Cort Twitty, Founder, Steele Institute

Emotional and financial literacy today is of paramount importance. Yet, when we talk of emotions and money, they are viewed as two entirely separate entities. Several studies indicate that someone loses control of their emotions every forty seconds enough to commit suicide. Death by suicide is at an all-time high, fueled by overdoses and alcohol. In conjunction with this, multiple credible sourced studies indicate that nearly 70% of the population is considered financially illiterate. Even so, as per the ‘Survey of the States’ Council for Economic Education conducted in February 2020, only 17 out of 50 states in the US require a finance class to graduate high school, but all 50 states mandate a sex-ed class. Financial literacy is not made a priority. Tying these observations up, the correlation between the two topics above is that over 75% of suicide notes left behind specifically mention money, finances, insurance, or debt.

Cort Twitty, Founder of Steele Institute for Emotional and Financial Literacy, is changing the narrative. Incepted in 2020 with the vision to educate and inform, the institute was built upon the strong foundation of hard work, devotion to others through self-care, and mastering financial concepts not taught in school. “I co-founded Steele Institute with my two children, ages 19 and 10. I wanted them to see how much work goes into starting a business. I’m aiming for both of them to have an entrepreneurial spirit and mindset. I believe success isn’t a destination; It’s a way of life, a mindset. We named the institution after my grandparents Cliff and Emily Steele,” shares Cort.

All Lives Matter!

Cort holds this initiative close to his heart, having led a life of struggle in his formative years. He found himself homeless at the tender age of 16, where his little joys were when someone let him sleep on their couch and even take a shower. He was expelled from school at 15 for hacking the school district’s servers and taking money from fellow students in exchange for changing their grades. When he wasn’t homeless, he moved 41 times before graduating high school. His life lacked supportive leaders who prioritized and valued him. “But I strongly believe it was the strength I developed in those years that has made me the businessman and father I am today. I truly know what it feels like to be unhappy, stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. So, I try to help others not have to suffer the way I suffered. I attempted suicide, and so knowing that every 40 seconds, someone dies keeps me up at night! With a little prevention and assertiveness, we can lower the suicide numbers!! There is hope. Every season passes,” adds Cort.

Now, Cort dedicates his time and resources toward helping change lives for the better through the Steele Institute and his book titled Godfidence: The Art of Quiet Confidence and Emotional Intelligence. He declares, “So, at the Steele Institute, and in my book Godfidence, we discuss emotional and financial literacy. We discuss both subjects for one reason: to save lives! No more suicide. Every life matters!”

Leveraging Uplifting Material and Hands-on Experience to Better Educate Individuals

Cort has a few processes in place to which every client can be catered to a program customized to their specific needs. When approached by a client, the first step is educating the individual. The process is commenced with a couple of quick-read books. The book, Godfidence, is used to help attain emotional regulation and maturity.

There are optional worksheets at the end of each chapter that teaches a daily routine for positive mental health. On the finance side, the team at Steele Institute has aligned themselves with a book/training called “How Money Works.” Both books are acceptable for ages 13+ and are easy to understand. In addition to the books, automated online courses are also available. From there, the client is guided through the rest of the program, which includes workshops, followed by masterminds, and then one-on-one meetings to customize a financial strategy for others. “Each step has a jumping-off point and is optional; everything is optional. Outside of buying the books, we charge a small monthly subscription fee, but we aim to provide massive value and stay as close to free as possible. We sleep well at night knowing we’re making a difference,” elucidates Cort.

Looking at setbacks as just stepping stones to achieving a better life, Cort shares how he effectively deals with high-pressure situations and rises above them. He firmly believes that to make coping with the pressure worth it, one must create a schedule conducive to their own life. Keeping this in mind, he ensures he makes time to pick up his daughter from school, is present at events, and is present for his kids. But leaders need to set the tone and model consistency. So whether he is doing a simple personal task like grocery shopping on the weekend or exercising, he is always working, improving, refining, and building leadership underneath him that will one day surpass him.

And while it may sound like a cliché, implementing breathing techniques in crises is what helps him overcome these intense moments. So when his family or friends call in an unavoidable predicament, they need a stabilizing and empathetic voice that understands such situations. “Breathing techniques help me get to their level, so they feel comfortable and get me up and going because these conversations can be draining. It takes work to learn how to not let these things affect my productivity and to get energized again. I think it’s an art, which is why I wrote a book about it. Not to say I have all of the answers, but to show people what I have learned or experienced that might make their day a little brighter,” explains Cort.

Giving Sound Advice

And to business executives in similar situations looking for advice while working toward carving a top management space in their respective domain, he says, “My advice in most situations is to work on you. Everything gets better when we turn inward, which isn’t easy and start working on ourselves. If you want to move up in your company or reach a certain income level, start by controlling what you can control. Let go of expectations and continue working on yourself. You will be shocked at the doors that suddenly start opening. Double down on your goodness and spend time magnifying your great qualities rather than trying to fix what you don’t do well. When your mindset shifts, and it will, by working on yourself, the whole world looks different, and something truly miraculous begins to unfold.”

Reap What You Sow

Having made immense headway in this domain, Cort aims to continue to positively impact people’s lives. He is currently working on setting metrics to ‘karma.’ A believer in good and bad karma, he is working on quantifying how bad karma can get and how it actually transpires in our world. Cort signs off, “I call it the Karmic Multiplier Index. While it’s unlikely to win a Nobel Prize, I hope that the scientific data we can extract will be helpful when other people are looking for guidance in this world or searching for some form of a higher power. This way, they can access data that might convince them that karma is a great place to start. Imagine how bright and loving the world would be if we all answered to karma and believed in it wholeheartedly.”

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