The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

evidently God trusts me

July9

It’s no secret that I got my butt seriously kicked in Colorado.

There was a period of time where it felt like God was taking so many things away from me and my family.

It would have been so much easier to duck and not be accountable. My partners took that path. But, I held firm in my belief of self and some form of unrealized potential for good. I faced a daily Kobayashi Maru. There was no sense of righteousness, mind you. Just a steely resolve to do what felt right. And, I learned there is a vital difference. And, perhaps thusly, began my own path understanding God’s gift of discernment.

I’m grateful for the pain, much of it burned into the back of my head; the wound fresh and itchy, as if it all happened just yesterday. The hollowness in the pit of my stomach a constant reminder of what I don’t want to be; and, what I can be.

Today, if I’m judged in an unfavorable light, I probably don’t “see” it because I am surrounded by so many good people and great opportunities. My Grandad – and, you’ve read a lot about him on this Blog – said: “if you are going to judge a man, do it by those around him”.

All of my experiences – the good, and the seemingly bad, have prepared me in the form of what God needs me to be, to help other men (I’m a surfer, so everyone’s a dude), make ever-better decisions, and realize their own potential. It’s part of living an authentic life.

So, God puts good men in my hands because I think he pushed me hard; he tested me and my mettle – and he trusts me.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

old things seem New to me

March22

So… I grew up in a military family. Ha! It’s painfully and juxtapositionally obvious, but also perplexing to most in my path. My Dad retired from the United States Air Force as a full Colonel. Many of my memories around Dad and his own measure of success – not to mention his influence over me are often detailed in this Blog. By reference, and an apparent favorite: do not miss your Chance to blow it.

However, I cam face-to-face with a relevant application of his example and influence from long ago just yesterday.

Setting the stage…

Early on, living the life of a scion of the Officer’s Club, I was exposed to the cream of the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command, and learned what those gallant men and women meant when they lived and died by the credo: “Peace is our Profession”. without realizing it at the time I came to appreciate experience, expertise and the chain-of-command. I witnessed first-hand, the synergy employed and enjoyed by gray-haird General’s mixing daily with fresh-faced 2nd Lieutenants, all firm in the belief their lives and contributions made a vital difference to one another, and the sanctity of our Constitution.

This means it never occurred to me that age, in-of-itself, was relevant. Only performance; and, all of it driven by courtesy and respect, and the call to action around a shred purpose. None were judged by anything but their ability to command and take commands that resulted, daily, in an efficient process that enabled them all to put their very lives into one another’s hands, without a second thought.

For example, I’ve never looked at an older man and saw weakness or lack of relevance. I saw only the likely potential of wisdom based upon one experience or another.

On the other hand, it’s never occurred to me to look at young people, as relative as that term has to be, and saw a lack of potential or ability.

Mind you… I’ve had my own adventures, hinted to in this Blog as well, but understood by only a few. But, my most recognized contributions have come through my duties as a Dad – and, that of a business man, that others approach for advice, guidance and stewardship.

And, for the first time in my business life, Friday in fact, I came face-to-face with a small team of burgeoning entrepreneurs, still in college, that invaded my offices – with the intention of enforcing accountability.

Background…

I’m in the midst of acquiring another startup that I’m convinced has a product that is a marketing-oriented game-changer. These soon-to-be-graduates are currently customers of the company. They are not pleased with the progress of their unique project. Our people say there is “scope-creep”. The customer says there is poor communication and missed deadlines. I want customer satisfaction and, thusly, affirmation of my investment.

Time will tell all.

But, in any event, at the large table in my board room, I found myself with three hearty and ferocious businessmen that, by age alone, qualified them to be my children. Although their graduation from college is imminent, with less than two months to go, they seemed small to me. And, they were naive, to be sure. But, eager and passionate, more importantly. And, they were irate over what to them was a lack of accountability on the part of the company. That is something that I’m unaccustomed too. My own ventures to date have been the example and hall-marks of accountability and service. So, I started the meeting open-minded. I coach soccer teams that are now at the U14 and U16 age bracket (and, they were all once at the U11 bracket). But, this was different. The first thought was mental arithmetic. I had started my own business at nineteen, also while in college (with the help of my Grandad’s money). I sold that business a week after graduation. So, I could, at many levels, relate to these young men.

But, I was biased. I knew it right away. Not defensive because they were displeased with a company I was involved with. No… I was actually age-biased.

I liked them well enough. I put them into the hands of a Project Manager that I’m mentoring myself, and even bought the entire lot lunch. We committed to deadlines and will work, with intent and a will, to see those critical deadlines met – all based upon collaboration.

But, this is me now. I’ll be fifty in October. I know I’m fitter than most. I’m always being sized-up by representatives of every generation; and, this group was no exception. I could do fifty pull-ups (I have the bar across the doorway of my office) with them hanging onto my back. And, that is how I viewed the entire matter… I’ll sling that crew over my should and see them to success. But, along the way I have to recognize that I’m going to be seeing more people that are younger than me, than older – and, my role in the business community is going to evolve, but possibly in ways I might not have considered before now.

So, every turn creates another opportunity to learn. But, also a challenge to be that example I experienced and have tried to live by daily, sitting at the feet of men that strode like giants around the world and taught me compassion, respect and accountability.

I’ll pause here and admit that I was sorely tested, a few times, to admonish them with a firm: “Stop interrupting each other”, and, “Please stop chewing on my business card”. But, they were, from their own perspective, probably working with an “old dude” with a big reputation for the first time in their emerging professional lives.

My own daughter, Haley Anne’s visage was flashing before my eyes. So to, were the eager faces of the students at Radford University, Georgia State and MIT, where I get to lecture from time-to-time came to mind. I’ll add my plans around “brian’s BEANS” as well. And, so that stage continues to be set, and my experiences are new and levied by other new things – including newer people and opportunities.

And, all these younger people are going to hold me accountable.

I’l have it no other way as they teach me and make me better and fitter to represent and reflect every talent God can squeeze into, and out of, me. This is where the Heterodox finds itself.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

anniversaries are milestones

March18

We should always be celebrating something.

I have a lot to be grateful for. Oddly though, when ever I say or write something like that my mind snaps-back to Colorado. Always a filter; a constant reminder; ever, the baring point.

And, perhaps the fountainhead foundation for this post.

I have an anniversary of sorts looming.

I graduated from Radford University in May of 1984. In fact, I’ve been named a “Centennial Ambassador” with Radford’s own one-hundreth year of academic excellence at-hand. All that’s fine and dandy – and, based upon many an adventure tried-and-true. But, the significant event that made much of my college experience valid (relative to today), beyond meeting Dr. Nick Pappas, was me selling a business I ran the last two years of school.

The details are less important than the result. I was able to take care of a family, based upon a solemn pledge, which included putting the sons of another man through college themselves while caring for his widow.

Perhaps the best part, though, was me driving cross country with $300,000  in a simple plain paper bag to give my Grandad (a 6x return on his investment, mind you) back the money he grub-staked me for the business I had turned around and then sold one week after graduation.

Thomas Jefferson and Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged), long my inspirations, remain hopefully pleased and content to be represented. A foundation, if you will for my being a Prudent and Optimistic Gentleman.

May will be here before I know it. But the memories earned and lessons learned between those distinct months of May are countless, and marked by milestones of inconceivable and incalculable value.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

great Mistakes

December2

I say it all the time.

However, I was reminded, and only this morning (while coaching a CEO whose book you’ve likely read), that I’ve not offered this thought, on or through, this Blog.

A rule, and it must needs be a rule to live by is: “The worst mistake you can make is one you repeat”.

Mistakes can almost always represent foundations for an opportunity to finish well. I’ve certainly made some big mistakes, and all of them; each and everyone – as painful as they can be, are a kind, if certainly not gentle, reminders of greater potential.

This can be, but need not be a corollary to my earlier post: opportunities to Shine, Really.

Charles Darwin will have his chin on fist with his gaze firmly upon you, and at every opportunity.

We must, after all is said and done, represent ourselves as Prudent Gentlemen.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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