My name is Jon Davis, and I live in Charlotte, NC with my yellow lab, Brooks. My noble goal in life is to co-create a culture where one plus one is more than two. I think life, work and health can be something more when we experience it with meaning and connection. We have a chance to impact every person we meet, and I believe it is important to find the elements that make us more complete leaders. I work for a company called the Center for Intentional Leadership, and it is an incredible place that gives me real purpose in my life. However, it took me awhile to find work that was really “me,” and I thought I would share how I got there…
I graduated from Davidson College in 2003 where I played four years as an offensive lineman on the football team. If you aren’t familiar with offensive lineman, they love to eat and can get pretty big sometimes. I was certainly one of those weighing in at close to 250 pounds. With my football life over, I knew I needed to make some sustainable modifications to my lifestyle. Over the next seven years, I made some serious changes to my eating habits and workout regiment. I lost close to 80 pounds and developed a passion for leading a healthier lifestyle. You see in my mind, my health isn’t as much about how I look, but more about being healthier and happier with the people around me.
I spent seven years at a fantastic small commercial real estate consulting firm in here in Charlotte, NC. Unfortunately, like many companies in the finance industry, we were on the front lines of the recession starting in 2007. It seemed each day was filled with news about another company or individual that took advantage of their clients or industry. I wondered what caused so many of these issues and what motivated people to make these decisions. Then one day I stumbled on a book called Delivering Happiness about a company named Zappos. It was the book that changed my life and started my own personal transformation. The book reveals the amazing story of a company that embraces their people and centers the organization around an incredible culture. It made me wonder that if we had more companies that looked at their business as not just a way to profit but as way to impact people, could life be different?
About this same time, a good friend asked me to help plan a 5K run to benefit the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Libraries were experiencing devastating budget cuts, but our community really rallied to keep them afloat. I learned so much about myself when I helped plan the first annual Rock & Read 5K.
However, I didn’t realize the full meaning of what I was doing until the race was complete. After we cleaned up, I walked into the Library branch that was filled with people reading, surfing the internet and learning in many different ways. I realized that I was helping protect people’s access to information. I had been inspired by a great book and maybe that day I helped someone else find their inspiration.
These experiences helped me develop this passion for having more balance with my exercise, nutrition, community life, work and connection to family and friends. I think a healthy mix of these elements are what create better cultures within our organizations. As I read more and more about collaborative, team-oriented work environments centered around a larger perspective, I stumbled onto an extraordinary Harvard Business Review article called “Managing Yourself: Stop Holding Yourself Back.” I connected with one of the authors, and she let me know about a seminar called Learning as Leadership (LaL) in Sausalito, CA. I attended the nine day seminar in July 2011, and it was an incredible experience. It helped me see that all people are innately good, but our experiences and beliefs are what make us different. I realized just how powerful it can be when we stop living through the lens of perception and instead, connect to others with our whole hearts. To me, true leadership has nothing to do with titles or positions, it is about really connecting and empathizing with every person we meet.
After these experiences, I started to feel a huge calling to make more of an impact with my career. Then I connected with an extraordinary company in Charlotte, NC called the Center for Intentional Leadership. I made the leap from commercial real estate to go work for them as a consultant in May 2012, and now I will be doing work I love full time! We do team, culture and leadership development for organizations, and I am working with some amazing people who are so passionate about making a positive impact. One of my goals is to create programming to take our model to young people in high school and college. I want all people to find the space to embrace their own authenticity and follow their passion. And I sure want people to find it as early as possible in life, so they can live amazing, fulfilling lives.
My goal with this blog is to share stories that may inspire others to find a larger perspective in their lives and organizations. I want to talk about people, companies and ideas that have inspired me and put me on a path to a more meaingful life. I really hope you will also share your ideas, thoughts and passions with me! I know I have so much to learn from you, which will only help expand my perspective and make me a better person.
So here I am with you, helping co-create a culture where 1 + 1 > 2. Thank you for letting me share my story!
Contact me at email@example.com