Morty Lefkoe (M): Hi, this is Morty Lefkoe with another edition of the weekly podcast, Conversations with top personal development bloggers. Every week we have a conversation with a blogger who has a slightly different take on personal development.
There is so much valuable material being offered by personal development bloggers. This is the best place to find out which ones might provide you with just what you are looking for. What is unique about each blogger? Why they started writing their blog. How their personal experiences informed their writing. Why you ought to be reading their blog, and lots more.
Today I have the pleasure to speak to Barrie Davenport, and she writes a fascinating blog called Live bold and bloom and it’s at liveboldandbloom.com.
Morty: Hi Barrie, how are you today?
Barrie Davenport (B): Hi, Morty, thanks for having me today.
M: It’s my pleasure. We’ve known each other for a while, I think I even did a guest post for your bl
og some time ago.
M: It’s a pleasure having you so that all of my readers and the readers of a lot of other blogs can find out about you, and what is unique about you. So, let’s start at the beginning.
M: What was the impetus to start your blog to begin with? Why did you start writing a blog?
B: Well, it’s an interesting story. I have several children, I have three children. My oldest one, when she was in high school, she wanted to be a professional ballet dancer. And I had had a career in public relations for over twenty years and had put that on hold to help her reach her dream of being a dancer. I had to drive her back and forth to her studio, which was a sixty mile round trip from where we live. And then she graduated, and when on to pursue her career and I tried to reignite my public relation career and my heart was not in it at all. I just felt like the passion had gone out of it. So, I started a personal search for what I wanted to do and ended up finding out that coaching was really my calling. I went back to school, got certified and then I tried to find out a way to market my coaching business and discovered blogging. I didn’t know anything about blogging, expect maybe how to spell it, when I first started and I took a blogging course. And I fell in love with it, and I loved way that I could reach so many people and help so many people even in countries outside of the United States. I love writing, I was an English major in school, so this gave me an opportunity to write more. I love sharing ideas and strategies to help people grow and so, it was just a nice extension of my work as a coach and now it has become the primary focus of my work.
M: Oh wonderful! How long you have been writing now?
B: Let’s see, I guess, it’s been officially since 2010.
M: Ok, you’ve done very well, you’ve built up a great blog and you are very highly ranked for only three or four years.
B: Yeah, it is something I feel so passionate about that I have really thrown myself into it.
M: Wonderful. What is your background in personal development? Of all the things to write about, your background was in PR, how come you did not write about business or PR?
B: Well, I have always been one of those people that other people came to for advice, to share their feelings and their problems. I call myself a growth oriented person, I have read tons of personal development books over the years. So, I kind of think I fell into the wrong path initially, I didn’t not know what I wanted to major in in school, I majored in English because I like to read. I think if I had it to do all over again I would have gone back again and become a psychologist. So, that kind of happened in later life and I had a choice between coaching and psychology and I looked at both paths. But I like the coaching model because I like the idea of helping people make big leaps, big shifts in their life from a place of desire and healthy minded growth where they really want to push out of their comfort zones and do more than they think they are capable of doing.
M: Sounds great. Do you have any specific personal experiences that have been useful in writing your blog? What’s your own personal experiences, your own changes in life, your own growth that’s relevant, that’s helped you be more effective as a blogger?
B: My gosh, I mean my entire life has been fodder for my blog. I think when you are growth minded, as I have been even since I was a young girl, and you’re a seeker, you are always looking for ways to improve your life to understand things better to stretch yourself and ways and not just accept that what you are told is the only way or what you see is the only truth. So, everything that I’ve done in my life has led me to what I share and I do a lot of research and reading. But I’d say one of the biggest leaps that I’ve made personally is understanding that you don’t have to be limited by what you believe about yourself. That your beliefs do not define you, your beliefs do not comprise your entire being and quite often your believes are completely false and once I was able to understand that truth, it liberated me to accept so many other things and to grow in so many other ways.
M: Absolutely. Do you have a typical audience? Do you have any demographics? Male, female, ages etc.?
B: Yeah, you know it’s been shifting and changing over time. Initially it was women who were in my age range, you know in mid-life, primarily women, but I’m seeing a lot more men and younger people coming to my site. So, that is inspiring for me, because I do enjoy reaching out to younger people and helping them. But I would say that if I had to say, you know “the most,” it’s probably still women who are you know anywhere from 35 to 55.
M: It’s interesting, I think a lot of the personal growth is women, for some reason that I am not of sure of, mine is mainly men. I have got 54 to 46 percent, with the higher percentage being men, on mine. But they do seem to be very interested in personal growth.
B: Yeah, I think that readers are probably attracted to the individual voice of the blogger, don’t you think?
M: Oh, absolutely.
B: Yeah, and that men can relate to you because you have been through some similar experiences. We are not kidding ourselves, we are different, men and women are different in some of the ways that they experience the world and react. I think that might account for some of the attraction of men to your site and women to mine.
M: Could be. How often do you post, Barrie?
B: I post twice a week. I have two sites actually, liveboldandbloom.com and barriedavenport.com. So, I try to post twice a week on each site, I definitely do with Live bold and bloom and sometimes it’s just once a week on Barrie Davenport.
M: Okay. What’s the difference between the two? Why would you go to one, why or the other?
B: Yeah, the first site, Live bold and bloom, is pretty much a general personal development site where I talk about all kinds of topics related to personal development. And then barriedavenport.com is more of an authority site where I help people uncover and live their life passions and work with them on building habits that they can develop that can be life changing. And learning the skills of changing habits and creating new habits. So, that’s the focus of that one blog.
M: Okay. So I would guess that people start of at one and when they get used to you and they want more depth they then go over to the barriedavenport.com?
B: Or they just like what I write and they want to check out both of them.
M: I got it, okay. What would you say is unique about your blog? Obviously everybody’s blog is unique because it’s the writer’s unique voice. But if you’re at all familiar with any of the other ones, is there some unique focus you have, or some particular point of view, or some particular aspect of personal development you focus on?
B: Well, I would say I am strongly focused on self-confidence, habits, life passion and relationship, those are some of the areas where I have a lot of attention through goggle and I write a lot about those things. You know, I am really careful to provide very practical, actionable strategies for people with every single post. I am not much of one to suggest law of attraction or anything that is not pretty much grounded in science or in proven techniques that help people. And I want people to walk away with something that they can apply to their lives and say, “Wow, that really worked. You know something really changed in me as a result of that.” And those are my personal guidelines when I write a post.
M: Got it. Good. Is there anybody in particular who influenced your thinking, any particular role models in personal growth or spirituality that has influenced you in some way along the way?
B: Well, Eckhart Tolle has always influenced me a lot. I really really was moved by his books, when I first read them. And his concepts of present moment awareness, and living in the now, I though those were life changing and they still are. I also like the Buddhist monk Thick Nhat Hahn. I think his work is really lovely and you can learn something from just about anyone in the personal growth field. We all have something to add, our own unique voice, our own unique take on things. But those two standout as ones that I’ve read over and over again.
M; Very good, thank you. Do you have a long-term goal for your blog? Are you trying to achieve something specific with it?
B: Yeah, I actually teach a lot of courses online, I have a course on self-confidence, called Simple Self-Confidence, and one on life passion, called the Pact to Passion and one on creating habits and that’s called Sticky Habits. And I like creating courses and teaching people and getting them all that tools to make big changes in their lives. And so, I would like to have an academy of courses at some point. I am also building up a library of Kindle books that I’m offering on a variety of topics. So, those are my short and long-term goals, just build that library of Kindle books and build that academy. And have all of those pieces work together and that what I offer helps people of a variety of different levels of affordability.
M: Great. Do accept comments on your blog?
B: Yes, I do.
M: Do you respond to them?
B: I respond to most of them. As I have got to be a bigger blogger, it’s gotten harder and harder, and as you know blogging takes a lot of time and a lot of moving parts to getting posts written and getting things out there every day. So, I now have a total of 180,000 unique monthly readers. So, it can be overwhelming at times to respond to every comment. I’m sort of at that mid-range point where I really need a personal assistant but don’t have one yet. Mostly I do, sometimes I don’t.
M: Okay. I have noticed the same. In the beginning I responded to all of them, if only just to thank them for commenting. And now it is just getting to be too much, so if somebody asks a specific question, or comes up with a really interesting different point of view or say something that I don’t agree with I will comment. You do get to the point where you can’t get to them all. I have as many as 50, 60, 70, 80 and average is 20, 25 so it can be a bit of a burden.
B: It can, and you do want to keep that personal touch with your readers, but at some point it becomes very difficult because you can’t answer every email. You can’t answer every comment or that would be all you’re doing all day long.
M: That’s for sure. Do you have any particular expertise, is there any particular thing that you would consider yourself an expert in, or specialist in, that you can help people with?
B: Yeah, I call myself a life passion coach and so I coach individuals and groups in figuring out what their calling is and how they can apply that in their lives. That is one thing, that has been consistent throughout my coaching practice and my blogging is helping people figure that out. And then, you know I also actually coach people on how to create a blog and how to create a presence online where they can build a business if they want to do that just from my own experience of building and creating a blog myself. And I have some really specific skills I teach on building habits, creating new habits and also building self-confidence.
M: Great, thank you. We have talked a little bit about of some of your specific goals, that you have a life vision or a life mission of which your blog and your courses are just ways of achieving that mission, something broader for your life.
B: Well, you know I think it has come to me with more clarity as time has gone on that my purpose here on this earth at least for the time that I’m here is to serve people and inspire them. And to help them move forward in their own self-evolution. I think each one of us has an inner wisdom, we know what is best for ourselves and sometime get blinded to that by our fears and our doubts and what other people tell us what we think we should be or who we think we should be. And I like to think that’s my mission to help draw that out of people and realize that they are empowered to become the person they wanted to be on their own. But maybe they just need some support and guidance.
M: Very good, thank you. What is the single most important thing you have told people that’s made a difference in their lives?
B: I think the single most important thing is that fear doesn’t have to hold you back. That you can feel fear, you can feel uncomfortable, you can feel that tension of wanting something but being afraid to go after it and still take action. And you can learn to take action where it is not so intimidating. You can brake those actions down in to small manageable steps that will lead you to a goal without it being so highly uncomfortable that you avoid it all together. Fear holds people back from so much and it’s really a very illusive kind of thing, it’s a smoke and mirrors for what we could be achieving with our lives.
M: Absolutely, no question. Well, you’re url again is liveboldandbloom.com and barriedavenport.com. So let’s end with a general catchall of the purposes we have talked about earlier is to let people know who you are and what you have to offer. There are literally millions and millions of personal development consumers, who are interested in improving their lives in some way or another and are open to learning and interested in courses, reading, and books, etc. So, we are trying to give them a sense of who else might they not know about that they ought to know about. So, to end our little conversation, is there anything else you’d like our audience to know about you or your blog that might interest them into reading a little bit more about you and your study to follow you?
B: Sure, there are couple of things. In Live bold and bloom I have something that I called the ‘Bold living starter kit’ and it’s a series of free guides and self-assessments that are all related to personal growth, that they can download for free. They just need to go to liveboldandbloom.com and they can download those. And then on barriedavenport.com I have a 40 to 43 page book that is free called ‘The Passion Myths’ and it’s the lies we tell ourselves that holds us back from finding and living our passions. So, that can be found at barriedavenport.com and they can download that for free as well.
M: Sounds wonderful. Gosh, I hope a lot of people are listening and take some time to go check out your two blogs because I think it sounds like there’s a lot of really worthwhile things to find there. Thank you so much for your time today, for being a blogger and making the contribution that you make to people every single day, every single week, every single month. And for giving my audience and a lot of other peoples’ audiences an opportunity to find out more about you and to see if maybe yours is a voice they ought to be listen to.
B: Well, I hope it is Morty and I really appreciate your time today
M: Thank you for your time, have great day Barrie.
B: You too.