A dear friend and I have been harboring secret feelings for this powerfully, positive blog meister for quite some time now. It’s time to make it public: We heart Matt Corker. Exclamation mark.
Matt Corker is a UBC alum who graduated with a BCOM in HR and International Business. He currently works for the Faculty of Science as the Alumni Relations Manager. He is known campus wide for his innovative, thought-provoking presentations, and his continuous flow of positive insight sur le blog That’s a Corker.
Join guest interviewer, Selena and I, as we spend an afternoon with Matt Corker in the warm love of the upper level aquatic centre. We discuss passion, how to remain positive, and how to deal with stage fright (who would have known?)
Before we begin, an apology- I did not get the recorder working till three questions in, so bear with me for a little while. Technical difficulties. Without further ado, Matt Corker…
E: I need to ask, are you wearing happy socks today?
Unfortunately, Matt Corker was not wearing happy socks. They were Banana Republic, and being BR lovers ourselves, we were just as happy.
E: What advice would you give to people who feel lost, without passion, or have this compulsive need to find their passion right this minute?
M: Just breathe. (Don’t hold your breath- the rest we lost in our non-recording state. So sorry!)
S: What was the best part about today?
Matt was in a meeting today and asked a coworker if she would choose a man or a woman for a certain job. She answered, “A woman,” and when asked why, offered this memorable quote: “Men are like unicorns. I just don’t understand them.”
S: 3 items off your bucket list that you have to complete right away?
Matt: Ooh well going off what I just said right away, my bucket list is 100 before 100- I have to do a hundred things before I turn 100. I really want to sing karaoke in Hong Kong. I feel like it would be that much more authentic. I have a list of countries that I want to see before I die. Hong Kong is one of them and I don’t just want to be like “I want to go to Hong Kong.” That’s boring. I want to sing karaoke in Hong Kong. Another one is I want to eat an avocado smoothie with Jason Mraz on his avocado farm cause he has an avocado farm and he makes all these amazing dishes using avocados. The third is to do a dance by Mia Michaels. If anyone watches So You Think You Can Dance, Mia Michaels does amazing choreography. I think she would kick my ass and I’d be okay with it.
E: What is your biggest fear?
M: I always used to say my biggest fear was something happening to my sister. My sister and I are very tight and so my life without her in it is a weird concept to me. And, not living to my full potential is a big fear; actually fulfilling a purpose that is much greater than what I am comfortable with.
S: What are you passionate about right now?
M: I am totally passionate about changing people’s perceptions in order to create a common bond. In my day job at UBC, I get huge endorphins when I speak to alumni who have had the worst student experience possible. They felt like a number…When I can find a volunteer opportunity for them that makes them love UBC and changes their perception of UBC, that to me is so amazing. With the company I am a part of, NoMoSoLo, getting people to connect with each other in order for them to be happier- I couldn’t be more elated just thinking about the possibilities there.
E: How did you discover these passions?
M: I did a lot of soul searching. When I first graduated from UBC, I took my first job and my boss actually pulled me into her office because throughout my first couple months, I was trying to fit in, understand the corporate culture, what was the norm. She pulled me into her office and said, “You were hired because you had personality, don’t lose it now that you have the job.” That has always stuck with me. Wait, I am here because I have certain skills and because I do things a certain way. I started exploring my strengths and my own style of work- that discovering led me to this passion for creating bonds between people.
S: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome especially in relation to your passion and how did you do it?
M: Comfortability in your own skin. It’s really easy for people to put on the show and say, “I’m not afraid of what people say to me. I can act like a total idiot and not care.” That’s a big front. I definitely had that front for a long time and one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome was actually being okay or admitting to the world that I wasn’t okay. Sometimes I will say, “This is a really awkward situation,” and I am not going to pretend that I’m okay in this awkward situation. That is a challenge, but sometimes, combatting the challenge combats the challenge in itself. Does that make sense? No it doesn’t. Don’t quote me on that.
E: You will be quoted. (Matt Corker, we do not lie) How do you not let these fears stand in the way of your passion?
M: I struggle with this one. Listen to the people that really matter. People tend to forget, there are a lot of critics in the world. You don’t need to listen to all of them. You just need to listen to the people that matter. They’ll tell you when you’re on par and when you’re not. I am terrified of public speaking at times. Yes, I love public speaking, but every time I go on stage I get this huge case of stage fright and I have had to learn different techniques over the years. I always now hold something in my hand. Another way is I always play some huge pump up song before I present. I will sit in my car or take my ipod and have a little dance party in the bathroom before I go on. I am so weird and there is a moment where I’m like, “I am okay being awkward in the situation. There’s some random guy dancing in the bathroom.”
E: I’d want to join.
S: In reading your blog, every post radiates positivity. How do you maintain that all the time?
M: There are times when I am a total asshole and there are times where there is not a positive thought that comes through my mind. I have made a conscious decision when those thoughts come into my head. I know I can change them and I know I have the power to take the tough love I just got and change it around to something good. A lot of the posts that may be overwhelmingly positive are actually me giving myself tough love and reminding myself, “Hey this crappy situation just happened, but remember this is what you need to focus on.” It’s cool because everyone gets these helpful reminders in my blog posts, but they’re not based out of this euphoric world…other times I am totally blissed out and I am loving life and I just want everyone to know, like happy socks.
E: Who embodies passion in your life and what is the most important lesson he or she has taught you?
It’s so hard not to say my sister.
I am going to go with my sister. She has taught me the value of just doing it. So many times we are worried about what it looks like and the timing of it and the important thing is to do it. This past weekend I did a Bikram yoga class and it just kicked my ass…and I was talking to her afterwards and she said, “The important thing is you went and that’s all that matters.” The important thing is you’re doing what you love. It doesn’t matter if you suck at it or if you’re the best at it. You’re doing what you love.
S: Where do you feel most at peace?
M: Two locations- at the top of a mountain or at the foot of a beach where water is coming up. I’ve always been attracted to those locations. They give me room, space to create. These wide expanses give me that opportunity to dream about what could be or reflect on what I want to fill that space in my life.
E: Would you rather be on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars?
M: I struggle with this question. I think Dancing with the Stars is for old people. My mom’s generation would be like, “I love ballroom.” I don’t think of myself as old and stale and I think Dancing with the stars is old and stale. I think American Idol is too commercialized and there is so much controversy over who wins. If I had to choose, I would say American Idol. Begrudgingly on both ends, but American Idol wins by a slight margin.
E: Ending comments?
M: I’m excited to read your blog and I hope you are able to capture the feeling behind the passion rather than just the words to describe the passion.
I hope so too.
Thank you Matt Corker for sharing your passion, life lessons, and your infinite love for life itself!
You made a couple number one fans very happy.