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How to Become a Successful Leader: One Man’s Awe-Inspiring Journey

Get can’t-miss tips about how to lead an organization with heart while never forgetting where you came from.

How to Become a Successful Leader One Man’s Awe-Inspiring Journey to Lead 4 Companies

Summary: Become a Successful Leader

Jen interviews Tim McCain about his journey from addict and convict to becoming a successful leader and entrepreneur.

You’ll also learn how Tim’s inner control freak got soothed, to his business’ advantage.

Get some can't-miss tips about how to lead an organization with heart while never forgetting where you came from.

Words of Wisdom

When you start doing your own business, you'll see you're also the janitor, right? — Tim McCain, entrepreneur

Transcript: Become a Successful Leader

Jennifer: Hello and welcome to the podcast. My name is Jen McFarland, and I’m joined today by Tim McCain. If you’ve ever thought that your entrepreneurial journey was the most unique thing that you’ve ever heard, well, I’ve got news for you because the man sitting in front of me has a pretty sweet journey into entrepreneurship. All that and more on the Third Paddle. Okay.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: All right. Well, welcome back. Joined today by Tim McCain. We met at Chatcolabs [00:00:30] at Northwest Leadership Lab. On the last episode, I talked about how I’m at Camp Twinlow here in Rathdrum, Idaho, learning all this cool stuff about leadership and developing leadership and Tim and Brian are all lab presenters this year. I just thought he had a cool story, so I thought I would ask him to be on the show. Welcome, Tim.

Tim: Thank you, Jen. First, I do want to say anybody who wants to be an entrepreneur you should get to something like Chatcolabs and foster that spirit and get [00:01:00] the creative juices flowing. It’s a fun, exciting, laid-back way to get your thoughts in order to tackle what you have to tackle when you’re an entrepreneur. You’re a business person and you have daily challenges and going through creative thinking processes. So, anybody that’s thinking about doing something like this, definitely do it. Chatcolabs is a great one to do. It’s my first time here and it’s beautiful, fun, and I got to meet lovely people like Jen.

Jennifer: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, this is my second year. I’m definitely coming [00:01:30] back. It’s like this time I spend a lot more time in meditation and checking out the lab [inaudible 00:01:36] that we just walked by and-

Tim: Right. That’s awesome.
Jennifer: And some time in just a prayerful state. I’m finding that getting closer to myself is helping me with these next steps I want to take as an entrepreneur for sure.

Tim: Right. Perfect. Perfect. If you want me to just jump into it, I feel like I’ve got something to say, so I’m-

Jennifer: Yeah. I want you to say it.

Tim: You got to take the mic from me if you want me to shut up.

Jennifer: No. No.

Tim: I [00:02:00] arrived at this spot in my life. I was a drug addict, an alcoholic as a youth. I was homeless at 14 years of age, and I had to come up with some creative thinking in order to survive, and from there I ended up in a California state prison. I’m glossing over a lot of stuff-

Jennifer: Yeah, you are.

Tim: For the second time, but I got into an altercation with a gentleman and I thought using a gun was going to solve my problem, [00:02:30] and it didn’t solve my problem. It added to it, right?

Jennifer: Oh, yeah.

Tim: So … I end up going through these seven years, and seven years and eight months in a California state prison system, and that’s actually where I learned to be a man. It’s where I learned to respect and where I learned to honor, as odd as that sounds, was in a California prison state, and not through the guards and not through any curriculum that was set up, through introspection and through talking with mentors that [00:03:00] I found there, some good and some bad. I learned what I wanted to do and what I did not want to do.

Jennifer: I think the most fascinating thing as you talk through your story in-depth was that you and Brian found because Brian was your cellmate and your best friend-

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: How you guys found these books that you would not expect to find in a prison and studied those books and learned about leadership and how to be a man and you found mentors, so [00:03:30] that-

Tim: Well, education, I credit education, period, for my growth and the key to kicking off that liberated mind. It came from reading books like you said. A lot of the prison yards have Louis L’Amour or fantasy books or sci-fi stuff, and I wasn’t interested in that. I wasn’t interested in being distracted. I was interested in becoming better, and so we started getting these books.

Brian had found a book [00:04:00] or a page of a book while he was in the hole, actually in solitary confinement. He just got this one page of As A Man Thinketh by James Allen, and he read it over and over, memorized it, and when he came back out to the yard, he had shared that with me and then we went out of our way to get As A Man Thinketh. It’s a short read, but we both read it multiple times, and then we started challenging each other to find books that would, classics and [00:04:30] then also at the same time self-help books. My favorite is a classic and a self-help book, is Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich.

Jennifer: We’ve talked about that a little [inaudible 00:04:41]-

Tim: Yeah, we have. It’s a great book.

Jennifer: It’s amazing. Yeah. Yeah.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: Let’s just back up a minute because something you said made me have a thought, which is … what made you decide to become a better man?

Tim: That’s a great question. It’s two- [00:05:00] fold. My moment of clarity or my axiom point, my axis point that Kevin talks about, that point came when I was in the hole and I was there for a year. So, I was in solit-

Jennifer: In the hole?

Tim: Yeah, in the [inaudible 00:05:17] for a year.

Jennifer: Wow.

Tim: In solitary confinement. It’s not as bad as it sounds and it’s not as good as … It has to be experienced. If you would like to, you can.

Jennifer: No, thank you.

Tim: [00:05:30] But anyway, I was in solitary for a year. About six months in, I asked a guard … I had a toothache and I asked the guard. I said, “Excuse me, CO, I have a toothache,” and he told me to “Lay down and shut the fuck up. Nobody cares.”
Jennifer: Oh, okay. That’s positive.

Tim: Yeah, so I did, and I laid back on my rack and I looked at the wall, and I had this moment of clarity where I was like, “Why am I here?” It’s not because my parents left me. So, [00:06:00] this is the shift of the victim mindset. Right there at that moment, I can clearly see looking at that wall in Jamestown, California away from … and I was like, “How am I looking at this cell wall right now like were the steps that led me to get here?” I spent the next six months in solitary really contemplating that and wondering why I’m there, and it boiled down to one thing. It was my fault. I made choices that led me up into that situation.

The second part [00:06:30] of that is Brian, who is my best friend and my cellmate there, who was going through his own revelation or realization at the same time. I’m a very spiritual person. I don’t think that was happenstance that Brian was going through that, and then Brian says, “Hey, man, let’s get sober,” and I was open to the idea.

He said, “Let’s get right.” We call it getting right. We wanted to be productive members of our society, and in order to be a productive member of our society, we [00:07:00] couldn’t forecast what that would look like, so we had to be productive members of our society where we sat. We had to be good citizens instead of good convicts. So we changed everything we did. You heard Brian say, “The only place for a good convict is in prison.”

Jennifer: Right. Yeah.

Tim: Right. So, we didn’t want to be in prison anymore, and Brian’s story, I’m not going to speak it but is unique to him. He’s got another story. I was there for seven years and eight months, like I said, and had my [00:07:30] realizations and my thought process kicked off and my education started, and then I went … Can I just jump onto-

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: Can I get out of prison? Will you let me out?

Jennifer: You can get out of prison. You’re out of prison.

Tim: All right. Thank you. Thank you. So, now I’m on my way and I decided … I have these things that I call non-negotiables and I talked to you about that today. One of the non-negotiables was I was not going to break any laws or I was not going to do anything that would land me back in prison, period. End of story. It was non-negotiable [00:08:00] for me so that meant I’m looking at things in a different light now. Since I know I’m not going to back the way I can get money now, which I was a former drug dealer, so the way to get money is that I can’t go there anymore. That’s non-negotiable. That’s breaking the law. That’s not a good citizen. I’m breaking the social contract that we have as a citizen, right?

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: So … I had to look at it through a different lens and I ended up digging ditches. That’s how I got my first job, was on a crew in San Diego [00:08:30] digging ditches. They gave me 25 cents extra an hour. I made 7.25-

Jennifer: Damn.

Tim: Because I spoke English. I could drive the car.

Jennifer: Because you spoke English.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: And you could drive a car.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: I think I got 5.25 an hour in college every summer working in a warehouse, hard work, man.
Tim: Sure.

Jennifer: Not as hard as digging ditches.

Tim: Yeah. No, it’s hard.

Jennifer: But it’s an education when you have that time because in the warehouse it was kind of that repetitive thing, kind of like digging a ditch. You [00:09:00] had some time to think, right, because you’re-

Tim: Oh, absolutely

Jennifer: Digging ditches.

Tim: Absolutely. I tried to make it be a game, is a way to stay physically fit, for one. For two, the guy I worked for was a real jackass. He wasn’t a nice guy, and that was a challenge. I took that as a challenge and I like it, so I kind of made a game of it, but you just hit on something. We’re both entrepreneurs, successful in our own rights doing what we’re doing, and entrepreneurs get the job done no matter [00:09:30] what the job is. They got to do it.

Jennifer: That’s right.

Tim: You got to do it, and when you start doing your own business, you’ll see you’re also the janitor, right?

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: You got to clean the bathroom. Toilet overflow, that’s you. There’s nobody to go. You got to be the marketing person. You have to be a lot of those things, and even in our own business right now we have 22 employees in one of the businesses that I run and that’s not that many. So oftentimes I’m a guy answering the phone.

Jennifer: Right. Yeah.

Tim: Say [inaudible 00:09:58], “Can I help [00:10:00] you?” People get shocked by that. “Hey, you’re still answering the phone.” Of course, I am. There’s a lot of levels to that about being a leader and being an owner of a company. You’ve got to be willing to do something that you’re asking someone else to do. I would have the listeners think about that, right?

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: To outsource is a huge thing, and when you outsource, you got to outsource work that you’re willing to do yourself. [00:10:30] You just can’t right now to grow your business. Does that make sense what I just said?

Jennifer: Yeah, totally makes sense. Totally makes sense and but with outsourcing comes challenges as well, right?

Tim: Absolutely.

Jennifer: Because then you’ve got to train and you’re still taking responsibility as a business owner and a leader.

Tim: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jennifer: It’s complicated. But one of the things that I find most striking is that throughout your entire journey and I think even today is that vision. I mean you’ve had a clear sense every step of the [00:11:00] way like you knew you weren’t going to be digging ditches forever.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: And every next step, you were like, “This is great. This is now. Here’s what’s going to happen.”

Tim: Let me tell you a story about that. I am and we’ve talked without the microphones. I’ve told you how I feel about Napoleon Hill and visualization, and I accredit that … it’s credited for my entire life. I’ve seen the mountaintop. I mean, I truly have seen my entire life [00:11:30] and I painted a picture, and it’s not exactly but it’s pretty damn close and I feel good about it. I live a good life today because I thought it up and then my actions … My ass my followed my mind, but-

Jennifer: There you have it. My ass followed my mind.

Tim: Quotable.

Jennifer: Quotable.

Tim: One of the things that happened to me though, and you got to keep doing that over and over again. So, to the point, when I was digging ditches, I thought every [00:12:00] night, and I’ll go over the routines maybe at a later date, but every night I used to go to bed and I would envision what I want to do tomorrow, go in a perfect way because I’m writing the story. I’m painting the picture, so it’d be perfect. Then I would also go over the day that I had and where I could’ve been better, so conversations I had or things that I did through the lens of where I want to go.

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: Does that make sense?

Jennifer: Did I make [00:12:30] steps toward where I want to go.

Tim: Towards my goal. Yeah.

Jennifer: Where did I fall short? How do I course correct?

Tim: Yeah, or did I alienate somebody that could’ve helped me along the way because we all … I heard this a long time ago that within a circle of seven we know there is a person there that can help us make our millions, and I truly believe that. There’s-

Jennifer: Yeah. Wow. I do too.

Tim: Yeah. It’s a trippy thought, and so did I alienate [00:13:00] one of those people, and if I did, I need to go back and rectify and not just in a finan-

Tim: One of those people, and if I did, I need to go back and rectify that. Not just in a financial sense, in a spiritual sense, I have to do that. I have an obligation to do that, but also in a strictly nickles and dimes … If you’re thinking about money and growing your business and doing this, you gotta be vigilant.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: About how you handle people.

Jennifer: Well, absolutely. I always feel like the … And [Twilight 00:13:26]and I’ve talked about it before, I’m all about relationships. [00:13:30] I’m not just looking at the money side, I’m looking at that balance sheet of have I been a good person today and where did I fall short. How can I do better because if I’m a good person, I still feel like if I keep working and keep on my goals the money’s gonna come or whatever that financial goal is? But if I’m devoid of being a good person I’m totally lost.

Tim: Right. No, I agree with that. I agree with that wholeheartedly.

Jennifer: So for me, it’s about [00:14:00] making friends and having customers and being happy. Sharing what I know.

Tim: Absolutely.

Jennifer: With other people.

Tim: Absolutely. That’s a beautiful thing. And the money will come. And the money will come. Putting your head down. I also am very, because of my past, and to be completely transparent, I’m very money driven.

Jennifer: Oh yeah.

Tim: I’ve been hungry, so I know what that feels like. Being a homeless kid and before that our shelves were quite empty as well, having drug addict parents. So I’m … [00:14:30] Maybe it’s a bad thing, maybe it’s a good thing, it is what it is. Now I sit and I look at both those situations. On a spiritual level, who did I alienate and make that right? Also on a strictly financial level. I’d be a fraud if I sat here and told you that oh yeah, I’m pure in motive. A lot of my stuff is to grow this business. The reason I grow this business is my vision has shifted and getting back to your question about visualization, [00:15:00] I had this vision of what it was gonna look like and had to do some course correction. Then we got to that spot. We had … My partner and I had written down we wanted Photo Links to be a one million dollar gross revenue company, that was at the beginning. We were really excited about that, right?

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: We worked at it and we got it.

Jennifer: Nice.

Tim: Then we didn’t reevaluate. We didn’t pick another vision.

Jennifer: [00:15:30] Oh.

Tim: We didn’t say we want all out employees to be able to do this or to … We didn’t want to… We just … Nothing. Nothing. We’re like yeah, we hit it. We sat in this little weird space for about three years.

Jennifer: At what point did you realize you were just sitting in this little space?

Tim: We were at a corporate meeting where a C corporation in that business. We have a C corporation at LLC, [00:16:00] a nonprofit and an escort.

Jennifer: So you’re not busy at all.

Tim: No. In our C corp we were in the meeting you have to have in twice a year and we’re sitting in our meeting with the board of directors, which I’m on, but I’m also the president so … I hadn’t been paying attention to the numbers and I looked and we made the same amount of money that we did the previous year. It was a million bucks.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: That’s what we brought in. [00:16:30] I asked my partner, I said, “Hey, where do you wanna go from this?” He said, “I haven’t thought about that.” I hadn’t either. There was a big realization. We went out to lunch after that and I got out a notepad and I said, “Paint what this looks like to you in 10 years, man.” We started writing down, both of us. We came to where we’re at now. We’re actually just doing it again. ‘Cause we hit our next goals.

Jennifer: Nice.

Tim: Some things that were important to me that I wanted to have, I wanted to have a gym [00:17:00] in our building. And we do. A lot of people are … Get to work out during lunch. I also wanted to have a this’ll sound weird, but I grew up with the parent … You heard my story and I think I’ve said it enough. Children are really important to me.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: We have a lot of mothers that work in our office, so instead of them calling in sick because their son [00:17:30] is sick, or they have to go to a play in the middle of the day or whatever. We allow all that. But they can bring ’em in. We have a room that’s like a little … It would’ve been an office room but it’s all gutted out with kids toys and DVDs and we allow parents that can’t afford healthcare … I mean childcare to bring their kids to work. We have babies in our office all the time. Screaming and crying [00:18:00] and that’s a lesson in itself too. I know I’m rambling on, but when we did that … Everybody really, really deeply appreciated it. At one point we had a … Not unruly, but there was a baby in there that just kept crying and I thought about saying something to the mom and then I …

Actually no, she came up to me instead and said, “Hey, I know this is causing a lot of stress and strain.” I said, “We’re either okay with it or we’re not. [00:18:30] So this is a tough time for us as a group and lets all step in there.” So we schedule breaks for us to go in there and hang out with the baby so mom could get a little break.

Jennifer: Wow.

Tim: That was important to me.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: That was one of the things that was on the list along with the workout area.

Jennifer: Gym, yeah.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: Wow. So it’s about priorities. It’s always about priorities.

Tim: It is.

Jennifer: I mean and for me, and I’ve talked about it on here before, I need to make the financial [00:19:00] balance sheet a bigger priority in my business because I let the peace corp side of me take over a little bit too much sometimes.

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: For you, it sounds like you’re looking at it much more holistically and looking at the whole spectrum. Yeah.
Tim: We should help each other out.

Jennifer: Yeah. That is just so cool. I just love the idea that it’s like making the workplace someplace that’s truly [00:19:30] comfortable.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: That people can do what they need to do.

Tim: Right. We also made some other decisions along those lines. Cellphones and Facebook and social media. We try to treat adults like adults.

Jennifer: Oh, yeah.

Tim: When you’re at your job we hope you do your job, that’s what we want. We’re a business first and foremost to make money.

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: We have no rule, and this trips a lot of people that visit us [00:20:00] out. We have no rules about phones or Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. If you don’t make it a big deal, it tends not to be a problem.

Jennifer: Well, that’s what a lot of large companies do.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: Actually, they have the same large tech companies.

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: Have those same things where … They even take it a step further in some places where they don’t even have limitations on vacation time if you get your work done.

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: Then [00:20:30] you’re good. I don’t know if you could do that in your company. It all depends on the type of work that people do as well.

Tim: Exactly.

Jennifer: Whether or not you can swing something like that.

Tim: Yeah, tech support people have to be there to answer the phone.

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: Managers have to be there to manage the tech support. But our engineering department, we’re really lackadaisical on hours that they work. We’re project driven with them and that helps a lot of ’em. We have no engineer, we have nine [00:21:00] engineers, but none that come into the office. Not one.

Jennifer: ‘Cause they don’t have to.

Tim: They don’t have to. They can work at 3:00 in the morning if that’s what they so desire. Or if they wanna go with their kids to Disney Land in between nine and five, okay. That’s not their job. Their job is to produce something and they do it. As long as somebody’s producing, as a business, I don’t care. That took me a long time to get to. I’m a control freak.

Jennifer: Yeah, I was gonna ask how that went from … Especially from being in prison where it was like this is what [00:21:30] you’re gonna do.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: You had all that structure and then now as a manager you’re able to kind of … Step back.

Tim: Education, leadership courses, Brandon Burchard. Followed a lot of steps Brandon Burchard said at the high-performance academy. A lot of these things that a woman by the name of Doctor Ann Bertell, I love. She’s phenomenal. She was a leader in the Navy and she taught admirals confidence.

Jennifer: Oh, wow.

Tim: She’s a kick-ass chick. She’s [00:22:00] so awesome.

Jennifer: Oh, I gotta find her. I’ve never heard of her.

Tim: She’s so awesome. Yeah, she’s out of San Diego. But people like that I would look to and how they did their stuff. The way they did their stuff was more holistic like you’re talking about. I got the money side down, we’re not gonna go hungry.

Jennifer: Right. Which is awesome, by the way.

Tim: Well, thank you. We’re not gonna go hungry, but I had to work really hard at the other … And continue to. I’ll catch myself mid-sentence with an employee and just go, “You know what, [00:22:30] I’m wrong. Let’s take a step back. Come hit me up in 20 minutes.” It’s okay to be wrong.

Jennifer: Oh, yeah.

Tim: It’s okay to be wrong. You think as an entrepreneur, the owner, the leader that you gotta have the answers. You don’t. You don’t have to answer. What you do have to do is know who does.

Jennifer: Absolutely, that’s in Napoleon Hill too.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: There was this, I think they were talking about Henry Ford and they were trying to … Congress or somebody [00:23:00] was trying to say what a stupid man he is. He just got frustrated with all these questions. He’s like, “Look, I don’t have to know the answers to all of these questions. I can go back to my office and I hire people who can answer all of those questions for me because I don’t have to be the smartest person in the room.”

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: It stopped whoever he was talking to, stopped ’em right in their tracks. ‘Cause it was like that was when they realized what a smart man he was.

Tim: Sure.

Jennifer: When you’re smart [00:23:30] enough to surround yourself with all these people who know more than you. That’s the key.

Tim: Yeah. Then he said if you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.

Jennifer: Find a new room?

Tim: Yeah. I believe that

Jennifer: I do too.

Tim: I believe that.

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: I often feel like the dumbest … Especially in a tech company. Everybody is smarter at that company, on an IQ level, than I am. And I’m okay with that.

Jennifer: I doubt that, but …

Tim: And I’m okay with that. I like it like that. [00:24:00] What I bring, I bring some unique things to that. I’m not degrading myself in saying that.

Jennifer: No, yeah.

Tim: I bring other things to the table than they bring.

Jennifer: Sure.

Tim: My organizational skills or my drive or whatever else I bring. Or passion or they’re looking for somebody to lead. That’s what I bring and they bring a lot of other stuff. Sometimes I’m asked to be in tech meetings that I truly gloss over. I don’t know and people come to me because I’m the president and say, “Can you tell me how this works?” [00:24:30] And I say, “No, I can’t. Let me get the guy that can.”

Jennifer: Let me get the guy that can, yeah.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: But I think that that’s perfect. I think that that’s a healthy company. One of the things that [Twilight 00:24:42] and I talk about all the time is the need for balance when you’re gonna put together a team because you have some people who are really strong with the visioning. You have other people who are really strong with having fun and bringing a little levity. People like me who are all into relationships and analysis. Then there’s the power driven [00:25:00] people who are like, “Let’s just get this thing done.”

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: If you can get that blend of people who are just constantly helping to move things forward in their own way, then you have all these people who just wanna be the leader, stepping all over each other.

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: Everybody has their part to play. That’s part of what helps make businesses successful. When you say, “Oh, let me get the guy who knows how to do that.” You know how good that employee feels?

Tim: Oh, for sure.

Jennifer: It’s like you’ve just empowered that [00:25:30] guy or gal to really share something that they know.

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: To be a contributor.

Tim: It is. It’s a good thing. We have a lot in our business … We have a lot of young people. In a tech world, you would imagine that. I think our average age of an engineer is 25. Our average age at tech support I think is 30. You have [00:26:00] to let people take the lead sometimes when they’re going through stuff like that. Like you’re –

Tim: … to let people take the lead sometimes when they’re going through stuff like that, like, you’re talking about. We have really, really good people at PhotoLynx.

Jennifer: Which is awesome because … Well, I worked in tech for 10 years and those projects can be so stressful, you know?

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: When you’re developing something, whether it’s software or a database, or your customers are frustrated because something isn’t working … Whenever you create something new, there’s … I saw the perfect graphic on this. It’s like [00:26:30] you create a design and it’s this perfect sidewalk, and then the user experience is this path through the woods. You know?

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: That’s kind of the frustration, right? You make something and then your customers go and do a different way, and you’re like, “Oh, I didn’t think about that. I guess we better fix that.”

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: That’s stressful.

Tim: That is very stressful.

Jennifer: You know people are down and things aren’t working, so those little acknowledgments, those atta boys, those, “Hey, come to tell this person how this works,”

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: … they go a really long way. [00:27:00] With tech support letting them know that they hit it with that customer who’s frustrated … That stuff is so important.

Tim: Absolutely. I cherish those emails that we get back or the phone calls where someone takes the time. For one, time is the most valuable asset we have and if somebody takes the time to write back or call me and say, “Hey, it was really great that [Caitlin 00:27:19] did this or Felicia did this,” and yeah, I really go out and make sure that they know what was just said about them.

Jennifer: Yeah, because their job’s hard.

Tim: It is hard. It is [00:27:30] hard. It’s the hardest-

Jennifer: Tech support is hard.

Tim: … and I couldn’t … Honestly, I couldn’t be in customer service like that 24/7. We got some amazing … I’m blown away by how they handle some of these customers, where I would be like, “Yeah. See ya.” Yeah.

Jennifer: Yeah, well, I’ve had experiences, too, just because I’ve been in various roles within tech. Tech for the end user can be like [00:28:00] death and taxes. Nothing stresses them out as much as when the stupid thing that should do the thing doesn’t do it.

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: It brings out a side in people- not always- but sometimes that they don’t want to show anybody.

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: And they’re showing it to this tech support person who’s like, “Okay,” and they’re having to dismantle the anger to get to the core issue, because sometimes …

Tim: Yeah, and interpret what they’re actually trying to say.

Jennifer: Yeah, what’s the problem? [00:28:30] What’s the thing?

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: It can be so hard, so I just really appreciate that you’re creating this environment, this safe space where you can bring in your kids and you can do what you need to do to practice self-care, whether it’s the gym, or you’re sharing the letters that people get so that they feel the love and it’s all of this chaos that tech can bring.

Tim: Sure, and we’re a family. That’s how we go about it. I mean, it sounds cliché, but it’s fact. It’s fact. We’re a family.

Jennifer: What’s [00:29:00] your vision now?

Tim: My vision now is I’m currently enrolled in Charis Bible College and I do speaking engagements like we’re doing here. I love it, with Community Catharsis Solutions, and I want to take PhotoLynx to the level with the leaders we’ve been having to take over and me do spot checks. I love the companies and I love the action.

I’m an adrenaline junkie and you get that when you deal with … Right [00:29:30] now we have three, currently three software companies all in different phases. Some at the maturity level and they’re already there. Others that are just starting out. I love startups and love, love, love the pain and suffering that you go through with a startup. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be wrapped up in that excitement.

Jennifer: Well, and as a visionary leader you’re seeing that vision happen, right?

Tim: It’s a blank canvas and you get to paint, you know?

Jennifer: [00:30:00] Yeah.

Tim: It’s neat. But, I would like to step out of that a little bit, still keep a toe in the water because I enjoy it so much, and focus on helping people. I want to help people. I want to let people know, specifically fringe societies that I came from, drug addict, broken homes, alcoholic, convicts … I’m actually all of the above, but they could be one or two.

But, helping them to see that there’s a better life today, [00:30:30] that you can have this today, right now, and there are some simple things to do. That’s where I’m going with that. In order to do that, I’m going to have to work with my team to get them up to the level that we need to have to run the business, to be managing those businesses, and we have leadership.

I could break down what we do. We have mentors, and then you mentor someone and you’re being [00:31:00] mentored right along the way, with required reading through … We have a curriculum set up outside of the company- it’s not in the handbook- that if people want to join and get in our leadership track if you want to become a boss, here are some concrete ways for you to step up in the company.

I’m not surprised when we sit down at your review and you tell me you’re not making enough money and that you want to be the vice-president. We have a way, a ladder to get to the vice-president.

Jennifer: I love that.

Tim: Yeah, it’s concrete. [00:31:30] No questions.

Jennifer: No guesswork.

Tim: None, and I’ll share those with you. I have those written up and I’ll show you.

Jennifer: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Tim: You can make those available to whomever you like.

Jennifer: Awesome. No, that’s really cool. Okay, so how much time do you want to spend helping people, helping the community?

Tim: Until it’s over. Until it’s over, literally. As you said before, “You’re not busy at all,” right?

Jennifer: Yeah.

Tim: My wife gets really mad that my view of retirement is starting a non-profit and going … I’m [00:32:00] not close to retiring. I probably got 20 … This is probably a 15-year plan we’re looking at and in tech that’s scary, too, looking ahead 15 years …

Jennifer: Yeah, it is.

Tim: … because things change. We got an 18-month window to come out with some things sometimes, but we got our ear to the ground and I feel like we’ll stay good in our industries. But anyways, it’s going to go till I’m done, and I don’t mean that in some weird way. I mean until I’m dead. [00:32:30] I really like helping people. I’ve always thought that I was going to be a pastor and I’m pursuing that now.

Jennifer: Nice.

Tim: I don’t even know if I’ll do anything with that. It truly is up to God.

Jennifer: Well, and it’s, no matter what, even if you don’t it’s going to help you with everything else you do.

Tim: Oh, absolutely. The lessons are there. For me, it’s a personal thing as well. I want to be able to conquer that and I think that it’s crazy [00:33:00] that I’m going to be able to go and say, “Hey, I was this guy. Now I’m an ordained minister.”

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: Right? To me, that trips me out and I love the paradigm shift.

Jennifer: I’ll tell you what I love about it, because I’m a nerd, so … I was over here in Rathdrum at the grocery store and I saw this Time magazine. It said, “Science of Happiness”. I just about passed out when they … It was $14.00 to buy this magazine. I was like, “What am I doing?” I was like, “Whatever. I’m buying it anyway.”

[00:33:30] There are no advertisements, so I basically paid for no advertisements. They have a chart of the happiest people and I want to show it to you because it has both a prisoner and pastor on there in terms of happiness.

Tim: Wow. Yeah.

Jennifer: You can see that at the end of the people who are in a career that is the happiest… Pastor.

Tim: Yeah. Wow.

Jennifer: They feel the most fulfilled and the happiest, and the prisoner wasn’t right next to it. [00:34:00] I know I’m spoiling it, but it was pretty far back. So, it’s quite a journey that you’ve been on just in terms of your own emotions and how you feel every day.

I mean, I was in the Peace Corps and I had running water for an hour a day. We’d turn on the spigot and let it run and I took bucket baths for two years. I will tell you that every week I [00:34:30] take a shower that’s hot and lasts far too long, and part of it is just absolute gratitude that I am fortunate enough to live in a place where I can take a hot shower.

Tim: Yeah.

Jennifer: I don’t know this, but I imagine that you have moments like that all the time.

Tim: Oh, absolutely. I had a moment here like that, singing with Brian. I don’t know if I told you. Did I tell you that?

Jennifer: I don’t know.

Tim: Brian and I were singing one of these goofy camp songs and [00:35:00] letting yourself be kids and enjoy the camp experience. I looked over at him and I flashed back to him and me in the cell discussing a far different topic than we’re singing. Yeah, it hit me with extreme gratitude. I started crying.

Jennifer: Yeah?

Tim: Yeah, we have them all the time, and you called it gratitude moments, I used to call it getting soft, too. I used to sleep on a concrete bed. It was concrete with a real thin [00:35:30] mattress and no pillow. I slept that way for seven years and eight months of my life. Brian spent 22 years doing that, right?

Jennifer: Right.

Tim: Now I complain because my pillow’s not right. So, you quickly adapt both ways.

Jennifer: Sure. Yeah.

Tim: Both ways. But yeah, I have moments of gratitude all the time. I had a friend tell me one time, “How could you ever get upset? How could you ever get mad going through what you’ve gone through?” In a real [00:36:00] pure way of looking at that or a real holistic way of looking at it, I don’t know. It happens. It happens all the time with me and I have to step back. That’s where I have to pull from. I have to go, “Look where you’ve been, man. Snap out of it. This is gravy.” You know?

Jennifer: Yeah. Yeah, and I do the same thing, just because I’ve been in places that it’s not as easy as it is here.

Tim: I admire you for that, by the way, that Peace Corps.

Jennifer: Oh, thank you. [00:36:30] Yeah.

Tim: I think that’s a fantastic thing you guys did.

Jennifer: It was amazing. I think about my friends in Kazakhstan all the time …

Tim: Yeah, I bet.

Jennifer: … and also about some of the hardships that I got to leave. So, sometimes I’m … There’s that hashtag, #FirstWorldProblems, and for me, that’s very real and I check myself on that. I’m like, “Aw, man. Why am I upset that my cell phone battery ran out?”

Tim: Right.

Jennifer: That’s ridiculous.

Tim: [00:37:00] It is.

Jennifer: I know people that don’t have good medical care and no retirement, and they’re lucky to get a paycheck ever because the government doesn’t want to pay you. So yeah, it’s a whole different world that we live here and I think it does maybe keep me humble, honestly, just to know that there’s this bigger world out there and a lot of this stuff just doesn’t matter.

Tim: Absolutely. [00:37:30] That’s beautiful. Thank you for that.

Jennifer: Yeah. Thank you. Wow. I think we’ve covered it.

Tim: We have.

Jennifer: I mean, you said you could talk for hours.

Tim: Well, I could, but now I’m getting winded, so … No, but if I could say, I really admire what you’re doing and the podcast. It’s a big thing.

Jennifer: Thanks.

Tim: And putting your thoughts out into the world and the Universe for people to glean from your experiences [00:38:00] is a beautiful thing. It’s a noble thing and I’m sure everybody appreciates it. I do.

Jennifer: Oh, thank you so much and I just appreciate your time. I know that you’re probably getting worn out. You’ve been talking and leading, and …

Tim: Well, you know. You did it last year.

Jennifer: … sharing so much. Yeah, well, I know how it must be at this point. We had our day off, but not for you, like yesterday. So, I’m sure you’re tired and I want to honor that and give you some time to chill out before the next thing.

Tim: Yeah, I appreciate it.

Jennifer: So, thank you very [00:38:30] much, and …

Tim: Thank you.

Jennifer: … thank you for listening to podcast. I’m Jen McFarland.

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