After working together for over a year to create Cody’s personal narrative, his writing team from RTC sat down to discuss the highs and lows in the writing process, his hopes and apprehensions on sending the book out into the world, his vision for creating impact through his story. We had fun doing it, we hope you have fun reading!
RTC: Here at RTC we have a very unique process. There’s a lot of digging involved, tapping into old memories, uncomfortable, awkward moments. The process pushes us all out of our comfort zone, we have to be trusting and vulnerable all at once. How did you experience our process?
Cody: Well, it was very different from anything I’d ever done before. When I first filled out the form on your website, Corey contacted me. Our first conversation felt like an interview. He wasn’t trying to get my money, it was more like I had to earn his respect, I had to prove that I was worthy of being considered a client. That is the complete opposite of what you typically expect when you contact a company.
RTC: How about once we started working together? Writing a book is a tough process, it's rocky and messy, there are many different phases, outlining, drafting, revising, refining. What surprised you about our process, or caught you off guard?
Cody: At the onset of the writing process I had this certain idea about what I wanted the book to be but I didn’t know how to get there, I really didn’t know my direction or exactly what it would be, I just knew I wanted to have a way to share what I’ve learned and what I’ve been through. It was through our conversations that you guys eventually found a story within me that I hadn’t considered before. The extent to which you guys discovered and retold that story is certainly something that I never would have done on my own.
RTC: At what points did you feel unsure about the process? Did you ever doubt where we were going and how we’d get there?
Cody: Yes, definitely. There were points that I doubted the process and even thought I’d quit or put a pause on the whole thing. It felt so different from what I’d originally set out to do. But any process has its moments, ups and downs, and I’m happy with where we’ve arrived. You guys were able to find that story within me. I am very grateful for that because now I can share it with so many others out there.
RTC: What did you feel pushed to explore through the conversations we shared and through the writing process?
Cody: When I came to you guys, I was still trying to figure out what I was going to do and how I was going to use this book to get there. I was trying to find my purpose and in many ways I am still trying to find that. You guys were able to pull something out of me that I didn’t know was in there, you were able to determine what is so special about my story.
RTC: So it sounds like you are saying two things. One, that the RTC experience, specifically writing this book, helped you recognize that you had a story to tell and helped you find a way to tell it, and two, it helped you see what the purpose of telling that story might be, how it might affect others. Is that correct?
Cody: Yeah I knew that I wanted to have something when I started the project with RTC. I just didn’t know what that was. In looking back, I see this as a foundation to make a connection with an audience on a deeper level. I’ve learned that you simply can’t make that connection by just regurgitating knowledge, I’ve learned that first hand. I’ve seen how using story gives people something to hold on to. Story establishes a rapport with readers and they can take from it what they please. I don’t think I really understood that until we were halfway through writing this book.
Even though it is “my book” I have trouble reading it because it is very hard for me to move into stories. But, I see value in it. I see it as a foundation to allow me to make a connection with people.
RTC: What other books do you think you have in you?
Cody: I still want to share my ideas on optimization and knowledge and productivity in business in another book. I still want to help others actually achieve their goals, to actually take my advice and put it into action to see a change.
RTC: When you think about all the chapters and scenes in your book, what are you most excited for people to read? If you were able to get feedback on one part of the book from everyone that reads it, what would you ask them?
Cody: I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is the section on losing my company. I’d want to know how that sits with people. It’s certainly a unique twist in my story; not only did I have to go through all the personal issues as a child but then, I managed to build something on my own and it all came crumbling down. I was right back in a position that I was 3 years prior, with nothing left. Talking about that experience has been very challenging for me, it’s put me in a vulnerable place. I know that there are a lot of other people who have similar stories whether it’s with a business or another trade. Maybe you guys have spent a week writing a document, a year writing a book and then your computer crashes and then you lose it, and there’s nothing you can do. That’s what that experience was like for me. I think a lot of people could relate on some level. And that is the whole purpose of the book, to connect and relate to others by opening up, being vulnerable and sharing those low points.
RTC: When you think about sending your story out into the world, what excites you, what makes you nervous, or a combination of both?
Cody: I worry that someone would read the book, feel inspired but not doing anything about it. Unless you are inspired to do something different or to change your habits or to change your mindset what does that mean? To me it doesn't mean anything unless you actually change some part about you. I worry that it would simply serve as another means of a motivational poster to hang on the wall and look at every day. I wish I had more control over that, I wish I could physically push people to change the things they're inspired to change, to physically get the ball rolling, to put enthusiasm and motivation to start something new. When someone tells me they feel inspired, I wonder what that actually means or what it actually looks like.
RTC: A lot of people spend their lives content in simply knowing they made a connection, or impacting the way someone feels, but that is not your thing and that is fine. You get fired up about action, tangible results, you like analytics. If you have a hard time connecting to someone only “feeling inspired,” why is it important for you to get someone to change their behavior or take action? Why does it matter if people change their behavior based on what you have told them?
Cody: In my opinion, a feeling is something that has a start and end point. You are going to feel angry, you are going to feel sad and happy at some points, but those feelings don’t define you as a person, I don’t think. I think what does define you is your mindset and how that translates into how you treat people and what you are trying to actively change in the world, how you are trying to make it a better world for everybody else, how are you trying to improve your relationships with the people and friends and family that you are in, how are you trying to be more successful in achieving your goals, being able to work on your passions.
When we’re around people that make us feel happy, we create bonds with them, we naturally want to be around that person more often. But what is the lasting impact that people come away from when they feel happy? Does that cause them to become better people? I can’t say for certain that is the case.
I am not saying that I don’t have feelings, too. I am highly emotional inside I just don’t express it as easily as others. Feelings are not useless, but they have a shelf life. Unless that feeling causes them to change their ways, thoughts, or create physical change, I don’t know what the long lasting benefits are. Is a happy feeling going to make someone feel better about themselves for the rest of their lives, is that going to help them live better lives or more meaningful lives?
I can only say that I am not in the business of making people feel happy, but I would love to be in the business of giving people the right to live more meaningful lives, overall, in a more long lasting way. It would be a lot more important for me to know that I had an impact that went beyond just temporary moments of feeling in people, that I was able to have a part in inspiring them to do something beyond the shelf life of a feeling.
RTC: So, we’ve danced around this question a bit, and now we’d like to really bring it home. If you could sum up how your book would impact those who read it, the long lasting impression that you leave on people that read your story, what would that be?
Cody: I know that I can’t control how people read this book. I can’t be sure that everyone that reads it will walk away, inspired to change something. But, I do hope that through my story, people will be able to connect with me on a different level, one that would not have been possible before we wrote this book. I do hope that I’m able to help people at least realize their own visions and goals for their own lives, help them see that setting new boundaries is possible. They’ll see why and how I’ve done what I’ve done in my life, and we’ll see where it goes from there.
RTC: So when you look back on the whole process, and reflect on what it means to your greater purpose in this lifetime, what comes up for you? How are you living out that purpose today?
Cody: I know that I am more driven now then I was a year ago. I don’t know like what part of that was the book writing process or what part of that was my personal development, but I’ve changed a lot in this past year. I recall the time I told you guys that I am not trying to achieve happiness I am trying to achieve greatness.
Well, I had a friend who died recently. I looked up to him and his personal brand, liveyourlegend.net. He was a genuine guy with a genuine purpose to help people be successful and live out their lives to the fullest extent. He went away with his wife and died suddenly in a freak accident. It really made me think, if I die tomorrow, would I be happy with where I am, how I spend every day? Even though I am a sort of workaholic, I realized ya know, yeah, I would actually be happy. I am not happy every second, but I love what I do. It may not be traveling the world, it may not be doing a lot of other outrageous and fulfilling things that people do, but for me my work gives me that purpose that I want. That’s what comes to mind.