Welcome to the Diary of Davis: a monthly chronicle of curated content for self-improvement – written for aspiring freelancers, soon-to-be business owners, early-stage entrepreneurs, and anybody ready to make change and lead a fulfilled life.
Entry #5: 05.06.21
Welcome to May, my friends!
Lately, I’ve been torn between trying new things and trying to balance my professional career with my personal ambitions.
The common thread is opportunity.
Being vulnerable and putting yourself out there is a great way to make progress. Setting aside your fears and taking action is inspiring, it’s satisfying, and it’s the cure when you’re stuck in strategy.
The willingness to be vulnerable is what’s given me what I have today:
- a meaningful career doing what I love;
- a partner who I love and treats me like a king; and
- the self-confidence to be happy with who I am.
But vulnerability opens you up to embarrassment, judgement from others, and failure. Necessary evils, if you ask me, but a tough pill to swallow nonetheless – easier said than done, right?
Along my journey to change, there have been many moments of wanting to give up. Failing sucks, there’s no denying it; embarrassing yourself can lower your self-esteem; and the thought of being judged causes crippling anxiety for a lot of us.
Being vulnerable is similar to a double-edged sword: there’s a 50% chance of receiving a self-inflicted wound.
There’s a delicate balance at play, which leads me to focus.
My attention is split between my career as a professional copywriter and the Davis Daily blog. Both are valuable to me, with each offering their own rewards and their own opportunities. But I’m stuck in a balancing act looking side-to-side instead of looking ahead and moving forward.
Self-doubt came creeping the past few weeks as a result.
Luckily, I found clarity in an edition of James Clear’s newsletter 3-2-1. In it, he included a quote about the paradox of focus:
“Make the most of one opportunity and more opportunities will come your way. Moving boldly in one direction causes more paths to unfold before you. To get more, focus on less.”
Inspiration came when I needed it most. I readjusted my perspective to allow myself to refocus on my personal and professional goals. I wrote a blog post about these changes if you’re keen on the details.
If you’re feeling stuck in life, I urge you to do the same.
Think about the opportunity providing you with the greatest return on investment right now. Narrow in on it and practice a little patience. You’ll be surprised at what doors open when you do.
To help you along the way, let’s get to this month’s resources.
🧠 May’s brain matter is a mix of productivity tips, wellness advice, and insight into how to get yourself to think differently. Featuring:
- One newsletter to help you find more meaning in your daily work;
- Two digital deliverables to stretch your wellness and flip your perspective; and
- Three blog posts (one by yours truly) to help boost your productivity and progress.
FYI: When you identify the nexus of all your ambitions, you’ll find a single element tying them all together. Remain focused on that over everything else.
🗞 Sonia Simone – Copyblogger cofounder and remarkable blogger at Remarkable Communication – is a copywriter, marketer, and advocate for creativity. Her most recent initiative, Creative Fierce, helps you harness your energy and find your focus.
Even if you’re not a writer, Sonia’s advice inspires self-confidence and encourages you to be less apologetic about who you are. She brings out your fierceness to make you better at business and marketing and more effective at avoiding the toxicity of self-proclaimed gurus online.
A video + a podcast
🎥 I’ve been really enjoying Anne-Laure’s YouTube channel lately. Anne-Laure is an entrepreneur, ex Googler, and founder of Ness Labs with the goal of helping people create happier and healthier lives. Her channel is relatively new, aligning with the theme of being vulnerable and opening yourself up to opportunity.
I especially enjoyed this three-minute episode about why you should think about death five times a day. Morbid? Maybe.
But death makes you appreciate life, leading to more happiness and fulfillment, and it makes failure, judgement, and embarrassment minor in comparison.
🎙 I was recently asked to join Luca Andolfatto, a local REALTOR® here in Kingston, on his podcast The Way It Is. During our conversation, we discussed how taking action and embracing vulnerability is one of the best ways to free yourself from a life gone stale.
We also chatted about reframing your thoughts and the importance of staying positive in the face of self-doubt. Being in lockdown has made many of us focus only on the negative elements of our lives – but there’s beauty in everyday. You must remind yourself to look for it, that’s all.
And three blog posts
📝 5 Habits to Help You Lead a More Positive Life teaches you how to rewire your brain to operate with more optimism and positivity. Hectic schedules, social media madness, and COVID times have forced our minds to develop unhealthy patterns. But remember, you’re in control.
“The brain is a pattern maker and we have the ability to learn or unlearn these patterns. It requires focus and creating positive connections with mindful behaviour.”
📝 Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less But Better by Nick Wignall is a TLDR summary of Greg McKeown’s book with the same name.
“A great irony of modern life is that while we have more high-quality information and tools at our disposal than ever before in human history, we seem to be struggling more than ever to do our best work.”
📝I’m not languishing, I’m dormant by Austin Kleon describes what many of us have felt during the pandemic but struggled to put into words. The current climate is not one that encourages growth, skills development, or breakthrough ideas – don’t let anybody tell you different.
“Me, I’m dormant. I may even look dead, but like Corita Kent once described one of her own dormant periods, ‘new things are happening very quietly inside of me.’ Waiting to burst forth.”
I cannot recommend the above blog post by Austin Kleon enough.
The rabbit hole
🐇 Here’s a three-foot-rabbit-hole-of-a-thought to finish off this month’s entry in the Diary of Davis.
- The reason April showers bring May flowers is not due to hydration. It’s the cooler conditions that push back the growth until warmer weather arrives.
It’s been dark and dreary for over a year now – don’t beat yourself up if you have to push back your growth for a little longer. It’s okay to give yourself grace.
- The pandemic has stretched us thin and caused many of us to act out of character. Giving yourself grace means forgiving mistakes, lapses in judgement, or hurtful behaviour.
The philosophy has deep roots in yoga and faith communities. But it’s also become a trendy hashtag on social media, making it somewhat hollow – remember to stay connected to its true meaning.
- Some social media trends are great for creating a movement. Others are downright dumb (the Tide Pod Challenge 🙄). Before taking on a challenge or embracing a trend, ask yourself, why?
Is it for the love or for the likes? Make it meaningful and it make it matter – make it about more than just yourself.
That’s it for me, I hope you found something that resonated.
Thanks for reading, folks!
Cory B. Davis
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