Volume 8 Issue 1 Spring-Summer 2023
By Jonathan Hankins-Hull
eet Cole Rodgers, founder of the School of Man (SOM). What a great name for a 12-week mental and physical toughness planner that claims to build leaders, strengthen family ties, and help you win mentally, physically, and financially. They even tout that it will improve your sex life. This claim sounds like a love language and lesson for men folk who often find no place in our civilized world for what Cole calls, their warrior spirit.
As with many great ideas, the founding of SOM came out of necessities. Like many men, Cole found himself admiring wrongly, stoic, masculine and often confusing male role models. This is when young Cole fell into the trap of substance abuse, skewed career goals, and too many one-night stands.
In his Up In Your Business (UIYB) interview, Cole confessed, “As men, we’ve been taught to measure ourselves on three things: athletics, the women we chase, and power, a.k.a. money. If you can check all three boxes, society tells you that you are doing really good things as a man.”
In high school, Cole was the captain of the basketball and baseball team. In college he excelled at partying all night while still making good grades. And, as a young adult living in Nashville, he says about his career, “I was moving the needle”. But that is not all he was doing. He went on to confess, “I found cocaine”.
Though he was performing well he knew he was living a lie and said, “The energy that God has given me, I can use it for good or I can use it for bad,” adding, “I picked bad, but it was part of my path.”
Like many, Cole thought a geographical change might be the cure he was seeking, so he moved to North Carolina. And for a time, it worked, just long enough to meet and marry his wife, Ashley. A month into their marriage, things were rockier than ever. Rodgers was back on Adderall, lying, and drinking. “I credit her (Ashley) with staying with me, I was pretty much divorced three times and married three times all to the same woman,” Cole shared.
Still seeking a healthy outlet for his God given energy, Cole enrolled in the Navy SEALs Hell Week. At the end of the week, tragedy struck and Cole’s Hell Week partner, Kirk, died. “I saw a man die living in front of me,” and “at that point the whole dynamic in my life changed,” he said. “Kirk’s passing catapulted me to focus on the things that matter most, he saved my life, my marriage.” No longer afraid to hold back, Cole went home and told his story on a local radio program, thus jeopardizing his career, marriage, and image. “When I got off air, I got a phone call from my wife and she said we were done,” he said. “I thought I had done the right thing, I thought everything was moving in the right direction, but it’s easy to mistake movement with progress.” As things unraveled around him, Cole began to understand that he would need to face the one person standing in his way: himself.
This is when Cole went soul searching and through hard work discovered what was really missing in his life and what it really means to be a man. He said, “The only way to find freedom and liberation is by truly owning your flaws.”
Thrilled with his newfound knowledge and self-awareness he started the “School of Man”, a man’s guide to living, loving, and legacy, and authored a book with the same title. He admits his techniques are simple, but it is the willingness to start and the execution that is hard. This is where SOM comes in to support, motivate, and hold you accountable not just physically but emotionally too.
Cole knows all too well that “you can’t microwave success,” you must earn it. And earn it he did. With his new understanding Cole said, “Everything that has been given to you in life has happened for you and not to you”. He acknowledges it took him a long time to realize that. “So many of us get stuck where we are…and you just get tired of being tired.” He went on to explain that it doesn’t have to be that way. “Every time that you look yourself in the mirror and you feel like you have a need to be reborn in whatever area it is in your life, at that point it takes one thing: just straight up commitment.”
Cole learned from experience the best way to live a life full of love and leave a legacy is to walk the path of self-awareness with someone who has been in your shoes. This is where the School of Man comes in. Cole likes to say, just raise your hand and the School of Man will be there to help. That is his legacy.
Learn more about the School of Man at https://schoolofman.live
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