Life Lessons from Tim Allen – no, really
Just in case the title didn’t already do it, I’m going to say something that may alienate you right from the get-go: Tim Allen is a wise man, father figure and ultimately someone who helped guide me in the right direction. Before you stop reading, take into account my generation. I grew up watching Home Improvement (and on a sadder note, Jungle 2 Jungle). Tim and Jill were some of the earliest examples I had to emulate.
I know nothing (and I mean NOTHING) about maintaining a car, but most of the knowledge I do have comes from Tim the Tool Man. If you need something repaired in your house, you’d probably be better off asking my 3 year old (who can swing a mean Fisher Price hammer) than me, but the limited knowledge I do have (such as avoiding the urge to “soup-up” my lawnmower, blender—or anything really) comes from Tim’s mishaps and the unfortunate repercussions on the Taylor household.
But the best bit of Tim Allen advice I have ever gotten over the years comes from a cult classic of his known as Galaxy Quest. In it, Tim Allen is Jason Nesmith, an actor who plays the captain of the Protector. He and his crew provide law and order to the galaxy. In typical sci-fi comedy fashion, 18 years after the show’s cancellation, the transmissions reach the planet Thermia. Unfortunately for the crew, the Thermians have no concept of fiction and believe the crew to be real heroes. When the Thermians touch down on Earth to enlist the help of Allen and his “crew,” typical madness ensues. In the movie, Allen’s catch phrase is “Never give up! Never surrender!” This can apply not only to intergalactic battle, but also to life in general.
Another slightly more famous quote comes from a little known politician named Winston Churchill. He says, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Sound similar? I think the points they are making are the same. There is no such thing as the “easy road” for most of us.
Perhaps this is youthful naiveté, but I expected life to be divided into segments—that there would be clearly defined partitions as I moved from one phase to the next. That I would obviously (to myself and everyone around me) progress from “child” to “adult,” from “son” to “father,” from “grinding” to “successful.” As I go through life, though, I see that this is not true. Instead of a sprint, my life has been a cross country marathon, full of bumps and bruises—but now I see this is for the better.
All of the successful people I have met have followed this same path. There was not a preset time when they said, “OK, next week I’m going to become successful.” It was not circled in red on a calendar somewhere. And while it is difficult to find reliable statistics on the success/failure rate of small businesses, it is generally accepted that 9 of 10 small businesses will close their doors within 10 years of startup.
So, the successful entrepreneur is forged through mistake and failure. The reason they become successful is because they never give up. They never, ever surrender. That perseverance, that steel resolve to not be defeated, allows them to move from failure to failure until they find success. And while talent may not be given equally to all, this capacity for bullheaded perseverance is. Because of this, we all have the potential to be tremendously successful. Personally, I’m not there yet, but I am on the way. Sure, I’ve had setbacks. Sure I’ve failed. But I will never give up. I will never surrender. And because of that, I will succeed.
Who are some of your entrepreneurial heroes?