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(l-r) Melanie Bledsoe, Cole McCarter, Amanda Smith, Robbie Randle and Andee Sloot worked together last month to present a business workshop for Dallas area female entrepreneurs. McCarter is President of the local Toastmasters Club that meets at the same Intuit Business site twice a month and invited the workshop participants to join him to learn how to speak well in public, and without fear. At 28, he hopes to inspire others like him who are working hard to be a success in both business and in life. Ms. Smith is the CEO and Founder of Dallas Girl Gang, a Facebook group of women who support and encourage one other.

“Challenges make life interesting. Overcoming them make life worthwhile.”

Cole McCarter sat dejected on a park bench, ready to throw in the proverbial towel. As a soccer coach, he had a bunch.

He’d just gotten off the phone with him mother, tearfully admitting to her that he’d screwed up his life and he didn’t know what to do next. A college graduate, he’d finally quit his horrible job, making minimum wage as  a soccer coach, giving up the "joy" of being yelled at by irate parents who wanted their little players to have more time in the game on the field – regardless of the fact that their kids rarely made it to team practice.

He’d left his previous job as a Property Management Assistant to do this thing he loved – soccer – only to end up hating it. Now he was forced to look at his bleak future without enough money to pay rent for his 300 square foot apartment in Houston. Born in Irving and raised in Coppell, Cole had moved to Houston with his college girlfriend. But she was long gone, leaving him depressed, alone, and now, unemployed.

As he hung up his cell phone, not knowing where to turn, he began walking home from the soccer field and was at a museum just killing time and musing on his options when he saw an Open House sign across the street. The large home was beautiful, and with nothing else to do, he crossed the road to see it.

The first thing he noticed was the Real Estate agent. “She looked like she had pajamas on,” he says now with a laugh. “And the home was a large, formal one, selling for over $600,000. She was totally under-dressed for the showing and I thought to myself, ‘Heck – I can dress better and present this home better than that! I could do this job.’

Cole had learned how to sell when he was leasing apartments. He plunged into the Real Estate business and became a consultant, learning all he could. Within two years he was selling homes but barely getting by. He moved on to a new company to become more successful with new brokers, even though he wasn’t quite convinced his co-workers were completely trustworthy. He says, “I knew in my heart that this wasn’t a completely good move for me—it was all about working too many hours to make a lot of money.”

Full Commission jobs mean you don’t get paid if you don’t produce, and Cole ended up in the ER twice for panic attacks, knowing all the while that something wasn’t right. His integrity was being challenged. He spent many sleepless nights wondering how he would afford his next month’s rent – or even food. He began moonlighting as an Uber driver and delivering Chinese food later at night. Drinking and drugs were easy ways to numb the pressure of his life, but it left him more depressed than ever.

As time dragged on, he completed one more year, and another eight months with his partner with questionable business practices--and was miserable.

Back at his mother’s home in Dallas for Christmas in 2017 he made a deal with himself: Earn $50,000 in the next month and move to Dallas, where he’d start his life anew.

"You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

Cole closed three deals that month and was on his way to Dallas. But he was right about his boss: some of his shady deals cost Cole a chunk of his commissions. Still, Cole was determined to create a healthy life for himself that included steady income and less stress. Years of dead-end jobs had taken a toll on his mental and physical health, and his self-esteem. He was “always the kid other kids picked on in school,” and he knew if his life was to get better, it was time to work on recovering from that childhood pain and his more recent job losses.

He became more determined and focused than ever. A friend and confidant, Jordan Weingrad, recommended he listen to Motivational Speaker Jim Rohn, and Cole listened to his messages of hope daily on his drive to work. Rohn’s lessons were so powerful that Cole became eager to turn his life around. And he wanted to learn how to become an inspirational public speaker, “So maybe I could have the opportunity to change someone else’s life as he did mine.”

He Googled Toastmasters and discovered a meeting was held right across the street from his apartment. He took advantage of  his god luck and in just a few short months he was much more comfortable making speeches. Last year he was surprised by his Toastmaster’s group when they said he was ready to be their president and lead them in 2019. “So humbling,” he admits, “I told them they were crazy, but here I am!” His Toastmasters group began with five people and now has 25 members. Cole’s goal is to add eight more members by the end of October. But he thinks 18 would be even better.

Now he says he knows he owes a debt of gratitude to Joseph Diosana and Alex McCauley with Keller Williams Memorial and his current broker and partner Chris Ohlig for their faith in him, and for teaching him how to be successful in the business. He plans to pay it forward.

 "Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." – Jim Rohn

And he’s on a personal quest: The 75-day Hard Program. It requires a strict diet of healthy food and no alcohol, plus two 45-minimum workouts a day (one outside and one inside) and drinking a gallon of water a day (nothing flavored) and reading 10 pages a day from a self-help or business book.

Cole knows it sounds hard, but he wants to do it to increase his mental toughness and tone his body, with a goal of adding ten pounds of muscle. A Daily “Progress picture” is part of the plan, to see ongoing progress from Day One to the 75th day. A few of his friends are also on the program, so he feels like he’ll have the support he needs to maintain it. He finishes three days before his 29th birthday.

Cole looks back on the past four years and wishes he’d had his epiphany sooner, that, as Rohm says, "Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment," and that he hadn’t floundered for five years after college unsuccessfully trying to make money. Now he’s ready to make a life. He knows he learned from those trials and tribulations and challenges to give him the lessons he needed to move forward.

He’s up every morning with a new mantra: to be the best he can be and help as many people as he can as he lives his life. As his inspiration Jim Rohn said, "Either you run the day, or the day runs you." Cole is running this race to win.

Cole’s Toastmasters group meets at noon on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at Intuit located at 5601 Headquarters Drive, Plano, TX 75024. Contact him for more information: mccarter@ohliggroup.com or call him at: 713-476-1484.

 

Judy Porter, MBA, writes inspirational stories about local heroes, small businesses and non-profits. Contact her at judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

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