Corey Blake reveals the contents of that big black hole inside each one of us called vulnerability through the art of storytelling and writing. Through his journey from actor to producer to copywriter to now CEO of Round Table Companies, Corey has become an expert in helping people open up their deepest feelings and emotions and spill them out on paper. In this episode, Corey not only shares his incredibly moving and relatable story, but he also explains the law of vulnerability which takes people’s weakest points and turns them into literal works of art.
My Guest: Corey Blake
Corey is the publisher of Conscious Capitalism Press, the founder and CEO of Round Table Companies (RTC), and a speaker, artist, and storyteller. He previously starred in one of the 50 greatest Superbowl commercials of all time (Mountain Dew, Bohemian Rhapsody), has won 15 independent publishing awards, and has been featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal and in the New York Times, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, and Wired. Corey earned his SAG union card by working 8 days on David Fincher’s Fight Club before starring in commercial campaigns for Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Mitsubishi and Pepsi. His documentary of the same name won 2017 Addy and Hermes awards for branded content. He has spoken at YPO events, business schools, publically traded companies, and annual conferences, and is a frequent speaker, facilitator, and emcee at Conscious Capitalism events around the country.
Raised as an only son in a Jewish household, was showered with attention and convinced that he was the star of the world.
At the age of five, his mother was diagnosed with depression which completely destroyed his peaceful world. He quickly learned how to how to read the energy of a room and take cues from those around him, sparking his career as a performer.
Discovered choir and theater during high school and felt that this was his identity.
Studied theater in university then went out to LA to pursue a career in acting.
Got pulled into the commercial world and although he was making decent money, hated the fact that he was using his skills to convince kids to do stupid things.
A passion to do something with more purpose began to build up so he got a group of expert actors and professionals together and took them all up to Mammoth, California for a week to learn all aspects of storytelling. At the end of the week, they had some high-quality film scripts.
Created a filming company and, using the film scripts they had created, made a short, high-quality film.
When that business died, created another similar one that also didn’t last long.
Jumped on Craigslist and started doing some writing. Realized that there were lots of people looking for writers and lots of writers looking for work but no proper go-between.
Opened a book writing company, Round Table Companies (RTC), which eventually started attracting coaches and consultants who wanted someone to write their stories and legacies.
Became fascinated by the coaching world and began involving himself in personal development.
Got invited to the Conscious Capitalism CEO summit in 2014 where he recognized that he could integrate the performer he once was with the businessman he now was, to help CEOs express themselves.
Today Corey still focuses about 50% of his business on building legacy pieces for people. In addition, he has also started focusing on the vulnerability people experienced when sharing their stories. This led him to create the law of vulnerability – this uses artistic representations to help people covert vulnerability and the things they feel bad about into something beautiful.
Male-Female Workplace Boundaries
The intensity of the environment and relationships in the workplace, exceed anything that most people have previously experienced during school and college. The amount of time, stress and experiences shared with work colleagues is immense, and many people are not emotionally mature enough to handle themselves correctly in this type of setting. Often, this leads to inappropriate behavior and many red lines are crossed, which not only jeopardizes relationships but can also jeopardize business and team operations.
To avoid creating any horrible situations or doing anything stupid, it’s crucial to set up boundaries around yourself when you are not sure that you can be trusted. These boundaries are not about being mean and unfriendly, but about building a professional relationship where you can be kind and open, but not personal.
It is equally important to open the conversation about relationships in the workplace online. Speaking and discussing this issue can build awareness before any boundaries are crossed and not after, which is usually when we all start talking.
Revenue vs Purpose
There are two types of business activities: “finance-driven” and “purpose-driven”. Purpose-driven business means elevating humanity and doing good for the world while doing what is best for the business. To reach a balance between finance driven and purpose-driven business activities, we need need to set dual goals:
1. Revenue Goal: what are our financial goals?
2. Serving Goal: what do you want to give to the world?
Polarity work is the process of paying attention to two seeming opposites and realizing that there is value in both. For example, there is value in both revenue-driven business activities and altruism. It is possible to do both and in fact highly necessary to pay attention to both constantly. By focusing only on one, you go hardcore into it until you are sick of it and it turns sour. You then rush to the other extreme and go hardcore into that until it too becomes sour.
The only difference between for profit and not for profit businesses is the order in which we place money and activity. Businesses do activities to get money. Not-for-profits get money to do a set of activities but BOTH involve money!
Most people today go through many different careers during their working life. Often we put our past career behind us and don’t use the skills we have acquired. However, stacking all our skills together to form a unique whole can help us excel in our next job and next role.
The CEO Artist
Anyone who is a founder or a leader of a company is an artist, their business is a canvas and they are painting a picture of the world that they wish to see. Or, if the business is not working, they are painting a version of the world that they see now, but one that they don’t want to see.
In 2018, Corey adopted an EOS which was a total game changer but most significantly it allowed him to provide his President with a plan book and structure to move the business forward. This has afforded Corey extra freedom and led him to start thinking about the next evolution of his artistry. After so many years of helping others to uncover their voice and bring their story to the world, Corey feels that he too has a message to bring to the world and has been toying with the idea of public speaking. But, Corey is intimidated by the idea of uncovering his voice and discovering his unique message. What is Corey’s unique message that he should bring to the world?
Throughout Corey’s journey, the underlying thread has been the balance between the drive for money versus his desire to shine the light of creativity on the world. For example, Corey’s career in commercials brought in money but didn’t shine much light, which is why he opened the film companies. Corey’s core brand and the message that he can bring to the world is how to synergize the two.
The truth is like castor oil. It’s bitter, hard to swallow and people don’t want it. So we open their mouths with laughter and then we pour it in. -Harold Clurman