We had the good fortune of connecting with Mack Story and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mack, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I discovered personal growth and leadership development books in 2008. I had been working in the manufacturing industry for 20 years at that time. However, no leader had ever invested a single penny or a single minute introducing or teaching me what I discovered. I quickly developed the habit of daily reading in 2008 and have been reading every day since. As I began to share what I was learning with others, I quickly discovered there were many like me in blue-collar industries who hadn’t been exposed to the principles I was beginning to learn. I also found there were many others who had an interest in learning what I was learning, so I decided to take the principles typically reserved for white-collar executives and mix them with my blue-collar experiences, my stories, and the lessons I had learned along the way to create my Blue-Collar Leadership® Series of books and my Blue-Collar Leadership® brand. Today, I have five books in the series that serve as unique resources for those in blue-collar industries. My mission is to help leaders at all levels engage the frontline to improve the bottom line. I do this by developing the character of the blue-collar work force, those who lead them, and those who support them throughout the United States and sometimes internationally too.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Not only did I begin reading personal growth and leadership development books daily in 2008, but I also became very intentional about applying them in my life personally and professionally. Coincidentally, after 20 years, I resigned from the corporate manufacturing world in 2008 to start my own Lean Manufacturing Consulting business. To do that, I had to make a major sacrifice during the middle of the Great Recession. I gave up everything. I gave up the salary I had worked 20 years to get. I gave up all my related corporate benefits including healthcare. It wasn’t easy. It was hard! But, most importantly, it was absolutely worth it. While logging over 11,000 hours leading leaders and their teams through hundreds of process improvement events, organizational change, and cultural transformation, I was able to not only teach others what I was learning from my daily reading, but I was also able to fine tune my own leadership ability while in the trenches making things happen. I was not only teaching. More importantly, I was also modeling what I was teaching. At the end of 2012, I decided to change the focus of my business from Lean Manufacturing Consulting to Leadership Development. For a second time, I gave up everything. I gave up my income which was nearly four times what it had been in 2008. I gave up my nice home along with the pool and hot tub in the back yard, my Corvette Z06 and my Ford Raptor 4X4, and moved from Auburn, AL to an apartment in the Atlanta, GA area to be near the large market, but most importantly to be near the airport. Today, life is better than it has ever been. My wife, Ria Story, joined me and gave up her career in Health Care Administration and joined me in late 2013. Now, we’re both aligned perfectly with our passion and purpose. In 2019, we were in 40 states. Relocating to be closer to the Atlanta airport was definitely the right move. People from nearly 150 countries listen to my Blue-Collar Leadership podcast each week. Together, we have published 31 books and journals. I have believed from the beginning that our competitive advantage in the personal growth and leadership development space is going to be the degree to which we live what we teach. Although we do very well financially, our primary focus has always been to make a difference, not a dollar. But, we’ve found that making a dollar is a natural byproduct of being able to truly make a difference.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A “must do” for friends who visit from out of town is lunch or dinner at The Sundial Restaurant which revolves atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza in downtown Atlanta and provides amazing views of the city. Next, I would recommend burning off some of those calories with a hike to the top of Stone Mountain. It also offers different but equally impressive views. And, the hike up the massive chunk of exposed granite is very unique. If our visitors are Sushi lovers, and I hope they are, a meal at Kuroshio Sushi Bar and Grille at Cumberland near the new Braves stadium would definitely be on the agenda before they left town. Kuroshio is located in a small strip mall nearly an hour from our home (If you’re not from Atlanta, you should know it can easily take two hours to get from one side of the metro area to the other). But if I want sushi, this is where I go. And if I’m ever headed north of Atlanta on I-75 for any reason, I always stop by for a meal. It’s absolutely my favorite place to eat in the Atlanta area. They have high quality ingredients and provide generous portions but do so with prices similar to other establishments which offer much lower quality sushi and smaller portions. I travel throughout the USA and enjoy sushi frequently during my travels, but Kuroshio is without a doubt the best sushi restaurant I’ve been to from coast to coast!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The catalyst behind my personal and professional transformation was the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In 2008, I discovered a one hour introductory audio of Dr. Covey teaching a brief outline of the key points from his book. The principles he taught me on that short audio had an immediate and profound impact on me. Today, I’ve read hundreds of books and listened to and watched thousands of hours of audio and video on the subject of personal growth and leadership development. But, Dr. Covey’s book still remains #1 on my all-time best book list. His book changed my life! Although I never met Dr. Covey personally, I mentored myself through his books. He motivated and inspired me to develop a passion for doing for others what he had done for me. In 2012, I chose to pursue a career as a leadership speaker, trainer, and author primarily supporting blue-collar industries. Today, I have published 13 books of my own, have spoken at Yale University’s School of Management, and have clients of all sizes throughout the USA including many multi-billion dollar global organizations, the U. S. Military, and many others.

Website: BlueCollarLeadership.com
Instagram: @Mack_Story
Linkedin: LinkedIn.com/In/MackStory
Twitter: @MackStory
Facebook: Facebook.com/Mack.Story
Youtube: Youtube.com/c/MackStory
Other: BlueCollarLeadership.com/Podcast

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