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Cole Rodgers

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Listen to Learn:

  • How Cole came to realize he was not the best version of himself
  • Why setting small goals can lead to achieving big dreams
  • Why slow is smooth and smooth is fast
  • How to become part of the School of man and maximize your potential

Scroll down for a transcript of the show

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Hilary Downey and Bridget Shinn

Cole Rodgers, founder of School of Man, an organization that builds real men, has truly become a leading minister of impact. Cole  who has come from the brink of divorce, battling substance use, all while losing his way, achieved what all men seek - freedom. He liberated himself and intern has liberated men across the globe and allowed them to truly be free and not exist.

A leader in mindset, he has also set the world burpee record in 24 hours, conquered multiple endurance events that lasted over the course of two and half days, and is on a quest to maximize his potential while helping others do the same.

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School of Man

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School of man: A mans Guide to Living, Loving & Legacy

Transcript Begins:



00:00:09] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider's view into the commonalities of successful people and the ups and downs of risk taking. And now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.


00:00:29] KM: Thank you, son, Gray. Before I introduce today's guest, I want to let you know, if you miss any part of it, want to hear it again or share it there's a way, and son Gray will tell you how.

00:00:40] GM: All UIYB past and present interviews are available at Up in Your Business with Kerry’s McCoy's YouTube channel, Facebook page, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette’s digital version, flagandbanner.com’s website, or wherever you listen to podcasts, just ask your smart speaker to play Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. And by subscribing to our YouTube channel or flagandbanner.com’s email list, you will receive prior notification of that day's guest. Back to you, Kerry.

00:01:06] KM: Thank you again. My guest today is Mr. Cole Rodgers, founder of the School of Man. 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 it will improve your sex life. This all sounds like a love language and lesson for men folk who often find no place in our civilized world for their warrior spirit.

Through Cole's own experiences of admiring wrongly stoic, masculine and often confusing male role models, substance abuse, skewed career goals, and too many one-night stands, Coal hit bottom, so to speak. 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.

Thrilled with his newfound knowledge and self-awareness, he founded the School of Man: A Man's Guide to Living, Loving & Legacy. I love the alliteration. And he has authored a book on the subject. He admits his techniques are simple, but it is the willingness to start and the execution that is hard. This is where School of Man comes in to support, motivate and hold you accountable not just physically, but emotionally, too. It is my pleasure to welcome to the table the 21st century warrior, educator, author and family man, Mr. Cole Rodgers.

00:02:43] CR: Wow!

00:02:44] KM: Did I read your book right?

00:02:46] CR: Spot on.

00:02:47] KM: I know. And let me tell you, there are so –

00:02:49] CR: You’ve done this once or twice.

00:02:51] KM: Yeah. Almost 300 times. You weren’t listening. So, there were so many quotes. Let me show you what I did to your book. There were so many fun quotes in this book that I just went kind of cuckoo with dog earring it, yellow highlighter, pins. So, I'm going to just start the show off with an excerpt from the book on page 39 at the end of chapter six. I'm just going to read it. I know I read the intro and you're like, “Kerry, quit reading.” I'm going to read this just to get it started.

This is Cole’s words that he wrote on page 39 at the end of chapter six, “I wanted to find a way to tell men that if they want to be better in their lives, they have to choose it. They have to ask for the ball. They have to seek out the heart and embrace the struggle. They have to understand that everything is a test. And that these tests are not open book. They can choose comfort for their lives, but it will make them soft and eager for shortcut, which will eventually cause them to dig out masks out of the closets. In the end, I want to assure men that if they can truly man-up and choose themselves, their being, their business, their body, their family, then they'll be able to design their own lives rather than having someone else or something else design it for them. The way I've found to tell as many men as possible and have that not only hear what I'm saying, but also embrace what I'm saying, is through the School of Man.”

There it is, right there in a nutshell. So, the book is written in three parts. Part one is your history. Part two, starting School of Man. And part three is life, love and legacy. So, let's start with part one. You are open about your weaknesses and claim owning your weaknesses and working on them is a strength. So, often, the opposite is thought to be true. Tell us your story and how that revelation came to be.

00:05:02] CR: So, the common narrative is find your strength, right? There's a great book out there called StrengthsFinders. And go all in on your strengths. And I do believe in that mentality, that strategy. However, when you're an alpha like me, and when you're on the unhealthy side, because all of us, as men, who are looking to achieve, to accomplish, to leave the world a better place, to make memories with our family, we're searching for one thing, it's a very common thing. It's something that blood has been shed over for thousands and thousands of years. It's freedom, right? So, it's freedom and liberation.

And it was funny that a couple of weeks ago, we held an event here. Men and their families came in from across the country. And it's called Rebirth. Is Rebirth 2.0. One of the men that were there, he was incarcerated for nine years in prison, right? And the room is full. I mean, hundred plus men, etc. And it's very intimidating environment. And you could tell that he was trying to pull himself away and/or he was struggling to come to grips with like, “How do I measure up?” Because that's what we've been taught. We've been taught as men to measure ourselves on three things as we were kids; athletics, the woman we chase, and power, a.k.a. money. And if you can check all three boxes, society tells you're doing really good things as a man.

But the facts are, and I'm going back to the story with Cody, that after we got finished in the first morning, and he felt somewhat intimidated. I told him flat out, I said, “We've got over 100 men here that have imprisoned themselves. They don't have to be behind bars. They don't have to be behind a wall. They walk around hiding in plain sight.” I've been that man. I mean, slavery, although has been “abolished”, is still around. We do it to ourselves, men, women, children, all of us, because that's what society wants. And that's what we buy into. Their limiting beliefs, self-sabotage, right? Self-doubt, etc. Whatever you want to call it. And that's what I told Cody. I said, “Men in here seeking for one thing, like we're all seeking since the beginning of time, and that's freedom and liberation. The only way you get there, though, is truly owning your flaws and

understanding that you're a perfectly flawed man. And that everything that has been given to you in life has happened for you and not to you.” And that's the truth.

And it takes a lot of pain, distilled into purpose, which equates to your promise to the world to get to that place to say that. Because going back to the three benchmarks, and like I was talking to Cody into the group, and it resonated with everybody, of course, is that that is a constant evolution throughout life. You don't just come to this realization that, “Boom! I'm liberated. And I'm perfectly flawed. So, the world is going to give me what I'm asking for it.” No. You have to actually put what you have earned. And I call it paying the tuition. All the scars. All the people that you've hurt, right? The person that you've lied to in the mirror for your entire life and fed yourself these lies and called a caviar. You have to eventually convert that and distill it into, “Yes, this stuff has happened for me, not to me. How can I best use it as being an instrument of impact?” Instead of wearing a mask on top of a mask on top of a mask.

And in particular, in the world that I operate in, as being an entrepreneur, three businesses, in production, in sales, creating, moving society forward, that's what the greats have always done, you're expected to always perform at a certain level. And that's really where my story was unfolding, is that I'm blessed in the sense that I've gotten to be in a family with my mother and father who are married to this day and are in love to this day. It's one thing to love someone. It's another thing to fall in love with someone over and over and over again. And that's the truth.

And as a kid, when I was born, I almost died due to meningitis. So, I was born a fighter. Because, as men, that's what we were all created to be as a fighter at the end of the day in the most positive ways. And I'm not talking about going downrange or in war. But you dig your boots in and you create a stand. And you will never fall for anything once you stand for something. But throughout my life, I've been fortunate to be around a family that what a marriage looks like. I've been fortunate enough to also see how you're to operate the value systems, the character that you build. But over time, because we are told how to be, how to act, what to do, institutions do a great job of it.

And today's, I would say, messaging really does a great job of telling you how you should be and how you should act and do this, don't do that, so on and so forth, you start buying into it. And you start buying into the narrative of what your little circle looks like, because it's the law of the mirror. Your network equals your net worth. And all of a sudden, as a young man, you start

developing these insecurities over time. Maybe it is that you're not as athletic as somebody. Or maybe it is that you're just constantly in comparison mode, because we're good at that.

00:10:28] KM: And when you first start out, you're dealing with uncertainties as a young man because you've got all these – What did you call them? Expectations put on you by society. So, you're getting out of college, and you're about to go thinking, “I got to get a –” Let me see. First of all, I think I remember you had your heart broken in college.

00:10:46] CR: I did. That was the first time I ever experienced that. And that also, because of the energy that God has given me, I can use it for good, or I can use it for bad. But at that same time in college, I picked up Adderall, and it was one of those things. Adderall was just making its way. And I drank more whiskey than I can remember. As a senior in high school, I wasn't known as the captain of the basketball team or the baseball team. I was known as the guy that had seven kegs.

00:11:14] KM: But you were also those other two?

00:11:14] CR: Yes.

00:11:15] KM: Oh! But that's now what you’re known for. Okay.

00:11:18] CR: Yeah. It was one of those things that myself and my buddies were known as, “Hey, those are the guys that could throw the best parties.” And that's what I wanted to be known for, honestly.

00:11:27] KM: So, how old were you when you started on Adderall?

00:11:30] CR: I was 18, 19. And then that turned into, just like I'm 38 years young, my generation turned that into a party drug, right? It was used to cram for tests. And at that same time, it was used for us to stay up until five in the morning to go to the cowboy and everything else and run the gamut Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

And then, as I graduated, I did bring up my GPA. It felt good. And I had someone that was a mentor in college that said, “Look, it's not about your grades. It's about the process. It's about

achieving something that you think's impossible.” And I did at that time. That's how limited my thinking was and how small my thinking was. But I always wanted to do something great. And the first book I ever read was Twelve Pillars. I can't even remember the lady's name that laid it on my desk. And it's by Jim Rohn. And it changed my perspective on everything.

And going back to expectations, the quickest way to disappointment is through setting an unrealistic expectation for yourself or someone else for that matter. And as I graduated, I mean, Adderall was basically like a Skittle. You went from eating it. You went to crushing it, to snorting it, etc. So, I knew I had to get out of Central Arkansas. So, I took a job in Nashville, Tennessee. But I brought all these habits with me, in particular, all the insecurities, in particular, just this false sense of identity. But that's what we've been taught to do, right?

00:13:01] KM: But you were successful there, right?

00:13:03] CR: Very successful. Yes.

00:13:03] KM: What were you doing there?

00:13:05] CR: So, I started off in sales. I was working for an affiliate for an insurance carrier. One of the most brand name insurance carriers out there. And my first starting job, my salary was $18,000. And every time I would look myself in the mirror is like, over here, professionally, I was moving the needle. And I would come back to Central Arkansas, and I would make a point to buy everybody's drinks at Gazano’s, right? Just because I wanted to feel like the man, right? Even if I couldn't afford it at the time. But I wanted their approvals like, “Oh, Cole's doing some great things.”

But fast forward, I knew I had to get out of Nashville. And that's when I moved to Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina, where I met my wife, bringing all – I was like, “I've got to leave all this stuff behind.

00:13:48] KM: You knew. You'd be gone too far.

00:13:49] CR: Yeah. And I had achieved what I wanted to achieve in a short amount of time at that time in my life, in sales and becoming the number one sales guy in the organization, and

the Rookie of the Year, all those things were important to me. And achievement was my motivation, was my fuel for life. Like the more I achieved, I think that the more I would be happy, right?

And that's where kind of thing started unfolding for me. And I met Ashley at that time. I was 26, 27. And I met her on eHarmony. And that's how insecure I was, I would tell everybody I met her at Harris Teeter, the grocery store. And people were like, “That really works?” Because I didn't want to tell him I met her on a dating website. Because I tell my buddies like, “Oh, he can't pick up a girl.”

00:14:38] GM: Now it’s opposite. If you don't meet somebody on the Internet, it's like, “What? You could still do that?”

00:14:42] CR: Exactly. 100%. And I was working 70, 80 hours a week. Hated what I was doing. And I knew that was the time to get out. And I always told myself, “When I'm not happy, it's time to make a change.”

00:14:55] KM: You met her before you left Tennessee? That's why you went to North Carolina?

00:14:57] CR: No, no, no. I met her in North Carolina. Yup, I met her in North Carolina. And at that time, she didn't know any of this. And as a man who's in that specific position, the number one thing I started going back to was lying to her. It was the easiest way to do. It’s like just push the dirt under rug.

00:15:21] KM: There’s something about lying and addicts that go together even when you don't need to.

00:15:25] CR: Yeah. It was little white lies that started. That's how it always starts. Little micro fractures, right? And I had kicked those bad habits, put them at bay, but I could drink like a fish. You know, if you're going to run with the boys at night, you better wake up with the men in the morning. And that's what was beat into me. And that's what I enjoyed doing at the time.

00:15:47] KM: Do you just see why I loved his book? He has the best cliches. If you're going to run with the boys at night, you better wake up with the men in the morning. I've never heard that. You make that up?

00:15:56] CR: No. My mentors have always said that. Like, you bet, if you’re going to hang out with the owls at night, you better be up here soaring with the eagles in the morning is the other way –

00:16:04] KM: See? That’s what his whole book is.

00:16:06] CR: Yeah. Like, I ended up leaving that career and coming over back to Little Rock. Starting my business. I've always been in the insurance game. Got into the consulting part of the world. So, that's my core business. Love it. Love it so much. But Ashley and I did long distance for close to a year. And that's where I knew – So, I ended up taking the job. Basically, making half of what I was making. And we didn't have any children at the time. So, it was a strategic move on my part, knowing I was going to 20X whatever I was going to do. I'm not a quitter. You can't beat me at the end of day. Only I can do that.

But when she came over, I had blown my Achilles out. And six months later, like, I'm in the hospital for five days for staph infection. Yeah, we get married the next year. Time's running out. Money's running out. And the first night of a rehearsal dinner, back on Adderall, back on that train. Because all I can think about was performance, performance, performance. How can I get more focus? How can I get more edge? How can I accelerate my growth? How can I accelerate it? Time is not moving fast. Or the results are not coming fast enough for me.

Like, I was never one of those that I wanted to – The prescription pill game was really, really big with my generation in school. Like, that's really where it started, with the hydros and the percocets. And I never was into that. And I would like come and go, come and go when it came to Adderall and when it came to drinking, etc. But I always wanted an edge. Like that's just it. I wanted an edge. That's what I sought out.

And we all have a dark side. You just have to understand how best to use that energy in the right areas. I don't care who it is. Everybody has a dark side that wants to come out and play.

And I've learned that about everybody that's successful, too. You just know how best to use it in the right areas. But rehearsal dinner –

00:18:22] KM: You said in your book, you said – You talked about your wedding day that it was blissful. But you also called yourself – And I'm quoting what you called yourself in the book, a self-centered, egomaniac, a narcissist who was struggling more than she, Ashley, could have known.

00:18:38] CR: 100% Yeah. If she's in the car, if she came up here, and she'd be like, “Yeah, 100%.”

00:18:44] KM: You said you didn't know how to be married.

00:18:46] CR: No. I mean, being a father, being married, none of that comes with a manual at the time. Rehearsal, I mean, just at that point, we go on party till midnight, one o'clock in the morning. I knock on her door. I go to see her. I literally sit on the bed. And I was so drunk that I hit the bed and hit the floor.

00:19:05] KM: This is the night before you got married?

00:19:06] CR: Yeah. And then she was, of course, crying. And then the next day, the only way I can make it through it was drinking more and taking Adderall.

00:19:13] KM: Oh, boy, what a great honeymoon night, I bet.

00:19:16] CR: It gets even a little bit deeper than that. Then we go to Costa Rica. And –

00:19:22] KM: Are you sure you want to tell?

00:19:24] CR: No. I mean, this is all public knowledge. This is a part of my process and part of the story. And of course, Ashley, we've told it more than once. I mean, perfectly flawed husband, 27-years-old. And things didn't go in my favor. Let's just put it to you that way.

00:19:40] KM: You called the first three or four years of marriage the messy middle.

00:19:43] CR: Yeah. That week did not go my way. And you can read into that. And I left her in the room, in the shower, and went to the bar and got blitzed. So, all I knew that I needed to do at that time is that I just got to go make money. Like, I got to go produce. I get this new business. I got to go produce. Well guess what? A month later, we're like, “We don't know if we need to be together. We don't know if this is going to work.” Well, guess who she was pregnant with?

00:20:11] KM: Oh. Sweetheart over there.

00:20:15] CR: That's right. And nine months later, sweetheart over there flatline on the table. Mommy had to be rushed back into the OR because the umbilical cord made its way out before she did and was kinked like a water hose. So, she was born a fighter as well.

And I remember being outside of the OR just bawling my eyes out because I didn't have control. And guys like me love control. It's also an insecurity of ours. And so, the only thing I could think of at that time was like, “Okay. Well, I've got $12,000 Now in health care debt, because I had an out of pocket expense. Just a large high-deductible health plan. I've got to go make money.” And this is almost two years in. And I mean, things are dry. And when you're financially stressed, which 80% of Americans, I mean, goodness gracious, live paycheck to paycheck. And when you're in that level, that's all I just could dive in, because I have such an obsessive mindset.

00:21:14] KM: So you say Ashley helped you find – That your first three or four years was a messy middle. And that she helped you figure out who you are. So, what advice can you give to someone who doesn't have a companion who’s feeding themselves BS and calling it caviar? How did they ever get started?

00:21:30] CR: How did they get started on just their path of rediscovery, rebirth?

00:21:32] KM: Yeah. I mean, because you credit her a lot.

00:21:36] CR: I do. Honestly, even though married at the time, I was hiding in plain sight. So, even though I was married – I credit her with staying with me. Pretty much I was divorced three times and married three times to the same woman, right?

But if you are out there, what you feel like you're alone on the path, number one, you're never alone. But number two, or 1A, is every time you look to yourself in the mirror, man, woman, I don't care who it is, right? 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, and it's just straight up commitment. Straight up commitment and making the decision.

So many of us get stuck where we are. Making the decision to move all the BS to the side and then just raising your hand. I mean, we live in a world where there's so much resources available to anybody. I mean, hence why I created SoM in the first place. But until you raise your hand – Because we experience this with men all the time in SoM, whether they're a CEO, or bagging groceries, or on the oil rig, it doesn't matter. The minute you truly raise your hand and you commit saying, “Hey, take me through the fire.” Like, “I don't want to go through this. But I know I have to go through this.” That's when I know someone's ready. But it takes commitment to thyself. Because you just get tired of being tired.

00:23:06] KM: Just raise your hand. You’re right.

00:23:08] CR: Just raise your hand and then take the hard step, but do it with someone who has been in your shoes, who is willing to go to battle into the trenches with you. So, that's just my thought.

00:23:22] KM: All right, great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Mr. Cole Rodgers, author and founder of the aptly named School of Man in Little Rock, Arkansas. We'll be right back.


00:23:32] GM: You're listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and

Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed along with Kerry's experience and leadership knowledge.

In 2020, Kerry McCoy Enterprises rebranded her company as simply flagandbanner.com. In 2004, she became an early blogger. Since then, she has founded the nonprofit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom. Began publishing her magazine, Brave. And in 2016, branched out into this very radio show, YouTube channel and podcast.

In 2020, Kerry McCoy Enterprises acquired ourcornermarket.com, an online company specializing in American-made plaques, signage and memorials for over 20 years, and more recently opened a satellite office in Miami, Florida. Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbetter.com. Back to you, Kerry.


00:24:11] KM: You're listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with Mr. Cole Rodgers, author and founder of the School of Man in Little Rock, Arkansas and online, a mentoring program for men who are looking for and trying to define what is missing in their life.

In part two of your book, before the break, if you're just coming in, we talked with Cole about his path, how he ended up here, his self-destructive warrior mentality when he was young of the goal, the expectations he put on himself. And how he met his wife and broke through that. It’s is a good story. It's kind of an AA program a little bit, which I think a lot of the rules that you put in your book are – You say in your book, these are not new ideas. It's just the commitment to doing them and the group mentality, which is a lot like AA. But you don't have to be an alcoholic. To go into AA, you have to be an alcoholic. But to begin in school, you have to have a desire to quit drinking. That is the number one thing to be in an AA. You have to have a desire to quit drinking. But to be in the School of man, you don't have to have that desire. You just have to have a desire to be a better man. That's it.

00:25:25] CR: That’s it. Yeah. And you've got to meet a man where he is in his life.

00:25:29] KM: Yes. And it could be that.

00:25:31] CR: And we have different levels of SoM. And we have our 1% man program, which is for our married businessmen that are looking to scale their business in 10X ways, but looking to have it all and do it the right way, right? To where you might have a man that has to completely reboot everything, right?

So, that's the power of SoM, is that we are meeting men where they are in their lives. And the key is, “Do you want to be a better man by focusing on the things that matter most?” If the answer is yes, then you've come to the right place. Because we've got that deep bench of men who are going to coach, who are going to guide you, who are going to make you level up just simply because of who they are and the caliber of type of men that they are. They don't just talk about. They are about it. So, we have – And that's what I love, is that you've got in SoM, it’s not just one typecast. You got every make, and model, and creed out there in SoM.

00:26:37] KM: Okay. Do you have gay guys in there?

00:26:39] CR: We don't. Not yet. And that's something that – I mean, with SoM, because we're such a – From an outside looking in, it's funny how we – It's funny how –

00:26:51] KM: Would a gay guy feel comfortable there?

00:26:53] CR: 100%. Yeah.

00:26:55] GM: This is an interesting point. My husband received a postcard for the School of Man about three days before you're supposed – We confirmed your interview here. And I thought the same thing. The novel thing that I think about School of Man that probably attracts a lot of – Or that makes it work for straight men is that gay men kind of have the community and the support system, because we make it for ourselves. I find that that straight men don't do that for themselves in the same way that –

00:27:21] CR: Yeah, that makes sense.

inaudible 00:27:23] think about that.

00:27:25] GM: And again, it's all society expectations, whatever. And that there's always exceptions to the rule. But where's the straight man's yoga and wine like women have? Or paint and sip or whatever? Or the –

00:27:43] KM: And I don't think gay men are afraid to talk about their feelings.

00:27:47] GR: Possibly. But –

00:27:49] CR: I didn't even think about that, to be honest.

00:27:51] GM: To me, School of Man is a really positive outlet experience that I think straight men just aren't allowed to have.

00:28:02] CR: Well, and a lot of times, too, is that we as men, straight men, in particular, on the Alpha side, we will find ourselves becoming more and more lonely as we go through life. SoM is a very family-driven organization. So, our wives are extremely important, daughters, sons, etc. It's not just a group of ragtag individuals and that no one's allowed in or able to see behind the doors or the curtain per se. Does that make sense?

00:28:34] KM: Yeah. Have you always been a gym rat?

00:28:36] CR: Not necessarily.

00:28:37] KM: Did you have the gym, at the CrossFit gym before you had SoM?

00:28:41] CR: I did. So, that was a part of the story, is that once I started getting things together, and I started breaking down walls and going to therapy, and I just got tired of being tired, right? But I got also tired of disappointing Ashley.

00:28:55] KM: Well, you said that you had a chapter called What If? And you talk about reading Mark Divine’s book called The Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed. And that it had a big impact on you. Tell us about that.

00:29:05] CR: It is. I took what I read and I applied it immediately. And I started meditating, even though as weird as that felt coming from a country boy in Arkansas. Like, “Meditation? Really?” You know, you started developing these worldviews that are completely false 100% because that's what you've been raised around. And so, I started meditating. I started journaling.

00:29:26] KM: Because he told – Because Martin Divine’s book told you.

00:29:27] CR: Yeah. And I said, “Well, you know what? If a SEAL is doing this, or if –”

00:29:31] KM: Because he's a Navy SEAL?

00:29:32] CR: Yeah, yeah. So, if a SEAL is doing this – He's a commander in the SEAL teams. If he's doing this, then I’m going to give it a shot. So, that's kind of how my mentality was working. It’s like, “Okay, I need approval, or I need to see somebody else who I consider elite.” That's just where I was doing it to give me permission to do it myself, right? Because I was, again, dealing with the addiction to validation, so on and so forth. Even though things are going really well in my businesses, career, etc., money was flowing in, and I hitting what we all think about the benchmarks. So that's where I started.

And really, what catapulted me to do that is that I had an intern, a young man who's still on my team. He's like a little brother to me. I ripped him to shreds.

00:30:17] KM: What does that mean? Yelled at him?

00:30:20] CR: Basically. Yeah. So, it was from a mentor coach perspective. He didn't do something that I liked.

00:30:24] KM: And this was in your CrossFit gym.

00:30:26] CR: No. This wasn't my business. And this is where I'm getting to on the CrossFit side of things. So, I ended up – Long story short, as I go through this process, and I connect with some guys on the west coast from the SEAL teams, I started unlocking different chambers in my mind. I came back to Little Rock, bought a CrossFit gym.

00:30:49] KM: But unlocked those. So, you didn't have the CrossFit gym yet? So, is it called – What's it called? Hell Week?

00:30:55] CR: Yeah.

00:30:57] KM: So, Mark Divine has a hell week

inaudible 00:30:59].

00:31:00] CR: He does. He does. It’s to get BUDs candidates ready to –

00:31:03] KM: And you just say – Well, I read his book. I'm journaling. I’m meditating. And now I'm going to sign up for this Hell Week. It's going to be Navy SEAL stuff for civilian.

00:31:15] CR: Is 100% pretty much identical to Hell Week. Yeah, what they're basically doing is they're taking BUDs candidates. And they're taking crazy guys like me. And they're inserting them into a simulation, 100%, so that the success rate in Hell Week, when they go in, is increased.

00:31:36] KM: Don't people die doing that?

00:31:36] CR: Well, that's where I'm going with it. So, my swim buddy died at my feet.

00:31:41] KM: At Hell Week?

00:31:42] CR: Mm-hmm. So, Kirk died at my feet. And that's when I had the CrossFit gym. And Ashley and I – Again, I have kicked everything. I've kicked everything minus the lying to her. I was putting so much cash into the gym because it couldn't even float payroll. And the reason why I bought the gym wasn't to get in CrossFit. I wasn't even in CrossFit at that time. It was to give me a platform to mentor men like me, mentor C-level guys, mentor businessmen through fitness. And that's how I would get into the mental, the emotional and the spiritual work with them.

And so, I go to Hell Week. Kirk and I are hooked at the hip. When your swim buddy, basically, you're partnered up based upon height line. So, how tall you are? Well, he and I were

considered Smurfs, because we're short. And the entire time we were hooked at the hip. You go to the bathroom, he's right there with you. You're in the surf, middle of the night, you're hooked arm to arm, you're hugging each other. I mean, you're doing anything you can to help your teammate succeed.

And it was that fateful night when we were headed up mountain, middle of the night, I had to give him away to the other team and it just broke my heart. He comes down the mountain, had seizures, defecated himself. Comes to, I clean him up along with my teammates. And then the last day, we're there. We're one of nine out of 50 to secure this.

00:33:11] KM: Oh, left in it that are still going.

00:33:13] CR: Mm-hmm. That are still going.

00:33:14] KM: And your teammate who had such a bad night the night before is still in there?

00:33:18] CR: Still going. And then at the very end, when they secure us, he falls right out right at my feet. Heart gives out. So, that's where the whole dynamic in my life changed. It’s funny how God puts certain people in your life.

Ashley was there. We're better than we've ever been. So, I thought. It's really easy to mistake movement with progress. So, I thought. And she comes running up. Of course, they're holding everybody back. They're trying to do CPR on Kirk. And I'm just standing there. You've been up countless hours – You haven't been asleep. You're seeing stuff in the sky at that point. But I knew that, at that point, Kirk, who I had been with, who I consider a brother through thick and thin, hell and high water, literally, in the ocean, he died. I saw a man die living in front of me. That's the first time. Now, I've been through a lot up to that point with family members. But I never had seen somebody go to that level. And he left two boys behind and his wife. And some people are going to say, “Well, that's pretty selfish.”

Well, if you're standing toe to toe with a man who's out there to better himself as a man so his family can get better and he can be the tide that lifts the ship, I'm still talking about him. He's not dead. He's immortal. He saved my life and countless other people's lives. He saved my

marriage. So, I go on a search. And I go through just the town here. And there we're just – I'm a very results-driven guy. I go to a couple men's group. I tell my story again. They didn't like what I had to say. Like, “This guy is too raw. He's too real. He's too in our face about the things that we all deal with. I don't care who you are.” And one group in particular looked at me and said, “Oh, well –” They said, “This is great story.” And I didn't need their applause. But then they went right back to their book.

00:35:23] KM: So, what were you saying that bothered them?

00:35:26] CR: Everything on this show. Just coming out about masturbation. Coming out about the lying. Just being me.

00:35:34] KM: Cheating on your wife?

00:35:34] CR: Yeah, just the whole the whole dynamic of like this is a little too much for me. Like, this guy's trying to out us all type of deal.

00:35:45] KM: It's more than just I need to stop drinking. I need to get real.

00:35:48] CR: Yeah. And it wasn't – And you just need to get real. And it wasn't – And that's the thing, is like I wasn't coming from a – Like one step away from this prison, right? I had my own that I had built around me, right? I was just an uncommon guy just coming out there to speak to the men and just say, “Hey, guys, just raise your hand.” And that's how SoM really got to start. Because I believe you have to create your own realities.

00:36:18] KM: And you already had your gym by now.

00:36:19] CR: Yeah, I do.

00:36:19] KM: So, you said, “I don't fit into this box. And I don't fit into this men's group. I'm going to make my own men's group.”

00:36:26] CR: Yup, that produces results.

00:36:27] KM: And so, in your book, section two, you start with the book chapters eight through 13 with each person's name to tell their story. Why did you – When you talked about creating SoM in chapter two, why did you decide – Or section two. Why did you decide to start each chapter with a person's name? Adam, who helped you crystallize your dreams. Zack, who made me cry. I can't remember why now. But I remember I cried. And then Rick, I just really hurt for him.

00:36:56] CR: Because it's important that people understand – People love social proof, right? Like, we want to know – We want to hear other people's stories. We want social proof. So, for me, it's equally important, if not more important. Like, I give you the story on Kirk, that all these men have been given a platform. Very successful men.

Rick, very accomplished an Air Force. Zack, very accomplished in the pharmaceutical industry. Adam, very accomplished in the real estate business. Whatever they do, that's not who they really are. And so, that's why it was important to me that these men who were brave enough to put that story out there get that platform to help other men liberate themselves.

00:37:47] KM: And I think Rick was the one that I hurt for was abused by – Sexually abused by a lot of people, wasn’t he? I mean, that's a very hard thing to come out and say in a man's group. You said that you have a reoccurring theme throughout your program. Being accountable. And that we all wear masks. And that being vulnerable, which you didn't think was – I think is the hardest part for you, is admitting weakness and being vulnerable. Even crying.

00:38:16] CR: 100%.

00:38:17] KM: That you wore a mask to cover those things up.

00:38:21] CR: 100%. Yeah. And when you put all those together, when you embrace vulnerability, embrace extreme accountability and a system to produce true results that your family is going to benefit from and the world's going to benefit from, you become unstoppable. You become blessed and unstoppable.

00:38:39] KM: You're listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with Mr. Cole Rodgers, author and founder of the School of Man, a 12-week guide to

living, loving and legacy through hard work, being honest and helping others. Life, love and legacy, why that title?

00:38:55] CR: It just felt right.

00:38:57] KM: It does.

00:39:01] CR: It's so easy for us to exist. It's harder to live. And then we talked about the three hardest words for any man to say, I love you. But the greatest gift we can give ourselves is to know thyself and then love thyself. And to me, when I think of love, I have to start with Cole in order for me to give it to anybody else. And I don't mean in the egotistical, narcissistic way. I'm talking about truly embracing why I was created, or why I am created, my scars, my – All of it. Just the beauty of life and loving that. And then from a legacy, many books, thousands of books, have been written on, “You got to leave a legacy. You got to leave a legacy. You got to leave a legacy.” But I'm more about chasing immortality and helping others do the same. And what I mean by that is, is the impact, the wake that you live in the world, you don't have to have millions of followers on Instagram, or YouTube. Yeah, that, of course, helps you expand your reach, etc. But for me, my legacy is for my children, for my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, for my great great grandchildren, etc. And it's based upon one simple ethos that I live by every day. Did I leave the world better than I found it? That's just how I live my life. And that's honestly how I've always lived my life. But through this journey, this messy thing called life has been fun. And that's why I titled it School of Man: A Man's Guide to Living, Loving & Legacy.

00:40:31] KM: And you talk about your ethos, a man is driven by his why. A man runs to the sound of adversity. A man commits to taking action. A man does not make excuses. A man chooses integrity as his value of choice. A man vows to renew his one second contract daily. I'm not sure what that is. A man is a servant leader. A man embraces change. A lot of people have a problem with that. And a man embraces legacy. So, in this last section of your book, you talk about the really nuts and bolts of seeking those ethos and following those ethos. You have The Crucible, the 55 consecutive hours of Hell. if you sign up for the School of Man, is that what the class is called? The Crucible?

00:41:14] CR: Well. So, it's a part of our process. It’s a part of the path. Doesn't mean that, specifically, you're going to go through the 55-hour crucible. If you want to take that path –

00:41:27] KM: It’s in addition. It's an option.

00:41:28] CR: Yeah, it's an option. So, like, if that's – So, how School of Man first started, is that we we create real brotherhood. We don't create the fake –

00:41:38] KM: You really do.

00:41:39] CR: Yeah, we create real brotherhood that produces real results. And we just have a unique process and curriculum and how we do that. And how that first started, class one, the founding fathers, the OGs, I'm so grateful for those guys because I put it in front of them and said, “Hey –” And none of us – It was one of those things after I started and launched SoM, and Adam was the first person I mentored, it was kind of interesting how life started presenting these men as wanting more. Like, they would walk up to you and say, “Hey, man, I don't know what you're doing over there by carrying logs down town Little Rock. And you're just doing crazy stuff.”

00:42:18] KM: Tell our listeners that that's one of the things you have to do, is carry log in downtown Little Rock.

00:42:20] CR: Yeah, bear crawling for a mile.

00:42:23] GM: I was about to say, the bear crawl to the Capitol is the thing I keep hearing about.

00:42:24] CR: Yeah. So, there’s a ton of stuff that we do.

00:42:28] KM: Just humiliate them.

00:42:29] CR: No. And it's one of those things, it's like, we built the first curriculum, 1.0, in 10 months, and I said, “Guys, we have to do something to put an exclamation point on this. You're going to go through The Crucible.” And they all looked at me because I had never done

anything like it. I said, “We're going to train like warriors in mind, body and spirit. Truthfully, we're going to talk about the hardest stuff, even if you're coming out of place, like you're just hitting on all cylinders, cool. Give that energy to another man.”

And at the very end of this, you're going to go through a crucible minting your brotherhood. And that's when the first Phoenix's were earned, which were hand drawn by Jeff Powell. And that's how The Crucible was born. And is the safest, most impactful event. Because, over 10 months, at that time, you track men across – It's an ultimate life coaching.

So now, it's one of those things that if a man comes to us and says, “Hey, I just want to get involved.” Perfectly fine. You get involved in School of Man University. You get put in a class. Right now, Foxtrots going on. And it's just to understand our culture. Read the book. Listen to the podcast.

00:43:37] KM: Get your battle book.

00:43:39] CR: Yeah. Get your battle guide. We need to understand where you need to focus. We want to help you use a rifle. Mot a shotgun. Right? Narrow it down. Make it very simple on the things that matter most. Because we're going to better you a man if you come in with a hunger emotion, right? And then if you want to go up and you want to accelerate your growth, then you will take that accelerated path. And it goes first phase, second phase, and then third phase. And it's pretty much an 18-month journey to get to the 55-hour Crucible.

00:44:08] KM: Oh! If you really want to get there. And it’s physical.

00:44:12] CR: On the outside, that's the easiest thing for us to show on video.

00:44:17] KM: Yeah. Because when I click on that on your website, it's like watching a military training. These guys are

inaudible 00:44:23] and they’re going through the water. And I'm like motivated. I want to get my –

00:44:26] CR: The what no one sees is what happens at night. Like, the tears, the bonding. You have to use that to get men to a place of vulnerability. And then at that point, you start inserting yourself from a coaching perspective.

00:44:42] KM: That’s very military. You break them down physically till they emotionally –

00:44:47] CR: Yeah. And they're not foreign to each other either. Meaning, like, you've been on this path with your teammate, your brother. You earn that term, brother, goodness gracious, for over 12 months. Close to 18 months. You've already done a 12-hour Crucible together. You've already learned all the hard stuff.

00:45:04] KM: Lots of trust.

00:45:05] CR: Lots of trust has already been built. So, at this point –

00:45:07] KM: Isn’t there even something about a sign a nondisclosure agreement?

00:45:09] CR: 100%. I lead with my vulnerability. I'm not going – It's not my place to tell another man story unless he's given permission. But you walk into organization no matter where you are, England, to South Carolina, to California, Washington, which we have men across the country, there is no pillow talk. There is no conversing what we talk about behind the scenes at SoM. Because there's something happening every day in SoM, Monday through Sunday. There is a conversation happening every day in SoM. There are us highlighting each other's successes, but also being there when a man might have to close his business and lay people off.

00:45:49] KM: So, these are some of the things that you get if you join with you. The Crucible, which we just talked about the end. The Phoenix, Greek mythology, which is the experiences of the rebirth. That's like your graduation coin.

00:46:01] CR: Yeah. We call it you finish to begin. You're always finding new starting line. So, once you earn your Phoenix –

00:46:09] KM: You certainly are. You're always starting something new.

00:46:12] CR: Yeah. So, like, even within SoM, when you join SoM, you get access to school of money, money mindset, you school man games, SoM fuel for nutrition, SoM fellowship, the rescue series. Our process, there's nothing else like it.

00:46:28] KM: You wrote the self-help book called School of Man. Why did you decide to do that? Why did you decide – Well, I know you said you'd like to read. But –

00:46:38] CR: About writing the book and authoring the book?

00:46:39] KM: Yeah. And then I liked this guy you wrote it with, Guy Choate. He wrote – What's the name of the book he wrote? The kids book?

00:46:46] CR: Oh, I can't remember off the top of my head.

00:46:47] KM: Gas! Gas! Gas! So cute. He wrote a kid's book with you – Or not with you.

00:46:53] CR: I wrote the manuscript, and I brought guy in to clean it up because –

00:46:57] KM: And it became a book.

00:46:57] CR: Yeah. And it became a book. And the reason why I wrote the book and how I see SoM, because I'm a visionary kind of guy, is that in the halls of SoM, you're going to have School of Man: A Man's Guide to Mental Toughness, School of Man: A Man's Guide to Expanding His Wealth and His Impact. So, you're going to have a series of books like Chicken Soup of the Soul. And then you're going to have a series of personalities that have blossomed out of SoM, like Keith McCormack, John Viguerie, Derek Price, Zach Cox. All these guys are getting – We're building platforms for these men to help us expand our impact around the world. There's 3.7 billion men. We've got to get our name out there. But at the end of the day, if it lands in one person's hands, and it resonates with that person or that man, and maybe they've been given the permission to say, “My God, I need to liberate myself,” right? Like, “I need a need to actually raise my hand.” Then our job is done.

00:47:52] KM: It says it in that book a million times, just raise your hand. Just raise your hand. I love it. Let's take our last break. And then we'll come back for a very quick ending.


00:48:03] ANNOUNCER: Before we get back to Kerry McCoy's interview with Cole Rodgers, she was especially taken when reading his book with some of the quotes he included. Very inspirational.

00:48:13] KM: So, to our listeners who want to get an idea of what the book is going to be about, these are some quotes that I got out of the book, “The line is only scary if it's chasing you. Turn around and chase the lion.” I like this one, “Only dead fish go with the flow.” Energy Vampires, watch out for him. “Vulnerability in front of other men is a strength.” “Bore the devil.” Think about that. “Bore the devil.” And last, “Accountability, feeding yourself BS and calling it caviar.”


00:48:47] KM: You're listening to up in your business with me, Kerry McCoy, and I'm speaking today with Mr. Cole Rodgers, founder of the School of Man in Little Rock, Arkansas, a self-help community for men working together for the betterment of their life through a wellness program both physically and mentally-challenging. I love what you said about yourself at the beginning of the book. I was feeding myself BS and calling it caviar. You seem to be on a lifelong journey of learning, Cole. To date, which of the things you have learned sticks out in your mind most?

00:49:21] CR: I've never been asked this question. So, I love it. Smooth is fast. Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

00:49:29] KM: Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

00:49:32] CR: You can't microwave success. Trusting the process is honestly a gift in and of itself. We have been tricked into these little casinos we carry on our hands, our iPhones, right? That you hit a button. And I say it all time in SoM, life isn’t Amazon Prime. You don't just hit a button and that result shows up at your doorstep a day or two later.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, once you're locked in on your target, and it's the right target. And once you trust the process, that makes that ride a hell of a lot better. The sunrise is a hell of a lot more beautiful. And the sunsets just absolutely blissful. That's what I've learned, is that, today, it would be easy for me to walk away from SoM and say, “You know what? Got what I needed. I'm out.” I need it more than ever.

00:50:30] KM: You never stopped needing it, did you?

00:50:30] CR: No. And SoM doesn't produce an iPhone. We are the iPhones. We upgrade men like they upgrade their iPhones or their golf grips. But what I've learned is, and just coaching all the men that I've coached from various walks of life, you have to trust the process. You have to trust the process. You've got to take the step on the path. And you have to understand, “Hey, smooth is fast.” Like, you're going to get where you want to go as long as you have a vision of who you are chasing. And you're ready to burn that boat and write that letter that form yourself. And you truly buy into it and believe in it. And you don't continue to give in to those voices inside your head. That's what I see as the greatest opportunity out there for people.

00:51:12] KM: Lovely. How do you go about applying or getting in touch?

00:51:14] CR: Just first and foremost, find us on social. The School of Man is the easiest way to start following us and getting involved. Go to schoolofman.live. Take our battle guy challenge. Seven-day Challenge. It’s a free battle guide. It's a badass journal for men. That’s the first place to get started.

00:51:30] KM: And you go where to get that?

00:51:31] CR: You can go to the website, schoolofman.live. Yes, schoolofman.live. It’s right there.

00:51:36] KM: Download it.

00:51:37] CR: Yeah. And so, we're always offering ways to get involved. I think that's the best and easiest way to do it. And I will always answer an email, cole@schoolman.live. You can

always email me. You can always email our support team. But I like mentoring and coaching. We have our full ambassador team of SoM. So, if you do have more interest in learning more, I'll connect you with one of our ambassadors that fits your story. We match guys based upon where they are in their life, right?

So, if I've got a guy that is just dealing with self-sabotage and he's maybe had some addiction issues in the past, we're going to put him with a guy that has been there but has been able to conquer it.

00:52:20] KM: I have loved learning about you. I have loved reading your book. I was telling you at the break, we should do our own show together sometime. I think it'd be fun.

00:52:28] CR: Let’s do it.

00:52:30] KM: But I have a gift for you and Ashley. It's a desk set with a North Carolina flag for Ashley.

00:52:35] CR: Oh, my goodness gracious.

00:52:36] KM: You see that child on there?

00:52:38] CR: That is awesome.

00:52:39] KM: And Arkansas flag, US flag, because you’re patriotic. And a flag for Ashley.

00:52:42] CR: We are very big patriots in our family. Thank you so much. This has been a blessing.

00:52:45] KM: Thank you so – Oh, I've really enjoyed it.

In closing, to our listeners, thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring and enlightening. And that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I'm Kerry McCoy, and I'll see you next time on Up in Your Business.


00:53:02] GM: You've been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today's show, go to flagandbanner.com, select radio and choose today's guest. Kerry's goal is simple, to help you live the American dream.



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