About Terry Tucker
Terry Tucker is a motivational speaker, author, and international podcast guest on the topics of mindset, motivation, and self-development. He is the Founder of Motivational Check LLC. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from The Citadel and a Master’s degree from Boston University. He has been a college basketball player, a marketing executive, a hospital administrator, a SWAT Team Hostage Negotiator, a high school basketball coach, a business owner, a motivational speaker, and most recently, a cancer warrior. He is the author of the book Sustainable Excellence, Ten Principles To Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life. Terry has also been featured in Authority, Thrive Global, and Human Capital Leadership magazines.
Lesson 1: Control your mind or it will control you. 05:12
Lesson 2: Embrace the pain and difficulty we all experience in life and use it to make you more resilient. 07:19
Lesson 3: What you leave behind is what you weave in the hearts of other people. 11:37
Lesson 4: As long as you don’t quit, you can never be defeated. 15:14
Lesson 5: Be part of something bigger than yourself. 17:24
Lesson 6: Most people think with their fears and insecurities, instead of using their minds. 23:37
Lesson 7: You are the person you’re looking to become. 28:43
Lesson 8: Fail often, especially when you are young. 32:03
Lesson 9: Listen more than you talk. 35:29
Lesson 10: Love is the most important word in any language. 38:56
Terry Tucker – What you leave behind is what you weave in the hearts of other people.
[00:00:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello and welcome to our program, 10 Lessons Learned, where we talk to business people, journalists, authors, professors, ambassadors, leaders, and luminaries from all over the world. My name is Siebe Van Der Zee, and I’m your host. I’m originally from the Netherlands, currently happily residing in the beautiful Grand Canyon state of Arizona.
[00:00:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m also known as the Dutchman in the desert.
[00:00:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: Our guest today is Terry Tucker from Denver, Colorado. Terry is a motivational speaker, author, a frequent podcast guest, and on the topics of mindset, motivation, and self-development as he describes himself. He states I help people live their uncommon and extraordinary lives.
[00:00:55] Siebe Van Der Zee: Terry is the founder of Motivational Check LLC. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Citadel and a master’s degree from Boston University. In the past, Terry has been a college basketball player. A marketing executive, a hospital administrator, a SWAT team, hostage negotiator, a high school basketball coach, a business owner, a motivational speaker, and most recently a cancer warrior.
[00:01:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: He is also the author of multiple books, and he has been featured in several leadership magazines. You can learn more about Terry Tucker on our website. 10 Lessons learned.com.
[00:01:41] Siebe Van Der Zee: Hello Terry. We are so happy to have you join us today.
[00:01:45] Terry Tucker: Well, Siebe, thanks for having me on. I’m really looking forward to talking with you today.
[00:01:49] Siebe Van Der Zee: So am I. And I was curious, Terry, one of your books, 10 Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life. You talk about the concept of sustainable excellence. What do you mean with that?
[00:02:02] Terry Tucker: Yeah, that’s a great question. People always ask me, you know, you write this book Sustainable Excellence, and I like, well, what is excellence?
[00:02:08] Terry Tucker: I’m like, I don’t know. I don’t know what excellence is. and the reason I say that is because you and I may look at something, whether it’s a, you know, a piece of art or a sports team or something like that. And you may say, man, that is excellent. And I may look at it and say, Oh, that’s good.
[00:02:22] Terry Tucker: But I don’t think it’s excellent. So I think excellence, like beauty, sort of in the eye of the beholder. And then the sustainable part of it is, you know, we work really hard to get to the top of the mountain, but so many people, once they get there, they kinda kick back, put their feet up on the desk, pour themselves a drink and say, I’ve arrived.
[00:02:40] Terry Tucker: And then six months later or a year later, boom, somebody passes ’em up. And why do they do that? Because they didn’t innovate. They didn’t continue to grow. They didn’t find a different way to deliver their products. So sustainable has to do with not just resting on your laurels, but actually getting out there and continuing to innovate and find different ways to deliver your product.
[00:03:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: Fascinating. in your coaching and also your speaking engagement, how would you describe, let’s say, your audience? Who are you focused on? And it could be a variety of courses.
[00:03:11] Terry Tucker: Yeah, it’s mostly, young leaders, young professionals that are, you know, just kind of getting into the game, so to speak, the game of life and trying to figure out where they belong and what their niche is.
[00:03:22] Terry Tucker: And that, and I don’t purport to have all the answers, but I do feel that over my 62 years and all over the different, careers that I’ve had, I’ve learned some things that I’m just hoping to pass on to people that if it works for them, take it by all means and incorporate it in your. If not, then maybe it’ll generate a spark in you where you can develop something that does work for you.
[00:03:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: Interesting. You mentioned you have learned some things, and I know you have, but perhaps are there any lessons that, in your life you have learned that you would, let’s say, like to teach yourself? If you look at yourself as a 30 year old, any lessons that you would like to. At that moment.
[00:04:03] Terry Tucker: Absolutely.
[00:04:04] Terry Tucker: And I think the biggest one, and I’ve been really thinking about this lately, is we seem to be born empty and our purpose, you know, when we get outta high school or college or graduate school or the military, whatever we end up doing, When we get into life, we feel we’ve gotta fill ourselves up.
[00:04:20] Terry Tucker: You know, we’ve gotta get a great job, we gotta get money, we gotta get a great car and all that.
[00:04:24] Terry Tucker: And I’m starting to think that it’s just the opposite of that. What if, instead of thinking we were born empty and we need to fill ourselves up, we look at ourselves as we’re born full and our job is to empty ourselves out for the betterment of society, for ourselves, for our family, for our company, for the people that we engage with.
[00:04:44] Terry Tucker: and I think if I would’ve looked at life a little bit differently, if I would’ve flipped that sort of thing on its head, I don’t know. Maybe I would’ve been a little more successful and maybe sooner I would’ve figured out what’s really important in life. And it’s not money, power, prestige, none of that goes with you at the end.
[00:05:00] Terry Tucker: It’s really the love that you have in your heart that goes with you when we pass on to the next life.
[00:05:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. and it, let’s say sets you up for your 10 lessons, right? Let’s take a look at those 10 lessons.
[00:05:12] Lesson 1:Control your mind or it will control you.
[00:05:12] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number one, control your mind or it will control you.
[00:05:18] Siebe Van Der Zee: What are your thoughts about that?
[00:05:20] Terry Tucker: yeah, I mean, I think that’s one of the most important things in life. When I was growing up in Chicago and playing basketball, I had a friend in the conference by the name of Isaiah Thomas, who played for Bobby Knight at Indiana. And we would see each other in the summer when we would come home.
[00:05:36] Terry Tucker: And I always asked him what Knight was like. He said, you know, Knight’s got this great saying that. Mental is to physical as four is to one. And here’s this great coach teaching elite athletes to use their bodies to be great players on the court. But what he’s really saying with that quote is that your mind or your mindset is four times more important than anything your physical body’s going to.
[00:06:01] Terry Tucker: When I was at the Citadel, one year, we had a president by the name of James Stockdale, and Admiral Stockdale was the highest ranking prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam conflict. He won our nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. And I didn’t have a lot of interaction with him, but I remember one day I was at an event and somebody asked him, you know, who were the people that survived that torture?
[00:06:26] Terry Tucker: I mean, he was a prisoner of war for eight years. And he said, you know, it’s interesting, the people you would think that would survive, didn’t, you know, the big tall strong people that thought they could handle any amount of torture, they didn’t survive. He said, even the optimists didn’t survive. The people who thought they would be rescued or let go by thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter.
[00:06:48] Terry Tucker: He said those people didn’t make it because they weren’t let go and they died of a broken heart. He said the people that survived were the people that understood what they could control, and they controlled it. And he said, for us as prisoners of war, the only thing we could control was our breathing and the thoughts in our mind.
[00:07:06] Terry Tucker: And he said, if we could do that, then we were able to, we were able to survive that horrible endeavor. So, yeah. Controlling your mind, I think. It starts there. If you can’t control your mind, it’s awfully hard to control your body.
[00:07:19] Lesson 2:Embrace the pain and difficulty we all experience in life and use it to make you more resilient.
[00:07:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: All right. Now lesson number two. Embrace the pain and difficulty we all experience in life and use it to make you more resilient. easier said than done, perhaps.
[00:07:31] Terry Tucker: Very much so. Very much so. You know, our brains are hardwired to avoid pain and discomfort and to seek pleasure. So to the brain, the status quo, the way things are right now is comfortable and familiar and should just be left alone.
[00:07:47] Terry Tucker: The problem with that is the only way we’re gonna grow, the only way we’re gonna improve, the only way we’re gonna get better is if we step outside those comfort zones and we do things that make us uncomfortable. We’re all going to experience pain in our lives. Pain is inevitable. Suffering. On the other hand, suffering’s, optional suffering’s.
[00:08:07] Terry Tucker: What do you do with that pain? Do you take it and use it to make you a stronger and more resilient individual? Or do you wallow in it and feel sorry for yourself and want other people to feel sorry for you? I do this every day, so I will recommend it to you and your listeners as well. Do one thing that makes you nervous, that scares you, that’s potentially embarrassing.
[00:08:30] Terry Tucker: It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but if you do those small things every day, when the big disasters in life hit us and they hit all of us, you know, we lose somebody who’s close to us. We lose our job, we find out we have a chronic or a terminal illness, you’ll be so much, so much more resilient to handle those things than the people who just kind of casually go through their life.
[00:08:54] Terry Tucker: it bothers me a lot when I look at people who, you know, there’s an entrepreneur by the name of Ed Millet and he talks about the four types of people in the world. He said the first one are the unmotivated, and he said, that’s the vast majority of people.
[00:09:09] Terry Tucker: He said, the second one, second group are the motivated, and it’s pretty simple, sort of a carrot and stick. If I do this, then I will get that. But number three or four are really where I want to be. He said number three is the inspirational people. Inspirational meaning in spirit, you move people with your actions.
[00:09:29] Terry Tucker: And then the fourth group are the aspirational people where people want to be like you. So instead of running from pain, instead of trying to avoid it. What again, if we did just the opposite, what if we took that pain, flipped it inside? Burned it as fuel, used it as energy to make us stronger and more resilient.
[00:09:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: Now, perhaps, Terry, the exception could be or would be individuals that have mental issues because, That makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to make adjustments. Right. And you have shared with me already that you have gone through, cancer treatment and obviously, that was not easy to deal with and is not easy to deal with, but you managed to find a way to, I don’t wanna say overcome because it’s, you know, like a permanent situation, but to deal with that, make adjustments.
[00:10:30] Terry Tucker: Exactly. I, you know, I’ve had cancer for almost 11 years now. I’ve had my leg amputated in 2020. During the Go Global Pandemic, I have tumors in my lungs. But I am now on a clinical trial drug where when I first started it, I’ve been doing it for two and a half years. I have terrible reactions to it, and I do this every three weeks for five days in a row.
[00:10:54] Terry Tucker: I throw up, I shake violently. I have a headache, I have a fever. And even my nurses are like, why do you keep coming back and doing this? And I’m not gonna give you the answer to that yet, because it is further down the road in terms of the lessons that I’ve learned. But for me, it’s, you know, I take that pain, I take that ugliness, and instead of running from it, I use it.
[00:11:16] Terry Tucker: I use it to make me stronger. I use it to keep going. I just challenge myself to take that pain. And instead of trying to get away from it, I flip it inside and I burn it as fuel to make me more resilient. And I promise you, anybody who’s listening to us, I’m the biggest wimp in the world. So if I can do this, I promise you anybody listening to us can do this as well.
[00:11:37] Lesson 3:What you leave behind is what you weave in the hearts of other people.
[00:11:37] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, truly inspirational and I appreciate you sharing that. lesson number three, what you leave behind is what you weave in the hearts of other people. Well said. and obviously curious about your story behind that.
[00:11:52] Terry Tucker: Yeah, I look at that kind of as a legacy type of truth. I grew up with Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers, you know, Mr. Rogers neighborhood, who was on P B S from like 1968 till somewhere in the two thousands. And I remember reading a story that when Mr. Rogers died, his family was going through his effects and they found his wallet. And inside his wallet was a piece of paper where he had scribbled.
[00:12:17] Terry Tucker: Life is for service. And so the way I look at that is when I had my leg amputated and I found out I had these tumors in my lungs, which I’m being treated for, I went with my wife to the mortuary and to the cemetery and to the church, and I plan my funeral. And because I go on podcasts like this or I speak in person about motivation and the need to keep moving forward.
[00:12:40] Terry Tucker: I actually got some brush back from people who commented that somehow planning my funeral was in some way defeatist, and I had to go back at ’em and sort of laugh and say, well, the last time I checked, think we’re all gonna die. Don’t think anybody’s working on a cure for life right now. Every one of us is going to die, but not every one of us is going to live.
[00:13:01] Terry Tucker: And I heard a Native American Blackfoot proverb years ago that I absolutely love, and it goes like this. When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way so that when you die, The world cries and you rejoice. That’s what I want. That’s what I’m looking for, you know, don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking to hasten my demise in any way, shape, or form, but death is not nearly as scary for me because I believed I have lived the purposes for which I was put on this earth to do.
[00:13:34] Siebe Van Der Zee: There is perhaps also an element where, when people make judgements, and I think people are very quick to make judgements, so there is a first impression. When they observe or hear something, and then perhaps when they absorb it, there is an overall impression that could well be different from that first impression.
[00:13:55] Siebe Van Der Zee: When somebody talks about, you know, you’re preparing your funeral. Wow, how negative can you get? But if you understand what you just explained, that impression is of course completely different from that first impression.
[00:14:10] Terry Tucker: It is. And I think anybody who’s been exposed to having someone close to them die and had to, you know, plan a funeral and do all that, I, that happened to me and my mother when my father passed away.
[00:14:21] Terry Tucker: You know, you’re exhausted mentally. Physically, emotionally, and now you’ve gotta go, you know, chase the florist down and go to the church and do all these things. So by doing that, I felt it was a gift to my family cuz we’re all gonna die. I mean, that’s the great thing about death. We all get it once, you know, but we, when that happens, All my family has to do is make one phone call and it’s all taken care of.
[00:14:46] Terry Tucker: And they can be together, they can grieve, they can support each other. and that’s what I want. I think that’s what’s important. You know, start the grieving process, get over that at some point in time, but you have to start it. And funerals are incredibly demanding physically, emotionally, mentally.
[00:15:01] Terry Tucker: And so I just felt it was more of a gift to my family than it was really being defeatist in any way.
[00:15:07] Siebe Van Der Zee: I get it. I like it in, in, in that sense. I like it, right? We’re talking about funerals, but you know what I mean. the mindset.
[00:15:14] Lesson 4:As long as you don’t quit, you can never be defeated.
[00:15:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: again, lesson number four, and it kind of connects to what we were talking about, lesson number four.
[00:15:21] Siebe Van Der Zee: As long as you don’t quit, you can never be defeated.
[00:15:26] Terry Tucker: Yeah, that’s, you know, it’s, it seems pretty simple, pretty logical. and the way that works for me is that, you know, someday my pain is going to end, you know, it may end, through surgery, it may end through some type of new medication that’s developed. Quite frankly, it may end, when I die, but if I quit, if I give up, if I give into pain, then pain will always be a part of my life.
[00:15:52] Terry Tucker: I have a friend of mine who, when I ended up writing my book, he was the first person I sent it to and I said, is this any good? I mean, you know, you don’t know, especially as a first time writer. And he’s a former Navy Seal and he’s kind enough to call me on my off weeks of treatment. And we talk about all kinds of things, and the Seals have what they call their 40% rule, which basically says that, you know, if you’re done, if you can’t go on, if you’re at the end of your rope.
[00:16:18] Terry Tucker: You’re only at 40% of your maximum and you still have another 60% left in reserve to give to yourself. So every, anytime I get into those dark places, and I don’t want your listeners to think that, you know, this cancer journey’s a piece of cake for me. It’s not. I get in places where it’s dark and I feel sorry for myself and I get down.
[00:16:38] Terry Tucker: But when I do that, I remember that 40% rule. I remember that I have so much more left inside of me to give to myself. So I think anytime your listeners are thinking, you know, I can’t get off the couch and go to the gym, or I don’t wanna stay at work late at work to get this report done, or I can’t, you know, finish this or study for this exam.
[00:16:57] Terry Tucker: Remember, you have 60% more left in yourself to give to yourself to be successful in life.
[00:17:05] Siebe Van Der Zee: Perhaps that’s why you describe yourself as a cancer warrior. right. and I appreciate and value, of course, in different situations. People say cancer survivor, but you’re in it, you’re fighting it, and you deal with the ups and the downs.
[00:17:19] Siebe Van Der Zee: You have to deal with that. You do. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that.
[00:17:24] Lesson 5:Be part of something bigger than yourself.
[00:17:24] Siebe Van Der Zee: lesson number five, be part of something bigger than yourself. I have some questions, but please explain.
[00:17:31] Terry Tucker: Sure. So when I was, one of the things, I guess I’ll say it this way. One of the things I’ve learned from being part of a team and I started playing basketball when I was nine years old and played all the way up till I graduated from college when I was 21.
[00:17:45] Terry Tucker: And one of the things, one of the big things I think you. As part of being part of a team. And for me it was sports. I think whatever team you’re on, you know, your family team, your business team, whatever you’re doing, we’re all in this kind of together. So what team sports taught me was the importance of being part of something that’s bigger than yourself.
[00:18:05] Terry Tucker: You realize that on a team, if you don’t do your job, not only do you let yourself down, but you let your teammates down, your coaches down, your fans down, et cetera. And if you think about it, The biggest team game that we all play is this game of life, and I am now on a clinical trial drug and I mentioned how it affects me with nausea and vomiting and shaking and all that kind of stuff.
[00:18:29] Terry Tucker: It’s a drug that’s more than likely not going to save my life. But it is something that maybe five years from now, 10 years from now, based on the data that the doctors are gleaning from my test results, my blood work, my scans, and things like that may help somebody that I don’t even know, that I’ll never have the opportunity to meet.
[00:18:51] Terry Tucker: and that to me is a carryover for what I learned in team sports is to be part of something that’s bigger than myself that will help somebody that I don’t even know.
[00:19:01] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah, that’s where my thoughts were going when I looked at the lesson. Be part of something bigger than yourself. You are dealing with a lot of challenges yourself.
[00:19:11] Siebe Van Der Zee: Right? But you’re also indicating that you get some level of, can I say, satisfaction, from helping others and guiding others. And I think that’s something that we can see in life. I think that’s a wisdom that many people experience if you help other people without looking at your own personal benefit.
[00:19:33] Siebe Van Der Zee: It makes you feel good to put it in simple terms, right?
[00:19:36] Terry Tucker: It really does. And it, I mean, so many of us develop relationships that are more quid pro quo or there’s a hook attached. You know, I want to know you because you can help me, or something like that. Again, what if we flip that on its head?
[00:19:49] Terry Tucker: What if we just developed relationships for what we could give to each. Without anything. I’m not looking for anything from you. I’m not looking for you to help. If you can help me somewhere down the road, great, but that’s not what this is about. This is about how can I help you. Think how great those relationships would be.
[00:20:05] Terry Tucker: Think at least for me, I love being able to help somebody that will never be able to repay me for what I did for them, because it just gives me a great feeling. And if we all started to think that way and not what I can get from it, but what I can give to it, imagining how much better our world would be.
[00:20:25] Siebe Van Der Zee: True. But it is very difficult, I think, to change people’s mind because. Many times the focus is on making money. And if I can do this, and yes, you know, it may help someone, but if I can make money, then that seems to be on a higher level, even making money.
[00:20:44] Terry Tucker: It does. you’re absolutely right.
[00:20:46] Terry Tucker: But on the other hand, I’ll say this, you know, having been in business for a number of years, every study that I ever saw about, What’s important to an individual in terms of their job salary or compensation seemed to always rank, you know, 6, 7, 8, 9, somewhere in that area. There were so many more things that were important in terms of, you know, in, including being valued.
[00:21:07] Terry Tucker: You know, I want people, I want the organization to value me for my opinion. I want to feel that I contribute and things like that, that I’m just not pushing papers from one side of the to the other. So yes, compensation is important. You want to be treated fairly. You want to be compensated for your time, your talents, and your efforts, but at the same time, Most people would say there are more important things than just compensation.
[00:21:31] Terry Tucker: And yeah, you’re right. We all wanna make money. We all need money to live. But at the end of the day, you know, money, power, prestige, you can’t take that with you when you go, what can you take with you?
[00:21:42] Siebe Van Der Zee: But those are le, excuse me, I didn’t mean to interrupt that. Those are lessons that you learn, right? if you do things for others without having a direct personal benefit.
[00:21:52] Siebe Van Der Zee: It makes you feel good and that’s a lesson you say, Hey, I’ll do this again. I’m gonna help this other person even if there’s no monetary gain in it for me. It takes time, it takes effort, but the satisfaction comes from being able to help someone and I think that’s a lesson many people learn over time, but very relevant.
[00:22:13] Terry Tucker: You’re, you’re absolutely right. I, and I just finished reading a book by Adam Grant, called Give and Take, and it’s about givers and takers and matchers. And you know, you think that the people who are successful in life are gonna be the people that are gonna get all this stuff and I’m gonna take it.
[00:22:28] Terry Tucker: But what he argues is that it’s not the case. It’s the people who give up themselves, who give up their time, who give up their talents to help other people be successful. Those are also the people that somehow make it up the ladder as well. So don’t think that, you know, I can’t, I’ve gotta always give, you know, get something.
[00:22:46] Terry Tucker: No. What you can give will also get you to the point where you’re making a good salary. You know, you’re running a company, whatever your goals are.
[00:22:53] Siebe Van Der Zee: Absolutely.
[00:22:54] Affiliate Break
[00:22:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: We’re talking today to Terry Tucker, a sought after speaker and author who motivates, inspires, and helps others to lead their extraordinary lives.
[00:23:04] Siebe Van Der Zee: Sharing his 10 lessons learned. I want to thank our affiliate partner Audible. Audible is an amazing way to experience our program. 10 Lessons Learned, but also books and other podcasts allowing you to build a library of knowledge. All in one place, you can start your free 30 day trial by going to audible trial.com/10lessonslearned. Again, that’s audible trial.com/one zero. Lessons learned all lowercase to get your free 30 day subscription.
[00:23:37] Lesson 6:Most people think with their fears and insecurities, instead of using their minds.
[00:23:37] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well, let’s move on. lesson than number six. Most people think with their fears and insecurities instead of using their minds. I’m gonna ask you in a moment, how do you train your brain muscle in that situation?
[00:23:50] Siebe Van Der Zee: But first of all, your thoughts on that lesson.
[00:23:53] Terry Tucker: Yeah. and I think it’s an incredibly important lesson to learn.
[00:23:56] Terry Tucker: I devoted an entire chapter in my book to just that thinking with your fears and insecurities, and I know I’ve done that. I know I’ve thought, you know, I should do this. Oh, wait a minute.
[00:24:06] Terry Tucker: What will people think of me? Or maybe I don’t have enough knowledge or I don’t have enough experience, so, so, so I’m not gonna do that. And I always tell, especially when I talk to young people, I always tell ’em if there’s something in your heart, something in your soul that you believe you’re supposed to do, but it scares you.
[00:24:24] Terry Tucker: Go ahead and do it, because at the end of your life, the things that you’re going to regret are not gonna be the things you did. They’re gonna be the things you didn’t do. And by that time, it’s gonna be too late to go back and do them. and I’ll give you a story. I, you know, I grew up in a family with all boys.
[00:24:39] Terry Tucker: I went to an all male, all boy Catholic high school in Chicago. And when I went to the Citadel, it was all male as well. So here I am, you know, 20, 30 years later. Coaching girls high school basketball. and I remember I, we were in the middle of a game and I pointed to one of the girls on the bench to go in for one of the players that was on the court, and she shook her head yes.
[00:25:00] Terry Tucker: And I turned around and started to watch the game as the coach and I kind of, out of the corner of my eye, looked at the scores table and there was nobody there. And so I turned around to the girl and I’m like, get in the game. And she gives me that, you know? Yeah. And the same thing turned around, and I started to watch the game.
[00:25:16] Terry Tucker: And again, outta the corner of my, nobody’s at the game. So I looked at her and I’m like, get in the game. And now she’s shaking me off like a big league pitcher, you know, who’s like, I don’t like that sign. no, I don’t wanna go in the game. Like, wh what do you mean you don’t want to go in the game? You know?
[00:25:30] Terry Tucker: So I bring her to me where I am on the court and we have basically a counseling session. I’m like, look, we need you in the game. And all of a sudden the tears start down the side of the cheeks and I’m like, what’s wrong? Why don’t you want to go play? She said, because I’m afraid if I make a mistake that my friends in the stands are going to make fun of me.
[00:25:51] Terry Tucker: I said, what about your responsibility to the teammates that you have here on this bench? You come to practice every day. You work hard to make yourself and your teammates better. You owe them the responsibility to go in that game. Now I know you’re gonna make mistakes. That’s okay. But go in there and do the best you can.
[00:26:11] Terry Tucker: And I’m like, oh my God, I am having a counseling session in the middle of a high school basketball game because this individual doesn’t want to go in the game. I mean, I, it was so foreign to me, but when I thought about it later, again, that’s, she was thinking with her fears and her insecurities. And not thinking really what was best for her and best for the team.
[00:26:32] Terry Tucker: So I, I love telling that story because I think it really illustrates when an individual thinks with their fears and their insecurities.
[00:26:40] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. And that’s why when I saw that lesson, I was thinking of, you know, the term brain muscle, how you can train your brain. Because if this young person is dealing with a similar situation in a different environment, She may well go back to the lessons that she learned from you in that situation.
[00:27:00] Siebe Van Der Zee: And her brain has been prepared, trained. I always make the simple comparison. If we go through traffic, and there is a traffic light, well, when the light switches from green to, you know, to yellow to red, You stop. Even if you are talking to a passenger next to you or listening to the radio, your brain is trained hopefully that way that you stop.
[00:27:22] Siebe Van Der Zee: And of course, in other business situations or sports related, you can train your brain. If I deal with adversity, I have to shift gears. This is what I have to do. Is that something that you apply as well? Brain, muscle and things like that?
[00:27:37] Terry Tucker: I do. And I think it goes back to what we were talking about earlier.
[00:27:41] Terry Tucker: You know, how do you do that? How do you develop that thing? and like I said before, do one thing every day that makes you uncomfortable, that makes you nervous, that scares you. That’s potentially embarrassing because if you do those small things every day, when you get into that situation, like my player was, Who was like, oh my gosh, you know, what do I do?
[00:28:01] Terry Tucker: Well, you’ve already done uncomfortable things in your life And my players will tell you, if you ever interviewed them, they would tell you. Coach used to always say, you need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Yes. I used to tell ’em that all the time, and as a result, I would run my practices.
[00:28:16] Terry Tucker: In a way that they were always, I felt much harder, much tougher, you know, than the games that we were going to play because I wanted ’em to realize, look, if you can do it in practice when we get into a game, you’re certainly gonna be able to do it in that regard as well. So, again, don’t sit back on your laurels and say, this is comfortable cuz your brain will let you do that.
[00:28:37] Terry Tucker: Get outside that comfort zone. Do difficult things. You do difficult things. You work that brain muscle.
[00:28:43] Lesson 7:You are the person you’re looking to become.
[00:28:43] Siebe Van Der Zee: Excellent. Lesson number seven. You are the person you’re looking to become. How does that work?
[00:28:49] Terry Tucker: Yeah, that’s a great question. Yeah, I really think, you know, I, if you want to be, you know, a CEO, you have to see that in your mind.
[00:28:59] Terry Tucker: You know, I always tell people, if you can see something in your mind, it can happen. If you can’t see it in your mind, it’s never going to happen. And that goes back to what we started with controlling your mind or your mind is going to control you. I’ve seen people just abdicate responsibility for their life to others.
[00:29:18] Terry Tucker: I’ve certainly seen it during my cancer journey where people will say, okay, I’ve got cancer. Okay, doctor, I’m turning my entire life over to you. You make all the decisions for me, and I’m just not that kind of a person. I want my life. To be based on the decisions that I made, not by the ones that I didn’t or the ones that other people made for me.
[00:29:40] Terry Tucker: kind of a story that sort of illustrates that I think is that I’ve always been a big fan of westerns growing up. You know, when I was young, my mom and dad used to let me stay up late and watch GunSmoke and Bonanza, and my favorite was Wild, Wild West 1993. The movie Tombstone came out, you may have seen it was a huge blockbuster.
[00:29:58] Terry Tucker: Starring Val Kilmer as a man by the name of John Doc Holiday and Kurt Russell as a man by the name of Wyatt Erp. For your listeners that have never seen the movie Doc Holiday and Wyatt Erp, were two living, breathing human beings who walked on the face of the earth. They’re not made up characters for the movie Right here in Arizona.
[00:30:15] Terry Tucker: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Doc was called Doc because he was a dentist by trade, but pretty much Doc Holliday was a gunslinger and a card shark. And Wyatt Erp, almost his entire adult life had been some form of a law man. So these two men from entirely different backgrounds somehow come together and form this very close friendship.
[00:30:35] Terry Tucker: And at the end of the movie, Doc Holiday is dying at a sanitarium in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, which is about three hours from where I live. The real Doc Holliday died at that sanitarium and he’s buried in the Glenwood Spring Cemetery. And Wyatt, at this point in his life are, is destitute. He has no money. He has no job, he has no prospects for a job.
[00:30:54] Terry Tucker: So every day comes to play cards with Doc and the two men pass the time that way. And in this almost last scene in the movie, they’re talking about what they want out of life. And Doc says, you know, when I was younger, I was in love with my cousin, but she joined a convent over the affair. But she’s all I ever wanted.
[00:31:12] Terry Tucker: And then he looks at Wyatt and he says, what about you, Wyatt? What do you want? And Wyatt kind of nonchalantly looks at him and says, I just wanna lead a normal life. And Doc looks at him and says, there’s no normal, there’s just life and get on with living yours. I mean, you and I probably both know people that are sitting out there listening to us that are like, well, when this happens, I’ll have a normal life.
[00:31:33] Terry Tucker: Or when that occurs, I’ll have a successful life. Or when this arises, I’ll have a significant life. What I would like to leave your listeners with is this, don’t wait. Don’t wait for life to come to you. Get out there, find the reason you were put on the face of this earth. Use your unique gifts and talents and live that reason because if you do, at the end of your life, I’m gonna promise you two things.
[00:31:56] Terry Tucker: Number one, you’re gonna be a whole lot happier, and number two, you’re gonna have a whole lot more peace in your heart.
[00:32:03] Lesson 8:Fail often, especially when you are young.
[00:32:03] Siebe Van Der Zee: Well said. it leads to lesson number eight in a way. lesson number eight, fail often, especially when you are young.
[00:32:13] Terry Tucker: Yeah. I guess I need to say there’s a difference between people who fail and people who quit.
[00:32:17] Terry Tucker: You know, people fail every day, but if you view failure as the end of the journey, then you’re a quitter. And when I had my second job outta college, I was a hospital administrator at a fairly large hospital in Columbus, Ohio, about 1100 employees. And I got to meet a young woman who was in the speech therapy department, and I helped her implement a new way of helping people who stutter and just a vibrant young lady in her thirties.
[00:32:45] Terry Tucker: And she ended up, I found out later. Going. She was engaged to a friend of mine who I was in law school with. I went to Capital University Law School in Columbus, and he and I were in law school together and we lived close to each other. And so it was just kind of fun. we developed this great friendship and we had a great time and they were planning this big wedding.
[00:33:05] Terry Tucker: her fiance’s father was a fairly prominent attorney in Columbus. He had been one of Richard Nixon’s attorneys during the Watergate situation. And so, you know, all of a sudden she started to get tired all the time. She was just kind and, but she, you know, kind of put it off to, well I’m planning this big wedding and I’m exhausted and everything will be great.
[00:33:25] Terry Tucker: Well, she came back after the wedding still tired. Ends up being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia and just a horrible thing. And so she goes through all kinds of tests. Bone marrow transplantation had just kind of come onto the scene at the time, and so her doctors, were trying to find a match myself and the organ and tissue procurement coordinator at the hospital eventually put together a bone marrow drive where we tried to find a match for her.
[00:33:54] Terry Tucker: We didn’t find that match, but her cancer ended up being in remission through the drugs that she was on. So at that point, her doctors had found a match and they went to her and they said, okay, here’s the deal. You do this now, understanding that if you take this new bone marrow, you have a 50-50 chance of living, or you cannot do it, you’re at a good place right now, but probably you have another two or three years left in your life.
[00:34:19] Terry Tucker: What do you want to do? And she ended up taking the shot at the bone marrow transplant. She was just, she was too young, too vibrant, not, you know, Hey, I’m gonna go for it all. Unfortunately, the new marrow turned on her body. She developed graft versus host disease and she ended up dying at 32 years of age.
[00:34:38] Terry Tucker: And I still think back on this, you know, every now and then, I think if she had to do it over again, would she have made a different decision? And I don’t think she would’ve because she was a person who thought, you know what, two or three years of life is just not enough for somebody who’s that vibrant?
[00:34:54] Terry Tucker: I’m going to swing for the fences and see if I can get hit a home run, unfortunately, in that case, and it ended up costing her life.
[00:35:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: I can see here how inspirational your experience can be for so many people, because failure can easily set people back and many times they don’t know where to go from that position, from that moment.
[00:35:17] Siebe Van Der Zee: And indeed, in some cases when we talk about cancer in an advanced stage, It’s not to say, oh, just don’t think about it. Everything will be fine. No, but how to deal with that at that moment.
[00:35:29] Lesson 9:Listen more than you talk.
[00:35:29] Siebe Van Der Zee: And I appreciate your sharing that with our audience. definitely lesson number nine. And boy that applies to me.
[00:35:35] Siebe Van Der Zee: Listen more than You Talk. One of the things I learned in doing the podcast is, I need to stay quiet and listen to my guests. And, but I’m curious how you approach that. Listen more than you talk and, how do you learn that?
[00:35:50] Terry Tucker: Yeah, that, that’s something that I felt I learned when I was a hostage negotiator.
[00:35:55] Terry Tucker: You know, if you think about being in law enforcement, 99.9% of what you do is face-to-face with another person. Whether you pull ’em over to give ’em a ticket for speeding, or you’re answering a radio run for a fight, it’s face-to-face with people. And you can take visual clues from that. You know, if you’re talking to ’em and they’re kind of, you know, looking around like, well, maybe they’re gonna run or maybe they’re looking to run, or if they’re balling up their fists.
[00:36:18] Terry Tucker: Maybe they wanna fight you, and you can see those things and you can do what’s appropriate. You can sit ’em down, you can handcuff ’em, you can put ’em in your car, whatever’s appropriate for why you’re there. But as negotiators, we weren’t with the person and we were taught as negotiators, that when you’re trying to convey a message, 7% of your message are the words that you use.
[00:36:39] Terry Tucker: 38% of your message is your tone of voice. And 55% of your message is your body language and your facial expressions. So when we were negotiating with somebody, we weren’t there with them. So that 55%, we didn’t have, we weren’t able to see when we said something where they’re like, oh God, that guy’s an idiot.
[00:36:58] Terry Tucker: We couldn’t see any of that, but. You. We had to figure things out based on what people were saying, what they weren’t saying and how they were saying it. And I think one of the biggest issues that people have to learn is to listen. To understand versus listen to respond. We’re really good at, you know, you’re talking and it’s like, hurry up, say what you’re gonna say because wanna get my 2 cents in there versus.
[00:37:23] Terry Tucker: Okay. I hear what you’re saying. I may agree with you. I may not agree with you, but help me to understand where you’re coming from and I think in society, certainly here in the United States and we’re not gonna get into politics, but we’re at a point now in life where
[00:37:36] Terry Tucker: we don’t listen to understand. We listen to respond and somehow if you’re not, if you don’t agree with me, that makes you a bad person. No, it just makes you different and it makes you interesting and it’s something that we should appreciate, not something that we should kind of wall ourselves off from.
[00:37:52] Terry Tucker: So, Listening is an incredibly important thing. And I think back to the story of Elijah in the Book of Kings, where, you know, God talks to him about, you know, go up on the mountain and I’m gonna, I’m gonna talk to you. And, you know, there’s a huge wind, almost a tornado.
[00:38:07] Terry Tucker: There’s an earthquake, there’s fire. But God’s not in wind. God’s not in the earthquake. God’s not in the fire. God’s in the little voice that if we quiet ourselves, if we listen, we can hear it. But if we’re screaming at each other, number one, I can’t hear what you’re saying and you can’t hear what I’m saying.
[00:38:25] Terry Tucker: And we also can’t hear the voice of our creator.
[00:38:28] Siebe Van Der Zee: True wisdom. it is so important and I’m glad that you put that in the form of a lesson for our podcast because, we all have that tendency and I have learned over the years indeed to listen carefully, and I think. I got better at my work because of that, instead of saying, well, let me tell you what I think.
[00:38:47] Siebe Van Der Zee: No, let me understand what you’re saying. and so I, we’re on the same wavelength here. Terry, I like it. Thank you. lesson number 10. Can you believe we’re already there?
[00:38:56] Lesson 10:Love is the most important word in any language.
[00:38:56] Siebe Van Der Zee: Lesson number 10. Love is the most important word in any language.
[00:39:02] Siebe Van Der Zee: Ah, I’m impressed. How do you express love?
[00:39:07] Terry Tucker: Yeah, I guess lemme back up.
[00:39:09] Terry Tucker: I’m not talking about romantic love. Oh, okay. And I know you know that, but I remember when I was growing up, I was a big fan of Coach John Wooden who coached at U C L A, for a number of years. And I mean, I hung out every word. I read his biography and all that. And I remember I was, I don’t know, 13, 14 years old.
[00:39:25] Terry Tucker: And I was listening to an interview that Coach Wooden was giving, and a reporter asked him, you know, what’s the most important thing that you want your players to learn or to understand? And you know, here’s this incredibly successful college basketball coach. And I’m sitting there with a pad of paper and a pencil, and I’m writing stuff down.
[00:39:42] Terry Tucker: I’m a, all right, come on coach. Gimme some good X’s and O’s, something I can put down. And he said, the most important thing I want my players to understand is the importance of love. And I was like, no, no, no. That’s not what I want. Come on, gimme something good I can use on the basketball court. But I was a kid and I was immature and I didn’t understand it.
[00:39:59] Terry Tucker: But his lesson was so important. If it’s, you know, if you don’t love yourself, if you don’t love what you do for a living, if you don’t love the people around you, life is so empty. I remember there’s a. A saint, Maximilian Kobe, who’s called the Saint of Auschwitz. He was an individual who was in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, and he was a Catholic priest and somebody had tried to escape.
[00:40:25] Terry Tucker: So the prison commandant decided that they were gonna take 10 men out of a group and they were gonna put him in a bunker and they were gonna starve him to death. And one of the men who was chosen, screamed at is like, no, I’ve got a wife and kid. And Father Kobe said, I’ll take his place. And so he is like, okay, that’s fine.
[00:40:42] Terry Tucker: You, you take his place, this guy can live. And so they put him all in a bunker and one by one the man died. And every day Father Colby led them in prayer. Until at the very end, father Colby was the only one left. And so the Nazis wanted to have that bunker freed up, so they’re like, look, we’re gonna kill you.
[00:40:59] Terry Tucker: And so they gave him an injection of carbolic acid and it was said that when he got that injection, he held his arm out saying, go ahead and do it. And I think that shows you the love of an individual. I’m gonna give my life for another human being in the hopes that they will have an opportunity to get out of this mess, this concentration camp, and be reunited with their family.
[00:41:22] Siebe Van Der Zee: I’m truly inspired by your lessons, and I mean that sincerely. it, it connects to me and my, you know, life experience, et cetera. No doubt. The same for other people. I am curious. Are there any lessons in life or in your career that you have unlearned?
[00:41:43] Terry Tucker: Yeah, that’s a great question.
[00:41:45] Terry Tucker: and I don’t know if I’ve. If I’ve unlearned anything, I don’t know if I wanna unlearn it. I certainly want to tweak it, you know, I want to say, okay, maybe that’s not the way it is. But at a time it was, you know, I grew up in, in the seventies, you know, I remember my wife and I were just talking about this all in the family wa was a huge television show, but it was about a bigoted, racist white guy who, you know, and his interaction with his neighbors who were African American and Hispanic and things like, and back then it was really, you know, it was a satire.
[00:42:17] Terry Tucker: it was a very well received show, but at the same time it was teaching us that no, we’re, we’re we’re laughing at the main character. We’re not laughing with him. We’re laughing at him because that’s not how you treat people. So I think hopefully we all learn things from our past, from our mistakes.
[00:42:34] Terry Tucker: We can’t do anything. About the past. We can learn from it and we can move forward. But I think people get so hung up on, you know, I’ve got all this baggage that I’m bringing from my past. That I can’t move forward because that baggage is just holding me back. So I’m, I don’t know if I’m really answering your question, but I really kind of believe that I don’t wanna unlearn anything.
[00:42:56] Terry Tucker: I just want to expand on what I’ve learned, and if there are things that I find myself saying, you know what, that was wrong. I shouldn’t have done that, then fine, I’ll admit that. Learn from it and try to move forward in a better way.
[00:43:08] Siebe Van Der Zee: Yeah. No, I, you said it, well, I was thinking while listening to you, Unlearned in my case.
[00:43:14] Siebe Van Der Zee: Talk less, listen more. one of your lessons. And that’s something that over time, I have learned and feel very comfortable with. And I wish I would’ve done that sooner. But that’s for when you interview me for your podcast, right? Terry, I want to thank you for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
[00:43:30] Siebe Van Der Zee: and thank you for sharing your wisdoms with our global audience. I wanna make a few closing remarks. you have been listening to the international program. 10 lessons learned and this episode is produced by Robert Hossary. And as always, we are supported by the Professional Development Forum. Our guest today is Terry Tucker, a sought after speaker and author who motivates, inspires, and helps others to lead their extraordinary lives.
[00:43:54] Siebe Van Der Zee: Sharing his 10 lessons learned.
[00:43:57] Siebe Van Der Zee: And to our audience, don’t forget to leave us a review or a comment. You can also email us at podcast 10 Lessons learned dot. That is podcast number 10, lessons learned.com. I hope you will subscribe and so that you don’t miss any future episodes. And remember, this is an episode that makes the world wiser and wiser, lesson by lesson.
[00:44:23] Siebe Van Der Zee: Thank you and stay safe.