Children know him as Mr. Stinky Feet, the award-winning kid rocker who has performed thousands of high-energy shows throughout the U.S., Europe and his native Kansas City over the past two decades. But if you’re an adult, you may also know him as Jim Cosgrove, author and motivational speaker.
In 2017, Cosgrove assembled a collection of his essays on parenting originally published in the Kansas City Star from 2010 to 2016, and self-published his book, Everybody Gets Stinky Feet. Through both his songs and short stories, he emphasizes that taking a childlike approach to life can make a huge difference in how we operate at home and work. Today, when he’s not writing music and working on his new album to be released later in 2018, he’s speaking to corporate groups, sharing that what’s effective for success on the playground is effective for success in the workplace.
“Kids are smart, intuitive, beautiful humans who have a lot to teach us,” Cosgrove says. “After 20 years of performing for them, I’ve learned so many lessons from them about communicating honestly, being persistent and knowing my audience.”
What could a businessperson learn from a child? A lesson on being fully present in the moment lies in possessing a childlike concept of time, Cosgrove says.
“Kids don’t bring a lot of baggage with them; they aren’t distracted by the past or by the future,” he says.
As a creative entrepreneur in the “gig economy,” Cosgrove has built and adapted his brand over the years as the music industry, technology, his audience and family have changed. At the height of his touring career when he was performing 300 shows a year, Cosgrove traveled with his wife and two small daughters, each new road trip a family adventure. But as his own children grew, Cosgrove refocused his touring career back on the Midwest and took a corporate job for a few years. He continued to work with his own production company, recording, producing and distributing his music. And then, when it came time to publish his written work, he realized he was capable of publishing a book as well.
“As a maker, things change, and you adapt. That’s how you thrive,” Cosgrove says. “What might scare some people away—there are those of us who are energized by change.”
As he prepares to release his ninth album, Cosgrove contemplates the multitude of ways to get in front of an audience but returns to his belief that music is more than listening—it’s a tactile experience for both children and their parents.
“I love connecting with audiences, and people crave connection,” Cosgrove says. “With millennial parents, they want experiences and engagement. They want to do something with their kids. My shows are family experiences where everyone gets involved.”
To order Cosgrove’s book and see tour dates, visit JimCosgrove.com.