Learn about the mentors of my guest today. Who are they? Why and how they impacted his life? Ken Cox, President of St. Louis-based internet services and data center company Hostirian, speaks to his mentor’s resilience in leadership.
Mentors can have a lasting impact on us before we even know it. From mentee to mentor, Ken shares the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and leadership. You can complain and quit or be resilient. You’ll hear what path Ken chose.
Here are three reasons you should listen to the complete episode:
- The three biggest takeaways Ken has experienced during his almost two decades of working.
- Learn why Ken bought a boxing gym.
- Discover what Ken believes is the American Dream and how his mentors contributed to this.
Ken’s early years
- Ken grew up with his mom, stepdad, multiple siblings, and half-siblings.
- His stepdad was an unhappy man working as a union banker and his mom was a bartender.
- They “told” him what they thought he should do when he got older. Their feelings, opinions, and attitudes “showed” him what he really should do.
- Step-dad was the happiest at 52 when he began his own business. He and Ken were the closest during this time.
3 things Ken would share with younger entrepreneurs
- Be vigilant of drinking and drugs. So many deals are made after hours that it’s easy to get swept up in that scene. If you’re not careful, it can become a problem.
- Have a healthy physical fitness routine. It is just as important for you physically as it is for you mentally.
- Take care of yourself mentally. Just because you may not have a physically demanding job, you can still be just as exhausted mentally at the end of the day. If you aren’t healthy mentally, it will lead to physical illness and issues.
How physical fitness has improved Ken’s life in so many ways
- Ken received a fatty liver disease diagnosis from his doctor. He could keep drinking and live two more years, or he could quit drinking and start taking steps to reverse it and get onto a healthier path.
- This forced him to put down his phone. It took a while, but he realized that his employees and business would be ok without him for an hour.
- It also allowed him to look at things differently, with a different lens.
- He expanded his mindset from simply paying the bills to actual growth in the business.
Ken’s writing project with the C-Suite Network
- A group of CEOs and executives from the network each contribute a chapter for their book.
- Ken’s chapter is about his mentors in small businesses and how they’ve contributed to his idea of the American Dream.
Ken’s mentor, Steve
- Steve hired Ken in 1999, and he quickly moved up through the company.
- When Ken started questioning things, times got hard, Steve told him, “Ken, even birds learn how to eat in the winter. You’ll be okay. Right? It will be okay. You’ll figure it out.”
- This survival mindset of things being ok if this is really what you want to do took a huge weight off of Ken’s shoulders and out of his head.
- Around the time of Steve’s passing, Ken realized he needed to shift his mindset from survival mode to understanding that it’s important to thrive.
Ken’s vision for 2023
- In business, it’s still a grinding year with projects.
- The C-Suite Network book will be coming out.
- He’s got a new show with 10 entrepreneurs with different abilities, what they’ve had to overcome, and how they never gave up on their passion.
- Ken also believes that entrepreneurship can be self-sustaining and envisions micro-companies of two and three people popping up in the next few years and people really doing what they love.
What Ken would like to be remembered for
- Ken wants to be remembered for helping. Whether that is helping get through something or inspiring someone, Ken just wants to help.
3 Powerful Quotes from Ken Cox
- (07:03) – “When I look back, and I try to think about what I want to be, and I just want to be the guy I needed when I was growing up.”
- (36:31) – Steve said, “Ken, even birds learn how to eat in the winter. You’ll be okay. Right? It will be okay. You’ll figure it out.”
- (38:39) – “We’re gonna see a lot more of these micro companies, two and three people, companies popping up across the country and people doing what they love. For the first time in history, the modern history of the world that we know of, people can do what they love and make a living.”
About Ken Cox
Ken Cox is a solutions-focused Senior Executive with more than 20 years of success across the software, SaaS, telecom, and e-commerce industries. Leveraging extensive experience helping companies with outsourced IT projects and IT infrastructure, he is a valuable asset for companies working on compliance, marketing campaigns, sales strategy, or M&A activity. His broad areas of expertise include operations, project management, networking, startups, Cloud computing, software quality assurance, data centers, risk assessment, and change management.
Throughout his career, Mr. Cox has held leadership positions at companies including Hostirian, Rivercity Internet Group, Mpower Communications, and Midwest Micro Systems. 2017 finds him promoted to President of St. Louis-based internet services and data center company Hostirian, where he has worked since 1999 and had served as Vice President since 2006. Ken studied at Washington University in St. Louis before leaving school to enter the workforce. He has held advisory board roles with Vatterott College and Clyde C. Miller High School.
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