*This article is also published on Huffington Post.
Dave Cobb (’DC’) was a Vice President of Bally Total Fitness from 1989-2013, where he has won the Top 1% MVP Award and Manager of the Year Award. He was also selected to represent ‘The Brand New B FIT’ Business Concept in the Chicago area. Dave was also featured in the book: ‘Attitude is Everything’ and the ‘Success from Soup to Nuts’ Audio Program, by Hall of Fame Motivational Speaker, Jeff Keller (www. AttitudeisEverything.Com). Dave has since done motivational speaking for the First Baptist Church of Ottawa, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and Woman’s Workout World, and for the local government of Robbins IL. He is a proud father of his son, Dave Jr., and currently mentors young adults. One of his mentees, Abraham Conchola, states ‘Dave has helped me gain perspective in difficult and challenging times, he has been a strong ally for me!’ Hon. Pauline Truong (GlobePreneurs – ‘GP’) recently had discussions with Dave Cobb regarding his journey from ‘rock bottom’ to motivational speaker.
GP: Have you ever hit ‘rock bottom’ and what did it feel like?
DC: I had a tough childhood, coming from a family of nine (including my parents). I was estranged from my siblings for most of my childhood because of my parents’ religion. I wore my neighbors’ hand me down clothes. Due to the home environmental, I was a very nervous kid. I was so nervous my first grade teacher, Ms Ruthy, would help me hold my pencil when I wrote. I was held back in first grade also! In High School, I attended night school for one year just to graduate. THE NIGHT I GRADUATED MY SISTER SHARON PASSED OUT IN THE BLEACHERS! AN AMBULANCE WAS THERE AND ALL! She’s doing great since then!!
I reached ‘near bottom’ in 1995-1996. My marriage did not last very long and we went through a horrible, painful time. I promised to be a good parent and now my son Davey Jnr was separated from me! I also accumulated a huge mortgage and extra debt as a result of my marriage. My company went through a transition which affected my compensation as a General Manager by half within about 6 months after these events. I started to have severe insomnia for about a year! My turning point came on one Christmas eve in the Mid 90’s. I drove my car off the road about 30 feet into a ditch. A local saw what happened, and I ended up spending that Christmas eve with him and his family. I received help for the insomnia. I eventually lost my home and my car was repossessed. (That is probably my ‘rock bottom’) A lot of feelings and thoughts from the past started to arise. There was self talk like: ‘You can’t do anything right, you’re not too bright, you’re a nit wit’ etc. I felt very lonely and isolated like I was a child again. It felt like I turned my life around only for it to be worse than ever. I also felt betrayed and afraid for my son Davey.
GP: What skills helped you recover?
DC: A very wise man once said, ‘Whatever problem or challenge you are going through…many before you have faced the same or similar! Seek them out! Fortunately I love to learn and I started to identify with other sales people, business owners, entrepreneurs etc who gone through similar, if not worse, circumstances than me, so I began to model and follow what they did, and guess what it worked! All the information you need to succeed is available, but you need to do two things: seek the right people with proven track records, and then apply and take action! Move! Get some momentum going! In addition, you need to have reasons why you have to succeed. Friedrich Nietzsche said, ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.’ There were reasons why you got involved in the business. Write them down and view them daily. That’s what I did. My reasons to succeed was to take care of my son and provide for him! I didn’t want to be a weak example! So the main skills I used was modeling others who overcame adversity in there personal and business life. I also used accountability strategy, for example reasons why I need to succeed. That will give you clarity through your personal storm!
GP: What is your advice for @GlobePreneurs to have great mentors and support for their journey?
DC: There’s a saying: ‘When you see a turtle on top if a fence post, chances are s/he had help.’ Mentors and coaches are invaluable! Michael Jordan had one! Steve Jobs had one! Martin Luther King had one! All the Greats have had one! My personal recommendation in finding a coach is be sure your coach has been tested in real world time, with a proven, successful track record! Also be sure your coach is congruent. For example, if you have a fitness coach be sure he or she is practicing the principles of fitness, this applies to any area of business too. As a result of the coaching I received from my mentor, Jeff Keller, I eventually accomplished my business dream of being an Area V.P. for Ballys. I was able to experience what so many didn’t! It was a 15 yr journey to get there but I made it! My mentor Jeff was the fuel that kept my fire burning! That’s what a great mentor will do for you! The answers to your challenges are available. We entrepreneurs just need to seek them out ! Just because somebody is doing better than you doesn’t mean they are better than you. Chances are they are just doing things different from you and that’s where a great coach and mentor comes in!
Thank you GlobePreneurs, for this opportunity to share my story and experience globally!