WebMD Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Whyte speaks with Tim Tebow about the power of taking your setbacks and turning them into setups for better outcomes.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] JOHN WHYTE: Welcome, everyone. You're watching Coronavirus in Context. You know, over the past seven months, I've interviewed over 150 guests. And today, I'm delighted to be joined by one of the most popular guests that we've had, Heisman Trophy winner, professional athlete, New York Times bestselling author, the one and only Tim Tebow. Tim--

TIM TEBOW: Doc, thanks so much for having me back. I appreciate it, man. Thank you.

JOHN WHYTE: I'm glad you have found the time. Now, last time we chatted, it was actually May. So tell me how the pandemic has impacted you and your family?

TIM TEBOW: You know, we were already somewhat impacted then. I've had some people you very close to me that have tested positive. We're really loving them and supporting them. It's kind of hard because you're doing it from afar. So I'd say that's kind of, I think, disappointing and frustrating a little bit.

But at the same time, you know, I've been very grateful to be around a lot of resilient, amazing people that have truly served so many people. I can tell you I know a few people that have been going door to door passing out food and leaving it on the front doorsteps and not even saying who they are because they're so, you know, full of kindness wanting to serve. And so I think what I've seen in this time is it's some frustration and disappointment because a lot of people are going through hardship.

But I've also seen a lot of people step up and be amazing, loving, kind people that are ready to serve and and serve their fellow Americans and fellow humans and really try to make an impact in their life. And so while I would say there's been frustration, there's also been a big blessing because I think I've seen so many people rally as well.

JOHN WHYTE: Last time we also were talking about diet and exercise, and you've been getting out and about a little I see on Instagram, you know, in the gym.

TIM TEBOW: Oh, yeah.

JOHN WHYTE: What's been your regimen? Last time you were doing intermittent fasting.

TIM TEBOW: Oh, yeah. I still do some intermittent fasting. I love-- you know, I really-- full-time keto with intermittent fasting and even sometimes I'll do full fasting at times for a day or two, more sometimes on a weekend when I'm not training. Because it's kind of hard to train when you're going full fasting. And so I really try to mix those up, and I love it.

I feel so renewed. I feel like there's just a new energy in my eyes and focus. And so I love that, mixing it up. I also got to tell you that me and my wife have been on an awesome regimen of, shoot, probably averaging close to an hour a day in the infrared sauna. So we love that, and that has been something that has been a fun routine for us that is also another thing that we do to try to stay healthy and kill anything that's getting through--

JOHN WHYTE: An hour? That seems long.

TIM TEBOW: We try to, yeah. We love it. Honestly, it's just-- it's something-- we bring a bunch of drinks in there. We'll watch a show or do a devotional. We'll have a good time to talk. So it's kind of like a nightly routine that we love. So it's been fun.

JOHN WHYTE: I haven't seen a lot of TVs, Tim, in saunas, but--

TIM TEBOW: Yeah, we bring our iPad though.


TIM TEBOW: I don't know if that's cheating the system, but that's what we do.

JOHN WHYTE: Well, you know, let's talk about sports. Obviously, you're a very talented athlete. Football has always been a big part of your life and other sports. You know, football really is part of the American psyche, especially when we think about the fall. How are the changes in terms of the ability to play, you know, limited fans, how is that impacting football?

TIM TEBOW: That's a really good question. I think, you know, there was the question for a long time over the summer is were we're going to have football? Was it going to be something that was going to be able to take place this fall? And, you know, there's been so many people working on it from the high school level to the college to the NFL.

And, you know, I think for the most part, people have really had the best interests of the players. And I've talked to, especially, you know, collegiate which I'm closer to, I've talked to so many presidents and AEDs and head coaches that have really had-- tried to have as good a regimens and protocols set for their student athletes so that they could put them into the most optimal position to stay healthy. And I'll tell you what. I've just been really proud of a lot of those doctors that have been working really hard for it. I think, you know, first and foremost, you want to keep them healthy and safe. And then if you can do that and still compete, because I do think, you know, football gives a lot of Americans a lot of joy when they watch it.

And I'll tell you it gives me joy, to be honest with you. You know, being able to watch these student athletes or the NFL games or even high school games because it's these kids' dreams. And it's fun to be able to watch them live that out. And I think it's a balance, right?

Because you want to keep them safe, but you also know they bring, in a weird way, they bring a lot of joy to the world. And so I think that's important, too. And it's just important that we always keep everything in perspective and that balance.

JOHN WHYTE: What do you say, though, to those kids, particularly high school, that perhaps their season has been canceled or truncated, and they're not able to play this year? And you've often talked about disappointment. So what's your advice to them?

TIM TEBOW: Gosh, I tell you what, Doc, it's really hard. You know, it depends on where their situation is. It would change the advice I'd give them. If they're a senior, and they might not get a shot, you know, then that's something that's disappointing. If they're a junior, then I encourage them to work so much harder and to be able to come back, you know, even better your senior year.

And one thing that I really believe in is that a disappointment or a setback, if you use it right and have the right mindset and the right perspective, it can fuel us. And it can grow us, and it can teach us more than even sometimes the success or the good times can. And I really feel like that's true in my life. I feel like the highs have given me a platform, but the lows have given me more of a testimony. And I feel like the lows have taught me more in my life than the highs ever could.

And I think it's important that we learn from both of those and we take them in stride and we, you know--. I know it's hard, and it's frustrating, but let's see what we can learn from this. How can this make this better? How can we grow from this? And so that's how I would try to encourage those kids that missed out on a season.

And, man, my heart really genuinely breaks for them because I know how important it is. I know how important it was for me. And that sucks for them, and it's disappointing because, especially if you're a senior in high school and you miss out on your senior year of the pep rallies and the parades and the playing against your rivals and homecoming and all those things, and that's disappointing. But I think at the same time, there's something that you can learn that, you can rally from it.

And you never know what you could do in your community, in your school. But there's something we can always do. And we can turn our our setbacks and our disappointments into setups for something different. And it might not be what we had planned, and it might not feel as special, but there's still something we could do. And I would still encourage those kids that there's something they can do to make a difference and to turn their setback into a setup for something different. And it might even be as special.

JOHN WHYTE: That's a great point. I want to turn, Tim, to the Tim Tebow Foundation and all the good work that you're doing. And a cause that you've embraced is the issue of human trafficking. And you talk about how your father made you aware of what's going on. Can you tell viewers that story?

TIM TEBOW: Yeah, I can. It was about eight years ago when I got a call from my dad. He was sharing his faith in a country, a very remote country, that a lot of Christians get persecuted for their faith. And so it was an underground church he was sharing at.

And when he had finished, he had seen where they were, that four girls were for sale. And he was a little bit blown away by it, but he couldn't sit there and do nothing. Just couldn't, right? You just could not not do something. So he had $1,250 in his wallet for the the rest of that trip. And he took it out, and, thankfully, he was able to purchase the four girls.

And he called me. And, you know, he's a pastor missionary, and even though he started an orphanage, that's not really his forte, you know. But that's what we do at Tim Tebow Foundation is we love and support and care for orphans, special needs, adoptions, you know, so many. And so we had had a bunch of orphanages by that point.

And so he called me, and he opened my eyes-- he told me the story and opened my eyes to it. And I knew at that moment when he said it, I knew we were entering a new fight because my eyes were opened to something that they hadn't been open to. And once you see something, it's hard to unsee. And I said, all right, Dad. We're in.

I don't, you know, I don't know how. I don't know what, yet. But we're into this fight. And so we started right then building our first safe home where those girls are loved and cared for, and we're grateful we've been able to add more and more to that safe home and safe homes around the world. And it's a fight that's near and dear to my heart because I really feel like my calling and my purpose is to fight for people that can't fight for themselves. And that really started with the orphans and the special needs, and they're hurting. They're thrown away and forgotten.

But that's also those that are trafficked. And what's so disheartening and frustrating and sickening right now is that 40 million people are being trafficked around the world. And they need us to do something about it. And so our heart and our prayers to rally an army of people that say, you know what? No longer is this OK. No longer is this going to happen on our watch, and we're going to fight back against it.

And that's something that we're focused on creating and building because there are a lot of people that are willing to do something about this.

JOHN WHYTE: Well what can viewers do? You've mentioned-- you point out on the foundation's website, not on my watch. Not anymore. And you're asking people, can you count on them? And to say, count me in. So count me in, Tim. But what can we do?

TIM TEBOW: Well, it's actually-- thanks for asking that. Wednesday morning, we're actually launching our rescue team. So tomorrow morning, it'll be launched. And there will be three things people could sign up for. One will be an advocate. An advocate will, um-- really to go with an advocate is that you use your mouth and you speak. And we're going to give you points-- uh, talking points. We're going to share with you stats. We're going to give you encouragement. We're going to share stories.

You can also join the team as a defender. Defender is someone that is going to stand up for them. So advocate, you speak up. Defender, you stand up, right? And the defender, you're going to, uh, support $40 monthly. You're going to-- um, you're going to be part of a list that when we do rescues where-- we want to make you aware of, hey, the kids need shoes. They need socks. They need, uh, belts. They need-- we need new beds. We need all these things, and you're going to be part of a team that says, you know what? In that, if I can help, if I can donate this, if I can find this, if I can whatever it is, then you can be a defender that will stand up for.

And the third is is that you're going to lift up, and you're going to be part of a prayer team. It's a prayer team that's nonstop praying for these survivors all over the world because they need us, and they need us to be able lift them up and care for them. And so that's something really exciting that we're-- that we're starting.

And-- and it's really important to us, um, that-- that we create, um, awareness and an army of people because I don't know if we can end this, you know, just with our team. It's going to take all of us to rally together, and that's one of our hearts because one of our non-negotiables is there's power when we come together. There's power when we come together, when your team, my team, when a lot of teams come together to say, you know what, Doctor? It's no longer about the credit but it's about the mission, and we're about the mission. And the mission is rescuing lives, is caring, is restoring, is loving, and-- and that's really our hope and prayer with this.

JOHN WHYTE: And viewers can go to the Tim Tebow Foundation to learn more.

TIM TEBOW: They sure can, yeah.

JOHN WHYTE: I want to turn to a little lighter note if I may, and, uh, I mentioned you were a bestselling author. And you have a new book coming out in early January called Bronco and Friends-- A Party to Remember. And it's really about, um, you know, a Bronco who, uh, is invited to a party and needs to find a puzzle piece and needs to enlist--

TIM TEBOW: That's right.

JOHN WHYTE: --the help of other people, some with different levels of abilities and challenges.

TIM TEBOW: Yes. That's right.

JOHN WHYTE: Tell a little more about this story.

TIM TEBOW: Well, it's really personal to me, and it really stems a lot from our worldwide prom for people with special needs, which is called Night to Shine. And the story of Bronco and Friends-- A Party to Remember is about a group of animals coming together in teamwork, purpose, meaning, worth, but it's also about how we can all sometimes turn our disabilities into our greatest abilities.

And, you know, when we talk about worth, it really means a lot to me because there are so many people in this country and surrounding countries around the world that don't understand their worth and their value. But you know what? They are worthy, and they are worth us loving them, caring for them, supporting them.

And so these animals, you know, in different ways have somewhat been looked down upon and kind of been, um, neglected, and so-- but they all have something special to offer, and that's what I believe in humanity is we all have something special to offer. We all have a purpose. We all have worth. We all have meaning.

And so I wanted every single mom or dad that read this to their kid, I want their kid to under-- to say when they finish reading this book, you know what? I am special. I have worth. I have meaning, and there is something great that I can accomplish. That's my goal with this book.

JOHN WHYTE: I want to read you a quote from one of your talks, OK?


JOHN WHYTE: Let me get your response. You say, "You want to know what happens when a life believes it's valuable, believes it has meaning? Everything changes. You want to be a leader? You go out of your way to show them that they matter. You want to impact the world? You impact people."

TIM TEBOW: That's right. I-- I--

JOHN WHYTE: What does that mean, Tim?

TIM TEBOW: It means, um-- yeah, in this past year in one of the Night to Shines in a country where honor and shame really mean a lot, more so-- they're talked about more so than in the US. Honor and shame aren't really talked about, but in this culture, honor and shame mean a whole lot. And-- and, um, this family had, um, some special-needs kids that they thought brought shame upon their family's name.

And so they had not been allowed to go outside for over 10 years. For over a decade, they were not allowed to go outside. But then this family heard that we were throwing this celebration where every single person was going be crowned as a king or queen. There was going to be a red carpet, and we loved them, and God loved them, and they were special, and they were wonderful, and they were unique.

And so the family thought for the first time, they're no longer giving us shame. They're giving us honor. So they let them go out of the house for the first time in a decade and be part of Night to Shine. And that's what that means to me is when you-- when-- when-- when a life understands that it's valuable, that it's worthy, that it's unique, that it's special, that there's one of-- you are one of one. There are no duplicates.

And what that does in a life when they realize that they're valuable, it changes. It changes your perspective. It changes your mindset. It changes how you view yourself, right? If I don't think I'm worthy, how can I give worth to someone else? But when I understand that I am loved, that I am cared for, now I can reciprocate that and give it to someone else. I can now truly love someone else because-- uh, because of the love that I have received from God because I understand my worth and I'm special. And not that I do everything right, but he still loves me. Now I can love other people. And-- and I think that's what that means to me.

JOHN WHYTE: How has the pandemic changed all of this for you? Has it redoubled your efforts? Has it made it harder? Wha-- what's been the-- the impact of the pandemic on-- on--

TIM TEBOW: Well, I think both, to be honest with you. I think it's-- uh, it's made it harder in certain senses of, you know, we're dealing-- there's a lot of frustration, disappointment, and hardship. But I think on the other end there's a lot of people that are like, hey, I want to rally, you know? And so you're trying to balance that. You're trying to support, uh, so many people that are going through really tough times because there are a lot of people that are hurting, um, you know, uh, physically, emotionally, mentally, uh, financially. And so you want to be able to be there to support people, but at the same time, there's a lot of people rallying, which that is really encouraging.

And I do feel like we need something to rally us as-- as Americans, as humans, as-- as, you know-- for us to all to come together on something to say, you know what? We can come together. We can make a difference. We can build an army of people that want to do good, and I think that's really the goal.

And-- and there are so many people that are hurting now that we have to start with those people that are in our homes or in our neighborhoods, in our communities, and we can make a difference there before we go out to, you know, Third World countries. Both are important, but let's start in our backyards and work our way out.

JOHN WHYTE: How has it changed you? How's the pandemic changed Tim Tebow?

TIM TEBOW: Um, that's a really good question. I think, um-- I think, you know, patience and trying to really understand, right, something that we don't know, right? And there's so many people that have said so many different things, and you try to really wait and listen and learn.

And one thing that-- that I want to be and I try to be is I want to be a learner, and I want to always be learning. I don't want to be someone that, you know, I read something, I feel like I know it. No. I always want to be a learner. I always want to continue to be someone that is-- is reading and listening and talking and trying to understand, whether that's, uh, a difference of opinion, whether that's a theory, whether that's a book. I always want to be a learner. I think this has re-- really helped me stop, not move at such a fast pace, be a little bit more patient, and try to take in and learn.

JOHN WHYTE: We're going to do a rapid fire. Remember we did a rapid fire last time for you?

TIM TEBOW: Oh yeah. Let's go. Let's do it.

JOHN WHYTE: Ready? OK. Let's-- [LAUGHS]. Let's get ready. All right, regular golf or mini golf?

TIM TEBOW: Regular.


TIM TEBOW: There's no driver in mini golf. You got to bring out the big boy.

JOHN WHYTE: Tacos or pasta?

TIM TEBOW: Tacos, especially mom's tacos.

JOHN WHYTE: All right. Biceps curls or leg press?

TIM TEBOW: Leg press.

JOHN WHYTE: Ooh. People wouldn't normally say that. Now, megalodon or T. rex?


JOHN WHYTE: Oh, come on, it's megalodon. High-intensity training or cardio?

TIM TEBOW: High intensity.

JOHN WHYTE: Pandemic Netflix binging or pandemic snacking?

TIM TEBOW: Uh, snacking.

JOHN WHYTE: What are you snacking on now? Last time you were snacking on avocados.

TIM TEBOW: Oh, I love-- I love avocados. I actually was just crushing some ground beef mixed with avocados with some cheese on top. It was fantastic. That's what I literally right before I came here to-- to chat with you.

JOHN WHYTE: Well, Tim Tebow, I want to thank you for taking the time again to spend a few minutes with us for your advocacy for those that are most in need, for awareness of the role that sports, you know, plays in our lives, and your advice on resilience, especially during these very stressful times.

TIM TEBOW: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Enjoyed talking to you once again, and hopefully we'll get to do it again in the future. Thank you so much.


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