Tim Denning: From The Lowest Lows To Now
In the middle of May 2020, (peak C-VI times..), I published an article on Atlas Geographica titled; ‘Open Letter To Tim Denning‘. Tim was a guy I was reading quite a bit of at the time. I felt like every time I refreshed my Linkedin he had some piece of content that was not only extremely relevant and engaging but also dripping in likes and comments.
In his own words, Tim Denning describes himself as an unconventional blogger that is known mostly for his work on Entrepreneur.com, Addicted2Success.com, and The Mission (On Medium). He is, in other words, a viral content creator, or again in even less yogababble, a very well-read writer.
Like I do for nearly all people I become interested in, I researched further into the ‘bloke’ behind the content. I wanted to learn about Tim, rather than simply his work. When I become a heavy consumer of someone’s work I immediately try and identify what it is about the work that consumes me so. I figure that if I can find that addictive serum in a person, then I can replicate and learn from it in the application on myself.
Back To The Open Letter I Published On Tim.
I sent this same letter as an email to Tim only a few days after I had published the post. To my surprise, Tim got back to me the very same day!
I was humbled and gratified by his openness and willingness to engage me in written dialogue. I wanted to find out about the ‘lows’ he alludes to in his website bio. This transformation that inadvertently so many successful people go through really fascinates me. Why were you there? How did you get out?
I was extremely impressed with his email turnaround time. I felt like between the moment I pressed send and moved the cursor over to another tab Tim had already pinged my Gmail with the response!
Thank you Tim for being so open and generous with your answers. My Q&A with Tim Denning is as follows.
Q&A With Tim Denning
Q: What Events Brought About Your Lowest Moments Pre 2011?
Tim: In 2011 I had a radical change occur in my career. At the same time I suffered extreme mental illness as a result of the stress I was under. I had no idea that what I was going through was mental illness. The road to recovery came from finally having enough of the sickness and limits it placed on my life. Going to a dinner was challenging; having a beer with friends was hard; and giving a speech or doing anything in public felt like torture. I couldn’t even get on a plane, so it felt like being trapped in a prison.
Q: What Was The Catalyst That Marked A Change Onto The Right Path?
Tim: Finally reaching a point where I had enough was key. It started by seeing a psychologist. I rolled up to my first session with an action plan which was essentially to set myself challenges that would get me out of my comfort zone. Challenges like ride the elevator up 35 floors, do a job interview, have lunch with work colleagues and not feel sick, and the ultimate challenge: take a short flight for one hour.
The key shift happened when I discovered Tony Robbins late one night (I can’t remember if this was before or after the psychologist) while searching Google and started listening to Unlimited Power and Get The Edge (his cds). The moment I played that first CD was incredible. Everyone before that told me I couldn’t do anything, and I didn’t help the situation by believing my own thoughts. Tony’s voice was a voice of reason. Everything he said made sense and it made me feel inspired. The CD was so overwhelming that I couldn’t stop it. The first night I listened to his cd while doing a late night walk, I didn’t stop walking until well after midnight. The streets were empty and I was chanting and screaming and “saying yes”. Thinking about that moment still brings me chills. It was so powerful and led to everything that followed.
In 2013 I went and saw Tony Robbins live. The event cemented what I learned from his CD and also forced me to travel from Melbourne to Sydney on a plane. I did the firewalk on day one of his four day event and it shifted something mentally for me. I was no longer afraid of people’s opinions and didn’t want to hide anymore. I felt free and like I could do anything. When I got home from the event I became obsessed with personal development and that led to blogging.
Q: Who And What Helped You Along The Way?
Tim: Outside of Tony Robbins, a young man in Western Australia gave me a chance to write on his blog. This changed the meaning I had for my life and forced me to go from selfish to selfless. Two bosses from my workplace also helped me a lot and gave me huge opportunities and told me I could be a leader. The list of help is too long to mention. You don’t achieve anything in life by going solo – that’s a lie. Other writers have helped me so much in the last few years, too.
Q: How Do You Reflect On Where You Are At Now?
Tim: I am in a good place right now. The coronavirus has definitely thrown me off a bit. It has completely changed the global economy and financial markets. There is no sense of certainty and seeing my friends lose their jobs has been challenging. Meanwhile, my passion for writing has become even stronger since lockdown and my writing seems to be helping people which is rewarding.
Q: What Does The Future Hold?
Tim: My plan for the future is to keep writing and finding more ways to be helpful. I may write a book at some point, although not sure yet. I also want to be a people leader in my career again at some point in the future.
Q: What Of Your Experience Can You Impart Onto Others?
Tim: There are many lessons I have learned from this experience. Here are a few:
- Anything is possible and you get to decide.
- We hold ourselves back which means we can also get out of our own way.
- Mental illness is best treated by a professional. Many of us have it and don’t realize and it’s entirely curable.
- How you treat people is the biggest catalyst for whatever success you might have. Assholes don’t do well long-term.
- Aiming to be helpful can bring you more results than any vanity metric can: money, followers, likes, website traffic, VC capital raise, etc.
- None of us live forever proven by my near-miss with cancer in 2015. You may as well live today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
- Forget about opinions. Ignore the hateful comments on social media and do your thing.
- Dreaming about how people will react to your content will kill your creativity. Most people will love what you do so focus on that.
- Love is the answer to every problem you face, as said by Elon Musk and the CEO of Airbnb.
- Be kind to every person you meet, especially people who hate you or have wronged you.
Hope that helps Ryan.
Subscribe To The Atlas Newsletter!
Cheers for reading through to the end you legend!
Every month I write a short, popular email which highlights the biggest insights I’ve distilled through all the noise of the previous month. This includes extremely cool ideas, exceptional companies, massive stories that weren’t given attention, the music and podcasts that defined that month plus of course the best-written content I came across.