Foley, Tim

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Tim Foley
Tim Foley.jpg
Pin: Founders Crown Ambassador (2005)
Markets: United States, Colombia


LOS Upline: Steve & Annette Woods
Notes:also Founders Crown in Colombia


United States


Downline Diamonds

Success Story

Calloused hands and weathered face told the story Of the day of rest that he had never known. And his eyes were filled with the heartache and the glory Of a spirit who carved his journey on his own.

Those are the opening lines of a song entitled “Born to Win.”

It’s about a dying father’s last words to his son. It’s remarkable for its emotion, rhythm, and sense of hope.

And it was written by Founders Crown Ambassador Tim Foley about his father, who passed away last year.

Not a man of many words, he was my hero. And when he spoke the people all turned their heads.

Wait. Is this the same Tim Foley who played cornerback for the last undefeated NFL team, the 1972 Miami Dolphins? The same Tim Foley who was named to the Pro Bowl team later in his career?

This artistic – some might say softer – side of Tim isn’t something he necessarily hides. But it sometimes gets overlooked, especially when so much is made of his football career and his leadership in the Quixtar business.

The man who welcomed us into his Florida lakeside home is a poet, songwriter, and accomplished musician (guitar, drums, piano). “Music is my hobby now,” he says. “It’s something I used to do. I wrote and performed a song when my sister got married. And it’s something I want to get back into.”

I’ll never forget the night that he lay dying. He fixed his eyes on me and softly said … My son Remember to know where you’re going and learn from where you’ve been. To believe there’s a star that’s off too far is a deadly sin.

Tim’s happy to talk about football to anyone who asks. And people ask all the time. “Everyone knows of the Miami Dolphins, and they know about the perfect season we had,” he says. “But that was over 30 years ago.”

Football’s influence Tim typically doesn’t wear his Super Bowl rings (he has two). The football memorabilia is not prominently displayed in his home or office. He doesn’t replay a highlight reel to relive his former football glory. But you can’t take the football out of him. His greatest life lessons were taught by football coaches. For advice, he turned to former teammates. And football analogies frequently creep into his speech.

The will to win, which made Tim a gridiron star in high school, college, and the NFL, is the same that drove him hard to make his business one of the largest in North America. It’s an occupation he loves. And he says he’s as excited and motivated as he was when he first entered the business.

“I get to work with marvelous people, people who have really good hearts,” he says. “These people are like family, and my family is all over the world.

Within you lies the power to dream, so when the music does begin, Let losin’ dance with another man, ’cause you were born to win. You were born to win. You’re a child of mine until the end of time and you were born to win.

It’s through football that you can chart his life. Tim was playing organized football as early as grade school. In high school, he played quarterback. Yet what he really liked playing, he remembers, was drums.

“I was in a band called ‘The Ravens.’ It was me, two basketball players, and a wrestler. I enjoyed that much more than I did athletics,” Tim says.

Still, his skills on the field couldn’t be ignored. He was good enough in football to play for Purdue, where he was a three-time Academic All-American. But even though he was big, strong, and smart, he lacked confidence. So his older brother, who was in the Marines, talked Tim into participating in a summer officer’s training program.

“By the time I was finished, I was a more confident person, and I felt more confident in my football abilities,” he says. He was so confident, in fact, that as a punt returner, he never called for a fair catch, and set a Boilermaker record for most punts returned in a season.

“No Marine is going to call for a fair catch,” he says.

“At that point, I thought I was bulletproof, and nothing was going to stand in my way when I wanted something. I knew then that I could take anything that football could dish out,” he remembers.

In the NFL draft, Tim was selected by Miami in the third round, and played defense for 11 years before blowing out a knee and ending his career. (Tim now walks with a barely discernible limp to remind him of his injury.)

The end of football, the start of a business

“I had 11 years with Don Shula, and you can’t help but learn things from people who do things better than anyone else,” Tim explains.

He contends he was never as talented or as fast as other NFL cornerbacks, so he was taught to compensate by practicing and studying more and thinking smarter than the competition.

Always thinking ahead, Tim started building fitness centers while he was still playing, and continued that venture when his NFL career ended. (He was also a radio announcer for the Dolphins’ pre-season games and color commentator for University of Miami football contests.)

Yet he and his fellow investors soon found themselves $4 million in debt. With interest rates at 24%, they were losing money fast. But a friend of his father’s, whose son played grade-school football with Tim, bailed him out.

“He was my saving angel,” says Tim.

He said, Life’s not all blue sky and sun and nothing great comes free. Some days will find you riding high, some will knock you to your knees. But when you feel like laying down and throwing the quitting towel in, Remember you’re a child of mine and you were born to win. You were born to win. As every tear drop falls, let your heart recall, that you were born to win.

Tim says that at that point, he realized he didn’t want to be in the fitness center business. “I was looking for other opportunities. So I asked a former teammate – I respected his business acumen – and he said this business would be good for me.”

Then he consulted a former player and coach, who also endorsed the idea.

“So I made a decision to join this business, based on the advice I got,” he says. “It was that, coupled with the fact that I was desperate. I think the desperation part was more influential.”

Tim says that during the early years of his business, he was dogged by thoughts that he couldn’t succeed, and had to train himself to tune out those worries. “There’s that little voice that reminds you why you can’t do something. It’s your complaining voice, and you just have to tell it to shut up.”

He encourages new IBOs to muzzle that voice, especially as they’re learning the business. “It’s important to read books and listen to tapes,” Tim advises. “If you want to get on the team and get the uniform, then make a decision and don’t question it. Tell yourself, ‘I’m going to do this for a year, and then determine what I want.’ Tell the voice to shut up, and tell it to check back in 12 months.”

To succeed in the business, Tim says, “You have to be willing to be uncomfortable for a while. You have to be open to learning new things, and developing new skills. You should be prepared to spend more time in the film room.”

Tim believes that people have an inherent ability to succeed. As a leader, he helps IBOs tap into that ability.

“I think you learn from everyone,” he says. “I’m not really interested in being somebody’s mentor. I would like the title of ‘friend.’ If some of my work or life experience is helpful, then I’ll share it. As a leader, I’m in the business of serving other people, and to help them realize they can improve their lives, that they can help themselves, and that they have the answers.”

Living life to the fullest In Tim’s view, learning should be a lifelong pursuit. “We were put on earth to learn, and to evolve. I start over again every day, and strive to learn every day. Our lives should be heading in the direction of getting better.

“Starting over is my way of maintaining my enthusiasm. If you’re not excited about what you do, you’re not going to grow,” he says.

Tim’s enthusiasm for the business spills over into his life. He’s in constant touch with son Tommy, who’s frequently on the road as he pursues a spot on the pro golf tour. His daughter, Katie, lives nearby, and Tim spends as much time as possible with grandchildren Mary Grace, 6, and Emily Faith, 4.

He’s constantly in motion: playing basketball or tennis with friends; taking buddies on boat rides on Little Lake Harris; playing with Sparky, his nine-month-old Labrador retriever; and, of course, attending to his Quixtar business.

Tim also runs and lifts weights to stay in shape and is a familiar face in the fitness rooms of the hotels that host Achievers Invitational and Executive Diamond Club. When he’s home, he grabs his guitar and jams with Pedro Lizardi, a neighbor, long-time friend, and IBO.

And Tim is humble. Excessively so. But a few years ago, he says, his modesty started slipping. He remembers an event during which an IBO, seeking to speak to him, grabbed him by the shirt and wheeled him around. Tim scolded him, exclaiming, “Don’t you know who I am?” As quickly as he blurted that out, he heard a voice in his head say, “Tim, they don’t know who you are, but don’t worry – your secret is safe with me.”

He attributes his success, drive, ambition, and humility to his father. “My father was a disciplinarian. If I have a good work ethic, it’s because of him.”

Tim and his brother and sister are adopted, and he says he always felt a need to please his parents. “I felt I was picked, and I never wanted to disappoint my parents. You want to go the extra mile to make them feel good about what they did and for the sacrifices they made.”

Tim’s mother died several years ago. When his father died in 2005, he took it especially hard. Other events that year took their toll. His private pilot, also his best friend, died in a plane crash. Then his three dogs died.

“It was not a good year,” he says. “I was on my anxiety schedule and worked all the time. I thought, ‘If I stay focused, it’s harder to worry or feel sorry for myself.’”

Tim found that writing songs was cathartic, and he crafted “Born to Win” to help him deal with his loss. But his songwriting goes way back. Before the song he wrote for his sister’s wedding, he penned one for a Ronald McDonald House fund-raiser. He’s also written about the challenges of adolescence (“Teenage Blues”), the Dolphins’ perfect season (“Special Year”), and personal loss (“If Lonely Were A Lady”).

After writing the lyrics, Tim adds guitar chords. And he recently met with a band to talk about recording his songs.

The song about his father helped Tim deal with his pain. It gave him hope and reaffirmed many of the values and character traits that have guided him throughout his life.

He said, Life is an assembly line of one day at a time. So do the best you can today to make your words and actions rhyme. And when the storm clouds gather and it feels like your whole world is caving in, Feel me standing by your side and whispering in your ear: You were born to win. You were born to win. When the days turn cold, feel the fire’s soul, know you were born to win.