get me excited because it's a big, bold idea? Is it a disruptive idea? Is it innovative? Does it have the potential to reach lots of people? Will it change the way people think or interact?

A meaningful idea

Does this idea have social meaning? Could it change the world? Does it help people in some way? Does it meet a need that is currently being overlooked? Will I feel good or proud when I work on this?

A valuable idea

Will this make money? Could it possibly make a lot of money? What are the revenue streams? What are our costs? Would someone want to buy this one day? How big could this get?

All four of these qualities must be in place for me to consider launching something or helping to start something new. If they're not, then I pass. And if they're not in place for your business idea, I'd suggest you move on to the next idea on your list.

Starting something you don't care about with people you hate might still make you rich, but it won't make you happy. And if you can't be happy starting something, then stay where you are.

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You Need Something to Look Forward To

"I've gotten everything out of this I can." "There's nothing left to learn here."

"This has run it's course."

"It's not you, it's me."

Those are all ways of saying, "I have nothing to look forward to." Whether in work or in life, when you have nothing to look forward to, you need to move on. Anticipation is powerful. It breeds hope. And the absence of hope leads quickly to despair.

Whether you're looking forward to something in the next nine months or nine years, you need to have something worth waiting for, worth holding out hope for, and worth betting on.

Like waiting for your child to be born, a new baseball season to begin, or the next round of promotions, anticipating something can make the day-to-day important to you. There is no going through the motions for motions' sake. All of your work has meaning as it is build up and lead in to that which matters most.

Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself today: "Do I have something to look forward to here?"

If the answer is no, then you need to look forward to leaving.

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Get off the Carrousel

Many of us, in work and in life, are stuck on a carrousel. Sure - it can be fun at times. But, the constant going around in circles is getting to us. Another day, another revolution, and we're right back where we started.

The constant motion and the ups and downs make it feel like we're going somewhere, but by being honest with ourselves, we realize that we haven't made any progress at all.

We've lulled ourselves into a false sense of achievement. We've distracted ourselves enough to think that the ride is worth it.

It's time to get off.

Worst of all, from our carrousel, we can see the people who aren't on one. The people making real progress, moving forward, off to somewhere else. They're going places. We're stuck.

The only difference between them and us is that they had the courage to step off and back away.

This weekend, resolve to stop riding and start moving.

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