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The Man I am Today…

cotton-spencerI honestly don’t think anything can prepare you for the challenges associated with launching a start-up, especially one as popular as Grainster. In addition to the increased number of emails, text messages, and phone calls I get on a daily basis (more than any other time in my life) I’m also spending a lot of time on the road and in meetings while my wife and 3yr old son sit at home waiting on daddy to get home. One thing I’ve learned recently is that you never take for granted the time spent with loved ones, you take what you can get –even if that’s just 15 minutes in the evening to tuck my son into bed and help him say his prayers.

I’m also getting a world class education on start-ups, definitely learning the rules as to what we can say and what we can’t say, to whom we can say it and to whom we can’t. It goes on and on, admittedly I’ve made several mistakes lately as have other members of our team –obviously none of these were intentional or intended to mislead or be malicious, they were simply cases where we just didn’t know any better. Fortunately, we have been blessed with some top-notch attorneys and advisers that keep us on the right path, even if it means explaining things a few times until it sinks in.

I’m also learning how easy it is to have a target painted on your back when you are one of the mouthpieces of a start-up or organization that’s getting a lot of media attention. This presents a lot of challenges, especially when you are a full-blown ADD like myself who often speaks before he thinks. I’m one of those people that never really learned that well in a classroom or by reading a book, I’ve always had my best successes in life learning things the hard way (through trial and error). With that being said, mistakes that I might have made recently are not likely to be mistakes I’ll make again –which is good.

Another one of the things that I’ve learned recently about having a target painted on your back is that there’s no end to how far your critics will go to try to discredit you, even at the risk of questioning your character. For me personally, it’s not something I lay awake at night worrying about because someone could make a career publishing all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life over the years –those that know me can attest to that statement, just ask my Mom! I will also say that I don’t have any hard feelings toward anyone, I know they are just doing their job (and often times answering to supervisors and editors, etc.)

I do think that it’s interesting how a guy like myself, in his 40’s, who has worked hard his entire professional career, served hundreds of clients, received awards & industry recognition for his work, built multiple businesses, been appointed to and served on multiple boards, volunteered in his community, helped launch non-profits that directly assist others, became an ordained minister, and is in his 3rd year of group ministry alongside his wife (who he’s been married to for the past 10 years) has piqued the interest of a statewide business publication enough that they are considering releasing some negative information about me that happened in my early 20’s, remind you I’m in my 40’s now…

The irony of the entire story is that it’s something I’ve shared publicly many times and that I’ve never attempted to hide. In fact, the last keynote speech I delivered in Fayetteville was centered around the premise, “never give up”, where I shared my testimony and went into great detail how I was arrested in my early 20’s and sent to Federal Prison for a year. I was led to Christ by another inmate at a county jail while awaiting transport. I have often shared the story of getting on my knees in that jail cell and asking God to help me turn my life around –while my Mom was across the state crying herself to sleep at night asking God to save me. If you’ve ever sat through one of my keynotes or ministry events you might remember that I always point out that I’ve driven through an F5 tornado and even it can’t compare to the power of a praying Mother.

The man I am today has been an ongoing process of challenges that were answered by faith, love, and endurance. While my past may be a problem for some, for me it was the starting line for the journey that turned me into the man I am today.

donna-spencerTo be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I could have endured many of the challenges my wife and I’ve faced in our ten years of marriage had it not been for that year I was granted to turn my life around and establish a relationship with Jesus. I certainly don’t want to paint a picture that my wife and I are incredibly strong people because that’s simply not the case, but after 4 miscarriages and surgeries you don’t cry as much for some reason, even though it still hurts really bad.

Experiencing the victory of pregnancy with our daughter was a high-point in our marriage only to be over-shadowed by the night that I delivered our daughter, Shelby, who was stillborn –yeah, that’s not an easy one to get over. If you also take into account the doctor calling me into the hallway outside my wife’s hospital room and asking me if I can call some family to be with me because he didn’t know for sure my wife was going to make it –that’s a conversation you never want to have. These are all times that I’ve had to call on my faith and ask God to do miracles on our behalf and he’s always delivered.

I can remember my wife and I on our knees asking God for another miracle when we determined that it was too risky for us to have children of our own –and yes, he delivered again when we adopted our son. Most recently, we were told that my wife is going to need a kidney transplant in the near future, how do you think we responded? Obviously there have been tears, but for the most part we’ve fallen back on our faith and through prayer have been asking God to do yet another miracle on our behalf. While we don’t know what’s next for us in terms of organ donation / kidney transplant, etc., it’s safe to say that I’ve got enough on my plate to worry about than to be consumed with fear as to whether a newspaper wants to drag up a mistake I made almost 20yrs ago and print it.

For those of you that know me, you are well aware, what you see is what you get. I genuinely love my friends and family, I work hard trying to be the best husband and father I can be and in between work and family time I’m probably the most transparent person in the world, just follow me on Facebook and Twitter if you don’t believe that.

About Cotton Rohrscheib

I've been an entrepreneur my entire life and have been blessed to have been associated with hundreds of startups and projects throughout my career. A few years ago I started offloading many of my business interests to spend more time w/ my family and retool my focus toward the agricultural industry, ultimately I landed at Farmers Business Network, Inc. w/ a great team of people w/ shared mission / vision and the rest is history! I still operate my personal website & blog occasionally on topics of interest to me including; parenting, agriculture, technology, and whatever else comes my direction! My blog, cotton.buzz, is the product of over 20yrs worth of content, photos, podcasts, videos, etc., and all of the content I produce is mine personally, and only represent my views and/or opinions on topics and do not represent any of the businesses or associations I'm affiliated with.

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