Tea Time with Tim — How to Find Mentors, Decrease Anxiety Through Training, and Much More (#363)

Welcome to a special episode called “Tea Time with Tim,” for which I solicited phone numbers and then called a handful of you to field any questions you might have.

Among other topics, we discuss:

  • How to go about finding a mentor.
  • The meaning of life.
  • How to extinguish anxiety.
  • Cocktails.
  • Relationship advice.
  • Training into confidence.

Without further ado, please enjoy this tea-fueled Q&A!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Castbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#363: Tea Time with Tim — How to Find Mentors, Decrease Anxiety Through Training, and Much More

Want to hear another episode that had me calling up listeners and answering their questions? — Listen to this one, in which I tackled how to reassess existing projects, how to learn to care less about what other people think, how to ask better questions, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#330: The Return of Drunk Dialing Q&A: How to Ask Better Questions, Take Better Risks, and More!

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…



  • The right and wrong questions to ask when you’re in search of a mentor. [06:26]
  • What’s my opinion on sending the often advised handwritten follow-up letter? [18:51]
  • I may not have the answer to the meaning of life, but here’s how I pursue purpose. [19:57]
  • What’s my method for staying calm and focused during potentially stressful times? [33:23]
  • Should you spend the time leading up to a physical evaluation (like a black belt test) training more rigorously, or resting? [52:29]
  • If I had to identify as a cocktail, what would it be and why? [55:19]
  • Why identifying a lack of purpose at some point in your life shouldn’t be seen as a character flaw, but an opportunity to reassess your options. Here’s how I proceed when this happens to me. [58:36]
  • Ways to identify, understand, and learn from what seem to be relationship incompatibilities. [1:12:13]
  • The basics of nonviolent communication for coping with sources of friction in a relationship. [1:28:59]


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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29 Replies to “Tea Time with Tim — How to Find Mentors, Decrease Anxiety Through Training, and Much More (#363)”

  1. Tim: I appreciated you answer to the relationship question. It reminded me that I have been meaning to recommend a book to you as a sort of repayment for the books I have read either by you or because of you. I think you will see it’s relevance to the question on relationships and how you answered it recommending non-violent communication. It gives a very simple framework with actionable ideas. “Leadership and Self-Deception” by the Arbinger institute. Their other books are also very good. Hope you get as much as I have from them.

  2. Hi Tim, I stumbled across your interview on the ‘Good Life Project’ and am now listening to your Ted Talk. I’m an art therapist in Melbourne, Australia and work in a psychiatric hospital. Listening to you is humbling, refreshing and quite beautiful. I’m planning on playing parts of your talk in my groups then asking the patients to respond to your work with a creative piece. I’d love to show you when they’re done.

    Thank you


  3. I loved this episode of Tea Time!

    The tips for performing tasks while super nervous will really come in handy when pitching books to agents and interviewing guests for my podcast. I’m usually pretty confident, but every so often my heart will race and I’ll get inside my head. Loved the visual of doing burpees in the archery center but totally get it.

    I’m looking forward to the next Tea Time.

  4. Less relevant but I listened to this one while cooking. Felt like a therapeutic session. This kind of episodes never disappoints since all your listeners seem to have more or less the same … ambition, to say the least.

    Looking forward to more in the future. That is unless there’s someone like Jordan Peterson, Russell Brand or Tony Robbins who I’d selfishly want to see (again).

    This may not be answered, but I am curious if it was ever mentioned how come we’ve had a few episodes that were video recorded and then we came back to the same format. Was it only an experiment or it was due to circumstances?

    ~ Felix Dragoi

  5. I loved this. It had an intimate feel to it, laid back, like chatting with a friend. I hope you do more of these. One thing I always really appreciate from you, in addition to your wisdom, is your candor and vulnerability. Love your books and your podcasts — I’ve benefited greatly from everything you’ve put out there. Thank you for everything you do… I’m grateful for your work.

  6. Hi Tim,

    The phrase “Long term demoralization” really stood out to me. I hadn’t heard it until today. The words couldn’t be more perfect for the feeling it describes. This helps a lot. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hi Tim. Thanks for the podcast and all the work you do for the benefit of everyone.

    You constantly mention great books/blog posts/podcasts/newspapers/videos to read/watch. I find myself wanting to read them all but at the same time unable to do so because of time constraints.

    How do you go about making time to read/watch all these interesting materials? Do you just set 1 hour a day to do so? Do you sort them by relevance to the closest goal you are trying to achieve and read those? How do you go about it?



  8. Dear Tim and Team:

    Once again you put out an amazing episode. Awesome format btw.

    I could really relate to the fear of blanking, have had the same… quite severely so.

    What helped me: Improv classes.

    There, blanking and failure are part of the process. It helps you to build confidence handling the blanking moments in a supportive and fun environment. It also gives you an outside perspective on how little perceivable our little mistakes may be, and how likable they can make you.

    Improv offerings are nearly everywhere and reasonably cheap. I would recommend trying an intro seminar to test out the experience.

    If that makes sense to you, I would appreciate if you could forward this too Heather, along with my best wishes for her black belt test.

    You guys rock


  9. Hi Tim,

    since you seem to have an interest in foreign pronunciations,

    here’s how Richard Koch’s family name would be pronounced,

    in its German original form: https://www.dict.cc/?s=koch

    No need to reply, but warm thanks and best wishes,


  10. Enjoyed the answer on meaning and purpose. I paraphrase here: “I approach all I do from one perspective – if I have a problem/pain/question/goal, I assume others also do have that. If I can figure out it for myself, I will add value to world”. It really is a simple approach, but I love it and it works for me also. + Adding tools in a practical manner to decrease suffering – hopefully we understand the cause of suffering 🙂 This is why it is worth being authentic and vulnerable and scratch your own itch publicly – in a positively structured way as a possible solution.

  11. Thank you for being my mentor! Your books and pod casts have taught me so much. I love how your show has evolved. Quick question… you used to talk about coffee, one of my great pleasures. There seems to be much more talk about tea lately. Do you still like coffee ☕️ or have you moved on to tea🍵? If so why?

    1. Hi Tim.

      Noticing the feeling that you love or want to have and then looking for a way to build your life to have that feeling is a great way of looking for the meaning of life.

      That’s kinda what I did when I was looking for a carrier. I noticed that I love the feeling of helping people. Or more exactly when I helped someone. And I also love tech and problemsolving. So I became a Support Engineer. Now I do what I love and earn good money doing it. I also tutor in my free Time. Helping ist just what makes my day.

      Thanks for the great podcast.

      Suggestion: do a podcast once a year where you tell what you learned this year for your personal life and what great things you have discovered. I enjoyed your episode where you showcased your everyday things. Like the pillow soft ear plugs. They are great.

  12. In the spirit of asking questions, I thought I’d ask a question I previously tried to ask you via Twitter. You’ve, somewhat recently, talked about losing a number of close friends. My best friend and business partner passed away in November, and I’m wondering if you have any good resources to help me deal with the loss of him as both a friend and business partner? If you give even a second of your time towards this, thank you, and I truly appreciate it.

    1. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy is one of the best I have read. We all process greif differently so you will have to experiment to find what resonates with you. One second, then one hour, day, week, month you will find strenght in the love you shared. The podcast with Katie Couric is pretty amazing too. I’m not Tim, but I have lost many loved ones and the pain can be crippling. Greif counseling through a local hospice can also be very helpful. Take care. Kristi.

      1. Thank you, Kristi. I read Option B recently. I’ll definitely look into getting the other books you recommend. I really want to thank you for the thoughtful response. I’m sorry you’ve lost your loved ones, and can spend the time to give me your advice. This meant a lot.

  13. Great podcast! Two quick questions … what tea are you drinking these days? And it sounded like you may have a cold, allergies, etc … is there a different tea you drink when you feel like you’re about to get sick? Thanks!

  14. Tim: Love your podcast. Have listened to it, and made physical and business applications since Kevin Rose and Tim Tim, Talk Talk. An interview-guest who I think fits your target is Dr. Beat Knechtle. Beat is interested in performance analysis in endurance and ultra-endurance athletes, sex difference in athletic performance and nutrition, fluid metabolism and energy turnover during ultra-endurance performance. Like you, he is interested in how to get the most out of the human body. He completed many races in swimming, cycling, running, and triathlon. Among his best achievements, he won in 2013 a Deca Iron ultra-triathlon, covering the total distance of 38km swimming, 1800km cycling, and 422km running. While in Switzerland, I mentioned your show to him, and he was interested. I if I can do more to connect the two of you, please let me know. If not, no worries, I love you podcast, books, and blog.

  15. Testing: “Rather than debate what the best next step may be, I just try to test them. I look for low cost steps with limited downside.”

    Tim, I’m curious what specific tests you undertook before you moved to Austin. I’m considering a move from a major city with what I assume will have implications on my career and current relationships, however I’m ready for a change.

    Were there any 2 or 3 tests you found to be most effective in your decision?



  16. Handwritten letters and what does it inflict? A rather stylistic decision, I find it easier to write you here. I would find myself too concerned with my calligraphy, it’s a design decision you can’t erase nor mold. Handwritten letters imprint so much of oneself. I have a postcard in an envelope yet to be sent, it’s nothing special. I bought the postcard at the Pompidou in Paris (the museum shops always pull me in). I bought five postcards of artwork reproductions. Afterwards, I sat at a ramen place to enjoy a warm soup since it was a grey and rainy day, not Paris best face, but inside it provided warmth. I finished and got those postcards out and asked myself who can I write to? My artist friend of course, my cousin in Switzerland as she also sends me beautiful postcards, she’s so dedicated I am inspired to write and send postcards. However postcards are always short, they shall be sweet and never too reflective of life, specially if there’s no envelope. The space is limited and no place for long sentiments. Just a thought on writing letters, or postcards.

  17. If something that I have expected from a structured education is mentors. That sense of authentic leadership and mastery, not as my personal Google. But to ask the beautiful questions, how does one go about life with the questions that linger… Some answers come in the form of dreams or heightened thoughts–it never happens to me during mediation–they usually occur when I do something different from my daily axis. When I talk to someone on the train, or make a small chit chat somewhere I didn’t expect. So once my question has been answered in an abstract way, I continue to ponder on it and weave in more of the context of my doubt. Sometimes I find mentors and I shoot them a very simple question, more about the How or Why. Sometimes it’s too simple, that I have to give more about it and explain, but I want them to explain. From their experience, from their mastery, from their life answers. I don’t believe in gurus nor religious leaders. I love people and I am ever curious of others. Their own truths, their own formulas, their own measurements of success. I like to spend mental time and space to linger on what makes that person great and interesting, and this precisely, is what I see in a mentor.

  18. Hey Tim,

    Great episode, thanks as always. I imagine you’re familiar with Elizabeth Swaney. On the off chance you are not, I suggest checking out her story via the link below. I think she’d make for a solid guest on your show; it would be great to hear the two of you compare notes on the motivations and challenges that come with taking on seemingly random and highly demanding quests.

    [Moderator: link to the californiasunday (dot) com profile of Elizabeth Swaney removed.]


  19. Another awesome podcast Tim! Thank you for getting so vulnerable with the relationship stuff. Do you have any recommendations for a relationship coaching service?

  20. Thanks Tim and team for a great episode! I especially loved your take on the relationship question. As I’ve come to expect with your episodes, your response was both elegant and actionable. Looking to the complementary nature of partnership and picking up a practice like Non Violent Communication is crucial for couples.

    I’d love to hear more from you on relationship! If I could dream up an episode, it would be to hear you interview Stan Tatkin, who I’ve had the good fortune to learn a lot from over the years. I’d be curious also to hear you explore how relationship connects with healing trauma, which I’ve heard you mention as a key interest.

    Gratitude for all you share!

  21. Good to have this format back, Tim, though I missed the tonal evolution in your commentary back to us when the episode is sponsored by tequila!

  22. Hey Tim

    Not directly related to your podcast, but I want to thank you for your chosen quote for the Five Bullet Friday of 19 April 2019. You quoted Frank Herbert “Dune.” I re-watched the movie and read the novel last year and have been saying that line about fear being the mind-killer ever since. It is brilliant. I really enjoy your five-bullet fridays not because I always like your choices but because its never boring and yet doesn’t feel contrived. Way to get after it brother.