Hi, this is Morty Lefkoe with another edition of the weekly podcast, “Conversations With Top Personal Development Bloggers.” Every week we have a conversation with a blogger who has a slightly different take on personal development. There’s so much valuable material being offered by personal development bloggers. This is the best place to find out which ones might provide you with just what you’re looking for. What’s unique about each blogger. Why they started writing their blog. How their personal experiences inform their writing. Why you ought to be reading their blog, and lots more.
Today I have the pleasure to talk to Tim Brownson, who writes a real interesting blog called, “A Daring Adventure.” I guest posted on his blog several years ago, and by the way I just read your Robin Williams post. I wrote one on Robin Williams a couple weeks ago myself, and I loved your post Tim, so it was great. Thank you so much for joining us, and welcome Tim.
Tim Brownson: Thank you very much Morty, and thanks for asking me on.
Morty Lefkoe: Where are you, where are we talking from? Where are you located?
Tim Brownson: I’m just outside of London, [inaudible 00:01:10] Florida, so obviously you can tell from my accent I come from a little way further away over the pond from the U.K.
Morty Lefkoe: OK, but you settled in Disney World, huh?
Tim Brownson: Yeah, we’ve lived here for just over 8 years now. [inaudible 00:01:23]
Morty Lefkoe: OK. Let’s start at the very beginning. What was the impetus to start writing your blog?
Tim Brownson: If I’m going to be honest, it was purely exclusively for SEO, so search engine optimization. I was fortunate enough that when I started my … I hired a guy over here when I first got to the U.S. that [inaudible 00:01:48] the impact of blogging in terms of helping people find you on the internet. I probably didn’t have my first comment until the blog had been running about a year and a half or so. I wasn’t aware of the whole blogging subculture for just under a year and a half. I started in September of 2006. It was the Christmas of 2007 where I was kind of bored between Christmas and New Year and I went digging around so I could find a new self development blog. I was thinking, “Wow, these other people doing what I’m doing,” I didn’t really know, and then it kind of snowballed after that.
Morty Lefkoe: Uh huh, OK. You were writing it since 2006?
Tim Brownson: Yes.
Morty Lefkoe: OK, 8 years now, great. What’s your background in personal development? Of all the topics you could have picked, what got you into this field?
Tim Brownson: Well just because I’m a full time life coach, and I have been for almost 10 years now. When I started, I had to explain what were life coach, it wasn’t anything like as much as a public awareness as it is now. For that purpose, the blog was all about me putting my ideas down on paper. Writing has a great way of teaching it, doesn’t it? You’ll know. I’ve learned more from my blog than I have from any training I’ve ever taken, because you’ve got to be able to clarify your ideas, put them down there for people to read, and once you get a reasonable size readership, which fortunately I have now. Because if you get it wrong, there’s going to be people waiting to tell you.
It makes you really think through ideas. Now I explain to them. Yeah as a life coach, to me it’s about just helping people, people that can’t afford me. It’s like giving them the kind of advice that I would give clients, even though I don’t necessarily advise clients per se. It’s a win on that front. It helps me learn about topics, I have to dig deeper. It helps people get free information that maybe couldn’t afford it, and it’s just fun, the sense of community. I love it. I don’t think I would ever give it up.
Morty Lefkoe: All right, got it. Wonderful. Do you have any specific personal experiences you’ve had that have been useful in writing your blog, things that have actually happened to you?
Tim Brownson: I think just a lot of feedback from people. Not necessarily just in the comments, and some of it negative, some of it positive. I probably made 20 pretty good friends from blogging. I should reach out, in fact I’ve got somebody that reads my blog coming to see me in about 2 weeks time, which is really cool. They just said, “I’m coming to Florida, would you mind if I come and have a coffee with you?” That’s just great to me. I’m a really sociable person from moving when I was in a sales environment and working teams, and being with people all the time, to working for myself all of a sudden, I kind of miss that element. To me, blogging social media, I think I would crack over that. I couldn’t keep it going I don’t think.
Morty Lefkoe: Got it. Who would you say is your typical audience? Do you ever run any demographics on your blog?
Tim Brownson: Yeah. I have a very unusual, in terms of the self development space. There isn’t, and I don’t mean this to sound arrogant, it’s just it represents me. There isn’t really anybody doing what I do, because I’m not afraid to talk about any subject. I’ve talked on, I’ve written blog posts about depression, you mentioned the Robin Williams one, I’ve written ones about gay rights, I’ve written posts about religion, and God, and war, and things that I have strong feelings about.
I also have a tendency to swear quite a lot in that one approach. Then you’re always for commenting. I don’t swear at people, it’s right to emphasize a point.
Morty Lefkoe: Yes, got it.
Tim Brownson: I’ve written a post yesterday about the 20 greatest quotes and the gal I love, and it’s riddled with swearing. I’m sure some people will not like that, but it’s a great filtering process, my blog is, for my clients. My demographic tends to be somebody who’s a little bit, heaven forbid I use the word “liberal,” but maybe a little bit more liberal, a little bit more easy going, and just relaxed and wants to have fun through the process. I don’t take my writing, I do take it seriously, but I want to have fun as well when I’m doing it. If you’re not prepared to have a laugh, if you don’t like a British sense of humor [inaudible 00:06:17], don’t read my blog because you’re going to wonder what the hell’s going on.
Morty Lefkoe: I got it. Are you mainly men or women, or do you have a lot of U.K. people, or mainly U.S?
Tim Brownson: Mainly U.S. Certainly, I actually get more clients from Australia than I do from the U.K. these days for some bizarre reason. Again, I would say more women, more female readers, but for my blog, it’s not massively pronounced, probably 60/40. When it comes to life coaching clients, it’s quite heavily more women, probably 70/30 because I think women don’t mind asking for help, whereas guys sometimes are a bit resistant to that kind of thing.
Morty Lefkoe: That’s interesting. Most of the people I’ve talked to [inaudible 00:07:02] bloggers are heavily weighted for women, and for some reason I’m a little heavily weighted for men, it’s 54/46.
Tim Brownson: Right.
Morty Lefkoe: Don’t know why, but seem to be. How often do you post?
Tim Brownson: These days, because I’ve got 2 blogs, because I also have got a website called coachlifecoach.com, and so I blog there, and that’s just aimed at life coaches or people that want to get into life coaching. Now I only tend to blog once a week. I’m more interested in the quality. In my early days, I was blogging 4 or 5 times a week. It was in match with getting content over there, but obviously now with the changes to the [inaudible 00:07:43] they’re not interested in what they call “skinny blogposts.” I don’t feel the need now to post if I haven’t got anything to say.
The Robin Williams was, I’ve got to say that, because I genuinely couldn’t sleep that night I was so upset about it. That doesn’t affect me, celebrities, things like, I’m just so over celebrity culture. That [inaudible 00:08:08] and maybe I wouldn’t have blogged for a few days. I don’t stick to a regular time table as sort of conventional blogging wisdom suggests.
Morty Lefkoe: Basically it’s like once a week?
Tim Brownson: Yeah once a week, yeah.
Morty Lefkoe: You mentioned it took a while to get comments. Do you accept comments now?
Tim Brownson: Yeah, absolutely. I know there’s a big trend amongst some of the more popular bloggers to close comments down, but to me, it’s not a blog then. Blogging’s about community, it’s about interacting. The minute you shut comments down, to me it’s then just a broadcast there, no different, you may as well just have a newsletter. Which I’ve got as well, but I like the blogging community.
Morty Lefkoe: Great. You’ve talked around this topic a little bit, but I want to focus in specifically, do you have an essential message or a specific message, obviously you have a lot of topics, but is there sort of like a theme that runs through them all? Is there a basic message of your blog?
Tim Brownson: Yeah I think, I wouldn’t, I don’t think there’s one. When people ask me what I do, I say I get people [inaudible 00:09:15]. There’s an element of really what I’m trying to do all the time is help people to think differently.
Morty Lefkoe: Think differently, got it.
Tim Brownson: As a coach, if I can’t help a client to think differently, then I’ve not done my job properly, I’ve not helped them. If we don’t think differently, then we just get the same results we’ve always got. It’s changing that shift of thinking, so I’m always trying to [inaudible 00:09:36] for different ways of coming at old topics, and just … Like I said, just to shift people’s thinking. That’s the main thing that’s in my mind. Like the post I did today for the Dali Lama quotes. It’s helping people to understand that there are different ways of looking at things, and the Dali Lama’s an absolute master at doing that. It’s just idolizing that.
Morty Lefkoe: Very good. Do you have a long term goal for your blog? Is there someplace you’d like to get to with it?
Tim Brownson: No I don’t think so. I used to have, I used to have goals in terms of subscribers and what have you, but these days, it’s kind of, I’m pretty much for all the time. I just want it to be a resource to people. I want people to see it as a resource. In terms of say, acquiring subscribers or whatever, I’ll just keep writing, people will keep reading if they want, but I’m not going to break my back trying to just get blog readers for the sake of blog readers.
Morty Lefkoe: Got it. To expand and broaden it a little bit, what’s your mission in life? It sounds like you’re interested not just in writing, but in coaching and changing people’s thinking, so do you have a broader mission in how the writing of your blog contributes to that broad mission?
Tim Brownson: Yeah I think my broad mission is to have fun. I want to enjoy this. I had 10 years earning ridiculous amounts of money [inaudible 00:10:59] and being as miserable as sin for a lot of the time. Not all the time, but high stress, which was all self-imposed. Now I’ve done all the corporate thing, it’s like I want to have fun doing this, and I want to attract the people that want to have fun as well. Really, I want to help as many people as I can, and that’s the only reason for getting into this industry. If you don’t want to help people, if you’re only interested in money ties, you’re in the wrong industry as far as I’m concerned. To help as many people as I can.
Also doing it being myself, and not trying to pretend that I’m this squeaky clean … I’ve admitted to, I’ve certainly had a period in my twenties where yeah I’d take ecstasy and then go out partying all weekend, I’m not going to hide that. [inaudible 00:11:43] Don’t want to do it now, it would take me months to get over it. It’s just like this is who I am. If you’re on board, if it gels with you, brilliant. If not, guess what, you’re going to find another self development blogger you do like. For a life coach, people talk to me about written goals. I haven’t got any written goals.
People are … A life coach that hasn’t got written goals. It’s just like, I don’t need them I’m fine. I haven’t [inaudible 00:12:10] and I do think they work, but for me, I just like to be loose and [inaudible 00:12:14] things.
Morty Lefkoe: Could you continue that just for a minute, why you don’t have written goals? Because I don’t believe in goals, actually. I’m just interested in your response on that.
Tim Brownson: I think it comes down to the fact that I just resist structure. In sales, I was a pretty successful salesperson in terms of the intricacies of understanding sales and that, but I was often very lazy in sales calls, I relied too much on rapport building. I think that’s just carried through, it’s just like … I read David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” a few years ago, and it was torture reading it. The actual thought of implementing that stuff, to me I like the looseness of being able to get up, and thinking, “What should I do today? Well I know I’ve got 3 clients,” because I see 3 clients every day, “So around that, I’m going to walk the dogs between.” I always walk the dogs between half past 10 and half past 11, I’ve got 3 dobermans and they need plenty of exercise.
I’ll do that. I may go and write a guest post for somebody, or I’ll do a bit … I like that freedom. I feel suffocated if somebody told me that I’ve got a goal, say to get to 100,000 blog readers, and you’ve got to get to 20,000 this, it’d just be like I’d swicth off and shut down.
Morty Lefkoe: Got it.
Tim Brownson: Yeah, something that I say on the regular basis people, is there is no “how it is,” there’s only “how it is for you.” We’re all different, we all respond differently to different stimuli, etcetera. For some people, goal setting I think is perfectly fine, and right, and it’s going to help them. Just not for me, and I recognize that it’s not for me, so therefore I just don’t get involved in it.
Morty Lefkoe: Got it, makes a lot of sense, OK. What would you say is the most important thing you’ve told people that’s made a difference in their lives?
Tim Brownson: Putting on the spot, what’s the most important thing I’ve told them? I think … I’d say what’s the most important process, so I’m really big into core values, so my second session with a client is always looking at core values. These are the things that drive all our decisions, either consciously or unconsciously. If I can help all my clients get in a line with their values, and put their values first and foremost, then I know they’re going to be fairly happy as people. Even if you don’t get the material things that they wanted from.
I think it’s helping people understand what the values are, and understanding the power of them. For example, integrity’s a really important value of mine. Now when I was in sales towards the end of my sales career, you have something in sales called a product drive, where we have this one job I had 8 service offerings. A product drive is where you go out and just try and sell one. So you’re not really selling to your client’s needs anymore, you’re selling to your own needs.
You’re selling to the business needs, so that’s not a win-win. That to me shows a lack of integrity of the business. This used to [inaudible 00:15:14] and bug me, but I never knew why. I can look back now and say, “Oh that’s really obvious,” but sometimes we don’t see the wood through the trees. With clients it’s just like, “Well the reason why you don’t like the job is because your values are in direct conflict with them,” or, “The reason why you don’t get on with your boss is because you value tolerance and he’s not a very tolerant person.” Like I said, you think this stuff would be obvious but it isn’t, and it’s given me more [inaudible 00:15:40] clients. Giving them more then everything else I do put together, combined.
Morty Lefkoe: Got it, so the main thing you say, that the most important thing would be the importance of identifying and living consistently with their values.
Tim Brownson: Exactly.
Morty Lefkoe: Their core values.
Tim Brownson: Yeah.
Morty Lefkoe: Very good. Well I got a real good sense of you, and your blog, and why you write your blog. Is there anything else you’d like our audience to know about you or your blog? What’s unique about you, or what you have to say that you haven’t covered yet?
Tim Brownson: Yeah I think what … I don’t think anything’s necessarily unique about me, Morty, I’ve got a certain style of doing things. I love being challenged, so if anybody wants to comment to my blog and tell me I’m wrong, fantastic, bring it on, we’ll have a good chat in the comments, that’s for sure. If you are the kind of person that looks to take offense through bad language, probably not the best blog for you to read that’s out there.
There may be others that would be more useful, but other than that, come read, comment, and I make everybody welcome, even the people … The only comments I ever delete are ones where people rather spam, or when people are abusive to other commenters, I don’t care what people say about me. I’m a big boy, I can … After 3 years, I’ve heard everything. I’m sure you have as well in this business.
Morty Lefkoe: Absolutely, yeah. Well this was fun, I really appreciate your time here. As I indicated, I think there are people out there looking for good information, looking to be helped, looking to improve their lives. There are a lot of people like you who can help them that they just don’t know about. I thank you for taking the time to tell us a little bit about you, and your blog, and your life coaching, and if people want to get more information, they go to adaringadventure.com, is that right?
Tim Brownson: That’s right [inaudible 00:17:27]
Morty Lefkoe: Adaringadventure.com, and you’ll find out all about Tim Brownson. Thanks so much for taking the time today, we’ll get this thing up real soon, and we’ll get a lot of people to read it, and hopefully a lot more people will find out about you and your blog and will start reading you. I certainly enjoyed the few that I’ve read recently, and I’m sure that other people will also.
Tim Brownson: OK, thanks a lot Morty, I appreciate it.
Morty Lefkoe: Have a great day.
Tim Brownson: And you.