Kicked out of school. Homeless at 16. Forty-one different residences by the age of 18. But today, Cort Twitty is a licensed fiduciary and part of a financial advising firm with $64.5 million under management and helping branding efforts to help companies grow to values over $1 billion. In 2017, he founded Steele Institute for Emotional and Financial Literacy (SIEFL) and has helped over 1,600 people to date with something more precious than finances: mental health.
Cort’s own personal experiences and struggles inspired him to write Godfidence: The Art of Quiet Confidence and Emotional Intelligence, which addresses the difficult but very real issues of depression, suicide, and addiction facing professionals. “I’m on a mission to help those suffering like I used to—good people who put everyone else’s needs before their own,” Cort says.
Cort was gracious enough to share some of the insights behind his book, his company, and his mission to unite others.
What inspired you to found the Steele Institute?
I wanted to roll up my sleeves and help with a problem that’s bigger than me: the issue of suicide among health care workers, professionals, and teenagers, so I co-founded the institute with my son and my daughter, in the name of my grandparents, Cliff and Emily Steele. It gave me a chance to show my kids what is possible with action, hard work, and clear purpose. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. That’s why people like Andy Weng, Richie Norton, Tony Robbins, Christie Turley, and Jess Hershey have been so instrumental in teaching me strength where I’m weak.
Tell us about your book, Cort.
The book has become an innovation for mental health. The book is extremely vulnerable; I share suffering that few in the public eye are willing to share. I discuss major setbacks in each chapter. Each setback led to suicidal consideration. Although I was suicidal, nobody knew or suspected it. The book was originally written for suicide in health care, because it’s a huge problem and they have little chance of overcoming depression and suicidal ideation with the resources available to them. It has since evolved into something much more broad and bigger than I imagined. I walk readers through a simple routine I’ve perfected over 24 years to help busy, stressed people find rest and peace so they can thrive personally and professionally. Unlike religion, the book is authentic, vulnerable, and transparent. It’s religiously and politically neutral, so don’t let the title fool you. Ages 14+.
Why did you choose to address specifically the combination of—and connection between—emotion and finance?
Because I found major, preventable mistakes with each subject, and then found the reason they are, in fact, connected. First with emotion, the top five professions that commit suicide most often are all in health care, with dentists leading the way at over 8% (all five are over 6.5%), yet the words “mental health” are still unspoken in dental school, why?
Now finance: major, credible studies show about 65% of Americans are considered financially illiterate, I know I was. A finance class is only required to graduate high school in 17 states, yet all 50 states require a sex ed class, again, why? But here’s the kicker: two of every three suicide notes left behind specifically mention money, debt, insurance, or finances. It’s great for my business, but I’m the only person in the world talking about these subjects together.
You also talk about another serious issue that you, yourself, have experienced and overcome: addiction. Will you share some of your personal insight on this?
I have met some of the brightest minds and most creative people in recovery. Of course, recovery is anonymous, everyone is there in the spirit of universal improvement. There weren’t too many people that wanted me around when I decided a new way of life was necessary. But the people in recovery welcomed me with open arms. It’s a one-day-at-a-time program that allows me to keep my ego deflated by accounting for my thoughts and actions. I’ve truly been blessed, and in July, I celebrated five years. Now I get to pay it forward by mentoring men facing the same dilemma.
What drives you in life, Cort?
Someone commits suicide every 40 seconds. That drives me. There are 1,440 minutes per day, and it only takes 10 minutes per day to keep myself centered. Miracles happen every day! As I give this interview, I’m literally writing a report on quantifying how much being a positive person helps you in life. Six years ago, I worked at a mattress factory and wanted to die. I get it, life is hard. But 10 minutes a day, relative to how much we work on our facades and social media handles, seems doable. Magic happens when we work on us.
Author, Serial Entrepreneur, Emotional Intelligence Expert, and Founder — Steele Institute
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