Rebuilding Life and Career with Tim Klund
Time is our most precious commodity.
We all know this in theory, but unless we’ve lived through an event that rams this lesson home, we often forget it. Tim “TK” Klund lives that truth every day, but he had to die four times in one night to learn it.
It was late. It was always late when TK finished work for the day. He had a hotel room, but TK wanted to be home, so he opted to make the drive from his meeting – which had run into an after-meeting event. He was about 15 minutes from home when he called his wife to let her know he was almost there.
“Are you wearing your seatbelt,” she asked?
She’d never asked that before. TK sighed and told her he was as he buckled up for the first time on that drive.
Moments later he died.
He doesn’t remember the crash. He doesn’t remember any of the four times he flatlined on the scene, in flight to the hospital, or at the hospital. He didn’t hear the call made from the doctor to his family, telling them to come to see him before he died in a way they couldn’t bring him back.
He just remembers waking up two days later.
On his thirtieth birthday, doctors restored his mangled face with titanium rods.
Tim Klund was in a full-blown pity party by then.
He’d worked so hard to build the successful sales career that provided so well for his family. He knew the company would not hold his position for him, and worried about what he was going to do.
His mother put an end to that worry with the words that changed things up for TK. Why, she wondered, didn’t he realize the company needed him as much as he needed the company? He was making such a high income, she pointed out, that he was making even more money for the company. Shouldn’t they be more worried about losing him, than he was about losing them?
“It was the first time I realized I am of value,” he says.
He’d always assumed his lack of a college degree diminished his value. His six years of service in the Air Force, his hard-earned climb in his industry, and his ability to provide for his family were all accomplishments forced to dwell in the shadows of his own insecurities.
That all ended in the hospital room that day. He knew he wasn’t going to return to the life he’d done well in before his accident. He realized now how precious his life is, how valuable his time here is, and knew he wanted to do more with it. The only question before him was what that would be.
It was at home a few weeks later, while he was on the couch watching Jerry Maguire, that he first had the idea of becoming a professional sports agent. It didn’t matter to him that he had no clue how to do so, or that he didn’t have any access to that world. He just knew his God-given passion for meeting people and building relationships would be permitted to flourish in that field.
He went about his life, accepting a position as VP of another company. Still the idea lingered in his mind. His new work brought him face to face with Chicago Bears’ Lemuel Stinson.
The men became friends, and one day Lemuel asked TK to be his official representative.
It was exactly what TK had put out into the universe not long ago. It was his opportunity to be the real-life Jerry Maguire – and he said “No.”
As much as he wanted to do it, TK told his friend he wasn’t qualified. He didn’t want Lemuel to place his family’s well-being in his inexperienced hands.
Not to worry, Lemuel said. He’d teach him.
For the next 8 years, Tim Klund built his own company, representing professional athletes and then celebrities.
He was living his passion and building friendships at the same time. It was his dream job. He complimented that work with his job in the corporate world, as an executive in a company that sells athletic gear. It was a perfect fit. Life was good.
Until it wasn’t.
The athletic gear company hit a rough patch in 2007. TK remembers the day a highly paid co-worker was laid off as a result. The distraught man was in his mid-fifties. TK did his best to talk with him and offer encouragement, but the man countered TK’s words with some advice; “Don’t fall into this trap,” he said. “Take a hard look at your life. Don’t get stuck like this.”
The economy was in a tailspin. For the next year, companies everywhere folded. His own professional representation company slowed to a trickle, and the day he knew would arrive at his other job, finally arrived.
TK fully expected to be let go the day he was called in for an early meeting. It made sense. His salary was enormous and the company was dying in the recession. His salary would go much further if spread out. He was at peace with it all, but it didn’t go that way.
Instead, as he explained to his wife later that day, TK voluntarily resigned, rather than fire the dozens of employees he was asked to fire.
The noble gesture felt good. He never looked back. But a year later, with their savings gone and on the brink of losing everything, TK needed a miracle.
None of his efforts to generate a meaningful income succeeded. They were about to be one of the thousands of people in foreclosure. It made no sense to use the last of his gas to drive an hour for a lunch meeting just hours after their water had been shut off. At that point though, he did two things:
He laughed at the sheer overwhelming nature of it, and he hit his knees to talk to God. He turned his fate over to his faith, submitting to whatever was to come, with faith it would lead to something better so long as he didn’t give up.
Then he got in his truck and drove to Dallas to meet his friend, a former NFL player. He never mentioned his situation to his friend, and never expected the $10,000 check he was handed. There was no refusing it. His friend told him he knew they were tough times, and he owed TK more than that 10K for all the work he’d done for him.
It was another game changer. He’d thrown himself upon his faith, and faith prevailed.
The next day he was offered another job.
“It may be the 11th hour and the 59th second of the 59th minute when God shows up, but He always shows up,” says TK.
Today Tim Klund is the CEO of another company, VERVE Systems, set to announce its new product lines later this year.
He runs the annual Red River Celebrity Softball Game , where celebrities play to raise money for the Lone Survivor Foundation , the Toby Keith Foundation , the Roger Clemens Foundation and the J.K. Livin Foundation.
TK had to literally die one night, to awaken to his untapped potential. When he struggled again later in life, he had to hit his lowest low to be reawakened. Now he doesn’t let anything convince him to waste one precious day of his life, and he encourages others to make the most of every day – win or lose at whatever they may be chasing that day.