UNION – Timothy Lynn of Union was only 16 years old when he began bearing the full weight of adult responsibility.
“I was living in Crystal Lake, and the girl I had gone to school with in seventh and eighth grade told me she was pregnant,” Lynn said more than 40 years later.
The baby boy was his. The young parents-to-be got married – they needed permission from a judge as she was only 15 years old – and then Lynn started looking for work.
Through a newspaper ad, he was hired to paint a fence for $75. He said he continued with similar jobs for a while.
Eventually, Lynn got a position as a foreman with a roofing company after six months of training. But that, even having applied for welfare and food stamps, wasn’t enough.
“I decided that I needed to start my own business if I really wanted to make money to provide for my family,” Lynn said.
By age 19, he was no longer relying on food stamps and had a growing business with 90 employees.
Today, NIR Roof Care Inc. of Huntley is worth about $10 million, Lynn said. It’s also women-owned since his 38-year-old daughter became the majority shareholder, president and CEO.
His son, now 42, also is running a business in Milwaukee, added Lynn, who is remarried with six stepchildren.
The self-employment enthusiast attributes his success to a system of his own development; one composed of four pillars on which he believes a healthy and happy life can be built.
“I realized that faith, self, family and life’s work were the four guiding pillars that I needed to keep moving and in action,” he said.
Those four pillars are the foundation of his newest book, “Next Step: How to start living intentionally and discover what God really wants for your life.”
Lynn described the notion, saying the principles constantly feed into one another, and “just keep moving in my system all the time.”
His idea has resonated with at least one person already.
Adam Hamilton, owner of Crystal Lake-based Lifestyle Fitness Institute, met Lynn nearly five years ago when Hamilton became Lynn’s personal trainer.
While Hamilton taught lessons of health and fitness, Lynn taught lessons of life and business.
In comparing his life now with his life five years ago, Hamilton said he’s happier, more relaxed and more focused on what his life’s work should be.
“I found it appealing that it really looked at the entire person,” Hamilton said of Lynn’s system. “I’ve always asked the question, ‘How could I really help a person, totally?’
“The system really encompasses what I’ve been looking for.”
So much so Hamilton started conducting once-a-month workshops with Lynn at the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce.
The goal of the workshops is similar to that of Lynn’s book: to help people organize their lives by balancing the four pillars and keeping them in constant motion, Lynn said.
“One thing it says in the book is, ‘Life is motion,’ ” Lynn said. “Sedentary is not life. Once you start to move, things start to happen.”
“Next Step: How to start living intentionally and discover what God really wants for your life” is available in commercial book stores.