Storyteller, Founder and CEO of Round Table Companies
As the founder and CEO of Round Table Companies, Corey Blake’s commitment to love and growth has created an environment where transformation occurs through the magic of storytelling and the impact of deep human connection.
Corey began his storytelling career from the stage and then as a commercial and television actor in LA. While his work has been featured in major newspapers, magazines and on television, he may be best known for his infamous appearance as “the naked guy” in a commercial for Yard Fitness which earned producers multiple industry awards.
My personal practice is…
How did you discover your practice?
When I was working as an actor in Los Angeles over a decade ago, I studied the Meisner technique at Playhouse West under Christopher Liebe and Jeff Goldblum. Through that work, I learned to find the undercurrent of truth that flows beneath the words we share with one another. I became highly attuned to emotional energy and was lauded for my ability to take huge risks onstage. When I transferred from entertainment to business and founded Round Table Companies (RTC), I brought that addiction to vulnerability with me.
Why do you practice?
I’m often the first in a room to be vulnerable and take the risk to share something intensely personal. My willingness tends to give permission to others to get real and let their guard down. I help create a safe space for that work to happen and the result is deep human connection. It’s the connection that I’m after. That’s where I get my high.
My playground is where the universal flow moves between people and it’s where I find meaning in life.
How frequently and for how long do you practice?
I have days where my experience with vulnerability is brief, and I have days where I might sit in the space for hours at a time. I’m working on my book with our amazing team right now, and that provides a structured space for this kind of vulnerability multiple times per week. I also share my personal struggles with my executive team and sometimes with other staff and clients. It’s an important part of our culture to help one another see each other with all our beauty and our ugliness. The place I actually struggle the most with being vulnerable is at home with my wife. Probably because I’m not the leader there, I’m a partner, and so I have less control.
What’s something that gets in the way of your practice and how do you move through it?
I recently uncovered that one of my biggest obstacles is being good at this process. Being good at being vulnerable keeps me in control. My ability to invite people into vulnerable stories can be captivating to watch, but I can sometimes inadvertently fool people by avoiding the more vulnerable stuff of life, which is the ugliness and shame I feel about some aspects of my personality–my arrogance and my impatience for example. I’m also incredibly competitive and my mind tends to judge others and make up stories so that I feel like I’m the top of the pyramid. I really dislike those sides of myself and when they bubble up the shame and guilt processes begin. It’s important for me to constantly work to share those kinds of vulnerabilities so I’m forced to grow.
What supports you in staying committed to your practice?
The commitment is easy for me because I feel a responsibility to use my talents to serve the world. That responsibility is bigger than me and so I never have to manufacture the courage required to be vulnerable. Courage shows up when a cause I’m involved with demands I grow and be a better person than I was yesterday. By continually aligning myself with big causes, the commitment part takes care of itself.
What role does your practice play in your work?
As I have grown RTC, vulnerability has been infused into our culture, our process, and our work. Not just in the creative storytelling we do, but in our interpersonal communication with clients and staff. It’s always a work in progress, but I love our vulnerable culture. I think other business owners could spend the next ten years trying to get to where we started from. That gives us an amazing advantage in the worlds of storytelling and marketing. While other people are trying to be clever and manipulative in this space, we are capturing what is real and raw and worth connecting around. We’re creating real relationships between our clients and their communities by helping people tap into that current of flow beneath the language we use.
Describe someone you know whose practice inspires you.
One of my clients who has become a close friend enjoys a gratitude walk every morning to get centered. He walks about two miles and considers what he is grateful for during that time. I always enjoy joining him when we’re together.
A practice I’d like to explore is…
I’ve just enrolled in an 18 month Gestalt Therapy training program. Every two months, I’ll travel to Cleveland for a four day intensive dive into personal work and the Gestalt approach to connection. I’m so happy to have made this commitment. Just last week I went straight from the Conscious Capitalism CEO summit to my first Gestalt Experience weekend. Holy Smokes. Talk about feeling alive.
Anything else you’d like to share about practice.
I loved being seen which is why I loved acting. Vulnerability was always the key to being seen for me, and yet, I thought for so long that I was here to be an actor. I took it for granted. So when I woke up one day unhappy in my career and feeling like I was just a tool for other creative people, I had to deeply question my path. When I discovered it was the vulnerability that I loved so much, it became easy to switch careers because I could retain that piece of myself.