Then & Now: Andy Core broadens scope, seeks a Ph.D.

by Robin Mero (rmero@nwabj.com) 705 views 

Editor’s Note: The following story appeared in the April 1 issue of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “Then & Now” is a profile of a past member of the Business Journal’s  Forty Under 40 class.

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Andy Core defines himself as an evidence-based problem solver who is also funny and motivational.

Core is a motivational speaker, author and researcher, and he is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in psychology.

Core helps professionals flourish in their workplaces and lives. He presents research-based information to business leaders, helping them build teams that are more profitable by maximizing productivity and improving attitudes.

Core, 50, founded Core Wellness after earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and physiology from Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas in human performance.

Fifteen years ago, Core was named to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s class of Forty Under 40. He was focused on wellness coaching — helping individuals increase their health and well-being through nutrition, wellness and stress management.

Since 2006, his focus has shifted toward the psychological mindsets and skills that help workers in high-stress environments.

He studies arousal reappraisal, a theory that suggests stress can be a tool to maximize performance.

Core travels throughout the country speaking at conferences and events. Last year he had 56 engagements — about 90% out of state.

Core speaks to diverse types of professionals. In advance of each engagement, he interviews workers and leaders within the field, conducts research and develops a motivational speech to encourage them and present information to help them thrive in their workplaces.

Challenges vary widely by the nature of the work, Core said. Real estate professionals, for instance, have the second highest rate of job-related depression in the United States. There is intense pressure on performance, nothing is guaranteed and an agent’s schedule is so variable that it offers no rhythm.

On the other hand, judges can struggle with resiliency. Being an attorney is a social career, but judges must isolate themselves from the social nature of their legal profession.

“I help identify and provide solutions to help people overcome challenges and thrive,” Core said. “One of my strengths is taking scientific information and applying it to real-life situations. I rely on hardcore empirical journal articles. I want people to have confidence that what I am presenting isn’t based on opinion.”

There’s a cyclical nature to research and development within psychology and personal development, Core said.

“We don’t want to take one study and make that our answer. Sensationalism sells. It’s easy to isolate and use one source, but you have to look at the entire body of research. What are we reasonably assured of? Go back to the data,” he said.

The life of a speaker is not “champagne and first class,” Core admitted. Destinations can be appealing. But travel schedules are rigorous (last year he flew 131 flight segments), and “you have to find a way to feel socially and emotionally connected. It’s easy to get worn down and burned out.”

He relies on exercise to “remain sane with the travel lifestyle,” looking for opportunities to bike, run and hike.

In 2014, Core published a book, “Change Your Day, Not Your Life: A Realistic Guide to Sustained Motivation, More Productivity, and The Art of Working Well.”

“I’m definitely more of a verbal communicator. I’m a decent writer, but it takes me longer than I think it should,” he said. “One of the best tricks I’ve learned comes from the SQ3R study method. Instead of making a declarative statement, turn it into a question.”

SQ3R is named for its five steps: survey, question, read, recite and review.

Core uses coaching for his own development and has worked with specialists in speech structure, humor and storytelling, and digital marketing. He finds coaches with high levels of expertise through reading and research. “I may read an article and then reach out,” he said.

He seeks feedback after speeches. His favorite responses include: “I’d have enjoyed it more if you hadn’t been talking about me the whole time.” And “I didn’t like it at the time, but I can’t get his voice out of my head.”

Core lives in Fayetteville with his wife and two daughters.

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