Episode 95 – Podcaster Clay Davis serves up Insightful Wisdom

Building a Legacy of Wisdom with Clay Davis: The Power of Presence, Patience, and Reflection

Ready to build some wisdom? I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Clay Davis – a podcast host, author and technology executive. We explored his intriguing journey and the philosophy behind his aptly named podcast “Build with Clay.” 

We’re given an intimate glimpse into Clay’s world, from his adventures with his family to his thought-provoking insights on the power of a growth mindset, which he credits as a driving force in his life. 

So, if you seek clarity on your journey to personal growth and success, or simply need a refreshing perspective, this episode is for you.

As we venture further into Clay’s world, he shares nuggets of wisdom, stressing the importance of pausing, reflecting, and avoiding the relentless rush of life. He takes us inside the three emotions all humans have a deep craving to experience. You’ll also get to hear his inspiring advice on parenting, which he uses to illustrate the principles of nurturing patience, embracing curiosity and the transformative power of taking action. 

In short, Clay’s life reflects a beautiful amalgamation of his passions and experiences. Here’s your invitation: don’t just listen – build with us!

Brief Bio for Our Wise Guest

Clay Davis is a father of three and a husband of one. He is a podcast host, author of a global newsletter and a technology executive.

Additionally, Clay is a career coach. He’s one who views himself as both mentor and mentee. 

His hobbies include golf, pickle ball, basketball and flag football.

Residing in Raleigh, NC, Clay’s purpose is to be there for and with others.

Buckle up and get ready! Over the next 9 minutes, you will discover why Clay Davis is one of the wisest people I know.


Connect with Clay on LinkedIn

Listen to Clay’s podcast “Build with Clay”

Check out Clay’s newsletter 

Book recommended by Clay, written by John Mark Comer:

“The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” order from My Bookshop or Amazon

My appearance on Clay’s show: “Episode 36 – Build with Skip Lineberg”

Listen on Spotify or listen on Apple Podcasts


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Episode Chapters

[0:03:05] – Importance of Building and Mentors

Clay Davis shares his journey from starting his career to becoming a technology executive, podcast host, and career coach. We discuss the importance of mentors, how to cultivate a growth mindset, and the power of taking the time to pause and reflect.

[0:06:12] – Clay’s Main Thing Wisdom

As we delve further into his acquired wisdom, Clay emphasizes the need to not be in a hurry, and shares how his discovery of this wisdom changed his life. He also explains how his mentor, Mark Bidgood – a mutual friend, connected him to me. Finally, Clay reveals the three emotions we all strive for—curious? You’ll have to listen for the reveal of the three.

[0:08:46] – The Dilemma of Focus: Email and Parenting

How a fateful Saturday morning caused Clay to delete an app from his phone. Learn how this experience led him to powerful learning that changed his parenting style and weekend mindset.

[0:13:49] – Final Thoughts and Advice for Listeners Seeking Personal Growth

Clay Davis shares his advice for listeners looking to grow and succeed. He encourages them to give themselves grace and patience, and to focus on the act of trying. Clay emphasizes the importance of collaboration, and the value of taking action.

Show notes supported in part by Podium: https://podium.page

Full Transcript of Episode

0:00:00 – Announcer

0:00:59 – Skip Lineberg

I’m your host, Skip Lineberg, coming to you today from Parkwood Studios. Before we go any further into today’s episode and our special guest, I want to encourage you to explore the whole suite of our wisdom offerings, including our twice a month newsletter. All of it can be found over at our new website, themainthingpodcast.com.

About a year and a half ago, I was blessed to get connected with Clay Davis. A mutual friend made the introduction. I quickly discovered that we had much in common. We’re both podcasters and authors and we’re both focused on helping people grow. So I listened to his podcast. It was fabulous. Clay Davis is a father of three, husband of one, a podcast host, author of a global newsletter technology executive, career coach, mentor and a mentee. He’s a golfer, pickleballer, basketballer and flag footballer Residing in Raleigh, north Carolina. Clay’s purpose is to be there for and with others. Buckle up and get ready. Over the next nine minutes, you will discover why Clay Davis is one of the wisest people I know.

Clay Davis, welcome to the main thing podcast. Great to be with you today!

0:02:32 – Clay Davis
Skip, thanks so much for having me. I’m so looking forward to this conversation.

0:02:36 – Skip
You and your family are just back from the beach, right?

0:02:39 – Clay Davis
Yes, we are. We are lucky that we get to spend some time down there. Our family’s had a place down on the coast of North Carolina for the last two decades, and so I’ve spent a lot of my summers there, and now it’s cool to see my kids start to spend some of their summers there.

0:02:54 – Skip
That’s awesome. We are heading down to Hilton Head Island in about three weeks, so looking forward to that. That family time that you touched on, it’s just, it’s priceless, you know. Clay, I want to pull out from your podcast title “Build with Clay,” which is a great play on words and a great metaphor, but the word ‘build.’ Tell us about the significance, why you chose that word as part of your title.

0:03:18 – Clay Davis
Well, this goes back to one of my mentors, chad Olds, who was my first manager at IBM, first sales manager at IBM, and he and I have remained really good friends to this day. I told him that I wanted to try to put myself out there and give back… and all the things that we just talked about… and he came up with “Build with Clay.” I was trying to come up with some branding, some hashtag on LinkedIn, and he came up with it. It was him. I was standing in a Lowe’s parking lot on a Saturday morning talking to him on the phone, and it just kind of came to him and I said, “Wow, that’s really good!”

So many reasons why I like it. Love the pun nature. I’m a dad, so obviously you gotta have the dad jokes.

But the ‘build’ piece, is important to me, because it just signifies that we’re all works in progress. I’m a firm, firm believer we all have this ability to learn, to grow and (to use the pun) to build. We can renovate ourselves, like whatever room, whatever you know part of the, the, “the Clay house” or “the Skip house,” the kitchen, the bathroom, whatever. We have an ability to build and renovate ourselves constantly. It requires a growth mindset. And I think it requires the ability to understand your Why, understand your Purpose, understand what is the reason that you’re here, and so I think that ‘build’ has a lot of significance.

0:04:48 – Skip
That brings it all together. I love it. Clay, let’s explain how we are connected. Let’s kind of hit this ball back and forth like a pickleball. You can serve.

0:05:03 – Clay Davis
Yeah, so I mentioned Chad Olds earlier. On that same team was my first manager at IBM … on that same team was Mark Bidgood. Mark was assigned when I came into IBM. It was hey, you need to have a mentor. You’re young. Anyone coming into the company is assigned a mentor. Well, I was lucky to be assigned to Mark Bidgood. So Mark and I have known each other for over a decade now. I went on sales calls with him and went to different clients and got to see him in his element. He helped me so much early in my career, and we’ve remained close to this day. So when I started putting myself out there a little bit with this podcast and newsletter, He said, “Oh my gosh, you need to see what Skip’s doing right with it, with his podcast and his newsletter. And so Mark connected me to you. I’ve been listening to your podcast and reading the newsletters for a couple years now. That’s all thanks to “Bid.”

0:06:02 – Skip
Mark Bidgood, thank you so much. Mark is my fraternity brother from West Virginia University, Phi Sigma Kappa. Go Phi Sig!

Clay Davis, what’s the main thing you’ve learned in your lifetime so far?

0:06:20 – Clay Davis
Skip, the main thing I’ve learned in my lifetime so far is to not be in a hurry.

0:06:27 – Skip
Oh, not be in a hurry. That is super important wisdom, Clay. Would you tell us more about it? Unpack that gift of wisdom for us.

0:06:39 – Clay Davis
Yeah, happy to. So we are in a hurry to grow up. We’re in a hurry to get out the door. We’re in a hurry to do more things. We’re in a hurry to get more money. We’re in a hurry to get more clothes and cars and possessions.

And the problem with being in a hurry–and I’m I’m going to reference a book, it’s “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer–and this is where a lot of this crystallized.

There are three emotions that us human beings all want to have. I’m going to put you on the spot, Skip. Can you think of what those three emotions are?

0:07:31 – Skip
Yeah, I’ll give it a shot. I think we’d all like to experience joy. I think we’d all like to experience love, and I think we would all like to experience connectedness.

0:07:57 – Clay Davis
You’re two for three, Skip. There’s probably a little bit of connectedness with the third one. So spot on love, joy. And the third one is peace. Ah, and peace can mean connectedness with yourself, with others, and so you’re on the right track.

Pretty good for being put on the spot there, Skip. So we have these three unbelievably amazing emotions: all of us would love to be loved, would love to feel joy, would love to feel peace. Those three are completely incompatible with being in a hurry. You cannot be in a hurry and find joy. You cannot be in a hurry and find peace. You cannot be in a hurry and find love.

0:08:46 – Skip
When did this wisdom light up for you?

0:08:48 – Clay Davis
This was about six years ago. My oldest son, my only son at the time, he and I were together on a Saturday morning. It was 9 AM, just sitting in the living room playing, hanging out.

And by habit, I grabbed my phone, and I clicked the email icon on my phone on Saturday morning at 9 am.

0:09:12 – Skip

0:09:13 – Clay Davis
Yes, out of habit, and I just start scrolling through work emails. Okay, Skip, there is nothing important that has happened between 6 pm on Friday night and 9 am on Saturday morning.

But I’m scrolling through just something. I’ve done for you know, whatever the last six, seven years, and I don’t respond to anything. I’m just clicking, looking, scrolling, clicking, and looking. Then, I look up. My son’s not there anymore.

He’s gone into the other room, and I just sat there. I was like, “Clay, what in the world are you doing?” It was just this like aha moment. What? Why are you looking at your email? There is no reason to do this, right?

So I’ll fast forward a long story … I spent the rest of the weekend–I didn’t tell anyone, including my wife–I just told myself I’m not going to look at email. I deleted the email app off my phone, and I was going to reinstall it on Monday.

0:10:09 – Skip
Oh wow, oh wow!

0:10:11 – Clay Davis
And you know, I had the shakes, I had the jitters. I tried to click it 50 different times over the next 48 hours.

But when I came back to work on Monday, I felt energized, I had ideas out the wazoo. I mean I felt great. And when I looked at my email, sure, I had a decent amount of emails. None of them needed to be looked at or responded to. None of them, not a single one.

0:10:16- Skip

And nothing was on … nothing was on fire,

0:10:18 – Clay Davis

Exactly! So I tried it again the next weekend. Then I talked to my team about it, and encouraged my team to do the same thing.

Since that time I have not looked at my email on my phone on a weekend for the last six years. That goes for work and personal. The only time that I ever look at it, is if someone has reached out to me and said, “Hey, I’ve sent you something. It’s important for this reason. Can you look at it?” Then I’ll go on and take a look.

It has completely changed how I view all of all of that. And the reason it comes into play with Hurry is because I was always in a hurry to get more done. To get more emails out and to get… and this is just one microcosm, one little thing. But the difference it’s made is unbelievable. I am a better worker. I am a more efficient worker, a better asset for my company when I don’t look at my email on my phone on the weekend. And that seemed totally extremely unintuitive, until I actually did it.

0:11:49 – Skip
Wow. Well, tipping my cap literally to you. That’s a wonderful new habit.

0:11:56 – Clay Davis
The challenge is that you get caught up, you get in a hurry and you start ignoring the stuff that actually matters.

0:12:05 – Skip
Your main thing is that we should live in a way that we’re not in a hurry, and it sounds like that light bulb went off for you about six years ago.

0:12:14 – Clay Davis
It did, and it’s a very slow thing. I’ve weaved it into various aspects of my life, like email and other quick, recent example is with kids.

I told you having kids changed that right with the email, but also, if anyone out there can recall, trying to get kids out the door to go to school. Especially six, seven, eight year olds. I mean, they’re just like in their own world. They say, “I want to play with my toy a little bit longer. I want to say bye to my brother. Oh, I forgot to get my water bottle.”

0:12:56 Skip
[Laughter] Right.

0:12:57 – Clay Davis
Like all these things are happening. Meanwhile, the parents are like, “We’re going to be late. Hurry up and get in the car.” We’re like, “Put your seatbelt on, get packed up.”

There is no joy, there is no love, and there is no peace happening in that window of time when you’re trying to get out the door.

0:13:14 – Skip
I agree, oh my gosh, that’s hilarious.

0:13:18 – Skip
Someone out there listening right now is wondering about what they’re going to learn from you, Clay. They’re going to start listening to your podcast. They’re going to subscribe to your newsletter (because they’re going to find that link in the Show Notes). They might have this question. They’ll say, “Clay, I’m doing a lot of the things I hear about and read through “Build with Clay,” through your platform, and I love it. But what if the progress isn’t happening? What if I feel like I’m not making progress yet?”

What advice would you have for that person?

0:13:53 – Clay Davis
So there’s a lot of things that just went through my brain.

0:13:57 – Skip
I mean, we could start with your main thing. I never know what your main thing’s going to be.

0:14:04 – Clay Davis
We could just tell that person: don’t be in a hurry. Don’t be in a hurry to already be great at something. That that was one of the things that went through my mind. Just give yourself grace and patience.

If you ask my four year-old or my seven year-old, what’s our family all about, they’ll say: “Our family’s all about trying.”

As long as you’re trying, that’s all that matters. You’re taking action.

0:14:37 – Skip
Thank you so much for coming on, sharing your wisdom, sharing your heart and sharing advice for our listeners. That’s going to help them grow and maybe give them a better opportunity to feel those three emotions that you talked about. Wouldn’t that be great?

0:14:52 – Clay Davis
It would be a better world, no doubt about it. Thanks for having me on, Skip. This was an honor.

0:14:58 – Skip
Clay, so long for now.

0:14:59 – Clay Davis
So long for now.

15:02 – Announcer

Transcribed by https://podium.page

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