Sam Davidson is a serial entrepreneur, a professional speaker, and an author. He has co-founded four companies, including Batch and Cool People Care. Davidson is the author of the books New Day Revolution, 50 Things Your Life Doesn’t Need, and Simplify Your Life: How to de-clutter and de-stress your way to happiness.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
Until I was in middle school, my family moved quite a bit for my dad’s job. I was born in Florida but moved to Tennessee when I was 8 and have basically been here since. Went to college in Birmingham, AL at Samford University. I grew up in a great home with fantastic, loving, and encouraging parents who surely gave me room and reinforcement to try new things and be my best self.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I would have started a business sooner. I think everyone should start a business young, especially if they’re willing to fail at it. What they’ll learn in doing the wrong things or experiencing things not working out will serve them well, no matter what they do later in life (even if they don’t become an entrepreneur).
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
“Chase your passion.” “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
The myth that true entrepreneurial endeavors are 100% fun or don’t require work you don’t love needs to die. Even starting your own business can be grueling. In fact, if you love it, you’ll probably work harder at it than any other job. But, you’ll find that you have the heart, soul, and grit required to push through the hard times and even compel you to do things you might not like.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
My community. No successful person gets to their level of success alone. There is always a group, community, support structure, family, friends, or network behind him or her. That’s true of me. Any success I have experienced is because of those in my corner and the network I’ve spent my life building.
What is your morning routine?
I wake up by 4:30 AM and spend the first half-hour reading the news and doing crossword puzzles. This mental work informs me for the way and helps wake my brain up (coffee helps). Then, at 5:00 AM I’ll spend a half-hour stretching and doing a light strength workout. From 5:30 until my son wakes up (by 6:30) I’ll catch up on work. Once 6:30 hits, I help my family start their day and once they are where they need to be, I’ll try to get in a bike ride before I begin my workday.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Reading books. The wisdom found in a printed book will stay with you. Making time to read daily or weekly will benefit you no matter the theme. I try to read one fiction book a year, several books about business or in my industry, and then a nonfiction book or biography about something completely different than what I do for a living. That stretches me.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
My calendar is rarely consistent but usually flexible. I schedule everything. If it’s not in my inbox and on my calendar, it doesn’t exist. Having a system to capture information and then act on it is critical for anyone to stay productive.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
A few that I return to again and again: Good to Great by Jim Collins; Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi; Atomic Habits by James Clear; The Answer to How is Yes by Peter Block. For various reasons, each of these stands the test of time – they can be applied to both business and personal challenges and are useful no matter advances in technology or society.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Don’t look back; we’re not going there.”
“Build your network before you need it.”
“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”
“The best way to eat shit is one bite at a time.”