Their Story Their Voice

Finding Purpose: A Life of Basketball, Law Enforcement, and Battling Melanoma

October 26, 2022 AO / Terry Tucker Season 1 Episode 15
Their Story Their Voice
Finding Purpose: A Life of Basketball, Law Enforcement, and Battling Melanoma
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On this episode of ChatAholic, my guest Terry takes us on a journey through his remarkable life experiences. From being born in Chicago, Illinois, to becoming the first person in their family to graduate from college, Terry has had an extraordinary journey. We learn about Terry's career in law enforcement, where they worked as an undercover drug investigator and SWAT team hostage negotiator. But their story doesn't end there. Terry also started their own school security consulting business and coached girls high school basketball. Throughout their journey, Terry has faced many challenges, including battling a rare form of melanoma for the past ten years. Yet, despite the hardships, Terry managed to find inspiration and wrote a book called "Sustainable Excellence: The Ten Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life." In this episode, Terry shares personal epiphanies about the importance of truly helping others in times of need. They emphasize the significance of getting involved, even in mundane ways, and truly connecting with others on a deep level. Terry also talks about their experiences as a police officer, highlighting the complexities of the job and the need to separate one's identity from the profession. Throughout the episode, Terry's resilience and determination shine through as they continue to fight his battles with cancer. He shares his experience with a clinical trial drug and the challenges that come with it. Join us on this episode of ChatAholic as we dive deep into Terry's incredible journey and explore the power of human connection and perseverance. This is an episode you won't want to miss.


https://www.motivationalcheck.com
https://www.facebook.com/motivationalcheck/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://www.instagram.com/sustainableexcellenceauthor
https://www.linkedin.com/in/terry-tucker-9b5605179
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl2CUA6R1zP2ZcjzhzGKWkQ


Please note transcription accuracy may vary.

Music:
(Neffex - A year ago) 
(Neffex - dont want to let myself go) 

mosaic: Exploring Jewish Issues
mosaic is Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County's news magazine show, exploring Jewish...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

AO:

Welcome to another episode of Chataholic thank you so much for coming back. This episode, I'm speaking to Terry and yes, I say this every single episode. But I thought Terry was epic. thought he was amazing. So please join me. And pre-warning. I definitely a hundred percent go off on a tangent. But I also think that might just be a little bit what I do now. I just go off on a tangent. So. Sorry Hi, Terry, thank you so much for joining me Would you like to tell me a bit about you? Whatever you're comfortable sharing anything at all?

Terry:

Sure. thanks for having me on. I'm really excited and looking forward to talking with you today. A little bit about my background. I was born in Chicago, Illinois, which is one of the larger cities in the United States. I am the oldest of three boys. You can't tell this from my voice or from looking at me, but I'm six, eight inches tall, and I played basketball in college. I actually went to college on a basketball scholarship. I'm the first person in my family to graduate from college. And so when I did graduate, I was all set to make my mark on the world with my newly obtained business administration degree. And I look back now and realize how little I knew about business, just because I had a degree. Fortunately, I was able to find that first job in the corporate headquarters of Wendy's international, the hamburger chain. Unfortunately, I ended up living with my parents for the next three and a half years, as I helped my mother care for my father and my grandmother who were both dying of different forms of cancer. Professionally, as I said, I started out at Wendy's. Then I moved to hospital administration and then I made a major pivot in my life and got into law enforcement, became a police officer. And part of that was, I was an undercover drug investigator. I was a SWAT team hostage negotiator. After my stint law enforcement, I started my own school security consulting. I coach girls high school basketball, but for the last 10 years I've been battling a rare form of cancer, a rare form of melanoma. And then I guess just finally to round it out, my wife and I have been married for almost 30 years. We have one child, a daughter who is a member of the space force, which is a new branch of the military here in the United States.

AO:

Oh, I didn't know that.

Terry:

Very proud of her.

AO:

I would be too. See now I've got distracted. That's really impressive. See, This is basically what is going to happen. You'll say something. If it impresses me, I will just go off on a tangent. That's so impressive.

Terry:

Yeah, she's a graduate we have service academies here in the United States the air force academy, the Naval academy, the west point army. And she's a graduate of the United States air force academy, and should be made captain in a few months. So we're pretty excited about about all that. And all she's doing problem is it's all top secret. So she can't tell us anything about it. So don't ask me anything

AO:

that is super impressive. I wanted to ask, you've had all these jobs, but because I've read your book, I feel every single job you've had for a reason. Of all the jobs and all the roles you've had, not including your current one, because this is a purpose. We're not counting this one. What has been the most fulfilling?

Terry:

Probably the one I really, I mentioned, but I didn't and that's being a husband and a father. I don't just say that's very important to me. It's probably the number one thing, my wife and I have, like I said, been married for almost 30 years and we've had to make sacrifices for each other and we've done the same thing with our daughter. But if you're asking specifically in terms of a career. It was certainly law enforcement being a police officer was something that was in my heart. It was, it's something that's in my soul. If you ask me today, what did you do for a living? I would tell you, I was a police officer, even though I've had all those other jobs. So law enforcement was really the thing that I felt I was put on this earth to do.

AO:

why would you say that? Why would you say law enforcement, what in particular did you get from that particular role that made you feel fulfilled? when I say fulfilled, you know when you have a job and they pay you, but then you, every now and again, if you're really lucky, you have a job that you feel fulfilled Why did you feel like that about law enforcement? Why was it that particular role?

Terry:

I think part of it was Part of it was family related. The other part of it was helping people making a difference in people's lives. my grandfather, my paternal grandfather was a Chicago police officer from 1924 to 1954 and was actually shot in the line of duty with his own gun. It was not a serious injury. He was shot in the ankle, but my dad always remembered the stories that my grandmother told of that knock on the door. And my dad was an infant when this occurred of that knock on the door that my grandmother talked about when people was like, and Mrs. Tucker grabbed your son, come with us. Your husband's meds shot and let's face it. Trauma medicine in 1933 was a whole lot different than trauma medicine in 2022. So when I expressed an interest in going into law enforcement, My dad was absolutely not. You're gonna go to college. You're gonna major in business. You're gonna get out. You're gonna get a great job. Get married, have 2.4 kids to live happily ever after, but that's what my father wanted me to do. That wasn't what I felt my purpose or my passion was. So I had a choice when I graduated from college, my dad was sick, as I mentioned. And so I had that choice. I could say, sorry, dad, I know you're sick, but I'm gonna go blaze my own trail and do my own thing or out of love and respect for you. I will do what you want me to do. So if you look at my resume, understanding that backstory, my first two jobs were in business because I did what my father wanted me to do. And then I joke I did what every good son did. I waited till my father passed away. And then I followed my own dreams and got into law enforcement, which I did at a very relatively late age. I was a 37 year old rookie police officer, which by most accounts is pretty old to be getting into that line of work.

AO:

Do you think though, Because when I was reading a book, one of the it did come through from reading a book that Wendy's was by no means your first choice. However, because of that, you then got to spend that much more time with your dad. That, you wouldn't have had if you'd have gone off and followed your dream. So what I got from it was, whichever career you've been in, it has still served a purpose. It has fulfilled you in some way, and you being in business, you got to spend time with your dad. Which is so precious. That's what I personally got.

Terry:

You're absolutely right. And, my story is not one where, my dad was an alcoholic and he beat my mom and stuff like that. I come from exactly the opposite of that. My parents loved us. Both of my brothers and myself were involved in athletics, our entire life. So my parents did what I used to call, divide and conquer parenting, where, Terry's got a game over here. Dad's going to that. Larry's got a practice over here. Mom's going to, that my mom would stay up late and wash our uniforms and make sure we had everything we need. She was always at the store getting milk and meat. And all the kind of things that you can imagine having four huge men in the house needed. So my parents showed me what it was to be part of a family, to care about each other, to love each other, to support each other. So when it came time for me to return that favor, there wa there was no doubt that I was going to spend whatever amount of time I needed to spend to help my mom and my dad, deal with and go through this terrible crisis. And I think about my mom. My mom had in one bedroom, her husband dying and in the bedroom, right next door, her mother dying. So I can't imagine her having to deal with that. On her own. So there was no doubt that I was gonna be there for however long it took to help my dad and my mom. And yeah, it was a great time to spend with my father. I went out to dinner with my father at that time. I'd never been out to dinner with my father alone, my entire life. I'd never seen my father cry. There were just different things that I was able to experience with my father. I remember one time I was drying his hair. He was incredibly weak after a shower and he didn't have much hair because he was on chemotherapy and he reached out his hand, like he wanted to shake my hand and I'm like what are you doing? I'm trying to dry your hair. And so I, I shook his hand and there was a hundred dollars bill in the Palm of his hand. And I looked at him like, what is this? And he's that's for all you do. And I'm like, dad, you made me feel like a prostitute. I'm here because of everything you and mom gave to me and my brothers, I'm here for you now. So don't make me, I gave it back to him. I was really mad. I was like, wait a minute, I've got my own job. I work. I don't need money, but don't make me feel like that. That just made me feel cheap. It was like, look I never paid you a mom for what you did for us, so don't try to pay me for what I feel is I is my responsibility. Now as your oldest son,

AO:

I appreciate how it made you feel. But I also for someone who was born when he was born and I don't know, we are taught that for where the children and our parents look after us. So how do you thank your child for looking after you? And yes, I agree money is not the way, but he didn't mean it in that way. it does warm my heart. Because I can understand what he meant when he did that.

Terry:

Yeah I can too now looking back on it I don't think I was nearly as mature then as I am now. And looking back on it. I probably would've handled it differently, but I still felt cheap. I still felt in some way that, why are you trying to pay me for doing what you and mom set? The example, this is what family is about. It's not about, you did something for me, here's money for it. Or here's something monetary or just some way that I'm trying to repay you. You don't need to repay me. You love me. I love you. Let's do what we're supposed to do as a family. Now I know a lot of families probably don't feel that way.

AO:

Okay. You've already answered, but I was gonna say that you know, that not everyone has that strong family unit

Terry:

it's oh, you're sick or you're damaged in some way. I need to distance myself from you, but that's not, that's never been the way we were raised. It's never been the way we've treated our family. My mother now is in her late eighties. She has dementia. My brother is taking care of her. Now she's living with him. So that's what you do for family. You take care of each other. At least that's what I was taught.

AO:

I feel like that is a hundred percent one of the worst things that can happen to someone to still be physically present, but not really. I can't imagine what that must be like.

Terry:

yeah, it's not, she couldn't tell you what she had for breakfast this morning, but she could probably tell you what street she walked on to get to high school. And she was born in 1935 so long time ago. So her long term memory. Is still intact. Her short term memory, like I said, she could eat breakfast and 10 minutes later ask her what she had for breakfast. She would not have any idea whatsoever. So it, it is very sad in a lot of ways on the good side, you can have an argument with her. And 10 minutes later, she won't remember you had an argument with her. So there, there is a positive to it in some ways, My mom was the person who of kept the family together. And my dad traveled a lot, especially early when we were younger. And so my mom had a, she was always getting us to school, getting us up, getting us lunch, getting it was, she did everything. And I don't think we. And I'm sorry to say this. I don't think we showed her enough appreciation for what she did for us. She was always part of the family. She was always, but it was my brothers and my dad, and it was four guys and we were all jocks athletes. And my mom really was never an athlete. And so she had to learn all this kind of stuff and, but was always, there was always there to support us was always the, she was really the bedrock of the family. And without her, we would not nearly have been as successful as we were.

AO:

I do like to hope they know how much they were appreciated. but you remind me that we should say to people that we appreciate a lot more because no one knows what's gonna happen tomorrow.

Terry:

I agree.

AO:

Terry, before you tell everyone what you do now, What happened for you to leave the police force?

Terry:

So my wife has always been the primary breadwinner of our family and she lost her job in Cincinnati and was not able to find another one she's in the financial services sector. And so she was able to find a job in another state. And law enforcement is pretty much state specific in the United States. So if you're a policeman in Ohio, doesn't necessarily transfer to being a policeman in another state in Texas, A lot of the laws are the same or similar, but you just don't go from being a policeman in Ohio to being a policeman in Texas. And in all honesty, I was just way too old at that point in time and had too much experience to really just start over again and go down to the bottom of the barrel and be working nights and be the low man on the totem pole and get all that kind of stuff. And I knew there were other things that I could do. And so I started with my background, with my education. I started a school security consulting business. And then I coached girls high school basketball on the side. So there were, that was something I was able to do. And one of the things I found interesting is that there were, I'm not gonna say a great number, but there were enough people that it got on my radar that there whole identity when they were police officers was tied to that gun and that badge and what they did for a living and why I loved it and why I felt it was my passion and my purpose. It was never who I was. It's what I did, but it was never who I was. And these people were working 35 going on 40 years and couldn't, or wouldn't retire because they felt without that. Job without that responsibility, without that authority, that they were nobody. And that's a shame when you give your entire career to your community to make a difference there. And you think that you can't walk away because you're gonna be a nobody. If that's the case.

AO:

I can't relate, but that does make sense. I can understand why they would feel like that, because it's such an important job. you have so many people who are dependent on you. it must be quite hard to walk away from,

Terry:

Yes. you certainly do. It's very much a job that's up and down where you're going a million miles an hour and it's very dangerous and somebody's shooting or something like that. And then you're riding around in a car for eight hours and nothing's going on and things like that, which all kinds of studies have been done. It's not good for you that, that constant up and down that constant adrenaline. And then coming down off of that and then having it again is not good for your body physically. That's why cancer is such a predominant role in, in law enforcement. Why people abuse, alcohol and drugs, why they engage in behavior that they shouldn't engage in and stuff like that. It's not a good thing for your body. And shift work is not good. Either. One of the things we were lucky about, my daughter changes, shifts like every couple months, which is horrible for your sleep schedule. At least for me, when I was on nights, I was on nights for at least a year. And you could get used to sleeping during the day and working at night, I loved working at night. I worked my entire police career at night. I loved the hunt. I loved trying to find people that were doing things wrong and stopping them. And that for me was what excited me and what I enjoyed doing.

AO:

So when you did stop, how did you cope with that? How did you adjust when you. left the police force.

Terry:

Yeah it wasn't necessarily easy, but my sanctuary, my rock was always my family. And if you look at, as I just mentioned the increased incidents in alcohol dependency and drug dependency and engaging in behavior that's not good for you or your family. That many policemen. Have throughout their career or at different points in their career. That was something I never engaged in. I never went out after a shift to the bar with the gang, so to speak. I'm going home. I wanted to go home. That's what grounded me. That's what made things easier to see the ugliness the helplessness, the hopelessness that you see night after night as a police officer, the and, you can't make a difference. it's like the finger in the Dyke, as soon as you put the finger in there, the water spurts out somewhere else and somewhere else, and you just don't feel you're making a difference, but maybe you're making a difference with that person on this night. And you'll never see that person again. You'll never know what happened to them. I grabbed a woman one time who tried to commit suicide. I grabbed her right before she ran out into traffic and was hit by a bus. Now I don't know what happened to her after we took her to the hospital. But I hope something good came out of that, that I was there, that she didn't die that night. So you just don't know. But my family was always my sanctuary. So being able to be with my family, with my wife and daughter, having to make this major adjustment in my life was something that was a lot easier because I had something that was grounding me.

AO:

Okay. that makes perfect sense whilst also thinking the amount of things that you must have seen. I think it takes a certain person to have enough, strength inside them to not let, that stick with them.

Terry:

I don't think you ever let it go. I just think you find a way to, to compartmentalize it, to put it somewhere where it doesn't affect your everyday life. I remember my partner and I got a noise run, a very simple, the neighbors were complaining this woman, who's single mom who had two children, two young, very young children under five, both of'em under five. And we were there on a Friday night and it was a noise run. And, we told her to keep it down, try to keep the kids under control. I didn't start work till 11 o'clock at night. So it was pretty late and people were trying to sleep. And so to go there I was off that weekend, my partner and I were off Saturday, Sunday and Monday the next night she drowned her two kids in the bathtub. And so you don't forget that. You don't ever realize that you were there. Could you have done something? Could you have made a difference in those kids' lives? I don't know. It was just something you deal with it, you feel bad about it, but you can't dwell on those because you see stuff like that all the time. You see what people do, how they sell themselves to get drugs. People die in car accidents, babies burned up in fires. You see all kinds

AO:

when you mentioned about the lady who. You took to hospital, who attempted suicide, and then you led onto, you know, what you were called because of noise nuisance. And at no point in time I, in my head, I just assumed this would end with, and you just said, you know, keep the noise down and you know, you dealt with things like that. At no point in time did I anticipate how that was going to end

Terry:

no. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you either get good at hitting the curve ball or you strike out and I can imagine how we felt. Having been there on a Friday night for a simple noise run, keep it down. And then obviously this woman where my partner had a master's degree in counseling and neither one of us saw anything that would make us think that she was going to kill her two sons the next night. Neither one of us did that. And so you always go back over that run and did we miss something? Was there something we should have been cognizant of? And both of us, even to this day, we're like, no you can't beat yourself up for something that wasn't there. We didn't see it. It just wasn't there when we were there with her and while this was horrible and while it was certainly tragic, Like most things that we dealt with as police officers, we did the best we could with what we had at the time we were there. And, for us to come onto the scene to deal with a problem that in many cases has been festering for 10 years or 20 years or 30 years. And try to deal with it in 10 minutes or 15 minutes. So you can move on to the next one. It you do the best you can. People have to be responsible for their own actions in their own lives and you try to help you try to give them comfort or take'them to jail or get'them away from the problem or whatever is appropriate. But it's, we can't be everybody's guardian angel,

AO:

as much as we would love to be able to help everyone, that's just very unrealistic. And you do mention in your book bad things happen. and we don't have a choice, but to admit it's true. honestly, the amount that you must have seen I know you say you have your family, you have your support unit, and that's great. But whilst having that, I still maintain, to me anyway, that it also takes strength of character. because I, know what I am like as a person I don't know how you, how you move on from that actually being a job and to call it a job seems incredibly inaccurate. It should be called something else, but I, don't know what else to call it, but I don't feel like that should be called a job,

Terry:

right. And I don't think it is for most people. I always people ask me about the job and I'm I always say to them, think about if this was your job, number one, you made less money than a plumber. Number two, nobody wanted you around. And number three, everybody lied to you. If that was your job every day, how long would you do that job? Because that's what law enforcement is about. We make less money than a plumber. Nobody wants us around. It's never good. When the police show up, whether we're pulling you over to give you a ticket because you're speeding or whether we're knocking on your door to tell you to call the hospital because your grandmother just died and they can't get ahold of you. So nobody wants you there. Everybody loves a fireman. firemen. Yeah. Where here it is saved the day policemen. Absolutely not. And then finally, everybody lies to you. Everybody wants to put their story front and center so that you think that they are the ones who are in the right and you want to take the other person to jail. So everybody lies to you and you just realize that early in your career, otherwise you're gonna get deceived a lot. And I'm sure I got deceived, even when I thought I knew what happened, but I'm not the judge and the jury. I just know what the law is. And based on the facts or based on the witnesses, this is what I have to do. Do I have to take you to jail? Yes. Do I have to, no, I don't have to take you to jail. we just want you to comply with what we ask you to do and keep the peace so to speak. If that was your job every day, how long would you do that? And I think you have to have, we, you just said, I don't know what you call it. It's gotta be something more than a job. I think it is. I think it's a calling. I think it's something that you want to make a difference in your community. Somebody has to do that job. It's ugly. It's vile. The things no human beings should see, but you have to understand that it's a job that needs to be done. It's a calling for you and you wanna make a difference in your community. Do you? I think so in the grand scheme of things, if you're not there, somebody else is gonna have to step up and do it.

AO:

No you're right. I couldn't do it. I don't feel like I know many people who could do it. You got Ill, Well, you got cancer How soon? After leaving the police force, did that happen?

Terry:

About seven years from leaving the police force to developing cancer.

AO:

I don't know whether I read it somewhere or I don't know, but I read it and I thought, Do you know what That's true. I'm a big believer in, if you are stressed, if you are angry at some point, all of that is going to affect your body I don't want that to sound like I'm saying. Sounds like I'm saying Well, you did it to yourself. You know, that's not what I meant. That's not what I mean.

Terry:

But I did do it to myself and you're right. And for all the things that I mentioned earlier, whether it's working shift work, whether it's you're, you're cold, you're out in the winter. You're out in the rain. You're out in the elements. You don't get enough sleep. you don't eat enough. Good food. Do you exercise? I always tried to exercise. I tried to at least exercise pretty stenouisly three days a week and things like that. So I tried to do things to mitigate it, but you're absolutely right. That constant. Spike of adrenaline and then coming down off of that and then it, here it is again. And then and that's yes, over a career, it's horrible on your body. It's absolutely horrible on your body, which is why so many cops turn to alcohol to try to dull that pain, or turn to drugs and things like that. It's terrible. And I know that, but it's also a calling, but you're right.

AO:

No, no, but I didn't mean it. That sounded quite insensitive and I didn't mean it in.

Terry:

I did do it to myself. No, I did it's okay If I had to live my life over again, I would still do it again.

AO:

You would because when you got diagnosed and you talk quite a bit in your book, and actually even when I went onto your website, you mentioned just how much pain you were in and what it actually did to your body. you mentioned that your wife came in to see you. and you were crying because you were in that much pain, you would go through that again.

Terry:

Yeah, I would, Physical pain is something that I find that and don't get me wrong. Let me back up. I think we all have a breaking point. I think we all have a point where it's just, I can't anymore, but I honestly believe that breaking point is so much further down the road than we ever thought it would be. I'll give you, I'll give you a quick story. Back in the 1950s, there was a professor at Johns Hopkins university here in the United States who did an experiment with rats and he took rats and he put'them in a tank of water that was over their head and he wanted to see how long the average rat could tread water before they would sink and drown. And the average rat treaded water for about 15 minutes. And just as they were getting ready to drown, he reached in, grabbed them, pulled them out, dried'em off and let'em rest for a while. And then he put the exact same rats back in that exact same tank of water. And the second time around. On average, those rats treaded water for 60 hours. Now think about that 15 minutes. That's all I can do. I'm just not gonna fail. I'm gonna die. It's gonna be over second time around 60 hours, which said to me two things, number one, the importance of hope in our lives. We have to believe that some point in time, not maybe not this week, maybe not next month, maybe not even next year, but at some point in time, our life will get better in some way. And number two, just how much more our physical bodies can handle than we ever thought that they possibly could.

AO:

Do you have to have a certain amount of belief though, in your ability? I'm not sure. I feel like a lot of people would just say No. Give up a give up.

Terry:

And a lot of people do but what I'm saying is I believe we all have that ability. To say, no, I'm not gonna quit. I'm gonna keep going. I'm gonna make a difference. Why am I doing this? And we can all do that. I am the biggest wimp in the world. And so people are like, oh Terry, I could never do what you could do. First of all, you're right. You couldn't because you've already decided in your own mind that you can't do it. And once you've made that decision, you're right, you can't do it. But if you keep an open mind, I don't care how much pain you're going through. You can do this. And when I was on, after I had my tumor cut out, initially I was put on a drug called interferon that I took a weekly injection of this drug. And the side effects were that I had severe flu-like symptoms for two to three days every week after I took the injection. And I took those injections for almost five years. So imagine having the flu every week. For five years. And that was not a cure. That was just as my doctor used to say, we're trying to kick the can down the road to buy you more time. And there were days during that period during those five years where I literally prayed to die, I was so sick of being sick. That I just ask, please take me out of this, but God didn't take me out of it. And I'm still here 10 years later and I have a form of melanoma 10 years ago was almost a death sentence. It's yeah, it's melanoma. We don't really have a lot of cures. We don't have a lot of treatments for this type of disease. Good luck. But every year I get a letter from the hospital where I was initially treated, asking me one, are you still alive? And no cancer. Two. Are you still alive with cancer or three? Are you dead? I love that letter. I love that letter showing up because I wanna circle. Yeah, I still have cancer, but I'm still here. 10 plus years later.

AO:

do you go to the hospital for? How does it work?

Terry:

Now I am on a clinical trial drug and the way it works is. For one week, I go into the hospital every day, I'm infused with a drug. It does really bad things in my body. I throw up, I shake, I have a headache, all kinds of, and then I come in the next day. So I come in for a week, Monday through Friday, and then I get two weeks off and then I do it again. And then I get two weeks off and then I do it again. And I've been doing it for almost two years now. And now it is, I will not let this beat me. I will not. My Dr. May take me off the drug because it's not helping me, or I may die on this drug, but I will not quit this drug. It's basically become a mind game. It's become a, I'm gonna go in this. And I know this is gonna be a horrible day. I know this is gonna suck, but I'm gonna have to embrace this suck. And play these cards that I do not like, but these are the cards that I've been dealt and I'm going to crush it. I'm going to win today. I don't, I'm not gonna worry about tomorrow cuz I can't, I've just gotta worry about today. And so I do this and on Mondays I go home and I react. I have these very violent reactions because I don't know when the reactions happen the rest of the week, they happen about two hours after my therapy. But on Mondays it's kind of a crapshoot. You just pick a number. It could be I get the treatment at 10 o'clock in the morning and at four o'clock I react or at five o'clock I react or at two o'clock I react. You just don't know. So instead of hanging around at the hospital, I'd much rather be at home when I do this. So it's ugly. It's nasty and it's probably not going to save my life, but it may save the life of somebody else down the road who I don't even know. So this is more way more about just me. and more about, can I make a difference in the life of somebody who maybe I don't even know.

AO:

That's really nice. That's really lovely. That's really lovely. I feel like I don't know. that's just who you are. Just making a difference to other people, to someone else. because that's what I I got from your book. I am going to ask you to talk about your book, but I wanted to ask you, when you were first diagnosed you wrote that people said, oh, do you need anything? If you need anything, just let us know. And I got the impression that I'm gonna use the word irked you slightly. And then you mention your friend, Bud. And I wanted to say. But Terry not everyone's Bud. And I feel like that was a bit unfair for you to expect everyone to be the same as how he was. So I guess I wanted to ask, do you understand maybe a little bit why people said to you, is there anything that you need or anything that you want? I obviously I've read the book so I think I know what you're gonna say, but I wanted to ask you, I wanted to hear you actually say it in your own words, how that made you feel, I guess also to get a better understanding. Because I think that's what people say. People say that all the time.

Terry:

I think you're absolutely right. And I think you just answered the question for me to get a better understanding because I am as guilty. As everybody else. I didn't mean to come across in that book. Like I've never done that. Oh, I've done that a bunch of times. Hey, you need anything? Let me know. That's a cop out that if you want to get involved, if you want to help me. And I think that's one thing that cancer or any kind of a chronic or a terminal illness does for you. It isolates you from your friends. It isolates you from your family. And in many cases, it isolates you from yourself. And so when, if you really want to help somebody and let's face it, when you're going through something like this and the grass needs to be cut, or the snow needs to be shoveled or the garbage needs to be taken out, or the dog needs to be walked, or the kids need to be picked up from school or on and on all the things that you have to do at your house are now the same things we have to do at our house. But now we're dealing with this major illness, this major crisis in life. So it, it was. Like an epiphany for me, an understanding of, on that time where you just nonchalantly said that to people and I have, and I did no that's wrong. I should not have done that. If I wanted to help them, I should have done something. Even if it was the wrong thing, I should have done something and not just took myself off the hook the way I think I described it in the book is it's like sitting on the sides and pretending you're playing in the game. You're not playing. You wanna play in the game. Be like bud, say, Hey, I went to Costco, I got a chicken for you. And I got cream cheese, Danish. I'm coming over to your house. Here you go. You got dinner for tonight and you got breakfast from the morning. See you later. Bye. That's getting involved. It's ugly though. Getting involved is ugly because we don't like that. We don't like it I would agree. Not everybody's like bud, but everybody can be like, bud, it's a choice. It's a choice. Whether you want to get involved, whether you want to help me, it's a choice. It's okay. If you don't, it doesn't make you a bad person. It doesn't make me think anything less of you. But when we talk about, being narcissistic, being a it's all about me, I've always told my daughter the best way to have friends is to go to a party and ask people about themselves. Don't say a word about you. Just ask them about themselves. Everybody will love you. Because we love talking about ourselves. We love it. I hate crowds. I love people. Give me a one on one. You and I, something like this. my wife would tell you, we would go to parties, business functions, that for her company and stuff like that. And I used to tell her, I said, I will go in and I'll find out all kinds of stuff about five different people. And then when we're driving home, I'll tell you about all the people you work with. because as a cop, you're just, you're prone to ask questions. That's how you learn things. That's how you investigate. You ask questions, you ask uncomfortable questions, you ask leading questions, you do all kinds of stuff like that. You learn that. And so you go into a party and you do that. And I used to come out and it would drive my wife nuts. It's okay, this guy you work with, he is divorcing his wife. He's got two kids. One's in co I could tell her all about him. And then she would go to work on Monday and they would go, we loved meeting your husband what a great guy, but they didn't know a thing about me, not a thing, because I never said anything about me. I just asked them questions about them. But they loved me. Why did you love me? You don't know anything about me because I I put the spotlight on you and I asked you about you. And we love doing that. People are like that. Use it. one of the things that I learned as a negotiator was the importance of listening to understand versus listening, to respond. And we are great at listening to respond. Hurry up and say what you're gonna say, because I'm gonna get my 2 cents in that's listening to respond versus Tell me about what you just said. I may agree with you. I may not agree with you, but help me understand where you're coming from. That's listening to understand. And when we do that, we're connecting, we're engaging as human beings. People don't do that. They wanna get their points across. They want you to think they're smart or informed or whatever you want to call it. And they may be, but that's not what this is about. And if I spend time wanting to understand you. Maybe down the road, you'll spend time wanting to understand me. And now all of a sudden we've got a relationship and we can talk to each other, but if we're screaming at each other, neither one of us, here's what's going on.

AO:

I do need to ask you about your book. What was the inspiration behind it? Because as I've mentioned several times I read it and I was really impressed I left a review And I wish you're welcome. I wish I remembered what I wrote because my review was very accurate and my takeaway that it left me feeling inspired. And also it was somewhat comforting. it also gives guidance. It gives guidance. And I really liked that really liked that. So I just wanted to ask, what was your inspiration behind it?

Terry:

Thank Thank you. I'm glad you did. the inspiration, so the book is called sustainable excellence. The 10 principles, the leading your uncommon and extraordinary life. And it was a book that was born out of two conversations that I had. One was with a former player that I had coached in high school who had moved to the area where my wife and I live with her fiance. And the four of us had dinner one night. And I remember saying to her after dinner, I'm really excited that you're living close and I can watch you find and live your purpose. And she got real quiet for a while. And then she looked at me and she said coach, what do you think my purpose is. I said, I have no idea what your purpose is, but I think that's what your life should be about. Finding the reason you were put on the face of this earth and living that reason. So that was one conversation. And then I had a young man in college who reached out to me on social media and asked me what I thought were the most important things that he should learn to not just be successful in his job or in business, but to be successful in life. And I didn't wanna give him the get up early work, hard help others. Not that those aren't important. They are incredibly important, but I wanted to see if I could possibly go maybe deeper with him. So I spent some time and I was writing some notes and had these 10 thoughts, these 10 ideas, these 10 principles. And then I sent them to'him and then I stepped back and I was like I've got a life story that fits underneath this principle, or I know somebody whose life emulates. That principle. So in, in literally in 2020, I had my leg amputated because of my cancer. And while I was healing I had three months to heal. I sat down at the computer every day and I built stories. And as you say, you've read the book. They're real stories about real people. they're not made up. And that's how the book became really became a book. I had never really intended to write a book, but people kept suggesting that I do, you should write a book, you should write a book. And I was really putting people off. It's I'm a nobody. Why would anybody wanna listen to read a book about me? But I think that's, there was that old joke that goes when we talk to God, it's called prayer. When God talks to us, it's called schizophrenia. So God never reached out to me. God never spoke to me, but I think what God does is put people in our path. That kind of make the same suggestion over and over again. And I think I'm smart enough to when that happens to buck up and be like maybe I oughta pay attention to this as opposed to the people that are like, no, I'm gonna dismiss that. And I think that's where free will comes. God wants you to do this. It's up to you. You want do it. If you don't want, do it, go do whatever you wanna do. But I really felt it was something I always say I wrote the book, but I think it was inspired by something much bigger than me.

AO:

I love that. And I also believe that anyone who has picked up a book or has ordered it from Amazon and read it. I don't know if this just makes me sound like a crazy person, but I believe that certain thing to come to you at the right stage in your life, So I feel like people should definitely, if you're feeling lost, you need a bit of guidance. I honestly, I really recommend it. I really recommend it. And you say that I was a nobody, but I feel like the lady who wrote the secret whose name, I cannot remember. I feel like she was a, nobody at some stage, everyone starts somewhere. And actually my attitude is even if you have 20 people who were buy it and benefit from it, then that's still really good.

Terry:

It is. And I didn't write it to get famous. I didn't write it to make money. I wrote it because I felt I was supposed to write it. And because I wanted to see if maybe my story, my experiences could help somebody else, somebody, again, of going back to dealing with this drug that I'm on. Is it gonna save my life? Maybe not, but maybe it's gonna save the life of somebody else who I'm not even going to know. So you're right. I don't know who has read this book. Who's had an impact on their lives. Hopefully it has other than two wonderful women in Ireland who gave it a three star rating? I have five, four and five star ratings on everything. And I realize we're all different. not everybody's gonna have it resonate with them and that's okay. it wasn't something I felt I did for me. It was something I felt that. Maybe I could help other people by writing it

AO:

And if you didn't help those two ladies in Ireland, that's fine Anyone who thinks you can please all the people all the time. it's a myth.

Terry:

As much as we'd like it to

AO:

can I ask you to please finish with a positive you do Monday motivation. What's Monday. Motivation, please.

Terry:

I did today's the Monday morning Mo motivational message. Go to motivational check and check it out. It's a video it's a little longer than I normally post It's almost 20 minutes long, but it's a video about the relationship between a homeless teenager and a blind and deaf man and how they come together to help each other. And I'll leave it at that. I think it's a really powerful video. And the man who plays the blind to death guy really is blind to death. So I think it's a good thing to remind us all that we're all connected. We all connected with each other, whether we like it or not. And the sooner we take that and say, you know what? I am. We always say I'm responsible for me and nobody else. You're not, you're responsible for me. I'm responsible for you. We're in each other's lives. We're in each other's spheres. Take care of each other, take care of yourself, but take care of each other too. So go watch the video and see what you think. And maybe it'll have a positive impact on you.

AO:

I'm going to steal that one. Thank you.

Terry:

Thank you for having me. It's been absolutely a blast for me to talk with you. I am, I feel you're just such a genuine and caring person and the fact that my book had a positive impact on you really makes me feel good. And thank you for sharing that with me. You're quite welcome. You enjoy the rest of your week. Thank you. Take care. Bye Bye.

AO:

You too. Bye. Thank you again for joining me on the Terry's episode, I will be back next week and I will be speaking to Linda. Who. Of course. Yes. I think Linda. Is amazing also. And again, if anyone has. An interesting story. It's inspirational. Please feel free to get in contact and. Let me know if you want to talk and if you want to share. Thank you thank you thank you

(Cont.) Finding Purpose: A Life of Basketball, Law Enforcement, and Battling Melanoma

Podcasts we love