In episode 416 of The Art of Charm, we learn how entrepreneur and speaker Cole Hatter overcame tragedy to have a measurable, positive impact on the world.

Cole Hatter | Survive and Thrive (Episode 416)

Cole Hatter | Survive and Thrive (Episode 416)

Tragedy is not a choice; learning how to thrive in its aftermath is.

“When you get thrown out of a car going 80, you usually leave a little bit of skin on the pavement.” -Cole Hatter

The Cheat Sheet:

  • How can you ensure that tragedy creates rather than conquers?
  • You don’t have to give up the dream life to help others live theirs.
  • What’s the difference between a non-profit and for-purpose business?
  • Literally ‘buy happiness’ by learning how to build a cause that resonates with you into your business model.
  • Discover the real meaning of “R&D” and how to land meetings with even the most inaccessible captains of your industry.
  • And so much more…


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No one lives a life untouched by tragedy, but it’s safe to say that it visits some of us more often — and more intensely — than others. When we find ourselves in this unfortunate group, we can lament the unfairness of it all and let it bury us, or we can defy it to ensure that the consequences of tragedy are never suffered in vain.

In episode 416 of The Art of Charm, we learn how for-purpose entrepreneur and speaker Cole Hatter overcame the guilt of surviving overwhelming tragedy and used its momentum to pursue a life of having a measurable, positive impact on the world. He shares with us the powerful epiphany that allowed him to rise from a deep emotional morass of self-loathing to confidently live a life that matters and help others find their true calling.

More About This Show

A decade ago, Cole Hatter was a young fireman in Seattle. He had what he considered at the time to be a dream life: he was literally saving lives, playing with fire, and getting paid for it.

Then, not one, but two consecutive tragedies in his personal life changed everything. In coping with the aftermath of these terrible events, he was forced to make a choice between two extremes: numb surrender to the senseless chaos of random chance, or overcoming survivor’s guilt to make the pain of loss count for something greater than himself.

While we know now that Cole chose the positive path, it could have easily gone the other way; in fact, self-defeat long seemed like the most probable outcome. Convalescing from the physical and emotional trauma of his ordeals and unable to walk, Cole had no option but to move back in with his parents. While they and his friends rotated chores to make sure that he was taken care of, Cole self-medicated with booze and painkillers to sink into the relative comfort of dazed, sensationless oblivion. Anything was better than the haunting memory of those awful, inexplicable tragedies.

As Cole tells it:

“All my buddies took turns…carrying me around and feeding me. Being back at my parents’ house…I would go into my bedroom when no one knew I would pop these pills and just drink until I passed out. I’d fall asleep [at] 4:00pm in the afternoon and wouldn’t wake up until 11:00 the next day.”

“I did that for about a month…of just not wanting to be alive until I hit my ah-ha moment and then that’s kind of where everything changed for me and I got a new vigor and a new reason to live.”

Driven by a renewed sense of purpose, Cole started his first non-profit about two weeks later. Soon, though, sobering reality intervened and he realized that a course correction was in order:

“[I] learned very quickly that non-profits are not profitable and that I needed to make money, so my philanthropic heart of wanting to change the world…was cut short by being broke, so I said screw it. I [needed] to learn how to be an an entrepreneur and make a ton of money, and so I took my ambition and my enthusiasm and entrepreneurship and gave it everything I’ve got and have made millions…and that’s able to fund my dreams, my passions, and my desires to make the most of the life I can while I have the time I have.”

In this episode of The Art of Charm, we discuss how Cole thwarted an initial resistance to the “boring” business world to make those millions. He gives us his definition of R&D, his strategy for landing a life-changing meeting with a VIP once considered inaccessible, and how for-purpose companies stand a better chance of capturing the marketplace against their more traditional, for-profit competition. Cole also shares with us what he considers to be the most valuable skill that you can cultivate as an entrepreneur today.

If you’d like to learn more about Cole’s work in galvanizing others to live lives that matter, he’s hosting a three-day event in October called Thrive that will focus on three things: how to make money, how to protect your money, and how to make money matter. Featured speakers will include Adam Braun, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tucker Max, Lewis Howes, James Altucher, Dan Martell, Keith Ferrazzi, and The Art of Charm’s own Jordan Harbinger!

And while we can’t disclose specifics, if you like the show Shark Tank, then you might want to come to this event; there just might be sharks there. Tickets for Thrive go on sale today at


Resources from this episode:

Cole Hatter’s event: Thrive

The Art of Charm bootcamps

You’ll also like:

-The Art of Charm Toolbox
-Best of The Art of Charm Podcast

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