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Tim S. Marshall traces an uncomfortable path to success

Tim S. Marshall is just a guy. He’s just a guy who works real hard.

The author of “The Power of Breaking Fear” is today a popular motivational speaker and corporate coach. He started his own copier sales business, built it up and sold it to Konica Minolta.

But things were not always thus. He told me that himself, by the way. During the latest Fried On Business program, Tim described a time in his life from age 12 to 20 where he literally stopped learning.

He had moved from Detroit to South Florida. Adjusting to life here left him stuck in isolation and negative thoughts.

To make things worse, he enrolled in community college at 20 only to be told by a counselor that he basically had a 7th-grade education. He had to learn everything he didn’t get the first time around, and it took two years to get his first college credit.

But he persevered, and he eventually went from doing remedial math to tutoring others in quantitative methods.

“The ah-ha moment for me was finding a tape in my parents’ garage called The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale,” he said. “The message was you become what you think about.”

He altered the philosophy a bit and began to focus on doing the uncomfortable. That is, breaking through the barriers of self-judgment, self-doubt and fear by using action.

“As soon as I started acting it, my mindset changed,” he said. “You know what you should be doing, and if you don’t do it you’re going to be stuck in immobility.”

Doing, he said, alleviates the fear of doing.

Tim said that when he started in sales, he had an amazing block of fear to overcome. It was the fear of rejection. So he started calling. And calling. And calling.

And by calling he became the No. 1 account manager for a Fortune 500 company for 10 consecutive years.

Setting goals, Tim said, goes hand-in-hand with doing the uncomfortable. But small, tactical goals are the way to go. Use them to accomplish big objectives.

By doing so, Tim opened his copier sales business in January 2008. Four years in a row, he made Inc. magazine’s list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. He was profitable every month, and in 2013 he sold the company to Konica Minolta, having never borrowed any money to make it fly.

The power of words

Another foundational principle, Time said, is learning how to use your words. Practice makes perfect.

At one point, for example, Tim lost a deal that was six months in the making because the equipment failed miserably during the live demonstration. It actually caught on fire.

That was when Tim decided that the equipment would not do the selling. He would do the selling, using his words.

“I began to read out loud. Use voice inflection. Use compelling messages. Learn the art of how to tell my story, and another company’s story. To back it up. To leverage it. To leverage other people and build value in other people,” he said.

“I really harness my words in a way where I can take over companies or work with professional athletes. Whatever it is, our words are the most powerful thing in the world – and it’s the only true thing we have control over.”

How to brand

Now, Tim has been enormously successful in building his brand. Our branding guru, Bruce Turkel, would be proud.

But how did he do it? Well, he did it by building relationships with strangers. Tim genuinely likes people, and his meetings with them weren’t solely about the sale. He offered them credibility and contacts.

“I sustain those relationships over years. It actually becomes like the hub of a network. So, one customer turned into 4,000,” he said.

All of that experience is now part and parcel to his work as a corporate coach. He’s fond of saying that he’s been the “crash test dummy.” Within reason, he’ll do the uncomfortable and make the mistakes so he can show others a better path toward their goals.

Those people, by the way, do best when they have an open mind and the drive to be successful at whatever “success” means to them.

Digging in

A lot of people define success as having their own company and working for themselves. If that’s your goal, Tim has two words for you: due diligence.

Do the research – on the opportunity in front of you and on yourself. Make sure you know the skills and knowledge you bring to the table.

Then, once you start, keep the momentum. Speed and activity. As you learn more, act on it. Then learn. Then act. Don’t get sloppy, but don’t linger. Dragging your feet will allow doubt to creep into your psyche, Tim said.

“Just make sure that you’re learning. Educate yourself. Read in the morning. Every time you read something and learn something new, you’re increasing your possibilities and probabilities,” he said.

This was a tremendous interview, and there were two nuggets of wisdom left at the very end. Don’t miss them. Click here to listen to the full interview with Tim S. Marshall, author of “The Power of Breaking Fear.”

Update on Vivian

My wife, Vivian, is getting better every day following her successful kidney transplant. The fluid in her body is receding, the bruises are going away, and the sparkle is returning to her eyes.

But our donor, Betty Demartini, is struggling a bit after the surgery. She sacrificed so much to help us. We pray the Lord will bless her, and we’re going to do whatever we can to help her with her recovery.

When they’re feeling better, I want to get both Viv and Betty on the show to celebrate the gift of life with my entire audience.

There are so many people like Vivian who need a kidney transplant if they are to remain alive. I know it’s uncomfortable to get up, get tested, and see if you’re a match for someone. But, like Tim Marshall said, it is doing the uncomfortable that will profit us the most as people.

If you never take the step, you can’t go on the journey.

To learn more about living kidney donation, email or call me at 305-773-6300. You can also visit the website of the Miami Transplant Institute.

You can help us – and Betty – financially by visiting



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