This is a transcript from the Launch Yourself Today podcast interview with Tim Storey, acclaimed author, speaker, and life coach helping people create the future they desire. He has inspired people from all walks of life, from entertainment legends to professional athletes…from executives to underserved children throughout the world. Tim has traveled to seventy-five countries and spoken to millions of people. He has been a featured guest on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday, Steve Harvey TV, Grant Cardone’s 10X Growth Con, and many more events. Tim has authored multiple books including Comeback & Beyond. For more information on Tim Storey, visit www.TimStorey.com.
J. DAVID TROTTER: We could talk about a million different things, but one of the things that I really wanted to cover in our conversation today was about this idea you have about turning a setback into a comeback. You have such a strong life message that you have been delivering around the world. Why do you think setbacks come into our lives?
TIM STOREY: I think number one, most people start with momentum and momentum is a force and an energy. If you look at little kids, they usually live out loud. When you see kids at recess, it’s loud. They are in the classroom and the teacher is telling them to, “Shhh, quiet down,” because they are living out loud. Little kids have momentum and then, what happens to all of us — and I did say all of us, is life interruptions.
A life interruption could be your parents get divorced. A life interruption could be an illness. A life interruption could be someone was molested. So various life interruptions come at different times in our lives. What’s interesting is that most people don’t know how to handle a life interruption. An interruption is unexpected. “I didn’t expect you, Mr. Interruption.” You came into my life and now I have an interruption that has created some form of a setback.
You are talking about the kinds of things that just happen to us, but what about those setbacks that are motivated by things that we do actually ourselves? What are some of the examples of that?
I say in my book Comeback and Beyond that setbacks happen for three reasons.
- One, is a miscellaneous event. We have no idea and it really sucks because I wish life was black and white, but it’s not, its grey. I wish that bad accidents didn’t happen to people when they are just trying to go to a joyful place. As far as car accidents go, it just happens. So setback reason number one falls into the miscellaneous department.
- Number two is that we make bad choices. Setbacks in my life; some are miscellaneous and some are bad choices that I made. My choice created the challenge.
- The third reason that I think causes setbacks is because they have people in their lives that create this setback for them. This is important because you could be right person with the right plan, but be with the wrong people. This person in your life can create a setback for you. A lot of the listeners, that’s what they are facing today.
What are some of the unhelpful ways that people often respond to setbacks? What are some of the ways that we go, “Aah, that wasn’t wise. That wasn’t healthy.”?
Set means to fix, to solidify in a spot. So it’s a set backwards, a setback. One of the things that people do is they try to go back and fix everything. One thing that I said on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday is that a comeback is not a go-back. Don’t we all wish we could go back and just fix everything? One of the mistakes we make is we try to go back and try to fix it all. Another thing people do is they simply get paralyzed in their past. They continually talk about what happened and how things were.
So if I experience a setback, whether it’s miscellaneous, something I do or something somebody else does that comes upon me, what’s the first thing that you would encourage me to do? You coach a lot of people. You are coach to a lot of people that we would even know by name. How do you coach those individuals? What the very first thing that they need to do when they have a setback? Just this week for example, Chris Brown was in the news. He had some challenges, thats a setback. If you were talking to Chris Brown in the midst of a setback, what’s the first thing that you want to do?
I have talked to Chris Brown before, so the first thing you have to do is you have to become awake. A lot of times we have setbacks that we create because we are in some form of a fog. A bad relationship can create a fog. Maybe your son or daughter is having challenges, that could create a fog. Not enjoying your job can create a fog. So when I say fog, F-O-G, you now need to become awake, okay? When you become awake, the second thing you need to do is now become aware. I need to become awake. Number two, I need to become aware. Like what the heck is really going on? So awake, aware, the third thing is I need to take inventory. Where am I? How the heck did I get here? And how do I get out?
I’ve worked with Charlie Sheen since probably late ‘90’s and he seems to like to create those situations for himself. He’s a great friend and he even calls my mother to check up on her, he’s a really nice man. So even for Charlie or anybody else, we have to first become awake, second become aware and thirdly, take inventory. Where am I? How did I get here? That inventory thing is powerful.
I have made some mistakes in my past and what is interesting is that in the midst of the setback, I think back to that fog and I think of wanting to blame others. There is a sense of wanting to blame someone. Sometimes it really requires us to hit a bottom in order to be awoken. We have to lose something almost in order to be woken up. Then there is the awareness — how would you define that awareness? What do you mean by aware?
To be aware is to be clear minded about the reality of the circumstances that you are in. The fog is lifting and now you are clear minded enough and you move into this amazing place called clarity. This world will hit you so hard it creates a fog in your mind where even if you are awake, it doesn’t mean you are aware. You could be awake, but some people say, “Okay, I’m awake, but I haven’t had my first cup of coffee.” So becoming aware is like having your first cup of coffee and now the cloud is out of your mind. That is powerful.
So taking an inventory; I remember at one point about 11 years ago at the lowest point of my life, I had really bottomed myself out. I was a workaholic and now I’m not, thank God, I’ve worked through a lot of those issues. I remember taking a giant sheet of paper — you know, those huge post-it notes? I drew a line down the center and on the left side I said, “Old Life” and on the right side I wrote, “New Life”. I wrote all these things on the left side that would have contextualized my life prior to being awoken. Then on the right side, I wrote all the things that I wanted. I hadn’t experienced them yet, but I wrote them all on the right hand side. For me that was one way to take inventory, how do you encourage people to take inventory?
Number one, I like the way you did it. It reminds me of when I used to work at Miller’s Outpost when I was sixteen and a half. I got to work with 90% women, that was great. The whole staff was like all women and then we had like two guys, me and a blonde guy. We had to take inventory once a month and we would have to go through the entire store and take inventory, which was very tedious. So inventory of your own life can become very tedious. That’s why some people don’t like to take inventory and get realistic.
When I’m life coaching people, I go through the different categories in their life; their physical life, their mental life — which is the clarity of the mind. We go through their job, their family, their spiritual life, their social life. When you have a setback most times it hits all those areas of your life. It could be a problem with your job, but it could still hit you physically. It can hit your mind, your family, the whole thing. So taking inventory is tedious but you’ve got to do it. Once we do it, we know what we are dealing with and then we can start to find ways to go forward.
So awake, aware, take inventory, the fourth one is, you’ve got to find the right partners. Whether it’s a sobriety coach for some or a life coach or a pastor or a rabbi or a priest or some form of a mentor, you’ve got to find the right partners in your life. I think that’s one thing David Trotter is doing on his podcast, he is mentoring people. He’s got a life long experience in mentoring people and training people. I think a lot of his podcast is about that. You’ve got to have the right partners your life.
I heard you recently say that for those partners to be right, they need to have the right or the same mindset and motives that you have.
Wow, you have studied me.
How would you describe those? If I’m looking for partners and if I’ve had a challenge in life, whether I’ve had a setback or not; if you are looking to take the next step in your life and if you are looking for good people to be around you, what are you looking for in their mindset and motives?
There are three categories of partners in their life;
- Number one is usually, “Hey, how are you doing?”
- Two is somebody that is a little closer to you that maybe you would go to a Dodger game with. A number two friend, someone who you’d share some of your secrets and intimacies and things about your life with.
- The third level partnership is that really deep level of partnership that most people don’t really have in their lives.
So do not share your problems with level one people. Do not even share your problems with level two people. You need to find some level three people who have similar mindset and a similar motive.
What happens if I share some of my weaknesses with one and two level people?
What happens is most times they do not understand you because their mindset is different then your mindset. So the people that we are usually drawn to are the people in that third level that have similar mindsets and similar motives. This is really important because you can really lose time, you can lose energy and even lose your way by sharing your problems with level one and level two people. Most people do that because they are handy. They are right there in front of you. Isn’t that wild? Somebody at your job, you are discussing your relationship with a man because the lady at work there is handy.
Yes, proximity. You’ve got to wait. You have got to wait.
When I start thinking about setbacks I’ve had, I recognize that my mindset and motives may not be where I want them to be. I actually start looking for someone who has the mindset and motives that I want to develop in my life.
Yes, one hundred percent. The great thing about life today that was not the same as when I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, is that we have access to things like Ted Talks, mastermindclasses, podcasts like yours. It is a different day. I can pickpocket Richard Branson today and take a bunch of his great ideas without even knowing Richard Branson. We have access to things that we’ve never had access to. It’s not always talking to somebody, but maybe its reading a Brené Brown book on Daring Greatly.
So if I’ve had a setback — I’ve had a divorce, a breakup with a partner, a financial issue, maybe I’ve gotten a DUI, I’ve had a loss or a death in the family, whatever it is, I’ve had this setback. I’ve got to become awake. I’ve got to become aware. I’ve got to take inventory. I’ve got to now look for partners. Why would I need other people? What is the point of that? Why can’t I just go alone and do it myself?
You need other people because they are going to have a different vantage point that is different then the dilemma that you are currently facing. So let’s say Chris Brown who is in trouble over in Paris right now — so if I came into his life, I would come at his life from a different vantage point. Number one, I’m older. I’m seasoned and I’m not living out his lifestyle. Number one, the vantage point can be really amazing. Someone else can see things from a different point of view. Let’s say if me and you went to a Laker game and let’s say you knew Jeanie Buss, but I don’t, so you are sitting on the floor, but I don’t know Jeanie Buss, so I’m on the highest seat at the Staples Center.
If we went together, I’d hope we’d be sitting together.
No, but I’m just saying — for this illustration, David. So you are on the floor because you know Jeanie Buss, but I don’t, so I’m way up there. So the way you see the game and I see the game are what?
Totally different! So you need some people in your lives that see it different. I also am looking for people that have experience in going through the dilemma that I am currently going through. How powerful is that? If I’m going through a divorce, give me somebody that understands going through a divorce or going through that type of pain.
So I need to look for somebody who has maybe been through what I’ve gone through, but also maybe somebody different who is where I want to go?
Yes, yes, yes! You are looking for somebody that has had the experience of going through the pain or somebody who is just living a healthy life that you aspire to live.
Right. All right, so Chris Brown, I know you are probably one of our early listeners of Launch Yourself Today, feel free to reach out and we’ll connect you with Tim.
Yes, listen David, it’s surprising who watches us all and listens to us. It’s mind boggling sometimes.
So what would you say comes next? What comes as I’m finding those partners with the motives and the mindset that I want to have?
What happens is now you’ve got your team. So you’ve created a team and now we are going to start pulling you out of your setback. What you need to do is co-operate. This is so powerful. Most people do not cooperate with their comeback. Because they are into guilt, shame, regret, anger — so they cement themselves in the setback position.
The comeback team is here, “Here we are! We are trying to pull you out.”
“Nah, I deserve this crap. Look what I did. If you lay down with dogs, you get fleas. That’s why I’m itching.”
So you’ve got to cooperate doggone-it. The cool thing about it is, in the realm of God just for one moment, the Bible says He does not treat you as your sins deserve. A lot of people think they deserve something, “I did this badly and I deserve it, so therefor my life should suck age 41 to 91.” Well, “God does not treat you as your sins deserve, for as high as the heavens are above the Earth, so great is His love for those that fear Him, for he knows your frame.” God knows your structure. He knows you suck in certain areas, so He can get you through it.
So would you say that the universe, the divine, that God is cheering you on in your setback? Or is there a propensity to believe that the universe is actually swaying the opposite direction and trying to hold you back? Is the universe moving us in a particular direction? Or is it just flat, even and it’s really up to you?
I think the universe is always moving you forward. You are a parent. I’m a parent. My kids can get up into mischief, if they do, I’m always trying to move them forward. I’m not trying to keep them in detention. I used to hate detention. Don’t be putting Tim Storey in detention, I’ve got a little bit of ADHD. Some of you guys have been in detention, get out of detention!
So there is this natural movement forward. Sometimes we don’t cooperate with that natural movement. We are not cooperating with the team that’s cheering us on and we cement ourselves in a setback. I love that. Man, there is guilt, there is shame, there is blame, there is anger. We become a martyr in some ways.
Yes, one hundred percent. “I deserve this. This is why I gained 40 pounds. This is why I stay in this habit. This is why I now have 19 cats.” I mean if you have 19 cats and you rescued 17, I’m good with you. But if you’ve just got 19 cats just because, that’s a lot of cats.
Some people will say that we are getting a hit off of cementing ourselves in a setback. That there is something that we are actually getting out of it mentally. Like, “Well, I don’t have to work hard — .”
That is a fact. I’ve been working with the best psychiatrists — lets get realistic here, probably since I was 25, when I really started getting good at this comeback thing. I’ve worked with the best psychiatrists, the greatest psychologists in the word. I was just in Marbella, Spain working with one of the best psychiatrists in the world and talking about the way we are wired. Yes, people are wired to where they are okay in that setback because there is this feeling of “poor me”. They are feeling sorry for themselves and, “My kids never come and see me.” You get my point. There is an energy that they get from it. But the thing that they are missing is what the universe is already doing. You need to catch up with where the universe is already taking you. Some of us need to press fast forward and catch up, its 2019.
What role does goal setting or having a vision for the future impact that comeback?
Everything, because a promise brings hope and expectation. When my father said to me when I was seven, “Timmy we are going to Disneyland on Saturday. I got free tickets from somebody at my job.” Man, he should not have told me on Wednesday. Because Wednesday night I was bothering him. Thursday I was bothering him. Friday I was bothering him. Promise brings hope and expectation. Any client I deal with, I always try to help them see the frickin’ promise. There is a promise, come on guys. See it, believe it, expect it. It’ll create hope and expectation in your life.
I know we have listeners that are going, “Okay, maybe I’m not in a setback, but I’m kind of on autopilot. I’ve just been kind of cruising along. I’ve been a stay at home mom for many years, I’m thinking about reentering the workforce.” Or maybe, “I’ve been in a cubicle for quite a few years and I’m trying to figure out, do I want to do something different? I’m not sure, I’ve got some fears, I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I’m just not sure what that promise is. I’m not sure what that plan is.” How do you coach people on how to determine what their thing in life is? How do you help them figure out what it is that they want to do?
It is easier than people make it. I think some of the greatest gems in life — some of the greatest blessings are right in front of us and we miss them. What I teach in these seminars that I do all across the world is, one way to find out what is next is through observation and conversation.
Observation and conversation. See for example, what I learned by being at your house — I was at your house watching a documentary that you did, it was so good — I learned that you like order and I saw that in your house. I learned that you like art. I learned that you love your kids because I saw how you were responding to your children. So I learned these things about you just by being around you — at that time. We had been around each other at other times but at that time, I was with you for about two and half hours and I remember driving away and I thought, “Wow, he’s very structured. A nice guy, but very structured.”
That was my observation. So from my observation of your life, I could say, “Whoa, he’s really good with his kids. I like the way he was talking to his kids.” That’s an observation. So that could help me say, “I want to be that way with my kids.” And, “I love that David is into art,” that could make me go, “I want to get into art.” Or, “His house is super cool and very together. I want my house to be cool and together.”
Isn’t that awesome? We are changed and we find the comeback path through observation and conversation. I’ve always said this, sometimes you are only one conversation away from the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for. One talk. One conversation can change your life.
This may be it.
Give me some examples of some inspiring comebacks that you are inspired by.
Well, I’m obviously inspired by Robert Downey Jr.. I serve on a board with him; we are doing something called ARC and helping to reform people that are in prison or people that come out of prison. Robert is a great friend of mine and when you think about it, he had a problem with addiction but he worked through the addiction problem over a long period of time. He was able to stop shaming himself, stop feeling guilty and let the setback be the setback. He was able to get right partners around him — which he did, because I was around during that whole process. And then he got a major break as Iron Man. If you ever have him on your Podcast, you’ll know, he didn’t see Iron Man as being the giant breakthrough. He just saw it as being another part he would play.
So now it turned it him into this mega, mega star. It brings him over $50 million dollars a year, that’s a lot of money. There is a great example of a guy that was on the cover of Newsweek magazine, following the principles of the comeback and when LA Times interviewed him, he talked about me being his coach. He shared the things that I told him about the greater the setback, the greater the comeback. He bought into it. So I think I’ll lead with that one right there.
I think a lot of times in the midst of a setback there might be embarrassment. Whether it’s something thats miscellaneous or something happened that I caused — there could be an embarrassment. But what’s interesting is, we have so many examples just like Robert Downey Jr., if you just keep your head down and keep moving forward toward that comeback, people all of a sudden get really forgiving and forgetful.
Yes, one hundred percent. Something to add to those words that you just said that are really good — just a little addition; everybody has been through something.
It’s kind of like, “I suck, now what?”
So people will say, “You suck.”
“Okay, so I suck. What do you want me to do? Stay in my setback? You want me to stay in detention forever?”
I deal with a lot of men that have done things they should not have done and that’s my thing to them, “Okay, you suck, now what?” Admit it that you blew it and deal with it and let’s go. You might have a limp for a while — I’m not going to say you won’t have a limp. You may have a scar. You may be tarnished in some people’s eyes. But who cares? God’s opinion of me, makes man’s opinion irrelevant. I’m not on the American Idol for Earth. I’m not looking for everybody’s approval and I really mean that.
There is no call-in line for people to tell you what they think about you.
So what about your own life? What is an example of a setback that you’ve experienced over your years and how were you able to turn that into a comeback?
There has been a few, but it’d be easy to say relationships. There are a couple of those that didn’t go the way I wanted them to. Let’s go to my brothers death.
My brother died. He’s three years older than me, he was an engineer at McDonnell Douglas. Super smart guy. Excellent at things that I was not excellent at. He was the guy that was watching my Dad as he was fixing the car. So my brother was able to fix cars. One time, when he was probably 17, he bought a Volkswagen, broke it all the way down to where it was all over the floor, just to build it back up. Just to see if he could do it, all while adding better parts to it, at seventeen.
He started with alcohol and stayed with alcohol. Eventually alcohol became his destruction. He ended up passing away at an early age while he was an engineer for McDonnell Douglas. Man, that was hard to get through. That was hard to get through because I tried to throw him so many lifelines. A lot of guilt. Here I am the Life Coach to the stars and my own brother passes right there, next to me.
That was a tough one. That was a tough one and that probably realistically took me about 10 years to get through. I had to play injured. I had to keep speaking my comeback message while I was playing injured. But sometimes you’ve got to play injured.
As I connect with people who have setbacks or a loss like that, I don’t want to tell them oftentimes how long it takes. The other day my wife and I were talking about something, I don’t remember what it was — somebody had an affair or there was a divorce and I was like, “Okay, that’s probably going to take them 5 years to get through that.”
In reality, yes. I deal with some guys that have really messed some things up pretty bad. The great thing is though, it really might take them 5 years, but that’s okay because you can still be alive in the moment that you are in. You can be be fully present, fully feeling and fully alive. It may take you that five years to get your money back to where you want it to, your health to where it needs to be, your relationship with your kids to where it needs to be, but at least you are on your way.
If you don’t start today, that’s going to be five years and another day, and another day, and another day. Most likely you are going to live those 5 years no matter what, so go through the process of learning. There is really no other option other than to quit and that’s not really an option.
David, let’s throw this quote in there in the midst of what you just said, “Today’s decisions are tomorrow’s realities.”
“Today’s decisions” — that’s a Tim Storey quote, “Are tomorrow’s realities.”
Heck yes, at 50 something years of age, that’s what I am, do you think I want to go to the gym 5 days a week? Heck no. I do it because I need to. I need to be alive. I need to push my body. I really want to just go through McDonalds drive-thru and get the deluxe breakfast and go home and then watch the news. But I go to the gym because I have to.
Today’s decisions are tomorrow’s realities.
I don’t even know if this is possible, but how would you suggest that we try to avoid setbacks in our lives?
I think that you can avoid some, but some again are life interruptions that are simply created by people in your family, someone you married, your own children. You can however avoid certain setbacks through wisdom. As you grow in wisdom, I guarantee you, you will minimize your setbacks. Not in age, people always say, the older you get the wiser you get. That is not necessarily so. I know a lot of people that are 70 that are not that wise. You’ve got to grow in wisdom. Wouldn’t you agree with that? Grow in wisdom and you’ll start making better choices.
Growing in wisdom, yeah. Part of that wisdom would be who we surround ourselves with. I know that sounds bad, because we are supposed to love everybody, but I don’t necessarily have to spend that level two and three time with everybody.
One hundred percent. You have to really learn to value yourself. When you see yourself as something valuable you realize that not everybody should hear your inner feelings and thoughts. Again a Bible verse, “Do not cast your pearls before people who don’t get it.” So I would agree with you on that one.
We’ve talked about the downside of cementing our setback, but what is the upside of a comeback? Cast some vision for us, help us see the potential. Some of us are maybe in the midst of a setback right now and we are still feeling the darkness. What is the potential of walking through that journey?
You mind if I do the Rocky theme as I say this? Think of the Rocky theme, when you do that, what does it make you think?
You see him going up the steps of Philadelphia. Boom, boom, boom.
You see him eating the egg whites in the morning, right?
You see him coach at the side? The mentor, the old guy, “Come on Rocky, is that all you’ve got?”
So the comeback — come on man, that’s good stuff. You turn your mess into your message. Your test into your testimony. You become an example for other people that are in a setback. Doggone-it, you can get through. You become a billboard for an incredible life. Heck yes, I’m a walking billboard. A lot of times when I show up places, people will say, “Oh my God. Dude, I saw you in 1983, you almost look the same.” Or, “My God, it’s awesome you are still at it.” You become a comeback for a better life. I love being a comeback guy, I really do.
That’s good. If somebody is listening today and they are struggling with something, what would you say to them? You are talking directly to them. You are going, “Here is what I would encourage you to do today.”
Here’s what I want to say to you today, there are seasons in life. There is a time to be silent. There is a time to speak. There is a time to tear and a time to mend. It’s a song by The Birds in 1968. It became number one in the UK and number five in America. It was taken from Psalms or Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three.
There are seasons in life. So maybe you are in a season of silence. A season of silence is a whisper, where your life seems very quiet. Take that season that is a whisper and turn it into a library and a sanctuary. Turn it into a library of learning and getting stronger. A sanctuary of getting to know yourself and realizing that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.
The speaking time will come again, where life brings you more volume. So when you are left in that season of silence, know that very soon you are going to get right. And know this, sometimes you’ve got to go left before you get right.
Speaking of resources in that library that you are talking about, we’ll link your books and social media in the show notes but they can also go towww.timstorey.com to access a lot of good stuff. But one of the resources in the library that you are talking about that I really want to make sure that people have drawn to their attention to is your new app calledUtmost. For just $1.99 I get to be inspired by you, I get to meditate with you, I get to be educated by you and reach out to you and connect with you on social media. I was just listening this morning on the meditation app about confidence, specifically prevailing. You do these meditations — I shouldn’t talk about the app, you talk about it. Describe this app and how that can be helpful.
Honestly David, I like the way you just described it. I’ll take from what you said, but thank you for that. First, I want to thank Stanley Hainsworth, who is amazing. He put $55,000 into this app. He is the branding expert for Nike and Starbucks, both of them. He is one of the most brilliant minds on the planet. Has a big ol’ staff of about 80 people up in Seattle, Washington. He so believed in me, he put the money up for the app. The app is doing fantastic. You can get it at the Apple Store, iTunes, the Utmost app.
What does that mean by the way? What does Utmost mean?
Utmost is the opposite of almost. Most people get stuck in an almost life. So I say, “Don’t live an almost life, live an Utmost life,” which is the better version of yourself. So in this app, I’m going to bring out the better version of yourself.
So the Utmost app is an app that you can go to daily for only $1.99. There is thousands of dollars worth of product on there and we continue to put new product on every single month. So the Utmost app on iTunes!
Just this morning I was driving back from the gym before I took my son to school and I’m listening to you through my car stereo telling me to prevail for about a minute and forty-five seconds. I was getting fired up. I’m like, “I’m prevailing, here we go!”