Hello, I am Corey Gonzalez aka (cg).
Growing up, I was a determined kid. I wanted to be wealthy and wasn’t afraid of hard work. I was also willing to give up something if that meant it would get me closer to my goal.
There was one area, however, that I wasn’t so determined to overcome, and that was my size. I was larger than many of the other kids and showing up at school every day was tough for me. I was different and was bullied for it. The insults eventually made me stronger, but I knew there were far better ways to build strength and confidence than learning how to cope with extremely mean people and growing up with an image problem.
One of the blessings that came out of being different came my way through an opportunity from my 5th grade teacher. Mrs. F was tasked with building a new program called Peace Patrol, which was a kid-friendly term for conflict resolution. Mrs. F selected me out of the entire school to spearhead the program and lead a small team of other students.
This was my introduction to coaching, and I loved it! Every day during recess, while all the kids were playing different activities, my small team and I would put on our Peace Patrol windbreakers, grab our clipboards, and insert ourselves into any conflict that occurred on the playground. Our job was to help our peers feel heard and guide them to a resolution.
Looking back, I believe leading this initiative was what ultimately sparked my hunger to help others break down the conflict in their lives so they can move forward. Obviously, I graduated to working with paying clients in a more professional manner, but I have no doubt those elementary experiences shaped who I am today. It all started because Mrs. F recognized my unique offering and allowed me an opportunity to learn, grow, lead, and serve others using one of my gift.
Around the time I was leading Peace Patrol, I found a passion in music. Music was a beautiful expression that didn’t judge me for my size or ability to run fast. If my fingers could move across the strings, I was good to go. I poured everything I had into music, and by age 10, I had plans to become a professional musician. I practiced every moment I could and was hungry to learn. It was my thing.
As I grew, so did my musical abilities. By the time I was in high school, I was playing in college jazz ensembles and performing in large churches and clubs. I had the opportunity to play on hundreds of stages throughout the U.S., South America, and Asia, and was paid the same, if not more than the 40+ year olds with whom I was sharing the stage. By age 15, I was a professional working musician. It was a beautiful time, but unfortunately, I was so busy, that I don’t think I ever paused long enough to enjoy it.
Perhaps it was just part of being a musician, or maybe it was just how self-employment goes, but every gig I was on, became an audition to get the next gig. Eventually, this gig cycle began to wear on me and I spent more time at home in the recording studio.
I would trade guitar and bass tracks for production lessons from producers in Los Angeles, and after a while, I learned the ropes and decided to build my own studio. By age 20, I built a successful commercial recording studio and marketing business with a team of professionals working with artists, producers, record labels, ad agencies, television companies, and some of the largest churches and organizations in the world. At one point, we even had international artists flying into Southern California to work with me at my studio. It was a special time, but again I was moving so fast, that I never stopped to take it all in.
When I was 22, I was on my journey to the pursuit of happiness and stepped out of the studio to try my hand at investments. I had earned a job with a large investment firm. I passed the Series 7 broker exam and Series 66 and hit all the benchmarks with the company. I was like Will Smith in Pursuit of Happyness, and thought I’d made it.
I knocked on more than 1,000 doors, pushed through rejection, and held millions under management in my first year. I had an office, a secretary, a handful of expensive suits, a nice car, and a $500,000 house (because I thought that meant success, but more on that at another time).
After a year and a half with the company, I was sent to a sales seminar and Tony Robbins asked us to write down what we wanted to achieve; not a goal or objective we would hit this year, but an actual vision for our life. I took a moment and started writing. I could tell others were struggling with the assignment, but at that moment, what I wanted was very clear. I wrote down how I wanted to speak to people, help them to move forward and inspire them to realize their potential, much like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, and many others I looked up to. I read through my response and immediately realized the path I was on wasn’t the right one. I knew I would have to make a change.
I did everything the company set in front of me, and in many ways, I was succeeding, although I was unsatisfied internally. I wanted to help individuals in a more significant way than just investing and moving their money. I wanted to help them move forward in life.
I wanted to help others tap into their uniqueness, unleash their potential, and navigate through change so they can boldly move forward and transform their lives for the better. I wanted to assist entrepreneurs and business owners in growing their businesses and getting closer to where they wanted to be. I wanted to help strengthen brands and add significant value to their organizations. Most of all, I wanted to be who I alone was designed to be and share my unique offering and gifts with the world.
To many people, it didn’t make sense; things were going well and I worked hard to get where I was.
To me, however, it was clear as day: I needed to shift. I woke up the next morning, put on my suit, and went to the office. I shared with my leader that I would not be continuing with the company. He said I was crazy and asked why in the world I would quit now. Without hesitation, I said, “Life is way too short to be doing the wrong thing.”
Fast forward to my mid 30’s. I have had a full career in music, spent time as a licensed real estate agent, and worked as an asset manager for multi-million dollar bank-owned property portfolios. I owned properties, worked as a financial advisor with millions under management, ran a creative marketing agency, built multiple businesses, and coached or consulted hundreds of professionals, leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, and brands along the way.
All of this, and for the first time I am pressing pause and taking a breath. I have seen a lot, heard a lot, and felt a lot, but in all my running around, I never took the time to ask myself why I was running so fast.
After spending some time with this question, I uncovered a hard truth. I believe my drive and pursuit of moving forward fast was tied up in the hurt and pain I faced in all the bullying and name-calling growing up. Playing up for so many years was tough. It was sink or swim, and although I think an individual can grow in this environment, it can do a lot of damage as well. For most of my working life, others appreciated me for what I did or could do for them versus who I actually was. Over time, this made me believe that my value and worth were tied only to my performance, achievement, and support of others.
I worked so hard to be the best, I failed to enjoy most of my journey along the way. The worst part is, that I learned to define success by other peoples’ standards and without consciously knowing it, I spent all my time working to impress others versus learning how to love myself and realizing my own unique worth. Maybe you can relate?
I wish I could say I eventually started my own business and everything worked out perfectly. I helped hundreds of individuals, leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, and brands move forward and got exactly to where they wanted to be without facing any challenges, roadblocks, or detours along the way, but only part of this would be true. I did start my business and I have helped hundreds of individuals, leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, and brands move forward, but “perfect” and “without hurdles” is not part of my story and it surely hasn’t been a straight path.
I had an idea of what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to live, but truth be told, I let work and responsibilities get in the way. Little distractions and saying “yes” to too many unaligned activities turned into a decade of not living the life I believed I was designed to live. I made excuses and let my lack of focus drive a wedge between where I was and where I wanted to be.
I knew a lot about what to do, but knowing is only half the battle. Taking action and doing the things we say, plan, or preach is the other part of the battle that must take place if we want to get anywhere. Many successful individuals would say it is the action that makes all the difference, but it’s really focused action that gets the job done.
I share my story with you in the hope that it will inspire you to write and share your own. There is tremendous power in writing and sharing our stories with others. You may even learn something about yourself that surprises you. Either way, my hope is that you will discover something of value and that it encourages you to invest in what truly matters to you, the things that make YOU come alive.
Want to move forward together? Book a discovery call and we can chat through your situation and see if we’re a good fit.You were created with a unique offering and gifts to be shared with the world. There is no one else like you and more capable than you at being you. Click To Tweet