His drive toward big time notoriety in the music business includes professional golf. Host Kraig Kann chats up Colt Ford in this edition of Tracks To Success.
His real name is Jason Brown - an athlete who had a love for music as well back in rural Georgia. Long before becoming Colt Ford, his parents taught him the importance of pride and passion that goes along with chasing a dream.
Ford shares stories about his athletic accomplishments, the path he almost took to professional golf, and how he managed to find the stage and his first big night signing autographs.
What’s it like to travel and be away from those you love? How tough is it to earn your stripes in the music business? Who are his best celebrity friends?
It’s all here with some music too. You’ll meet a humble, people first music artist who wouldn’t trade a thing for the chance to entertain.
Enjoy Colt Ford and his conversation with Kraig Kann.
Welcome to tracks to success brought to you by presentation partners. This is the podcast that brings you inspiring people, and they're inspiring stories. How did they find their way to the top and how can their path help you do the same? Here's your host network, broadcaster, executive and entrepreneur. Craig can
Great. Now on this edition of tracks to success, he's a former professional golfer turned entrepreneur, but you'll probably recognize the name from his ties to country music. He was born and raised in Athens, Georgia with designs on long drives and putts for Bernie and a long career on the PGA tour. But his drive change and music became his full time. Big thing. He's now a singer songwriter and top performer mixing country music and hip hop to the tune of seven studio albums to date, including one that made it to number one and also a hugely successful duet with Jake Owen to see him on stage in person is to see a man of the people who has purpose and passion for making his audience sing and dance.
1 (1m 25s):
Wait in long lines for autographs and pictures. More than that, he's got a heart as big as his dream, just like the name of his album, his professional ride through the country is picking up steam and a bigger following. When every audience who sees him do his thing, his name is Jason Brown country fans know him. His coat Ford is inspiring story. And this addition, tracks to success starts now realize now I got cope. This is a real thrill for me. I mean that another musician on tracks to success and a, and a guy who I've seen a couple of times, I really appreciate you taking the time to join me.
1 (2m 12s):
Let's have some fun with this thing, huh? Looking forward to it. Well, I started thinking about where I wanted to start and I think I have to start with the name Colt Ford. Okay. We'll go backward from that. But your name is called Ford. Sort of tell me why Jason Brown doesn't fit in Nashville because that's really your name. That is really my name, you know, cold forward. Just sounds pretty cool. You know, I'm at a pretty, all American all American name and you know, it, it was just one of those things I met. I just thought, you know, maybe need something that would have a little, what's the word cachet to it or whatever.
1 (2m 55s):
And it's like, sorry, I just thought that might be
2 (3m 0s):
Cool to have. And you know, and here we are,
1 (3m 3s):
Here you are. And I'm sure a lot of people kind of dig that it does sound cool. So six albums and then the seventh, which is titled we, the people, which I think says a lot really about you, because I feel like you're one of those guys, one of those artists, one of those performers that really is about the people, is that a fair assessment?
2 (3m 24s):
That is a fair assessment. I love, I just love, I love people. I mean, I, I love my dad is a very people guy and it was, you know, some, I was always around, he was in the car business and you know, a little you little used car lot. And he just any, but he coached and he coached baseball and people still refer to him as coach. And so it's, I just love the people. And I think if you want to be, especially in the business that I'm in or even what you do, and I've done all these years, like if you don't like people, you might not find you something else to do. I don't, I don't understand sometimes artists and, you know, and athletes and stuff, you know, for us, you know, don't want to do meet grade or don't want to take a picture.
2 (4m 5s):
It's like, without the fans, I wouldn't be here. So I never get tired of that. I love hearing the stories. I love hearing what a song means to somebody. And it's just, it's, it's super cool to me. I mean, I'll I'll if, if I couldn't deal with the people, that's why this whole thing in full disclosure, Craig, I had had started anti-depressant during this whole deal because I'm just so that's what I do. You know? I mean, I interact with the people. I spend time with him, I talked to him, I hear the stories, I'll take the pictures and I called their kids or grandkids or cousin, or talk to, you know, our son serving overseas. And it's like not being able to do that. Just it, it really, it really took a toll on me.
2 (4m 46s):
I'm not going to lie. COVID
1 (4m 48s):
It has taken a toll on so many people. So let's talk about that for a quick second. It's really dominated 2020 and you just basically opened up saying how much it's affected you and it's affected so many others. My, my gut tells me that when you are able to get back out there and perform, that's going to be a big part of, of your return is, is kind of being with the people and trying to make people feel better and give them something that they haven't had for a long time. But also that you haven't had.
2 (5m 18s):
Yeah. I mean, it's as much, I mean, I guarantee you it's as much or more for me than it is for them to be honest with you. I mean, it's just good Lord. I just, I love playing and I love that feeling of being on stage. I love seeing people forgetting about, you know, whatever's bothering them or stuff they got going on during the day and, and out there just play, you know, just happy singing along and smiling, man. I love that feeling.
1 (5m 45s):
I can't sing, I can't perform, I can speak. And I know a little bit about golf, which is one of the other reasons I really wanted you to be on this podcast. We're going to get into that and just a little bit. And I think, I think we have that bond a little bit, couple of questions I want to get out of the way, because our audience probably doesn't know your background. I'm going to get into that in a second. First of all, who's your favorite golfer all time and why?
2 (6m 12s):
Wow. That's a boy. There's so many, there's a lot of choices there. I, I mean, obviously you, you, you gotta love mr. Nicholas. So I grew up on the same age as Gary, his son, and we played junior golf and amateur and collegiate golf and professional golf together. I guess I'm a, I'm an Arnold Palmer guy though. You know, I just, the way he interacted with the people, it is just, I try to do that with my music. And he signed every autograph. He took every picture. I meant that he just got it. And so many of these younger players out there today, they need, they really just need to really watch his documentary and realize like, this is the guy.
2 (6m 60s):
I mean, the reason you guys are playing for so much of this money and things that are happening for you is because of a guy like that. And I remember I've heard this story a couple times and from him, I was lucky enough to play golf for a living. And I was on Peerless staff for awhile, which was his company, Palmer, Peerless. And you know, I remember I I've heard the story about Curtis, strange asking him, you know, how do you do all that? Sinose autographs and take all the pictures. He said, well, you don't have to, you just need to give the money back. And I felt that has really stuck with me. Like, you know, you, I get on to other artists, you know, it's like, you don't have to, you don't have to do all that. But you do like those buses you're out around in and the money you make and it's these fans that make that happen.
2 (7m 43s):
So I just, I'll never forget that and take that for granted.
1 (7m 46s):
Well, the other part of your career and your story is not just golf. It's obviously performing, which is what most people know you for. Who's your favorite singer or artist all time.
2 (7m 58s):
Oh Lord. That's. Those are just, those are hard questions to answer because there's so many that are so iconic music is even more. I just, I love so many different people for different reasons. I meant I'm a huge Elvis fan, you know? Yeah. My parents loved Elvis. Not that I met, my dad loved him. And so, you know, you fall into that. I just, I loved Elvis the way he performed and the dancing and all that. I'm the next you seen me play before I do. I do a lot of that on stage. And you know, I don't know. It'd be hard to say. I think, you know, there's just so many good Lord Prince was incredible. I mean, I was, I'm a huge run DMC fan.
2 (8m 40s):
I mean, there's so many that have moved the needle, you know, I mean, there's a lot of artists that are successful, but not everybody moves, you know, changes the kind of musical landscape. And it's, it's so funny for me because so many people say, you know, that I created this whole new genre and this whole new movement now. And it's like, I don't, I didn't mean to do that. If that happened. That's great. I would just try to make music, but to be even mentioned that I could, that I did something like that blows my mind, but cause I don't, I don't take myself too seriously. You know me pretty well. I, I don't, you know, I play music for a living. I'm not a neurosurgeon. I mean, I don't, I don't like egos and attitudes to be, get over yourself and do your job and have fun and be nice to people.
2 (9m 26s):
It's pretty simple, you know,
1 (9m 28s):
Country rap, all that. I mean, you, you, you blend everything together. Anybody that's seen your show knows that you're not just this country music star you've got, you've got something else to offer, right? That's what you try to do.
2 (9m 40s):
I love all that stuff and I love mixing it all together. And long as it's, here's the deal, as long as it's not made up anything that's authentic and original. I appreciate that. Doesn't mean, you know, you don't, you might not, it might not be something that you love or you listen to all the time, but at the same time, if it's authentic and original, I really have a strong appreciation for any artists. That's willing to do that and put yourself out there and go, you know, it's easy to go out there and go, I'm going to do this. And I'm going to copy this guy and be like, that's great. But to be out there and doing your own thing, your own way, there's something to be said for that. You know, and right now you've got that going on in golf, look at what rice is doing. It's a, you know, his own thing, his own way.
2 (10m 22s):
And it's, it's amazing. It's amazing to watch. It's great for the game. It's just great to see people do that. It gives, gives young people or anybody an opportunity or a thought to go, Hey, I can, I can do, I can do it my way. I mean, I can do it my way. Let me try them out. What I think and see how that works. And I think that's exciting.
1 (10m 42s):
That'd be authentic. That's what sells. And that's what makes brands, let's talk about this podcast, which is called track to success. All right. And that's what I want to talk about is your track to success. Let's go back. Athens, Georgia. That's where this thing all started. I want to figure out how it came to be. I want to figure out about Colt Ford as a kid and Jason Brown as a kid, big house, small house. What was your life like back then?
2 (11m 11s):
It was a small, I mean, again, I didn't come from big money. My dad was, you know, again, he didn't have indoor plumbing until he's 18 years old and he picked cotton. He's from Hartwell, Georgia. My mom's from Anderson, South Carolina. You know, parents both worked in the mail. They lived in a little mill house on the Hill. So, you know, my dad worked his tail off. He's just, he's about, he's the best person that I've ever met. And you know, he took his little, little used car business and, and so probably three times as many cars as any other individual in that town. And it, it was just, it was a pretty normal upbringing. I was speaking with some people, you know, I don't know how familiar you are with Athens.
2 (11m 53s):
Athens is a, it's just such a, it's a, it's a great town. I mean, it's a, it's a great town. It's a great sports town. You got the college, you had small town living, you got to college. It's just unbelievable to grow up there. And you kind of didn't realize it till you get older. And I'll speak with summer. One of my really good friends that played baseball for my dad's a guy named Don porno and he's the head pro Peachtree golf club. And you know, we, we grew up, you start going, wow, what a great era that we grew up in. We had an unbelievable high school pro football sports pro just all sports program, the university of Georgia, Vince Dooley, Herschel Walker. I met like, it's such a great town.
2 (12m 34s):
Everybody knew everybody in the town. I mean, I, you know, the days of that are just, they're not there really anymore. I mean, heck I could get a whipping on any, any street in my house. I mean, any, any house on my street, I meant like that was the way we grew up. And it was, you take it for granted as you get over it. And then you realize like, wow, it's, it's, it's just, it was a special time and a great place to grow up. And you know, and lo far enough away from Atlanta without the city is really neat. Really neat time to grow up there.
1 (13m 4s):
Truth be told I'm a huge fan of Athens. Georgia went there for a Missouri tiger, a Georgia football game. Mizzou actually got the win. You probably remember it or try to,
2 (13m 12s):
I do. I appreciate you bringing that up.
1 (13m 15s):
Hey, I'm all I'm saying is that town is awesome. The campus is spectacular. I was really impressed. And by the people too, to be honest. So I'm guessing your childhood influence was really about your father and what, what he did for you based upon what you just said. Is that pretty accurate?
2 (13m 34s):
Yeah, very fair. My mom, you know, my mom just, she she's the, she's just a she's unbelievable. My dad was, you know, he was, he was the out front, the personality guy. My mom ran it at the end of the day. My mom ran the show and he knew it and everybody else knew it too, but I was blessed to have unbelievable parents. They're both still alive. All the, I just had a scare yesterday. My dad went and he's 84. He went to the country club yesterday to play golf and the door was locked up top. So because of what's going on, he tried to walk down the steps and he fell down the steps and they skin herself all up how to get six stitches in his head. And you know, it's just, it's heartbreaking to watch, you know, to watch them get older.
2 (14m 17s):
I mean, my dad was always Superman to me and to see something like that happened is it's, it's, it's frustrating, but it's real life. You know, you gotta, you, you deal with real life and he's tougher in the 57 stakes. So he's, he's hanging in there. He's beat up. Lord have mercy. I get, I saw a picture of him last night. I was like, Oh my gosh, you look like, you look like dudes beat ya, buddy. He's tough and he'll bounce back. And it was just great growing up there. I can't, I can't say it enough. I met just awesome parents and I played every sport. I was, I was lucky enough to, I had baseball and golf scholarships. My dad played baseball and played probates while for a little while and coach forever.
2 (14m 57s):
And so it's, it was just a special, special place. Things that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
1 (15m 3s):
It seems like most people would have remembered Jason Brown more to be the athlete, the professional golfer. Like if they were thinking about your track to success, they would've thought, okay, this guy is going to be, you know, some sort of an athlete, not a musician singer entertainer artist. Is that right?
2 (15m 21s):
I don't, I don't know if that's true really. Cause I did both. When I was younger, I actually made a record in 1983, my freshman year in high school. So I made kind of a rap kind of record. It was a song, honestly, it was a song about it was called DUI. Cause my mother was the head of the mad mothers against drunk driving chapter. And so we've made this record a 12 inch record and put a couple songs. I'd never even seen a white kid rap before. You know, I was, I'm always got a March to the beat of my own drum and it's funny, I was playing American junior golf at the time. And guys that I grew up with and I'm still good friends with Phil Mickelson, Jim Furat guys like that, that I grew up playing with Phil, I think told me last year, he was like, I think I still got that record somewhere.
2 (16m 9s):
You know, I'm like, please don't find it and bring it out. I don't want anybody to hear that, but I always did both. And I was, again, I was strange, I guess, looking back now. I mean, I, I realized that, I mean I realized I was odd and, and again, and in that era also rap was just kinda coming around and me doing that and being a white kid that, you know, could also shoot 65 playing golf. I mean, it was, I didn't realize how strange it was looking back. Now. I realize that it is very different and you know, but my mom always told me, God never gives you anything he doesn't intend for you to use. So I was a good athlete. I was, I was, I was good at music.
2 (16m 49s):
And so I did both and it never felt strange to me because it was who I was, but I get people all the time, just look at it and go, wow, that's the weird, you're the weirdest guy. And I'm like, yeah, I guess maybe. But I would just, again, I was being authentic as just being myself and I just didn't pay much attention to what there was other people that discouraged, you know, the music and there was people that, you know, that love the music and said, why do you play golf or do other sports? And it's like, I, I've just, I'm just doing my thing. You know,
1 (17m 18s):
Biggest Mickelson Scott and on social media. Now maybe you could have taught them a few rap songs or country music songs. Cause he might actually put it out there.
2 (17m 27s):
The rhythm, we got to work on his dancing and stuff. I've seen him do a couple of dance move and it is not good. It is, it is not good. He came last. I think it was maybe last year or two years ago, he was a, we were playing San Diego and him and Amy came to the show and you know, it was packed and crazy. And I had a little table set up for him and I had a security guard there cause he's a, he's a big deal. You know, I just said, you know, feel considered here and y'all make sure nobody bothers him so they can enjoy the show. And honestly, he was leaving the next day to go to a tournament. So probably second or third song in, I looked and they were gone from the table and I thought, well, you know, we'd had lunch and we spent some time before the show and he's got to go tomorrow.
2 (18m 8s):
I get it. He watched a couple songs and then they took off. And so then I kind of go back to doing my thing on stage and I look and they're right in the middle of the dance floor, right in the middle of the crowd I met, he's kind of doing the two step in one place. Now Amy can dance. I mean cheerleader, but it was literally, they stayed right there. The entire show hour, 50 minutes, they were right there in the middle floor and it was, it was awesome. Yeah. That's awesome.
1 (18m 35s):
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1 (19m 22s):
Let's talk about college golf and then your chance really to play professionally. Tell me about what that was really like, because I don't think most who would be listening to this podcast, understand just how difficult it is. A to get out there with an opportunity and B to have any kind of longevity in the game.
2 (19m 45s):
It is a golf is just such a, you know, people said, you know, I was, I was, I really loved baseball. I was very good at baseball. I had some scholarship offers there and I never thought I would be quite big enough. So I thought golf and even I was torn at the time cause I want to do music too. And really music is probably my mom's first true love, but golf for sure. I knew like if I'm good enough, I can make a living music. Everybody's been to a bar or somewhere and seen somebody opening a show and go, Oh my God, that's that guy. Or that girl was the best I've ever seen. And you'll go back three or four years from now. And they'll be right there at that same bar or for whatever reason they couldn't, they couldn't chase the dream.
2 (20m 30s):
They were afraid, you know, whatever circumstances the right person didn't hear him. So you never, you just don't know how that's going to shake out. And in golf I knew like if I'm good enough, I can make a living and write my senior year in high school. If remember I'm an, I was a JGL American recruited by all the big schools and, and everything. And I, it was right. If you remember the Jan Kent situation that went on at Georgia with the football, with grades and everything, where they put a lot of restrictions on there, I met, she was a professor and there was a whole accusation of, of some of some athletes not performing correctly.
2 (21m 10s):
So they really, really went really hard on, on GPA and sat scores and all that stuff. And honestly, I was, I was golf and girls and music. I was grades, I didn't care. I didn't care much about that. I mean, I always got the work done, but I was always a guy that just kind of skated by, even though I was probably smarter than that. I just, you know, I just kind of do enough to get by. So right when that happened was really my, my coming out my senior year of high school, 87. So my GPA was just not good. I had high enough sat score, but my GPA was just not good at all. And, and so it was like, okay, we're were trying to put four student athletes to go into these remedial classes, which was really, they were just trying to weed people out.
2 (21m 59s):
They were trying to force people out. And so last second, instead of going to Georgia on, on a full golf scholarship, I went to school called central Alabama. It was called Alex city at the time and it was one of the top junior colleges in the country. And I went over there last second. And then there was a kid named tie to Shima who was Tommy Nakajima his protege. And he was going to Georgia tech huggy Blackman was the coach there. I know, you know who Peggy is. And they had a great program and, you know, bill McDonald and David Duvall and Charlie ramen were a bunch of guys were there and he got over here and all of a sudden Mizuno had had when he was, you know, Mizuno guy and he couldn't hardly speak English.
2 (22m 42s):
So last second bug. He was like, he sent him to Alex city. So all of a sudden I walked in there as an AIG. All-American this kid from Japan that nobody had ever seen, who quite honestly, our freshman year in college was maybe the best college player in the country. Like never seen him. He'd never been over here. He was unbelievable. He won, he played in, he played in tons of a flight and bunch of majors here in the States. He won multiple times in Japan, but so all of a sudden him and I walked in there and we had only, Nordberg a sweetest kid who was fantastic. And pair Johansson, who, who, you know, who that is, mirror Johnson was there, played into Rotter cups.
2 (23m 22s):
And all of a sudden it was like, we were beaten team. Like we beat every team in division one my freshman year. So every team in division one freshman year, excuse my dog, Louie, shut up. Sorry. I love it. We, we beat. I meant like I averaged 72.3, my freshman year I won three and I was the fifth man on the team on a college team. And you've been around golf to know good enough. You'd like top teams, you have a couple of guys that can maybe light it up. And then it starts I'm at like, we had five guys every week they could shoot 65. And it was, it was crazy. I mean, we were, we were playing tournaments and, and, and still competing against some division one schools, the Alabama and the collegiate, and all of a sudden, we're winning about 30 shots against Alabama.
2 (24m 14s):
I'm at like, they're like, what, what is this team? It was, it was insane. We could have won NCAAs, but these, my freshman year,
1 (24m 21s):
You get out there, you're playing what many tours and you're, you're getting your shot on a, what our listeners would need to know is the AAA to the PGA tour. Why didn't you give it up?
2 (24m 32s):
Well, you know, it's it's and again, when I was playing, I just turned 50. So when I was playing there, wasn't near the money out there. You had not had tiger woods affect. And honestly, every player that plays professional golf from some moment that he came on, should send him a Christmas letter and a card and a gift card or something every year. Because he, he, I mean, he made the purchase increase a hundred percent like, and that was really the target woods effect. So, so when I started those mini tours, the coastal Carolina tour, and when I, it wasn't even the Hooter store wasn't there. It was called the TC Jordan tour. The very first year I played so that my, that my first year out there and the TC Jordan tour, you had, you had Ken Duke, Charlie Reimer, Jerry Kelly, Jim Furich, Franklin Lang.
2 (25m 18s):
I mean, like it was unbelief, unbelievable. The guys that were out there playing, you know, I mean every week and you still kind of have to do that, cause players has gotten better, but I meant, you know, you're going out there playing these mini tour events. And when you've been a good amateur and a good college player, you get to play in the big, you know, the, the sunny Hannah and the Western am and all the big, all the bit Monroe invitation, all those big tournaments are all top, top to your golf courses, incredible places. All of a sudden, you're out on these mini tours and you're playing it a little Doug pole, duck goat track there. And all of a sudden, you still gotta shoot 60, 30 every day. Like, you didn't know how to do it was, it was eye opening and you got some kid coming out there from like North Dakota state going shooting 2,500, like, who is it?
2 (26m 5s):
Who is that guy? And you realize how good everybody is. And so I just, I w I was playing out there and I had some success. I was able to win out. I won, I won a lot of golf tournaments, professional golf terms, my life. And, you know, it's just, it's just tough. And there wasn't the money out there. And all of a sudden married and kids, and it's like, I just, I didn't have the resources at the time. You know, you'd have to kind of find sponsorship money. And there was a company's sponsorship money till you got on the big tour. You know, guys, you know, it's like, once you get to the big tour, I don't need sponsorship. They give you everything. You need the help when you're playing mini tours and things. So it w it was, it was amazing.
2 (26m 45s):
And it was quite fun. I had some great times some great memories, and, but I just didn't. Then all of a sudden it's like, okay, what am I going to do? And I was still trying to do music. The schedules don't match up and golf has time to get up. And when music that's when I go to bed now, so it's a very different schedule and, and gals were fascinated. We'd be on the golf course. They're asking me all these questions about music. I'm like, Hey, I'm trying to, I'm trying to play golf here. I'm not, I'm not trying to talk about songs and stuff like that. And, but I get it. They were fascinated by that. And, and I'm going, yeah, but I know I'm making a living. I need to make this photo here, stop talking about music.
2 (27m 26s):
So it was, it was an interesting town. And, you know, looking back, I wouldn't trade it for anything, but when I got done playing, I didn't have just didn't have enough money to stay out there and pay bills and pay for a kid and you know, everything. And so my dad, I, I obviously I couldn't be in the car business and my dad, I, I knew how to do that, but that wasn't really where my heart was at. So then I became a club, a club professional, and a teaching pro, and I've always had a real gift for teaching. And I've taught and worked with a lot of, a lot of PGA tour players. And, you know, actually one of the top teachers in the game, John Tillery, who teaches, you know, tons of guys on the tour, teachers, Ricky Fowler, and a bunch of guys, I actually taught John when he was in college and taught him when he first turned pro.
2 (28m 12s):
And I was working with a guy, if you remember, named Blake Adams, who was, who played on the tour. So over years, four, he got injury and I kind of helped Blake get to the tour. And then I wanted to go do music. And I kind of just, JT was coming along as a teacher. And I knew he knew what I taught him that worked. So then they started their journey together and had a lot of success. And, you know, J T has gone on to be one of the top teachers in the game today. So I just, you know, I didn't know what else to do. I loved golf and I wanted to be around that. So I knocked around as a club pro for awhile and being an assistant pro and really just teaching mostly and, and still playing a lot. But I got the, I tried, I wanted, I couldn't make music go away.
2 (28m 54s):
I could never cut it off in my mind. And I was constantly writing and working on stuff. And finally, I just said, I want to try this one more time. And I made this record ride through the country. And you know, here, here we are all these years later, seven albums, and I'd never dreamed it would happen, but I'm living in right in the middle of it. It's amazing.
1 (29m 15s):
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2 (30m 9s):
All right, cold. So
1 (30m 10s):
Obviously you get the push toward music. And if anybody knows anything about golf at the lower levels before you get to the big tour, you know about the travel, it's not glamorous, same thing goes with you starting off your music career. My guess is buses and maybe not even great buses. What was that like? Give us the story on that
2 (30m 32s):
Bus as well. Correct. That'd have been awesome. Hell. I was driving myself to my Ford expedition. The shows when we first started, I mean, it was, there was no, there was no buses. There was no, it was, it was just, you know, get there however you can. And man, it was crazy. We, you know, we went, then we would be in the minivan and the vans and you just, you kinda, if you want it bad enough, that's what you do. And that, and that's, that's the way it started. It went from, went from that. And then he started having some success and then used a friend of mine's motor homes. And it was that for awhile, but that's not really, that's fine when you're there, but it's not necessarily conducive to sleeping during the day we were driving it ourselves then too.
2 (31m 13s):
So, you know, and now it's different. I got a nice big Primo bus and a big queen size bed and every director he channel and all that. But at the end of the day, it is still a bus. You know, you are still rolling. I'm spending 200 plus nights a year. And that thing rolling up down the road, normally, obviously not right now, but it's, you know, it, it's, it's amazing, but it's the travel like, you know, there's not, I mean, there's a few artists that fly around in private jets. I'm a blue collar guy. So I can't, I can't afford to do that, but you know, it's, it's, you get to play and you get to work and it's, it's, it's an amazing thing to get to do. And all you get tired out there, like anything else, but it's, but it's still, what's the meat when the music starts, I mean, I've played throwing up with my crew guy, holding the trashcan on the side of the stage.
2 (32m 4s):
I've played with kidney stones, all that, and you just do whatever you gotta do to, to make it work. I love it so much. So I I've been really blessed. It's been tough at times, but I wouldn't trade it
1 (32m 15s):
First time on the stage performing. Do you remember it?
2 (32m 18s):
Wow. Now golly, that was actually like as cold forward. Yes. But as, as coat for really the first big show I did was in, it was been July 4th, 2008. So we're coming up on a billable anniversary here and I'd never, you know, like done some little things here and there, but not like a real show show kind of thing. And we play in the Valdosta, Georgia at their 4th of July thing and the radio station there, my, my best friend and CEO of the record label is from there. So he had gotten the radio to play it a little bit and they said, they've got a good response, but you never really know, you know, to get out there.
2 (32m 59s):
And all of a sudden we get out there and they were like, we normally have seven or 800 people, a thousand people maybe for this, this fireworks show and the, and the, you know, we'll have the show before it. And so, you know, it could be, could be good. And all of a sudden we get out there and there's 5,000 people there and, and it was like, Whoa. And then, and then I signed autographs. We got done with a show at probably eight 30, nine o'clock. And at one o'clock in the morning, I was still standing there signing autographs and taking pictures. And it was, that was the moment. It was like, wow, we might have something here. And you know, and here we are just still, I still do it the same way. You know,
1 (33m 39s):
Proud were you of you at that moment, because you just mentioned, you know, COVID Ford debut and you're in your album ride through the country, which included a couple of cool songs by the way, no trash in my trailer and dirt road Anthem, which I want to talk about a little bit, but I mean, seriously, you're signing those autographs. People are, are in line probably forever. And I know you, you probably stood there and not just signed everyone, but had a conversation. You gave people a little something that they would take away, which is to me, one of your greatest gifts, how proud where you have you?
2 (34m 15s):
Well, I don't, I probably more than I realized, I don't, I didn't think about it like that at the time the oddest thing was I had a kidney stone and I was dealing with s******g stone at the time. So standing up and just kind of fidgeting and moving around. I mean, you do it if you've ever had one. I don't know people. I don't like mean it's, it's tough. I just, I just remember just going, wow. I've I proved them wrong. I was right. Then I, I believed if I made this music and people, when I did it, people were like, you're crazy. Cause I went back to music at 37 years old and I was 320 pounds with the cowboy hat on and doing something very different.
2 (34m 55s):
And people were like, you've lost your mind. I'm in. And I'm, I'm really, I really went all in. I just believed, and I don't know why, but I'm glad my mama always told me I was stubborn. And I guess I just, I believed if I made music that people liked that it would work and that album became a gold album for me. And you know, of course dirt road Anthem was mine and Brantley Gilbert that we wrote and put on my, it was my song. And then my buddy, Jason Haldane recorded it and became the biggest song of his career. And actually, I think it's one of the biggest, it's been one of the top 10 songs of all time and country music downloaded wise, which is crazy. So I would have never, you never would have dreamed it, you know, but here we are.
2 (35m 37s):
1 (35m 38s):
Pretty cool. And that's something I wanted to talk to you about because you are linked to other singers and songwriters and you are a song writer who also performs and that's one of your greatest gifts. Jason Aldeen you just mentioned, he's one of them who are the guys or the women in country music that you're tight with and that you could say, man. Yeah, me and him, me and her,
2 (36m 1s):
I'm friends with a lot of people, again, that's back to me. You know, I just love people. I love artists. So I'm in a, I'm pretty cool with everybody. I mean, obviously that song was, has been, it was life changing for me and Bradley. It was life changing for, for Jason and took his career to, to just in the stratosphere. So it's nice to know that you are a part of that some kind of way. And you know, Brantley and I written another, when his first number one together called country must be Countrywide. So I've had some songs cut by a lot of different people. And those, those two are monster big songs and good friends of mine. I'm good friends with Brantley. He's one of my best friends Jayco and there's another really close friend of mine, Justin Moore and me and Toby Keith are, are really tight.
2 (36m 46s):
So I met, I I'm friends with a lot of guys, you know, I just, you know, as long as you're good, if you're a good person, man, I'm, I can, I can hang out with you. I can find some common ground with whoever it is.
1 (36m 58s):
Let's skip to album number four, declaration of independence because it hit number one, right? I mean, that was, you just mentioned Jake Owen. That was when you did the duet with Jayco. And so you really like mixing it up with these other people. I mean, you're your own performer, but you're not willing to kind of give up the stage just for yourself. You want, you want other people to be a part of all this with you?
2 (37m 20s):
Well, when I first started, you know, I mean, if you, if you follow my music now and to where I'm at now, I'm doing a lot more solo stuff. Me completely singing. I've always been able to sing. I was always kind of afraid of it. And I wasn't, I was just a little afraid of it. So it wasn't sure. And I would, I would just, I would shy away from it. So when it came to the chorus, part of the singing part, I'd go out and get, you know, a Jayco and, or I've done songs to Luke Brown with Eric Church, with Tim McGraw. I mean, I've, I've worked with everybody and been so blessed that those guys have taken, you know, I'm going a little, I'm going to independent record label. I don't have a big monster machine behind me.
2 (38m 1s):
So I had those guys. I couldn't pay them to do it. They, they had to do it because they believed in me and they believe in the music and I've been so lucky and so humbled and blessed that those, that the artists that I've worked with. When I look at the list, I'm like this hall of Famer and after hall of Famer, some of the greatest that have ever been, and they've done songs for me. And that's, that's very humbling. And, and you know, I, I like mixing it up. Now, when I first started doing it, there was very few duets, you know, there was one every now and then nobody had an album full of duets. And now you see artists. Now there's a lot of these younger artists are, are doing it a lot. It's funny to hear them talk, you know, FGL and some of the guys going, we didn't even know we could do stuff like that till we saw cold forward.
2 (38m 43s):
And so that's pretty cool that in some way that you influenced some other artists and influenced the music in some kind of way, and I'm very humbled by that
1 (38m 53s):
You perform a lot. I mean, you work and when it's all going great, you're out there. You're out there. You're out there, you perform in front of big audiences and you do some smaller stuff. You're tied to diamond resorts and you do a lot of their smaller corporate gigs for their membership. As we can see here looking at you, which do you like better? Or is that even a fair question?
2 (39m 16s):
They're just very different. They're very different things playing in front of I've played in front of 75,000, but a hundred thousand, but I've been doing the diamond things. We do acoustically in a strip down and there's two or 300 people. I truly love those as much as anything. It's a very different experience, but I get to talk and get to tell stories and interact with the fans when you're 75,000 people and it's cranked up to 11 and I got my ears. And like, I, you know, all it is is just step on the gas and go hard as you can. It's like a roller coaster with, with your hair on fire. I mean, the acoustic thing is different. So sometimes we'll do an hour show and I may play five or six songs.
2 (39m 57s):
I may play 10 or 11 songs. It really just depends on what we're doing, interacting. And a lot of artists don't like that, but obviously, you know, me, I love the talking and the people saw that. And so I love to interact and tell stories and let I let them ask me questions. And I get all kinds of questions, you know? And, and there's such a wide demographic of people. So for me, I look at it, like I figured most of these people in this room don't might not know who I am. So it's a chance to make new fans. It's a chance for me to make an impression I want them. And, and sometimes there's older people there from all different religions, all different ethnicity, all different incomes. And it's so cool to be sitting in that room with all these people, enjoying some music and telling them some stories.
2 (40m 39s):
And I get asked crazy questions. Sometimes the kids will be up there. It's like, what's your favorite color? Can you do a back flip? I'm like, dude, do you want to see me deal back? I wish I could get that clip. You know, sometimes you're like, get your kid and tell them to quit asking me these crazy questions, but it's fun, man. I just, I love all of it. I love all the different aspects of
1 (40m 58s):
Talk about the travel for a quick second. You've got the driving around song, right? I'm guessing you kinda like driving around on the road, but at the same time, it's gotta be really difficult on family. I know your kids are a little bit older, but what, what was that like
2 (41m 15s):
Diff difficult, you know, difficult. A lot of towns. One of the reasons I never moved from Athens, Georgia at the time, it was because my wife, Jessica, and they, you know, I was going to be gone so much. Her parents were there. My parents were there and you know, I knew she could, she had help, but that doesn't change. The fact it was, it was tough. I mean, it's tough being gone. It's tough watching, you know, a baseball game through FaceTime or, you know what I mean? Like it's, it's tough. I mean, you know, there's looking back. I think maybe there's a lot of things I maybe could have done different.
2 (41m 55s):
It's it's a, it's a bit of a rub of the grain. As far as the golf term goes or a catch 22, it was like to have some success. This is what you got to go do. And I had to, you know, there's times when we go, is it worth it? Is it worth it? Is it worth the effect it has on family to, to go do what you, what I do and, and, and make a difference in other people's life and at the same time missing something in your own life or your kids' life. And that might be a question that I'll ponder for the rest of my life. I don't know, but you know, I've been lucky. I've been lucky to have great, great family and great support and great friends.
2 (42m 37s):
And there's definitely, you always look back and realize I've done some things very differently, but you know, at all in all, you just gotta try to keep your eyes forward and keep, keep moving forward and trying to, you know, try to do the best you can.
1 (42m 51s):
I'm proud to be talking today with country music, artists, Colt Ford. I know you play in some golf events cause I've seen you play in some golf events. I've seen Lee Brice play. I've seen Cole, Swindell play given your college background, your pro background. I'm guessing you get into their pocket and take a little bit of their money and all that sort of good stuff you ever play with Vince Gill take any of his money.
2 (43m 13s):
Vince is a very good player. I'm in it. There's a lot of guys that can play. You know, they'd be good. Players. Jayco is a very good player. Charles Kelley plays good. You know it at the end of the day, it's a fun, it's a fun kind of, you know, pet jab conversation with him. I meant like all in, in all honesty, listen, I mean, I played professional golf for a living. I put my score in a box and it paid the bills. None of those guys did that. So to me, that for me to argue golf, golf background with them is not even really, it's not even a real conversation. That being said, those guys play had played a lot more than I have. And I was a way different guy back then.
2 (43m 53s):
So those guys can really play good. They did a thing a few years ago, you know, golf digest will do like where they write music artist or whatever. And they, they were torn between Vince and I as one and two. And they kind of tried to, they tried to kind of bait me into saying that I was better. And again, at the end of the day, if we, if we're going to compare resumes, it's not a comparison with anybody in the music business. I mean, they can't compare a golf resume with mine. I can't compare a guitar playing, singing resume with Vince Gill either and don't claim to. So I was like, listen, it doesn't matter to me guys that play golf for 11 guys that really play. They know, and it kind of turned into a little bit of a big deal.
2 (44m 35s):
And because they ended up making Vince one and me too, because I wouldn't say what they wanted me to say. Cause I was like, what do I get a trophy? I'm going to get money if I'm not. I meant like, so there was no reason for me to argue it, but it turned into a little thing. And then of course friends like Charlie, my buddy, Charlie robber, and guys that were, you know, golf, gentle guys that I've known for what they started talking about it. And I was like, listen, you know, I don't know if it made Vince mad or not, but like I said, that's not to be arrogant. It's just, it is what it is. I've played the grand Ole Opry once. And Vince Gill is a staple and a member and I'll probably never be that. So to compare music resume with vets would be insane.
2 (45m 15s):
He's one of the best singers of all time. I met one of the best guitar players of all time and just a great guy, but we've never really squared a bit like if it's, if we really want to play like a 72 hole, you know, I mean, I, let me just say, I'm not scared of anybody and then say, well, that's good. I'm glad. I don't know if they're scared of me, but I assure you. I'm not scared I met. So I just got too much history to fall back on. There you go.
0 (45m 44s):
In addition to hosting this podcast, Craig leads the Cannes advisory group focused on elevating communication for companies and individuals, company consulting and powering team and individual workshops, mind altering webinars. And Craig's inspiring keynotes for your conference or company meeting. They're all on the menu of services. Can advisory helps companies clarify their message helps professionals build and showcase their brand and helps everyone present their best selves. So if you're the leader of a team or company looking to give your employees a game changing one day experience or an individual who wants to become a speaker and presenter that gets other people talking visit can advisory.com.
0 (46m 34s):
And when you do connect, make sure to mention the tracks to success podcast, to receive a special discount on any of the can advisory services. That's can advisory.com. Now back to the interview,
2 (46m 50s):
Before we go, a couple of other questions for you. The focus of my career has always been about communication. You, you know me from golf channel, that's how I know you through golf and through music, cetera, I spend a lot of time now helping others with presenting a brand, learning how to present in front of audiences. That's what I do. You are in front of audiences, you are an entrepreneur. You have to build your own brand. Are you comfortable with that? It's funny you say that because I am a million percent comfortable with that. And a lot of music, artists, not just music artists, but a lot of professionals and a lot of other, or other entertainment or other arenas or other businesses, a lot of people don't understand brand.
2 (47m 35s):
And that is one of the things that I've always been so inspired by. I'm fascinated about with you is that you do understand that. And I, I, I, I don't understand why people don't get it because I, I wanted to create that. It wasn't just me, the music artists. I wanted to create a brand that when you saw, when you saw that logo, you knew what it was. I mean, when I, if I go to Japan and I see them golden arches, I'm going to get their big Mac with extra sauce because I know what that is. You know what I mean? Like it's such a, it's such an important thing. So many people in music quite honestly have seriously dropped the ball with, with branding and logos and things of that nature and being consistent and concise with what you're doing and who you are or who your brand is.
2 (48m 23s):
People really miss that a lot. It's nice to see that you're doing to try to help people understand that because it's, it is a big deal. And if you can create a brand, you can just go and do a lot of things in a lot of different arenas and people. Oh no, that's cool for it. Yes. He plays golf. He does. I mean, like that's an important deal. So I, I love it. I've always, I've always tried to, when I first came to Nashville, I was amazed at some that more people didn't, they didn't understand it. They didn't, they didn't look at it that way. I mean, just recently, I don't want to say who, who a couple of these artists is, but there are a couple of the biggest artists in our genre. And I asked a person.
2 (49m 3s):
I said, if I asked you to draw their logo or my logo, which they looked at me, they were like, well, I don't know what their logo is, but yours is this with the bullhorns. And then you have the mr. Goodson on, which is a smiley face and cowboy. I'm like, how is that possible that these two artists are so much bigger than me. These are million dollar a night artists. And like, you don't know what their logo is like, that's poor brand management and that's, that's not, that's, that's not good. It doesn't matter what it is. It can be, you know, the kid cutting grass. I meant paper, boy, delivering, you know, washing cars, mobile pet grooming. If you've ran it right, you can make a difference and you can be successful in that.
2 (49m 44s):
That's a big thing for me.
1 (49m 45s):
Well, it's probably for you because you take more ownership of it. There's some that have the huge label behind them, the huge, the huge team behind them. And sometimes it loses its authenticity. You manage it. You're on top of it. And it's probably one of your strengths. I've always believed you don't have to be the best baseball player to be one of the fan favorites. You don't have to be one of the best sports casters to connect with your audience. You just gotta be able to find a way to win the game of relationships and making people feel something when you're in front of them. So they walk out the door feeling emotionally, charged to go tell somebody, man, you should have been there. You should seen this guy.
1 (50m 26s):
You should've seen this woman. That to me is what is the most important thing I want to ask you about patriotism real quick, because I've in your concerts, seeing you go all in on the red, white, and blue. Yes, sir. That's a big deal for you.
2 (50m 42s):
It absolutely is an a, I, you know, obviously we got a lot of things going on in the country right now and a lot of different things. But you know, at the end of the day, the men and women that put their life on the line for our freedom, I don't care what side of the fence you're on politically Democrat Republic, whatever. You can be, whatever you want to, but we owe those men and women, a daily gratitude that can never be repaid. You know, again, I, I try to stay out of the political lane. I play music. I'm not a, I'm not a politician. Quite honestly, a lot of the politicians now are, or are not politicians. I don't know what they are I'm into, but I try to stay out of that. But I don't shy away from the men and women that fight for our freedom so that you can have that opinion on whatever side of the fence you want to be on.
2 (51m 29s):
Or for those that like to straddle the middle. I just, I just believe that we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid and I'll never stop. I'll never stop being proud to be, to be here, to be an American. I know there's a lot of negative stuff going on right now, but I can control me and I can control my heart and my actions. And that's, that's really what it boils down to Craig. So many people need to take some daggone responsibility for their selves, for their actions, for, for what you do with other people and what you do with your kids or whatever I'm at. Like it's my job to handle, not to sweep up my porch and control my heart and my emotions and my feelings, and to be a better human being.
2 (52m 11s):
And I'm not going to put that on anybody else. I'm, I'm going to take ownership in that. I'm just going to support the men and women that fight for our freedom. It's it's, it's so important right now. I mean, it's, it's, that's the reason we're here sitting here doing what we do. It's the reason I get to play music. The reason you get to do what you do. And so I'm never going to shy away from that.
1 (52m 32s):
Pretty good segue. Cool. You put out an album called every chance I get. And my guess is you're probably pretty proud of that album because you've gotten a chance to do what you love so much and do your thing in front of a lot of people. What's your greatest triumph? What are you most proud of?
2 (52m 48s):
Wow. I don't know. That's Greg. I know you're going to ask me all these hard questions. What am I most proud of? I'm at listen, I'm a, as a human being, anybody that thinks that they're, you know, we've had one perfect person. I think that walked the earth and we decided to crucify him. So I, I'm not perfect. I'm making a lot of mistakes. I still make them. I've made a lot of mistakes as a son, as a brother, as a husband, as a father, we we've all, we all do that, but I, I think I'm most proud of just trying to be a good human. I try to be good to other people. I met no matter I don't care where you're from.
2 (53m 29s):
I don't care what you do. I try to, I try to find common ground with another person and we can do that. All this racial stuff. I'm like, listen, I mean, I'm friends with a lot of black African American athletes or celebrities. I mean, we're not, there's this whole thing that we're all so different. It's just not true. I mean, it's just not true. I mean, they won't, you know, Ray Allen, who's a friend of mine and a hall of fame, basketball. They were very different sides. Politically. We played a lot of golf together, very good player, but we talk a lot about different things and we're very different. But at the end of the day, we find common ground and I respect him as a, as a, as a human being. And he does me and, and that's all you gotta do is find common ground with, with, with other human beings.
2 (54m 14s):
And if you want to do that, you can. And I would say that that was what I would like my legacy, if anything, to be. I mean, I, I appreciate, you know, that I've made written some hit songs and I've won some professional golf tournaments and I've done some really cool things, but I want people to say, I kinda, I love Charlie Daniels. He's kind of one of my heroes. I won't be able to say that he, he did what he said. He stood up for what he believed in. When he saw something wrong. He wasn't afraid to speak up and it didn't make any difference. What color you want, who you loved? What, what religion you were. I meant found common ground would be a good human, good person to other people. And I, I really worked hard at that.
2 (54m 56s):
They don't always turn out in your favor, you know, in, in the world that you've lived in, you help people. You do good, and it don't always work out for you. But if you're doing it for any other, if you're doing it, cause you want something back, you're doing it for the wrong reason. Anyway,
1 (55m 9s):
I said, before we go, let's help our listeners a little bit. This podcast is called tracks to success. And I think we both know that every career is not a straight line. There's different angles we take. And there's different bumps in the road. It's not smooth all the time. You had your humble beginnings and, and you've been knocked down a couple of times, but you've been right there doing your thing. What advice would you give to our listeners who might want to be that entrepreneur or give it a shot to build a name for themselves? What do they need to know?
2 (55m 41s):
You just can't quit. If you believe in it and you believe in what you're doing, you just cannot let them stop you. I remember, you know, all of a sudden, a lot of talk about Michael Jordan, these days with the last dance thing, but going back and stuff for him years ago. I remember him saying, you know, you, you can't, I've never been afraid to fail. I've been afraid not to try. And so that was kind of always me. I mean, I just, you, you've got to figure out some sort of way to believe in yourself. First and foremost, you've got to believe in yourself and the world we live in today. I've watched with my kids. There's lots of, you know, it's a different thing.
2 (56m 22s):
There's lots of and things that were going on because it's easy to say something ugly to somebody behind a computer. You know, when you and I were growing up, you had to say it to their face and you say the wrong thing, and you might be putting a stake on your eye cause you got knocked out. So you gotta believe in yourself and you see it. You just cannot let them deny you. If you want it. You have just gotten to fight and claw and beg and borrow to do whatever you gotta do to put yourself in that opportunity and you know, and keep working at it. Just, you know, I mean, so golf has taught me so much, you know, I remember hearing gay players say, you know, they said, boy, you hold a bunch of bunker shots. You see you're lucky. And he's like, you know, the more I practice, the luckier I get, it's like, that's a nice way of saying like, yes, there's luck involved, but I worked my tail off for this.
2 (57m 9s):
And that's what you got to do. You've got to figure out a way to believe in yourself and just keep trying everybody in their brother told me I was crazy to go back and do music. And honestly, they're probably right, but I, I just, I just believed in me. I believed in what I could do. I knew what I would put into it. And if you, if you get up every day and put your feet on the ground and say, Hey, I'm gonna figure out a way to do something today. I'm going to do something positive. I'm going to do something good to another person. And I'm going to figure out a way to make, put myself where I want to be. And my dad coached all these years and you know, he was real big. I mean, it's just so big on team and, and, and not talking about yourself and all that stuff.
2 (57m 53s):
I remember him telling me years ago, he was like, son, you can run around and tell everybody how great you are all you want to. But when you're really great, they'll tell you. So yeah, I'll just try to start to get up and go after it every day like that, you know?
1 (58m 8s):
Well, you're not crazy for going into the business. The only thing that's crazy is that people don't come watch you perform. I can't thank you enough for a little bit of time. You're a special talent. You're a special guy. And I can't wait to see you perform again on the stage. Thank you so much for being a part of this thing,
2 (58m 27s):
Greg. It's my pleasure. You've been nice to me from the moment I've met you. I've enjoyed watching your, watching your work and watching it through golf channel. And obviously lots of things are changing there right now and changing in the world. But that's what I love about what you've done too. With, with this right here, you know, you know what your passion is and you chased it and you're helping people and you didn't let anybody stop you from, you know, one door closes. Another one opens. If you can't find the door, you crawl in the window, you know, get you a chainsaw and cut in there. And you're doing that. And I got a lot of respect for that and I appreciate it. I look forward to seeing my friends.
1 (59m 2s):
Well, thank you. That means a lot coming from you, Colt Ford, everybody. Thank you so much.
2 (59m 7s):
Take care guys,
1 (59m 12s):
In our conversation, cold talked about his plan to pursue a career in golf only to see a change in a way most wouldn't have seen coming, or actually, maybe they would have. That leads me to my one last thing. If you want to be an influencer, take stock in your career at multiple points to assess where you are with your enthusiasm, for making a difference. I find that oftentimes we become our best selves when there's a real passion for what we're doing. In other words, we give more to others in terms of our talent and impact. When we give ourselves the very best platform to shine, do a self check.
1 (59m 52s):
Now then pretend you're cold Ford. Looking into the audience is the crowd enjoying themselves? Are you delivering something that gives people a lasting impression? You see, we all want jobs that give us a chance to do special things. Going from golf to music like cold did might seem a little bit drastic, but he followed his heart. Do the same, find ways to make your own audience cheer. And I guarantee your tracks to success will be a whole lot easier by the way, take a moment to rate this podcast, give it a review on whatever platform you've found it. And if you have a guest you'd like me to spend some time with tweet it, using the handle at tracks to success until next time.
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I'm Craig. Ken. Thanks for listening.
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You've been listening to tracks to success, brought to you by presentation partners, visual storytellers, passionate about connecting presenters with their audience. Don't forget to subscribe to the show for more great interviews and thoughts on reaching your highest personal and professional summit. You can follow Craig on Twitter and Instagram using the handle at Craig can and for exclusive tracks to success, content and news about our upcoming guests, you can find tracks to success on Twitter. It's at tracks to success.