It’s a legitimate question, right? WHO AM I… No, not you… ME… who is the Master behind the Man?
Obviously I’m a man. My name is Tim and I live in Austin, Texas… USA.
Like most people in Austin, I’m not from here. I do enjoy it, I have no plans on living anywhere else anytime soon. Obviously, there is a long journey behind how I wound up here and why I committed to a Personal Growth Journey. I’ll do my best not to drown you in boring details, but be warned, there is a necessary amount of “biographical” background info.
So, buckle in… this will be a little bit of a lengthy read, but as I hate being drug through a boring and long, pointless narrative, I promise I’ll make the reading worth your while.
I was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. My father is a farmer who also worked 3rd shift at Kellogg’s for 36 years. It was crazy… I’d wake up, get ready for school and be heading out the door as he was coming home from work. He’d sleep until maybe 11am – 1pm then he’d get up and work on the farm until dark. He’d watch the news (which was a sacred time, you didn’t interfere with the news without suffering wrath), then he’d take a nap for an hour or two before he’d leave for work at about 10pm. I love my dad and I have a great deal of respect for him despite whatever differences in opinions we may have. He was a Marine and served in Vietnam… when I was little I wanted to be a Marine, that was because of my dad.
My mom was… a lot of things, but mostly I remember her as a school teacher. She taught at a private Christian school that I went to from K-8th grade, before being asked to leave (more on that later). Before that she did interior design and she also did a lot of arts and crafts. She still does these days… it goes in cycles. It was scrap-booking for a while, right now it’s quilting… who knows what it’ll be in another year or two. My mother is an interesting character, she’s very stoic and cold, somewhat self absorbed in her work… whether that’s teaching or creating artsy things, she’s distant. She’s also quite intelligent, she claims this is because she’s worked really hard because my Aunt, her sister, was the naturally brilliant one and my mom had to push to compete. Fun fact, my mom is also competitive… so competitive that we tease her about cheating at children’s scrabble with her grandchildren. She hates that, but it happened!
So here is the important context about me and my parents as a child… my mom taught at the school I went to and it was a small school. My class of 16 was the largest they had ever seen. But there was a problem, this school was desperate for money and some parents see Christian school as a form of military school where they can send their troubled or misfit kids. We had a few of those… one was named Steve. Steve was a freak, 6′ tall in the 6th or 7th grade and Steve was a bully. I seemed to be a favorite target for Steve and even as a kid I was pretty feisty, so I fought back and I often got in trouble for my outbursts, usually verbally. Once we reached 7th & 8th grade, Steve stepped up his bullying and crossed over into making sexual advances toward me and at that age I didn’t know how to respond… I just wanted to be liked by everyone and didn’t want to be bullied. The only way it seemed that was possible was to try and get into Steve’s good graces or pay the price.
So, I tried… I played basketball and I was very good at the time, I’d take on anyone at any age and usually beat them or come close to it. I remember a game we beat our opponent 48-32… I scored 36 points that game… and I usually averaged about 21 points each game, in 7th & 8th grade. Well, guess who else was on the team because he was 6′? You got it… Steve. Eventually, I wanted to end my life because of the bullying and abuse, on a school field trip to Chicago I remember crying and telling one of the chaperones, who is actually Steve’s older cousin and who I have a great relationship with today, ironically. Long story short, once this all came out the school was embarrassed and despite Steve admitting to what happened and being sentenced to some community service as a minor… the school asked us BOTH not to return. Why? Probably because one of my other classmate’s mother was the principal and he was likely a victim also but wouldn’t come forward… and because I did and began engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms, I was deemed a bad apple and cast aside.
I’m not bitter, though. I swear! Actually this experience taught me a very valuable lesson, EVENTUALLY… but for a long time I was very angry and depressed, especially since my mother stayed on as a teacher at that school. I felt betrayed by that and my mother and I fought viciously the remainder of my teen and young adult years. I’ll get more into this in my book when it comes out, but for now that’s a good look into my childhood.
Then what? I went to a new school… I quit basketball. I was super depressed. I almost can’t even tell you who I was, I don’t recognize that person… I was weak, hurting, desperate, lost, depressed, easily fooled… I was a kid with a lot of pain. So what did I do? Well, eventually I became a captain of my soccer team and I left high school early to join the Marine Corps. I graduated from Marine Corps Boot Camp two days before I graduated high school and I walked in my Dress Blues.
I went on to qualify for Reconnaissance while I was in the School of Infantry. Originally I had qualified to be an 0351 (Assaultman) dealing with anti-tank missiles and demolition but once I qualified for Recon they took me out and had me train with the 0311’s (Basic Rifleman) for my primary MOS. I’d end up never earning the Recon MOS of 0321 because I dropped out of the training. I had buried my hurt and the intense training along with my girlfriend and high school sweetheart of 3.5 years informing me she cheated took it’s toll.
She played games with me from the beginning, we only started dating because after I professed my undying love over and over again and she kept toying with me flirting with other boys, I basically told her to piss off… and what does she do? “Oh, well… I missed you”. Missed abusing me is more like it… ANYWAY… once she told me about cheating, coupled with the intense training and my favorite grandmother having dementia and not recognizing me anymore… I couldn’t take it.
At first the Admin office took me in and gave me OJT and got me a secondary MOS of 0151 (Admin clerk) but it was war time and once a Lieutenant in Quantico saw an available 0311, I got orders to join an infantry unit and that was that… eventually I was given an honorable discharge, I was lucky… blessed even, to have great leadership in Fox 2/3. It was a tough time, much more could be told, but again… that’ll come in the book. Hell, I could probably write a book about that experience ALONE… it was one of the most trying times of my life.
Years of anger followed. Nothing hurts more than feeling like a complete failure and completely rejected by most because of what happened to you as a kid. That’ll mess with your head. My mother claims, based on her research for her Masters Degree, that 80% of the people who experience what I have at the age I did commit suicide before the age of 25. She waited to tell me this until I was I think 28… guess she wanted to make sure I’d beat the statistics.
My years from age 19 – 25 are mostly lost, it was at age 25 I had a catalyst that finally pushed me toward starvation for personal growth and change. It was heartbreak. I had numbed myself with anger and become an intolerable asshole, then I met a girl I actually cared for and I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. She dumped me. I lost it… that event broke open all the wounds I had been carrying around covering up with anger. It was the first, but it wouldn’t be the last because there are phases to growth.
Just because you decide you want to grow doesn’t mean you’ll do it, even if you are pumping in good material to your brain. Eventually, you are in danger of becoming an academic who can sit and pontificate about self development but who cannot speak from experience, but rather only cite a book. That foundation is great, but eventually you have to move into application,which is painful, and mastery, where you’ll find a humble confidence and peace.
Stick with me here, THIS is the the boring part… the painful application part. In movies this is where they play a motivating song and fast forward through the events that are responsible for the result as if it just goes by in a flash, easy-peasy… that is NOT how it works.
Over the next years I went through a lot of struggles. Relationships, work… you name it. I was arrogant, filled with the confidence of knowledge from my new found growth and completely paralyzed in my ability to actually apply it. I pissed off people at one job and they basically threw me into a situation designed to wash me out, so I left. My next job was too corporate and I was disturbed by the bureaucracy so, at the behest of one of the owners, I eventually went back to the company I left originally but in a middle management/administrator type role.
I decided I was tired of being told I had a bunch of knowledge from books. It was time to stop talking and start working. Eventually, however, I found myself in a pickle. I had exposed some integrity outages at the company in the department of the main profit maker. Whoops. I was meant to have a meeting with that department head and one of the owners who had admitted to being subject to that department head’s manipulations, but instead when I came in to work I was escorted to the HR office and fired. Not a single disciplinary note in my record. Later the HR director who fired me (I always liked him, he was a nice guy… not his fault he had to deliver bad news) confirmed to me directly I was fired only due a personal vendetta from… guess who? The department head I was embarrassing.
Over the last three years I have been working in sales selling Final Expense Life Insurance. I’ve increased my income over 40% every single year on a mostly part time basis. I’ve developed other agents and built a team. I’ve provided training and support to them in the field of sales and in life… and I’ve made several suggestions to the organization I work with regarding training and other aspects that I’m proud to say they listened to and implemented. I’ve been invited to participate with the leadership and contributed to an ongoing podcast series as a guest and host as well as helped refine other processes and helped support agents across 7 states. All in all, I’ve had a very pleasant experience despite the fact that through it all, guess what happened? Life. Life kept happening.
It’s these last 4-5 years that the application of all that I have learned from books, mentors, coaching, etc… has really started to take hold and show up in my day to day life. And the one thing I really enjoy about my sales job is this… it FORCES me to apply growth principles, daily. If it didn’t, I’d have washed out in 2 weeks… unless pride kept me holding on a little longer.
I’ve also had the joy of sharing that experience and insight with others. I’ve met a lot of people that can indeed give me all the right answers but fail to apply them to their own life, and that is the sticking point… they have theories based on knowledge and lack the experience to know if the theory works… and what biological forces they’ll meet in the attempted application… Like FEAR. Nerves. Rejection. Adrenaline. Being Insulted. Criticism. You name it, you might be safe sitting in your cozy cafe chair theorizing about it, but to actually do it… fail, adjust, succeed and overcome? Not many people do that, they just quit and try something else while lecturing you about how you need to get out of your comfort zone because “that’s where the real success is” why? Because they know it sounds good, and in principle, it’s true!
I’m not into that. I’m into being real. When I’m confronted about something that’s getting in my way I own it… YUP… I’m paralyzed with fear right now. Why!?! Because if I name it I’ve identified it and now I can confront it, that’s why. There is some merit in always “staying positive” but you lying to yourself about reality isn’t going to make it go away… your subconscious knows it’s a lie and eventually you’ll start resenting that your positive thoughts aren’t attracting you a millionaire lifestyle while you binge watch Netflix and avoid confronting your demons. I have a special gift in helping people identify their reality and make a real plan to confront their challenges. Quite frankly, that’s what people want… they are tired of vague generalities and politically correct drivel. They want to be given something they can sink their teeth in… something that might hurt a little but ultimately they know is in their best interest and will make them a better person.
So how do we do that? Well… that’s what I’m here to help figure out. I can give you a generic answer like “lots of reading, and application!” and that’s TRUE… but what should you be reading? Where and how should you be looking for opportunities for application and who are you going to turn to when you fall flat on your face? Coaching or mentorship, whatever nomenclature you’d like to give it, is how you speed up that process. Notice I said “speed up” and NOT “short cut”. There is no short cut… you might get lucky and nail something on the first try here or there or only stumble instead of falling flat on your face… good! I hope that’s your case, but it’s not the typical case. Growth is hard and it’s painful… but IT’S WORTH IT. You’ll look back on the person you were and you won’t be able to recognize them… and you’ll be grateful for that!
My personal growth story SUCKED… but it was worth it. I’d never take it back to erase any of the pain because without it I wouldn’t be who I am today. Also, it’s not over… it’s never over! You just get better and better at it and learn how to manage your energy and emotions so you can continue to grow and start pouring into others. That’s how we change the world.
So… if you want to talk more or have any questions for me, I’d love to hear from you. Go to the “Contact” tab and send me a message or e-mail.
If you’re ready to take control of your Personal Growth Journey and are committed to taking action through coaching, you can schedule a 15 minute intro call with me to see if working together would be a good fit. I take clients on a case by case basis, I only want to work with those who are as committed to their personal growth as I am to helping them in that process.