Jeff Davis has lived abroad and traveled the world, having been all over Europe and Asia. He wrote about his epic adventures in his first book Traveling Triumphs: The Improbable in Budapest and Beyond. In addition to being an author, Jeff is a professional speaker and has spoken internationally across three different continents.
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Worst Entrepreneur moment
- Jeff was in Budapest for work. Next thing he knew, he was out of a job, with no money, and nowhere to go. Instincts take over at this point, Fire Nation!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- What you focus on expands, Fire Nation… FOCUS on the GOOD!
What has you FIRED up?
- Traveling Triumphs by Jeff Davis
Best Business Book
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
Jeff Davis: Yes, 100 percent. Thank you for having me on the show, John.
John Dumas: Yes, Jeff has lived abroad and traveled the world, been all over Europe and Asia. He wrote about his epic adventures in his first book, Traveling Triumphs: The Improbable in Budapest and Beyond. In addition to being an author, Jeff is a professional speaker having spoken internationally across three different continents.
Jeff, say what's up to Fire Nation and share what's going on in your world right now.
Jeff Davis: Hey, everybody, it's great to be here. This is incredible opportunity. Man, life is going well right now. I've been working very hard over the past couple of years. I spent a solid 18 months writing my book, and then another three to four months publishing it. So, I actually published it in 2014, but just today, I did a huge Kindle promotion and that went very well.
In terms of my speaking, I'm in parts of all kinds of networking groups across Connecticut, New York – I live in Connecticut – connecting with the right people. And I'm also speaking to not only you and universities, but also non-profits and other kind of organizations as well. And it's going fantastic.
John Dumas: Well, Jeff, it actually went so well today with your Kindle promotion. I think you got a pretty on-a-point comment today. Am I right?
Jeff Davis: Yes, it was definitely more than a coincidence in my book. Bill Corbett, he is a very successful, world-class professional speaker. He runs his Hartford Springfield networking group that meets in the northern part of Connecticut once a month. I gave a shoutout to him while promoting my book on Facebook via this big promotion I'm doing through Kindle, and he says, way to go, Jeff. You are on fire, man.
John Dumas: Yes.
Jeff Davis: Can't wait to see you lead our meeting on April 11th. He's having me lead the meeting which is fantastic.
John Dumas: You are on fire. Oh, man, it is just so fitting. Like you said, you're Irish and it's Saint Patty's day, too. I mean, how many things can be going your way? So many and so, Jeff, that I am going to, now, be not wasting anymore time, but as said, diving directly into your brain, into your mind in what I call the one-minute mindsets where I get to ask you five questions, five insights into your mind. Take about a minute-ish to answer these questions. The first one being, ideally, what are the first 80 minutes of your day look like/
Jeff Davis: That's a great question. Well, the first 80 minutes of a day is when I get out of bed, I make my bed. It sounds very simple, but the outer is the reflection of the inner. So, keeping my outer world organized, this is also keeping my inner thoughts, and ideas, and projects organize. I spend, usually, about 15 to 20 minutes either meditating, reading, or exercising. I'll mix it up depending on the day, but I like to get my day off to a good start and just allow myself time to center myself and also, to feel good.
Be grateful, it's another thing that's very easy to overlook, but maybe, it's a tiny thing. You're grateful for your bed or your health. Those little things help get your day off to the right start. It definitely helps a lot.
John Dumas: I love setting those right intentions early to get that momentum the right way. I mean, there's a reason why that's saying, did you get up on the wrong side of the bed, like has stuck with this for so long as I can really dictate your day. Jeff, you have some strengths. We're gonna talk about one in a second, but what's your biggest weakness?
Jeff Davis: I just had a heart to heart conversation a couple of hours ago with a friend of mine so I can actually speak to it directly. I am an over analyzer. It's simultaneously my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. It works very well for me in creating business plans and business situations in work, in some aspects of life. It's great.
When it comes to over analyzing little things or, possibly, vibes from different people, or even something that maybe isn't necessarily a problem. The mind is a powerful tool and when used in the wrong way, you definitely over analyze things. So, I'm not afraid to admit it. That's my biggest weakness.
John Dumas: And your biggest strength?
Jeff Davis: My biggest strength is that I'm energetic and I love being in person with people. So, I have a pretty good following on Twitter. I am growing my LinkedIn. And I have some channels on social media, but I use those as complements to in-person.
So, create – I have heart to heart conversations with people and I create relationships that are genuine. I say that in a very sincere way that I'll be honest with people. I'll be myself. I just don't like it when people are fake because, for me, it's all about be yourself, be truthful, and be real. That's how you make real friends.
John Dumas: Jeff, we've already heard about a couple of your good habits. My question to you next is, what's a habit that you wish you had?
Jeff Davis: I am a night owl. I'm a big believer in playing to your strengths. You have to do that as an entrepreneur, as a person in this world moving forward. I am just not a morning person. So, I'll force myself to wake up to get myself ready for the day and to get into that 10 minutes of meditation.
What I wish I had, is the ability to get up about an hour earlier than I do. And I do make up for it in the evenings because I burn that night oil. I work hard at night. I will get Mount Everest moved across the world at night, but in the morning, I'm just not a morning person. I could definitely get more done in the morning if I would wake up a little bit earlier.
John Dumas: So, Jeff, I have an inkling what you're gonna say next because that's a pretty big focus for you right now. Of all the things you have going on, what's the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Jeff Davis: Definitely, would be my speaking which is directly correlated to my writing. I really think of those as two side of the same coin in not only storytelling, not only inspiring people, but offering practical, engaging content. I'm so fired up to get this message out there about my epic and unexpected, and trials and tribulations from traveling overseas. I get that out into the world coupled with the fact that I'm growing my speaking and I'm connecting with, not only high schools, but also all different kinds of organizations. That gets me fired up.
John Dumas: Awesome. Awesome. Well, Jeff, you've had the journey of an entrepreneur, my friend. You've had the ups. You've had the downs. You've had those plateaus. What we're gonna focus on right now is the story of your worst entrepreneurial moment. So, Jeff, take a deep breath and take us there. Take us there with you during that worst entrepreneurial moments and tell us that story.
Jeff Davis: Oh, I love this. I love this because this is right up my alley in terms of the heartfelt story and content.
John Dumas: Cool.
Jeff Davis: I'll take you right there. I was actually overseas. I was working the summer before I went overseas for a fantastic company. And shortly after I landed in Budapest, Hungary, I found out that the company went out of business. It is the cardinal sin of business. I did not have a contract with the guy. I trusted him. He was a good friend. I did not get paid the money I needed to survive overseas.
Looking back on it, it helped me learn how to really get out there, talk to people, fend, scrap, network, find my way. It was sort of a blessing in disguise, but it was definitely the worst moment to find out that this company that I worked for, for three to six hard months of intense work while I'm in college, just flat out went out of business.
And the guy who I trusted – not only someone who I looked up to as a manager, but we literally became best friends. We went out to dinner together. We had all these series of conversations where we got to know one another. To have that happen where not only did the company go out of business, but they couldn't give me any of the money that I was owed. That was a struggle.
You know what? It taught me how to find for myself and how to forgive and as they say, hey, what doesn't kill you will probably make you stronger.
John Dumas: Yeah, you know a quote that I love is, to err is human. To forgive, divine. There are always going to be human beings around us making mistakes. We are always going to be making mistakes. When those around us make mistakes, even when they do harm us, the other side of that coin is they're giving us a chance to be divine and to forgive them for making that error or for screwing us over in some way, shape, or form.
So, Jeff, what I'd love you to do is talk about this for a minute because we have Fire Nation here, our listeners. We – and I am throwing myself in here because this is my future, too. We're gonna face massive struggles, massive obstacles. We're gonna fall flat on our faces. We're gonna have people that do screw us over. Instead of really letting that drag us down to this sea of negativity and scarcity, I always love to talk about the abundance and the optimistic mindset instead. So, can you talk about how that happened to you, but you bounced back, moved forward and learned from it, and how our listeners can do the same?
Jeff Davis: Yes, absolutely. So, the first thing that you can do is to focus on what's right in front of you. That's deceptively simple, yet incredibly powerful. What I mean by that is, what's in front of you? What opportunities do you have? Who are the people around you that you can engage with?
I'm 4,444 miles away from home in a country I've never been. I thought to myself, okay, I'm in a major city, Budapest. I've met some people over the last couple of weeks since being in the city and used that as a springboard. That's Step 1.
The next step is you have to keep on moving forward regardless of the setbacks and rejections. So, when I was looking for jobs in Europe in this country, I was in Hungary. I realize, being a foreigner is going to be harder than usual to find a job. I mean, t's hard enough for people across the world now, but there's so much opportunity when you keep on going forward. Every no led me once step closer to that yes.
One tricked I've picked up is be like a fish, almost. When you're swimming around, when you're living your life, come across a no, be calm, be cool, be indifferent, be nonchalant. When you come across a yes, still be calm, be yourself.; never too up and never too down. You don't wanna fall. You never want to get too down on yourself, but you also don't want to be so up high in the sky that you're not engaged in reality. So, if you keep that balance and just persevering through every no, it's gonna help you so much.
I went through an enormous, I mean, an enormous amount of rejections when I was looking for a publisher for my first book. And there were a lot of people who didn't think I could find a publisher, but I didn't focus on that because what you focus on expands. So, what I trained my mind to look at is – you know what – I have a good story here. I have good content. And I have engaging insights. Why don't I just keep moving forward?
It's so incredibly difficult to apply when you're down, but if you can just keep in your mind, I'm just one step closer to a yes, that will help you move forward. That was really my saving element. I was walking through the city. I was down and out. I almost had no hope, but I had that spark inside of me that said, there's still opportunity. There's still chances in front of me.
I ended up finding a hostel that I can work at overnight. I worked the entire night and I got paid the following morning, was able to eat for the first time in days. So, that really was a terrific lesson for me; be calm, be cool, be even keeled, persevere, push past the rejection, and then connect with that spark inside of you.
John Dumas: Wow, what you focus on expands. I love that phrase, Jeff. I really hope, Fire Nation, you're absorbing that because I found it to be so true. Jeff, let's do a shift here. Let's tell another story. This one's gonna be an aha moment, a lightbulb that you had to go on at some point.
You know, Fire Nation, now, we're entrepreneurs. We're [inaudible] [00:12:32]. What story do we want to hear of an aha moment? Jeff, take us to that story, to that moment, and share.
Jeff Davis: The aha moment that I'm thinking of now that it would be perfect to share is going back about a year and a half ago when I was working and I was going to graduate school at John Hopkins' Graduate School of Business. I had a lot going for me. I was working hard. I was moving forward, but I just didn't feel like I was fully taking advantage of the potential I had in that moment, in that period of my life, and the opportunities surrounding me.
So, my aha moment was when I was, basically, right at the end of 2013. I said, if I'm going to keep on giving too much attention and power to the opinions, the expectations, and thoughts around me and I'm always trying to please other people, then I'm never going to have time for my own endeavors, for my own projects. Don't get me wrong. You have to pay the bills. You have to be responsible. I'm all for that, but don't settle.
That aha moment, when it was about mid-November to early December of this 2013 year and I said to myself sitting down in my apartment, reflecting, writing down a few notes, I just need to let go of the expectations of other people. I still continued going to graduate school. I still continued working, but I was able to say no to those distractions that were taking away from the time that I could use to work on my projects.
And, John, for the last year and a half, I have accelerated like no other for about two years now where I wrote and published my book and I've been expanding my speaking career, and I've being able to put some content out there that, in the past, I would have been afraid to put out there.
That aha moment was really letting go of those external expectations. Be respectful to other people. Be loving. And, of course, maintain the friends in your life that you think are building you up, but just make sure you put your own projects, your own endeavors, and your own entrepreneurial initiatives ahead of the opinions of others even when those opinions are coming from family members and close friends.
John Dumas: What's a practical tip that Fire Nation can take from you right now to apply this to their lives?
Jeff Davis: Practical tip would be just to start small. It's very easy to get overwhelmed by huge goal. And I'm all for thinking big. One of my favorite books for all time is, The Magic of Thinking Big.
John Dumas: David Schwartz –
Jeff Davis: But that said –
John Dumas: Love that.
Jeff Davis: Yes, oh, amazing.
John Dumas: And side note, the audio version, the audio book, they do an amazing job. There's music. There's sound effects. It's so cool.
Jeff Davis: Really? I'm actually have to purchase that. I have the book version, but I do have a decent commute in – when I'm driving in the mornings to different things.
John Dumas: Well, well you run to Entrepreneur On Fire, check it out, Jeff.
Jeff Davis: Yes, exactly. Yeah, I got a good number of podcast plugged in. I put my USB right in there and I'm driving. I'm in drive heaven.
John Dumas: Amazing. So, sorry to distract you, but yeah, go back.
Jeff Davis: Oh, no problem. No problem. Yeah, so start small. Build upon the small successes and when I say a small success, it doesn't mean you have to get to your end goal right away. It can be, for example, you want to write a book or say, for example, you have a big business idea and you have this project that you think would really do well through, maybe, your blog or through some of your networking marketing initiatives.
Don't overwhelm yourself with this massive goal or write that down, write all the steps down. But then, take that bite-sized 15-minute present moment focus of, okay, what can I do right now? And you just do something for 10 minutes. When you get that done, it builds a little bit of momentum. Then, you don't feel like it's so unrealistic. You just a little bit more progress. While you're starting small, you'll notice that the things around you start to clarify just a little bit more because action creates clarity.
So, if you keep on working hard within those small segments of each day – again, don't overwhelm yourself with those small segments – you'll, then, be able to get more clarity in your life, move forward, and then as days go by and as time passes, you're gonna be able to move forward and have more fun.
John Dumas: There you go Fire Nation. You just got a practical tip. So, you can see why I brought Jeff Davis on here to talk just about how things are for entrepreneurs and how we can start to build the foundational blocks of our businesses.
And, Jeff, I am not letting you go my friend because we're about to enter the lightning round. Before we do, let's take a minute to thank our sponsors.
Jeff, welcome to the lightning round where you get to share incredible resources and mind blowing answers. Sound like a plan?
Jeff Davis: Yes, looking forward to it.
John Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Jeff Davis: Living in the past. I know that is something that Fire Nation may have heard a lot, but I wanna put the twist on it. That it's not always that big event or that humiliating or traumatic experience that we hold on to, but it's those little things. So, it's little things that might pick at you.
It might be a thought or a comment that you heard from a family member or friend that just didn't really resonate with you. It might be a mean comment from a teacher you had decades ago that rings in your psyche even now. It might even be something you read that just turned you off to what you're doing or you lost a little bit of your drive. When you can get to the point where you realized, this is not serving me, you can work on releasing it.
The negatives will never disappear, but if you can replace it with something better like either an affirmation or something you're working on, or a habit you have to get better involved in getting your content out there. That will keep you more focused on where you're going rather than those little tiny, annoying distracting comments we've heard that we all get from different people from one point or another in our lives that are holding us back.
John Dumas: What's the best advice you've ever received?
Jeff Davis: From my dad and he said three words; control your thoughts. It was so powerful because it got me interested into the world of visualization. I cannot even begin to tell you how powerful your thoughts are and visualization is. It's almost scary, but in a very good way.
I've done speaking engagements. I've done speaking competitions. I've done networking events where things unfolded very similar or even at times exactly the way I imagined it. Of course, you want to be open to things changing and evolving in the present moment, but the point I'm making here in terms of the advice is that when you get yourself in that mindset of, I can control my thoughts. I can't control other people, but I can control how I respond. And how you respond stems from your thoughts, stems from what you think about, how you feel about yourself and what you visualize during your free time.
John Dumas: What's a personal habit that you do have, Jeff, that you believe contributes to your success?
Jeff Davis: A personal habit I have that I think has really helped me, especially over the last several years as I've been moving forward, is establishing processes. What do I mean by that? Routines. For example, I mentioned already earlier in the interview about making my bed. What other things that you can do? Well, you can have a routine for blogging, have a routine for practicing seething that you're getting better at. You can have a routine for talking to people or networking.
I found in my experience – and, of course, it's always important to do what works best for each individual, but in my experience, those routines have really given me the structure and foundation to grow my initiatives.
There's definitely gonna be times where you have to be spontaneous. You have to think on your feet. And you have to change depending on external circumstances. That's normal. If you have, at least, the game plan, the routine, and the process in place, it will allow you to make the time to work on what you know you can offer the world, the gifts you have inside of you.
John Dumas: So, do you have an internet resource like in Evernotes that you can share to our listeners?
Jeff Davis: Yes, well, I do actually use Evernotes. That's one of my most used tools where I keep track of all my notes. I also use that basically in my morning routine when I'm working in the morning, is I will write down everything. So, I'll take a quick five to ten minutes where I write down some of my goals for the day, some of my long-term processes and established endeavors, and then I'll transfer them to my schedule, not only on my iPhone, but on my computer where I, basically, have Excel documents and I have Word documents that organize some of my initiatives. That helps me plan things in advance in terms of the week, the month, and the year.
John Dumas: So, if you can recommend just one book for our listeners, Jeff, that's gonna join the [inaudible] [00:21:57] page of Traveling Triumphs, what would it be and why?
Jeff Davis: I would have to recommend Deepak Chopra's book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I've read it several times. It's by my bedside. I refer to it whenever I need to. It is a great way of looking at how you can move forward in your life without being stressed out all the time, without feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
There's always gonna be moments where you have a lot going on and you're going to possibly have a little bit more than you can chew, but what this book taught me is that when you engage with your inner wisdom, with your own internal reference point, you'll bring that piece more readily into the world. Again, it won't always happen, but it will make it more likely that you can bring that into the world. Then, it just goes into solid, practical, and heartfelt chapters about, what are some of the keys to success? How do you stay detached? Deepak talks about having the desire, but staying detached from the outcome.
That right there changed my life because going back three or four years, I always had to have had the passion. I've always had the energy that I have now. What led me to move forward even further was being detached and you can have the desire for your goal, you can still have that ingrained will, but you don't want to be so rigorously attached to it that you close your mind off to all of the infinite possibilities that exist for us in every moment.
John Dumas: Fire Nation, I know you love audio. So, I teamed up with Audible and if you haven't already, you can get an amazing audio book for free at eofirebook.com. Jeff, let's end today on fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say goodbye.
Jeff Davis: I've interviewed dozens of the world's best time managers and people who are incredible at productivity and working on their entrepreneurial initiatives. What I've found is that we often have more time than we realize. And I realize that we have a lot going on, but when you really chuck it down and you look at all the things you do over a given day, week, and month, you'll find pockets of time that you can take opportunity of and really move forward.
When you have that opportunity to move forward, go all out. Don't hold back. You're gonna have a part of you that's a little bit hesitant and a part of you that may want to prolong that TV, a part of you that may want just to give up, but stay connected with that spark inside of you and say, I'm gonna go all out in this moment. Once you build momentum, it's like a snowball. So, then you have that little momentum that will carry your forward and it will change your life. It has definitely changed mine.
John Dumas: And what's the best way that we can connect with you?
Jeff Davis: The best way to connect with me would be my email address. It would be [email protected] and you can also connect with me on Twitter. I check my Twitter on a daily basis. I'm always sharing practical and insightful content with my followers. My Twitter handle is jeffdavis027.
John Dumas: Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. And you have been hanging out with Jeff D. and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com and just type Jeff in the search bar. His [inaudible] page will pop up with everything we've been talking about. His great book, Traveling Triumphs: The Improbable in Budapest and Beyond, [email protected] is his email. @jeffdavis2007 is his Twitter, it's all gonna be there on the [inaudible] page or just go directly there.
Jeff, I wanna thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that my friend, we salute you and we'll catch you on the flipside.
Jeff Davis: Thank you, John, it's been wonderful to be here. I definitely hope some of the –
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