Tim Hiller’s debut motivational book was born from his deeply personal experiences, from the pain he felt from self-perceived failure, to the discovery of writing that allowed him to begin to cope, then overcome and finally conquer.
Even though it seems like most people can’t relate to Hiller’s story about being a star college quarterback whose dreams of NFL stardom don’t pan out, he is able to relate his life journey — from his struggles to move on, to introspection, to eventual self-affirmation — in a meaningful way in “Strive: Life Is Short. Pursue What Matters.”
“In the opening entry I tell a rather embarrassing story about sitting in Peyton Manning’s chair . . .
Hiller was a star quarterback at Western Michigan with big dreams of a long career playing in the NFL as well as an NFF National Scholar-Athlete in 2009. When he didn’t get selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, he signed with Indianapolis Colts as free agent. At the time, the Colts still employed Manning, the future Hall of Famer.
On Aug. 23, the Colts cut Hiller, sending him back home to Kalamazoo, Mich., feeling depressed and left to ponder what in the world he would do now.
“I was embarrassed and ashamed of what I deemed a failure,” Hiller explains. During a meeting with his pastor, Hiller was encouraged to start writing. Write what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, what you’re experiencing, his pastor told him.
So Hiller did. Once he started, he kept writing. Then came a blog. Then it dawned on him that he now had a ream of real-life stories. When his wife, Michelle, passed one along to a co-worker who was struggling with a personal issue, and then shared another with a friend coping with a job change, Hiller realized his journey wasn’t so unlike many others going through difficult times in their personal lives or at work. He began to view his stories as a vehicle for others to also find reassurance and to learn to see beyond life’s daily minutiae.
“The first time I shared the early entries of ‘Strive’ with anyone — which at the time I had no intent to write a book — my wife asked for an excerpt to send to a co-worker who was struggling,” Hiller says. “The email kept getting forwarded on and on to more and more people, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. I think that was a moment that validated for me that my story mattered and could actually make a positive difference in someone else’s life.”
Hiller’s book is strong on faith and self-determination.
“My prayer is that they will see their life story and God’s hand in all of it in a new light,” Hiller said. “Hopefully in such a way that they begin living for the things that matter most, and not the short-term and temporary."