Follow Tim's story as he goes from being a self-diagnosed alcoholic, barely surviving from paycheck to paycheck, to a successful business owner, selling his business for millions of dollars.Sign Up to Watch
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-What's up, guys? Daniel McKenna here, and today, Clay Clark will be sitting down with Tim Rokisky and we're talking about going from poverty to prosperity. If you don't know who Tim Rokisky is, in 1992 Tim quit his job at an office supply store, took out a loan, put a second mortgage on his home, and borrowed $50,000 from his father-in-law's retirement fund to make his dream of becoming his own boss a reality.
In 2008, he was able to sell the business and become a multimillionaire. By the time Tim sold the auto auction he purchased, it had grown from two employees to over 50 employees. Specifically, you'll be learning about overcoming adversity by hearing Tim's story about how he went from poverty to prosperity. This lesson is going to be very valuable to you if you take all the strategies and mindsets that Tim has developed.
Now, remember, here at Thrive 15 we believe that knowledge of without application is meaningless. So if you take today's lesson and apply it to your life and/or business, then today's lesson could be more meaningless than flightless birds. Sorry, penguins.
-Tim, thank you for being here, my friend.
-Thank you, sir.
-Hey, I am excited to talk to you today about a topic of really how to go from poverty to prosperity because you've definitely had an interesting life, we shall say. And before we kind of deep dive into this here, I want to make like a chiropractor for a second and give the Thrivers a little bit about your back story.
At one point, you were picked up on a bench warrant, and now you've become a multimillionaire. For the Thrivers out there who might not know, and for people around the planet who aren't aware of what this term means, what is a bench warrant?
-Well, like I told you earlier, it's something your wife finds out about once she reads this little deal you sent over to me. It's not something that you want. It's basically I've decided to completely ignore a court order. In my case, it was really a minor, stupid thing. When I first moved to Oklahoma, you didn't have to have insurance on your car.
Well, that changed, and I didn't think I needed insurance on my car. And I got stopped on two different occasions, and they said bring your tags up to date and buy your insurance. And I did, but I just didn't pay the fines that went with them. And that was in '82, so I'm coming home from a friend's house early in the morning with my swimsuit on into and a tank top and a pair of flip-flops. And a nice Tulsa policeman gave me a tour of downtown.
-So how long did you get stuck in the old downtown police facility, we'll call it?
-Too long? OK.
-Most of the day, about six, seven hours, which was long enough to let me know I didn't want to be back there.
-OK, well, let me ask you this here; what was your childhood like growing up there?
-Well, I actually grew up in West Virginia. I had a typical middle town, small town background. I grew up near the mountains in central West Virginia, about 60 miles south of Pittsburgh. I was a middle child. Unfortunately, my mom died of toxic shock one night when I was 11 years old.
-Toxic shock syndrome-- she was one the first people in the United States to have that happen to her, and it was 10 years later before we could even figure out what happened. After my mom died, I went off to college. And from '77 to '87 are sort of what I refer to as 'the dark ages.'
If you grew up in West Virginia 1981, it had the highest unemployment in the United States. My friend in college I lived with, he lived in the county that had the highest unemployment in West Virginia, and there wasn't a lot of positive thriving businesses to go to. I graduated college on December 15, 1981, and on January 3, 1982, I drove to Oklahoma with everything I owned in the world in a little Dotson B-210. It had a bullet hole in the side.
-Because I bought it at an auction, which was sort of a pre-runner that I didn't know anything. That's eventually where I'd end up, It had a piece of Plexiglas in the window, and the blower didn't work. And I figured, hey, what the heck, I'm going to Oklahoma. It's not cold down there. I don't need a heater or and air conditioner. And so I pulled into Oklahoma with everything I owned in the world in that car.
-So that must be kind of like a key to success-- have a bullet hole in your car. Is that sort of a success tip you would give people? Make sure you get the first car that has a bullet hole in it?
-The key is not get hit by the bullet. That'd
be my key.
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-So where was kind of like the turning point in your life where you made a decision that you wanted to really begin thriving, if you will, or begin doing something big with your life? When did you have that moment where you said, OK, I've lived this way, and now I want to do something bigger?
-It's pretty simple. From, like I said, '77 to '87. '82 to '84, I was really dark, dark. After I got out of the-- on the bench warrant, I literally came home. And there was a notice from the IRS that my taxes from the year before were going to be audited.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, boy.
-And I opened my bank statement, and there was nothing in my bank statement. And I thought, if I can make it through tonight, I'm going to be OK.
-Yeah, yeah. Did you have a good time when you were audited like I did? I've been audited before. Was it a good time for you? Was it fun? [LAUGHS]
-It was an interesting conversation.
-She asked me if I was a creative writer.
-So like let me ask you this. When you're getting audited, you're going through the situation where, financially, I mean, you're in a bind. You have no money left in your account. You're being audited by the IRS. You just got back from spending some time in the local jail facility. What were the steps that you took? I mean, could you remember? What were the steps that you took kind of to get you out of that? What was the first--
-At that point, the steps I took were the steps you don't want to take.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, really?
-I made up stuff just to get out of the situation. And I live from day to day, check to check. And I lived for one person, and that was me. And I continued to live that way. And it continued to spiral. I got into a position one night where it was hard to drive, so I decided to walk home.
And it was too far to walk, and like, it took me, like, a half hour to get across the parking lot. And I saw a payphone next to old Scooters delivery pizza. So I called Scooters, ordered a pizza, and a couple big pops. And when the guy come out, I said, hey, are you going to this address? And he says, yeah. I said, well, give me a ride home.
-That's how you made it home.
-That's how I made it home. And I wake up in the morning, and my shoes are here, my jacket's here, there's an empty pizza box. I said, man, this has got to end sometime. But it still wasn't time for it to end.
-So walk me through. It sounds like you're up here. Maybe you start here in the middle. You're going down, you're going down. You're almost like a submarine at this point. You are at the bottom of the bottom. You are--
-I'm at the bottom. I'm living check to check. I mean, not even that. You know, I learned how to write a check on Tuesday and know it won't clear till Friday, how to rob Peter to pay Paul. It was just-- you know, never anything illegal-- stealing or anything like that. But hey, I lived for the moment, lived for the party, lived for myself until September 1987.
INTERVIEWER: September 1987.
-And a buddy of mine invited a friend of his over to go to a movie. And she brought two friends with her. And one of her friends was this beautiful brunette that I just-- [EXHALES] Oh, man. And I had a bottle of whiskey in my hand. And I held it behind my back first time I met her. And I thought, why did-- and then after it was all over, I said, why did I do that? I never try to hide anything from anybody, because I didn't apologize for anything, because I was living for myself, and I didn't really care about anybody else.
So I got her name. And then I dressed up the next day and put my suit and tie on next Monday. Went to the bank where she was the teller, asked her to lunch. And we went to lunch every day for a month, two, three months. And then right before Christmas, she said that she would marry me if-- I didn't have to quit drinking, I didn't have to quit playing softball, I didn't have to quit doing anything I was doing. Only thing I had to do was go to church with her on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.
-So when did you have to go again now?
-Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. And I looked at her, looked at me in the mirror. At the time I weighed like 225 pounds. And I always had this same that if you showed me a salesman with an ugly wife, I'll show you somebody who shouldn't be in sales. I'm going to go ahead and close this deal. So I said, yeah. And we ended up getting married in April the next year. And I kept up my end of the bargain, and three or four months later, I got convicted to give my life to God.
But the amazing thing that led to that part of it was it was the OU was playing Miami in the Orange Bowl in '87, when we lost 20 to 14.
CLAY CLARK: So Oklahoma University's playing Miami?
-Yeah, and this is after we're engaged. And I'm sitting there doing shots of tequila at the game.
CLAY CLARK: So you're married?
-No, no. We're not married yet. We got married in April, but I just backed up a minute, to tell you this part. We're sitting here doing the shot. I'm doing the shot. Marie, she doesn't do them. And OU gets ready to lose the game. And walking out, I got about a half a bottle of tequila left. And we're walking to my apartment. And I look at her, and I look at that bottle. And it was like the Holy Spirit just come over me. He says, I don't need you anymore. And I just chunked it in the dumpster. It was like a live spirit just came to me and said you don't need this.
-Well, let me do this, because you jumped back. And I think for a lot of people watching this, I'm thinking of a guy watching this in Ukraine, or a guy watching this from over the planet, and they're going what are you talking about? So I'm going to take just a second and kind of ask you a couple things. What career did you ultimately end up earning your millions in? What kind of business?
-Auto auctions. So you went from the bottom of the bottom to success in the auto auction business. Now, Tony Robbins, he's a self-help author, he says this. He says that "One reason that so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus, we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular."
It sounds to me though, like you focused on your relationship with, what you're saying is, God. And you used the word Holy Spirit a minute ago. What are you talking about when you say, Holy Spirit? What does that mean?
-The Holy Spirit is God. It's part of the trilogy of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Without him, you can't do anything. That's the bottom line. And until you get to your point in your life where there's no possible way you can succeed, he can't help you, because then you'll think you've done it all yourself.
-So how have you maintained focused on this new relationship, and this new way of living, you're saying a relationship with God, or new way of living? How did you stay focused on that decision? And how did you stay clean there, my friend? Because there's probably people watching this who are going through some substance abuse issues, and a lot of things. Were you and alcoholic, I guess? Were you an alcoholic?
-Not diagnosed, self-diagnosed alcoholic. I have a very addictive personality. If I drink, I drink hard. If I play, I play hard. If I work, I work hard. I get a really myopic focus on things. One week I may be the world's greatest motorcycle rider. And next week, I'm thinking about a different way to sell a car on the internet. Whatever that is, that's my main focus.
-So for anybody watching this, who's maybe going through alcoholism, or some sort of issue, you started there. I mean, you've started there. You started at the bottom. You started with this whole series of issues, it sounds like. Now, as you begin to start a business, what was the first step. How did you start the business?
-We started our business, because we didn't want to work for somebody else, was the whole reason. We didn't start it to make millions of dollars. I was selling office furniture. My wife was a bank teller at First Tulsa. The neighbor across at a house that we bought, every time we saw him, he was driving this old beat up wrecker, with a car on the back, and he was smiling from ear to ear.
-Just for clarification, you're saying a wrecker, like a tow truck?
-Like a tow truck, like a flat bed tow truck.
-So he's driving around town, just smiling, as happy as can be.
-Driving it home into his driveway. But every time I see him, he's just smiling from ear to ear.
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