10 Questions for SEMA Show Main Stage Speaker Tim Tebow

By Douglas McColloch

Tim Tebow's résumé is chock-full of accomplishments. He's a two-timeTim Tebow national football champion and a Heisman Trophy winner. A former number-one draft pick, he's won postseason games in the NFL as well as in Division 1. He's played professional baseball, and he's a five-time "The New York Times" best-selling author. He also serves as the head of the Tim Tebow Foundation, a faith-based organization he founded in 2010 that serves vulnerable populations worldwide with an emphasis on anti-human trafficking and child exploitation, orphan care and prevention, and helping people with profound medical and special needs. 

And now, Tim Tebow is a Main Stage speaker at the 2023 SEMA Show, October 31-November 3 in Las Vegas. You can see and hear him on Thursday, November 2, 1:00-2:00 p.m. PDT in West Hall rooms W322-W327 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We had the chance to chat with Tebow recently about cars, his charitable work and how to turn setbacks into success. What follows has been edited for clarity and length.

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SEMA News: What was your very first car? What do you remember most about it? 

Tim Tebow: I believe it was a '95 Ford Thunderbird that my parents got for only a couple hundred dollars. What I remember most is that I was so excited to be able to finally drive myself to practices and sports games, so I didn't have to burden my parents anymore. I also remember (especially once I got to college) how rarely it actually worked! 

SN: What does being named a keynote speaker at the 2023 SEMA Show mean to you? 

TT: It's always an honor when I get the chance to share my heart and encourage people. I take it as a huge responsibility. I never want to waste people's time. I always want to challenge myself to study so that I can try to bring value to people and maybe inspire someone to walk away a little more determined, called and focused to create lasting impact. 

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SN: You've made a number of career adjustments in your life. What advice would you give to others who may be facing a similar situations? 

TT: One of the principles I've tried to live by is 'learn, grow, adapt.' Unfortunately, I've been cut (by sports teams) more than I've liked! But throughout my career adjustments, I've tried to have the mindset of 'win or learn.' No matter the positive or negative adjustment, you have the chance to learn, grow and adapt. What might seem like a setback could actually be a setup for something better.

SN: What's the most challenging assignment you've ever been given, and how did you approach it? 

TT: I think one of the most challenging assignments--and I don't even know if I would call it an 'assignment,' I think I'd call it a responsibility--is trying to be a role model for those who look up to me. My hero when I was young was [fellow quarterback and Heisman winner] Danny Wuerffel. He was a great example for me. And my heart is to be a good example for others. But I know I fall short of that often. Fortunately, I don't have to point people to myself. Rather, I strive to point people to someone greater than myself.

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SN: Talk a bit about your work as a writer. How do you prepare mentally to start a new book project, and how does it compare to preparing for a football game? 

TT: Being dyslexic and a lefty, it has never been easy for me to just grab a pen and paper and write. But I'm so grateful that God has given me a platform to not only share my story but share the stories of those who have impacted my life. Whether that is W15H kids [children who are battling life-threatening illnesses] that we have served at the Foundation, or Night to Shine kings and queens, or survivors of human trafficking, I know our society needs to hear their stories because hearing their stories (of perseverance, overcoming challenges, etc.) make us all better. 

My writing process starts when I feel like my heart has been pricked for something or when I know I could encourage someone. My most recent book "Mission Possible" was to remind people they do have a purpose and can truly make their life count. In "This is the Day," I was just thinking about how many days I waste and that we don't have to waste anymore days because this is the day we get to wake up and be glad in it. In "Shaken," I wanted to encourage people in their toughest times. So, each book is a product of what I feel like God has put on my heart. 

SN: What's the most challenging assignment you've ever been given, and how did you approach it?

TT: My biggest daily driver is knowing that every day when I wake up, I get to wake up with purpose. And I think one of the greatest purposes in my life is the work that we have been called to at the Tim Tebow Foundation. 

SN: Talk about your foundation and its mission. How has its work impacted your own life, and how can people who want to help advance the work get involved? 

TT: Our mission at TTF is to bring faith, hope, and love to those who need a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. To really sum it up, it's to fight for people that can't fight for themselves—the trafficked, the abused, the forgotten, the overlooked. Today, we're fortunate to do that in 80-plus countries around the world. 

There are multiple ways people can get involved. You can go to our website, Maybe there's something on there that really pricks your heart, and if so, we'd love to have you be a part of what God has called us to do. Other ways to get involved are by prayer—praying for our team, praying for all the lives that we get the chance to serve, and praying for all the lives we want to get to so that we can serve them. 

If you want to volunteer, the biggest opportunity is through Night to Shine (NTS). NTS is a worldwide prom night for people with special needs. It's currently hosted in 46-plus countries and in every state here in the US. Hopefully there is one near you.  

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SN: What's the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you? 

TT: "There are only a few things that are going to last for eternity. Is your life acting on those things?"  

SN: What other rides have you got in your garage? 

TT: A Nissan Armada.  

SN: When you're not working, where will we find you, and what will you be doing? 

TT: I love getting the chance to be with family, friends, but especially my wife Demi and our three dogs—Kobe, Paris, and Chunk. We love hanging out, hot tub, cold plunge, working out, playing with the dogs, just spending quality time.