About the Episode
Welcome back Terry Tucker for another episode diving deep on his experience with hostage negotiations. Learn how Terry had to handle some tough scenarios, dealing with active gunman, and how he applies his skills to other parts of his life.
Terry Tucker has been an NCAA Division I college basketball player, a Citadel cadet, a marketing executive, a hospital administrator, an undercover narcotics investigator, a SWAT Team Hostage Negotiator, a high school basketball coach, a business owner, a motivational speaker, an author, and most recently, a cancer warrior. He is the author of, Sustainable Excellence, Ten Principles To Living Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life.
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Today we’re going all in. I have a return guest today who needs no introduction, except that you need to go back and listen to the episode for part one, because there’s some things in his career that we didn’t go through that we’re going to today, you know, because he’s been an NCAA division one college basketball player, a citadel cadet, a SWAT team, hostage negotiator, which is one of the things we’re going to talk about today, and also the author of sustainable excellence 10 principles to living your uncommon and extraordinary life. Terry Tucker, welcome back.
Thanks, Rick. I’m really looking forward to talking with you again.
Right on, man. So there’s this thing that, you know, before we press the record that I had in my head, and I’m going to throw it at you right now. Cool, though we were? Well, first, it’s really good to have you back. I just really need to say that because I remember our energy and just amazing vibes, man. Just incredible conversation. For sure, for real, everybody listening, go back and listen to Part 1 of this. The link will be in the show notes, and it was just phenomenal conversation. So one thing, I mean, Terry, was a basketball player, NCAA division one. We were talking, having an offline conversation about, I was looking for notes, because I was like, where did we end up from the last show? You know, where do we need to go in? Because it’s usually like, Oh, we didn’t get to this right. And this is really good. We should have a part in it just for today. Like, I don’t take the notes, because my team takes notes for me, because I’m not good at it. And Terry, you said,
It’s good to have a team.
Exactly right on, and here’s, the concept that I thought that I refrained from saying, “Before we hit record,” which is there’s a principle that I believe in, you know, while it’s generally accepted that it’s good to work on your weaknesses, you know, and I would say, especially in like personal development, and all that I would completely agree with. But when it comes to some things in business, and this is one thing that’s made me successful, I’m curious as how this relates to your, to your team sports experience that you have, is that I’ve tried to make even stronger my strengths, I’ve focused on that and getting really, really good at the things that are my giftings and are my wheelhouse and things that I’m strong in to make me like near unbeatable in competition with my strengths, rather than focusing on my weaknesses, like I’ve brought in other people to compliment me in areas that I just don’t want to do, or I see them as just something I might never be good at, that I’m not meant to do. So I focus a lot more energy on just solidifying my strengths than I do. Improving my weaknesses. That was the thought I had. I’m curious as to what you feel about that.
I think back on, you know, when I was playing basketball, I started playing at nine years old and, and I was very lucky, I happened to be in Columbus, Ohio at the time, and the guard on my you know, I mean, I don’t know, we were like eight or nine years old. I mean, we were just children, but the guard on my team was the son of the assistant coach at Ohio State. Park Burkholder was Fred Taylor’s assistant coach. So, you know, I mean, I had exposure very early on, you know, to basketball and college basketball, things like that, and I always remember Mr. Burkholder, telling me, you know, you need to work on your weaknesses, because in this game, scouting and things like that, people are good enough that they’re going to realize what your strengths are, and they’re going to compensate. I mean, they’re going to, okay, you know, he can’t go to his left, so we’re going to overplay him to his right, and things like that. So, I don’t know if I necessarily agree with that. I understand where you’re coming from. But from my perspective, it was, I mean, I’m a lefty.
So that was at a decided advantage in a lot of ways. Absolutely. But on the other hand, you know, I remember constantly, you know, dribbling with the right, going up with the right and things like that, because it wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t easy, and you know, I think back even when I was a policeman, you know, when you get in a gunfight which hopefully you never do, yeah, we the reason you practice so much is and drawing is it needs to become muscle memory. You know, you can’t think about oh, I need to unsnap this one, unsnap this one, cantor the weapon back, bring it out. And no, it’s just gotta bang. It’s got to be one continuous motion. I remember that from basketball, too. It’s like you can’t think about this. You’ve got to just keep doing it until it’s a must Oh memory. So I don’t I mean, from that perspective, I guess, if you have a team, but you know, think about it, you can’t have one person that just shoots outside shots. One person that does this, and one person that does that, because teams are too good today that, you know, Scouting is too good a film is too readily available, that they’re going to figure out what your strength is, and they’re going to overplay it. So you’re going to have to develop that weakness.
No doubt. Yeah, and, you know, this is way off topic from obviously, the SWAT team hostage negotiation that we’re going to talk about in a bit too. I was reading a lot about the last year or so with pro ball and how some, some team members, you know, like Lebron James, for example, you know, he, he got COVID, you know, which everybody did in the NBA. And they would bring up from the NCAA, they would bring up these individuals almost as like contract players just for two weeks. So while the big stars were, were sick, you know, and they had to be isolated for this period of time, so they wouldn’t get anybody else in the team sick. These amazing players had an opportunity to actually show their chops. In the meantime, and I started reading about like, the, like, the actual pro ballers that were already in the NBA thing, and like, oh, man, this kid’s going in for my job, I better start improving on some of the areas that I’ve neglected for a while, and you saw like these, you know, freshmen in college, and all of a sudden, literally standing next to LeBron in a game, you know, and I mean, it was like their moment to shine.
Some of these kids even got, like, year long contracts out of it, too, because they saw that there was hunger, the coaches saw that there was hunger in these young individuals that surpassed those that were already on the team. You know, and they saw that it was, it’s what we’re talking about, like working on your weaknesses, right. You know, and I’m sure it’s way different. I played baseball for nine years, too, you know, and I was always working on weak areas, you know, just like the coach would tell you to do business. It’s like, okay, this isn’t something that I want to do something I don’t want to get good at. So I might fill the gap. But now these players, you would see that they were so hungry, these kids that would be like brought up just for two weeks and end up getting your contracts, just because their drive outpaced the actual existing players, that would not care to improve on their weaknesses.
Yeah, but don’t you think? You know, think about that? Yeah, we would. I mean, when we first start anything, it’s new. It’s fun, it’s exciting. You know, we’re revved up, and all that kind of stuff. And then you’re 20 games into it. And you’re traveling at three o’clock in the morning. And you know, all that kind of stuff, where I like to see the differentiation. I remember the story I heard about Kobe Bryant, you know, and again, I think this is what differentiates elite premier athletes from you know, I mean, good NBA players is I remember a story that, you know, Brian went out for a shot got hit on the elbow, missed the shot, Lakers lost the game, ref didn’t call foul. So they went into the locker room, had their after game talk, and Brian put on his practice gear, grabbed the manager, went to the practice gym and said, I’m gonna shoot hundreds of shots now, and every time I do, I want you to hit me on the elbow, every time I want you to hit me on the up.
That’s the difference between I think, an elite athlete, and a good NBA player. And you know, it’s that I will, this may never happen again. But if it does, I’m going to be ready for it. I’m gonna not miss this the second time. And it’s keeping that drive going, you know, 80 games, 90 games, 100 games into the season. And when you listen to these, I was listening to them the other day. And I forget who was who was talking. And he’s like, Yeah, you know, the regular seasons. We just gotta get through it so that we can get to the playoffs? And it’s like, Oh my God. Wow. Yeah. And I’m like, and they were in the playoffs. I had somebody in Minnesota, I think like that. And it was like, really? That’s your attitude. I just gotta get through this. So that you know, I mean, the season really starts when we get to the playoffs. Wow. I hope not.
Yeah, no kidding. That’s time to hone everything up man to get focus and to bond as a team and get closer and know, know what everybody’s good at and know who you can depend on and what type of circumstance Yeah, for sure. I mean, who was that? What what team was
Well, it’s Minnesota. No offense to my wife. They’re not exactly known for a lot of their sports. They were at one point in time. I mean, the Minnesota Twins are baseball. They were a force to be reckoned with at one point in time, you know, but I mean, I’m talking like 20-25 years ago. Just like, who knows we’ll come back, you know, because for the longest time, even the even I mean, I’m mentioning gauger right, the cubs were just like an afterthought for many years, you know, and prior to just a few years back, it was like the last World Series that they won was 1915, or oh five or something like that. It was like 100 years, man. So whatever it may be, Minnesota will come back. Love you, Minnesota. Thanks. There’s some unfollows going on with this guy anymore, really I love you. See, this is what we’re having in episode two, you know, because this is the kind of vibe that we have.
My dad used to always be like, you know, candidate candidate, you’re not a candidate, get out of here.
That’s awesome. Thanks for diving into that with me a bit. Because I mean, you talked a little bit about when you’re a policeman, right, and how you would have to practice your drawing a lot. And I had a private security agency for four years. I was also a police cadet, when I was 16, for several years to law enforcement was going to be my career, you know, after a military tour, but I ended up not going to the military for medical reasons, I had a history of asthma, the Marines just didn’t want to take me because of that. Just interesting lines they draw. But I remember in training, you know, as you’re talking about, like muscle memory rights, and one of the biggest things that I remember, that was a weakness of mine, were building searches, and specifically, like building search exercises, and specifically it was looking up, and it was, that was my weak area, because I would notice everything around in the room, but I was so laser focused on that plane, that there were times when I was with my team, and it was multiple times that somebody would be up on a shelf or something like that, dude, it probably took me like 13-14 times to actually always do that. Because what do you do when you’re doing a building? Search? You know, right, you go in and you’re just, you kind of glanced at the room that looks behind the door, see if there’s anybody that’s in there, but you never really go up. Especially well.
Let the dog do it. Yeah.
I don’t have a canine. Yeah, translating that into, you know, the hostage negotiation. That’s a whole different ball game, man, and I just got done with Chris Voss, his book I was telling you never split the difference, because he was the lead negotiator for the FBI for many, many, many years. And he equates a lot of his negotiations to business. But he also always talked about learning. So going back to this, like covering your weaknesses, like every single situation, was a learning experience for the negotiator. And to try to continue to hone in your skills. How did that go for you? And how did you even get into that, man? That’s, uh, that’s intriguing.
Yeah, I was, I was lucky, you know, I’ve always wanted to be associated with the best and in law enforcement, you know, in a metropolitan police department, you know, and in the county’s Sheriff’s Department, it’s not like that SWAT is usually the best, they’re the best, the best officers to start with, they get the best training, the best equipment and things like that. So when there was an opening for a negotiator, I put in for it, and you know, how to do the physical fitness test had to do all the psychological stuff, had to go through the interviews, and you know, have my old bosses and that be, you know, what do you think with this guy, making a good person, and then finally got on and I was green. I mean, I didn’t know a lot. I remember my first and we would train and we would train through scenarios, we would practice different things. And we would act as you know, the bad guy, or the hostage and stuff like that. And I’ll never forget this. It was there’s a barricaded person with a hostage behind this door, now negotiating with them. And I had no, this is day one. And the hostage is like, Help me Help me. I mean, the hostage is screaming. Sorry, it’s my voice.
You know, thing. I’m like, does that really ever happen?
It does, because the hostages are always like, you know, hey, focus on me, focus on me. And I spent the entire time focused on the hostage and the, you know, what I learned was, you you take the hostage out of the equation, unless it can help you, but you take the hostage out of the equation, you focus on the bad guy, you you know, hey, what do you want? Why are we here? You know, things like that, “Hey, you want to let that person go? You know, they’re a pain in the neck.” They’re screaming there, they need medicine, they’re, they’re injured, whatever it was to try you know, to get them out. But going back, you know, as a policeman 99% of what you did was face to face with another individual. So I’m pulling you over to give you a speeding ticket. You know, answering a radio run for a fighter or domestic I’m knocking on your door say call the hospital grandmother, and they can’t get ahold of you. So you you were able to see visual clues, you know, if you’re talking to Somebody’s in there kind of, you know, looking around, that may mean they’re going to run, they’re looking for a way to escape or, you know, if they’re talking to you, and they’re balling up their fists, maybe they want to fight you well, you can see that you can take those visual clues, and you can act appropriately, sit them down, handcuffed, and put them in your car, whatever is appropriate for while you’re there. But as negotiators, we weren’t with the person we were negotiating with.
So we had to figure things out, based on what people were saying, what they weren’t saying, and how they were saying it. A lot of times, you know, we’re over here for two hours talking about something when the real issue is over here, we haven’t even gotten to that yet, and I guess I’ll end it with this, the way we used to describe what we did was kind of like thinking of a teeter totter or a seesaw at the park, you know, when we were all kids when we would grow up. When we started, the person we’re negotiating with is way up in the air, and the rational side is weighed down on the ground. Over time asking them open ended questions and getting them to talk. Hopefully, you bring that teeter totter that seesaw to equilibrium, and then over time, you get to the point where the rational side is up in the air, and the emotional side is down on the ground. When the emotional side is down on the ground, and you’re dealing with a rational person, that’s the time you can talk about letting the hostage go, putting the gun down, coming out and things like that. You can’t do that when you know, somebody’s screaming and they’re, you know, hyped up and they’re moving around and stuff like that. And that’s why you ask those open ended questions to get them to talk and burn off a lot of emotional energy.
That’s incredible. Those are powerful open-ended questions for a lot of houses. And from what I’ve seen, you almost try to, maybe you did this to you redirect, the focus is almost trying to get the bad guy to solve your problem as the negotiator. So if they were to say, and this is one of the things I was picking up from Chris’s book is that in those scenarios, and this, this translates into business, because if you’re in a business dealing, and you have a customer that’s demanding, or somebody who’s about to buy from you, that’s almost demanding something specific, you know, for example, like in my company, we don’t reduce prices, you know, we don’t cut deals or anything like that, it’s just the price is the price and it goes into it, it’s a premium offering very similar to Apple, right, you BestBuy will or target or whoever will actually put sales on Apple products, because that’s them, and it’s cutting into their own margin, but you go to the Apple Store, there’s never ever any sales from Apple directly.
It’s just, here’s what it is. It’s awesome. We know, it’s awesome. That’s why we’re not giving any deals. You know, there’s a lot that goes into it, right? Like I’ve seen memes, like, you know, when it’s like, you’re not paying me for my time today, you know, for the one hour I put into it today, you’re paying for the 10 years that it took me to get this good in this fast. Because I am the best at this. Now at this point I talking about generally speaking somebody in that scenario, and those open ended questions, you know, did you have things like if somebody says, Well, I want this amount of money, you know, in two hours or something like that, and one of the questions I picked up was like, Well, how am I supposed to do that?
Yeah, yeah, you ask them that. And that was the other, we never gave anything without getting something. So I’m not going to get you know, hey, I’m hungry, I want a pizza. Okay, what are you gonna give me, you know, there was an and I think the overarching thing of all this and, you know, what you’re doing is creating a relationship as as a hostage negotiator and a hostage taker, or barricaded subject, you’re creating a relationship, just like a husband and wife, or a boss, or subordinate, or, you know, parent, child, whatever it is, you’re creating relationship. And the overarching thing that I always took away from this is, it is one word, and that word was trust. And we had to, we had to develop or build trust with that person, and there were a lot of times where people would say, “Okay, I’ll come out, but you got to promise me, I’m not going to go to jail.”
“We would have to say, when you do come out, you are going to go to jail, but then we would deflect the conversation to something more positive and try to take the back, and the reason we did that, I mean, it’s not that we didn’t try to use it to our advantage. But there was a good chance that a year from now or two years from now, we’d be right back here negotiating with that same person. If they ever felt we lied to them, then we were done. I mean, it’s kind of like, you know, you go out and have an affair with your wife. I mean, she may forgive you, but she’s never going to forget, you know, she’s never going to be in a situation where Oh, yeah, I trust Terry again. That’s the same way when you’re negotiating with somebody, if you don’t have that trust, if you don’t have that relationship, you got to bring in another negotiator. You’ve got to bring somebody else in because they don’t trust you and there’s nothing you can do that is ever going to get past the fact that Nope, don’t want Tucker here, you know, get lost because I don’t trust him. He liked the last time. So an interesting roster was a huge part of what we did.
Did that ever happen on like, the first engagement was something where you had to swap out negotiators halfway through? Yeah, what would cause that?
I don’t like, you know, you’re trying to connect on some level and that was the hard part about negotiating. So if somebody said, you know, I’m trying to get think of an example, somebody said, you know, I am, you know, exploitive whatever at my wife, and you said, Oh, you seem a little mad, you totally missed what they just said, you totally, you have to get down in the weeds in the mud with these people. I mean, you have to get down on their level, and that is, that’s a hard thing to do. But it’s an exhausting thing to do. You know, but you have to, when they say something to you, the easiest thing to do, if you don’t know what to say, is to pare it back to what they said and put an emotion to it. So you know, it’s like, oh, man, you’re really pissed off at your wife aren’t yet. Yeah, I really am now, now you’re developing that relationship. Now. You’re Yeah, he gets me I understand. So if you’re negotiating, and you’re not developing that relationship, like, Yeah, this isn’t working, we got to switch you out for somebody else. Because yeah, they’re just not resonating with you.
For sure, and so its negotiators are still human, too, and I’m sure you saw some emotions rise up in some as well, which emotion is not supposed to be in it? Which is interesting. Because when you parallel that to business, right? I mean, I mean, founders, CEOs, it’s a different story. I mean, this is literally my life, you know, but I’ve had to even train myself over time. And those kinds of business dealings, I mean, with its investor, potential investor or whatever, because it’s, it’s numbers at that point. It’s sort of just a, if you want to call it a game, but it’s to where it is when you’re talking with somebody, it’s like you negotiate, when you take the emotion out of the negotiations, you can pay attention a lot better. Because you’re not clouded by anything that you’re thinking, because what I’ve found anyway, is that when you start to derive conjecture as to what they’re thinking right then and there without something that they directly told you, that’s where you can get yourself into trouble and you start almost trying to predict the future.
Yeah, what do they say the best salespeople are not the ones that are the best talkers. They’re the best listeners. That’s what we weren’t as good as negotiators. You know, you had to be like, Hey, am I hearing you? Right? Are you saying and then you would pare it back to them? And if you were wrong, I mean, they will know, you idiot. That’s not what I mean. This is what I mean, this is okay. Sorry. You know, I thought you were talking about something else. But that’s the, that’s the difference between listening to respond versus listening to understand, and, you know, we’re society right now is kind of at the point where we’re just listening to respond, you know, hurry up, Rick, say, we’re just gonna say, because I want to get my two cents in versus Oh, right. Okay. You know, I may or may not agree with what you said, but Okay, help me understand that. Where are you coming from, from that, when we’re in that kind of a relationship, we can get all kinds of things done, because now I’m like, Oh, okay. I get where Rick’s coming from, or Rick, under, you know, things? Well, hey, Terry wants to understand where I’m coming from, again, you’re developing that relationship. If you’ve got that relationship, I’m much more willing to do business with you, as opposed to, you’re just here to get money from me.
You don’t understand me, you’ve got to understand me, just like we had under trying to understand the you know, the person and, you know, there were a lot of times, you know, there was a movie in the 90s called the negotiator. I don’t know. Samuel L. Jackson. Yep. Yeah. And it’s like, you know, he does everything. He’s like, Superman. I’m negotiating, you know, and when I go on podcast, people ask me, Is that the way it is? No. So I may be negotiating, but there may be there is another negotiator sitting right next to me listening to everything that’s going on now saying, yeah, yeah, sure, and then there’s three or four other negotiators kind of out of a working crowd doing their, you know, intelligence, you know, explain this to me, why are we here? So you may get a note from the person sitting next few days, Don’t talk about his mother. The reason we’re here is because he had a big fight with his mother. So you don’t want to inflame that so don’t talk about his mother. So it’s just like in business, it’s a team effort. It’s not like you know, I go in and I’m closer. Well, yeah, but all the people who came before you, all the people who did the due diligence, you know, and talk to other competitors and talk to other people. Now, I’m prepared to close because all these other people did their work.
That’s so awesome. Everything comes full circle. doesn’t it? It does. I do really love the parroting method too, because I’ve used that in sales engagements. I’ve used that in just customer relations. I’ve used everything. I’ll even use it as a form of a question. So unlike your example, like, Man, I’m really pissed off at my wife, you know, I’ll repeat like the most important two or three words in that sentence in the form of a question like your wife, you know, and like, even like a downward tone of voice, by the way, everyone listening, Terry’s dropping gold on this, on this podcast today. So awesome. This is going to help you close any deal. And also better all of your relationships buy, even if you just pick up parroting That’s it. That’s literally it, right? So it’s like, Oh, your wife, you know, and even the downward inflection is like tactical empathy. You know, they can hear it in your voice, and I’ll do this in sales engagements where it’s like, you know, what, those last guys that we worked with, you know, I never felt like we were safe, safe. You know, I’ll repeat like one word before. Yeah. And then you just pause, and you let the air fill with silence. And it’s almost like they feel compelled to expound on what they just said, and give you more information without you actually having to pull it out of them.
That’s a huge point you just made there, and that was something that I had to learn, and most of us had to learn the importance of, or how to use silence to your benefit. Because when you’re talking to somebody, you know, and their emotional end is way up in the air. They’re, you know, you’re asking questions, they’re burning off that emotional energy, and then they stop talking. You get that. And we don’t like that. It’s uncomfortable, somebody wants to fill it. What you want to do is resist the temptation to fill it shut up, Terry, don’t say a word, because he’ll or she will start talking again. And that’s exactly what you said, they’ll want to fill it. And then they’ll start talking again, and you’re right, full circle. Here we go. Again, using a business we use it as negotiators.
They’re just as uncomfortable as you are right with these islands.
But you know that and they don’t realize the psychology that’s going on so you just don’t say anything? Or like you said you just say one word, really.
Love it. There’s other training I’ve had and you know, like Neuro Linguistic Programming in all of these things where the open ended questions are great, the house and the watts are freakin phenomenal. Then the wares and the winds. You never ever ever want to use why? Because why almost like causes it’s actually almost like offensive in the subconscious world. Because then you feel almost like you don’t believe me or something, whatever I just said, or it’s also that they feel compelled to make something up. So those open ended questions are how’s, what’s, when? Where are the most powerful ones and completely throw out why.
Yeah, tell me why we’re here today.
Yeah, that’s a command. That’s beautiful. Yeah, exactly. The silence is frickin amazing. I love the silence. But we don’t like it. It’s uncomfortable. Why did you learn it? It’s great, cool. Yeah, because the first time I used silence, I mean, this was probably like, a decade ago, you know, to where I just sat there. It’s like, I almost started sweating in places that I didn’t know, I could sweat in it, and what seemed like 18 minutes, you know, was actually more like four seconds of silence. That’s it, until they started talking, and then I was like, “Oh, thank God. If the same sounds like it works, oh, my God.”
It does. It’s it’s, I mean, we are creatures of habit. And I mean, there’s, you know, it’s 2022, there’s been tons of studies done, about how people interact with each other, and what’s the most effective way to sell or, you know, to get what you want and things like, I mean, there’s 1000s of books out there, but it still goes back to trust and that connection, making that connection with another human being. I don’t care if this guy just shot and killed, you know, a roomful of five year olds, you still have to, you still have a job to do you still have things that you you know, you’ve got to try to get this guy out safely. And I’ll tell you a quick story. So we were negotiating with a 15 year old kid who had a gun and was barricaded, and we had done everything we had known whether I’m doing everything, and we’re not working. So we told the kimberleigh Hey, we’ll call you back. We hung up. We got together kind of you know, in a big huddle. It’s like, I don’t know, what do you think? What do you think? What do you think? And finally, somebody said, Well, he, it’s a kid. Let’s scare let’s be a parent. Let’s scare him. So we came up with the deal. We were going to break a window, throw in a flashbang grenade that doesn’t explode. It’s not like a regular grid. It just produces a bright light and a loud sound and see if we could scare him into coming out. So we had the tactical team break on When you’re throwing the grenade, bang, Big Bang Goes up, right? Like 10 minutes later he was out. Okay, well try something unconventional.
Rick Jordan 30:08
Yeah. Was there a hostage in that scenario? Was it just that he was just barricaded? Gotcha. Okay. I figured as much as you were telling the story. It’s like, I don’t know how well that will go with a hostage. But if it’s just a 15 year old kid by himself, yeah, freak them out.
Nothing else is working. Let’s try this. Yeah, right.
That’s awesome. That was one story. What’s one of your most unforgettable experiences doing this?
Well, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you a funny one. Then I’ll tell you a serious one, a funny one. You know, a lot of these negotiations take hours, you know, they go on for 234 or five hours, and you’re just biding time. As long as nobody’s hurt, you know, somebody’s guy starts shooting or something, the tactical team is gonna go in and take care of business. So this guy, you know, we get a call, I get to the scene. I was working that night, and I’m talking to the district cops, and I’m like, What’s the deal? He’s drunk. He barricaded himself in his house with a gun and his wife. Okay, so do you have him on the phone? Yeah, we do. So let me talk to him. So I started talking to him, and you never almost never, within the first few minutes, asked somebody to come out or ask somebody to do something. You want to burn off a lot of energy.
So I just had a feeling with this guy. I talked to him for about 15 minutes. And I said to him, what would it take for you to come out? There was just like a pregnant pause, and he’s like, give me a beer. I said, if I got you a beer, I’d have your word that you would come out. He said, Do I have your word that I could drink it? And I said, you have my work. He said, Then give me a beer. So I gave $5 to one of the district guys. I said go down to the store and buy a beer and the tactical team put it on the front porch. I called him back and I said your beers on the front porch. But you don’t get it until your wife comes out. You put down the gun and you come out. He’s like, I still have your word that I can drink. I said you still have my work. All of a sudden the front door flies open. Here comes his wife. Here. He comes with his hands up, we handcuff him, let him drink his beer off the jail.
So you still hold up your end of the deal, though. We didn’t even have to get held up.
I told you, you could drink the beer, you can drink the beer, but then you’re going to jail. So that was kind of a funny one, a serious one that I still remember. Started about eight o’clock at night. This guy wanted to kill himself wanted to commit suicide. So he slit his wrists. That didn’t work, and then he thought it was a good idea to turn the gas on in his stove and stick his head in the oven. I didn’t quite get that one, but that didn’t work either. I’ve never heard of them. Yeah, I have neither. So then he gets a gun. He calls one of his relatives and one of his relatives calls the police and we get there and I’m talking to him. It’s probably four o’clock in the morning now. He’s like, you know, and we developed a good relationship, things were great. I was really, I was excited that he was going to come out, and he’s like, you know, I’m really tired. He said, I’d like to come out. I said, good. I should do that. I should just put the gun down. I said, “Take the phone, go outside, and when you get out there, just do what the tactical guys tell you to do. I’ll come down to the scene and we’ll talk face to face some more.” He’s like, you know, “I’d really like that.” It’s like, “Okay, but don’t hang up the phone.” So what’s he do? Hang up the phone, because we’re conditioned at the end of a phone call to hang up the phone. So we’re conditioned to do that. So I didn’t think much of it. But about 15 seconds later, one of the tactical guys comes on the radio. He’s like, “We heard a gunshot.” I thought you gotta be kidding me all this and you shot yourself. He did show himself in the head. But he shot himself at an angle where the bullet went under, like right in the temple, when underneath his skin around his scalp and out the other side, never penetrated his skull and never got to his brain, and I’m thinking three times you tried to kill yourself tonight.
That’s God saying, oh, ain’t your tie. Yeah, no kidding. But he survived. He lived and I don’t know, whatever happened to him. But it was just one of those things where I put a lot of emotional energy into it. And I felt good about it. And then it just went to hell in a handbasket just like that. And he shot himself. Fortunately, he didn’t kill himself. But sometimes you do the best you can. And I’d say 90% of the time, we were able to get the person out safely. But about 10% of the time, they chose to end their life. And I don’t mean to sound callous or crass with this, but I never lost any sleep over that. Because one I knew I had great training, I knew I worked incredibly hard to get this person out. And three, think about it. What we were probably dealing with had been festering for, you know, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, and you’re supposed to come in sight unseen, not knowing this person and resolve it peacefully. I mean, that’s a big ask on any day, but in that regard, it was like look, I’m doing the best I can. It’s up to you whether or not you want to see tomorrow or not.
Yeah, no kidding. Well, you’re touching on another topic here that I think we could probably use as our final topic here today, and that’s the one of failure. Because as you’re, as you’re going through, it’s like you never lost any sleep over that. So it was like one out of 10, right? You could take a look back, reflect and be like, you know, I had a 10% failure rate, you know, everything that I’ve ever done, but I still had my great training, I never lost sleep over it. Did it take you any sort of self growth to get to that mindset? Because I know, for me that it did, because, and I still see this with a lot of people that I speak with, it’s two things.
One, they dwell on past failures, you know, as almost like a reason not to move forward from where they’re at right now. Because they don’t want to fail again. Or somehow or another, maybe they’ve had a lot of success, and they’re perfectionists, right? And they’re so scared to mess up or fail, and just even one little part of it, like in your case, like 1/10 10%, but still, it’s like, if the project is 90% good, if it’s business, if it’s whatever, or a marriage, you know, and but you’re thinking, Well, I’m gonna mess up at least a few times. And they might not have had any previous experience with that situation, but yet, they won’t move forward, because they’re just afraid of failing and how that’s gonna mess up their life or mess up other things. So it’s like dwelling on past failures, and then also not moving forward, because you feel like you just might not do it the right way.
Yeah, I mean, I think the road to success is paved with failure. I mean, there’s, there’s nobody who’s been successful, like, that hasn’t failed, I think, in some way, somehow, at some time. Yeah, and, you know, I think part of part of being able to have failure or to deal with failure, is you have to be grounded in something, you have to believe in something that’s bigger than yourself, whether it’s God, whether I you know, I mean, for me, it was, you know, there was always after we had a call up, it’s like, Hey, let’s go out to the bar, let’s go out to get and for me, it was like, “No, I didn’t want to go get drunk. I didn’t want to, you know, do that kind of stuff.” I want to go home because my family grounded me, and yeah, I would tell my wife, I mean, our daughter was young, but I would tell her wife what was going on. And you know, you know, and we would talk about it and having somebody that you can kind of bare your soul to and say, Yeah, you know, gosh, I’m exhausted, I work my butt off, and the guy still shot himself, you know?
Okay, how do you feel about you know, and my wife then starts doing the same thing that I just was doing, you know, she starts telling, you know, well, how do you feel about that Terry, and, you know, will tell me about and doing the same thing for him. But you have to grind you, there’s got to be something in your life that’s bigger than you. I think if you do that, if you have that, if you don’t, I feel sorry for you. I mean, you should try to find whatever that is, whatever, you know, makes you tick, whatever you believe in whatever you’re willing to die for, and then use that as your your touch point, you know, your anchor, to venture out, you know, to, to get out there and make mistakes. And I always tell young people, especially if there’s something in your heart, something in your soul that you believe you’re supposed to do, but it scares you. Go ahead and do it. Because at the end of your life, the things you’re going to regret are not going to be the things you did, they’re going to be the things you didn’t do. And by then it’s going to be too late to go back and do it.
Yeah, that’s always the thing. Where was I? Oh, I was at my barbers the other day. Okay. And there was a gentleman who was 61 years old, and I don’t know him. There’s a reason why I know he’s 61 Because he said it out of his own mouth when he was in there. And the barber I see is, this is about regrets. By the way, this is where the store is going. That’s the way that they book right, there’s only two two barbers in the shop that I go to. They’re amazing, right? They’re just in the suburbs, but they used to work in the city at these premier barber shops, just incredibly amazing. I mean, look, you know, amazing fades, right? You can see right there it looks good. Thanks, brother. Just the dude walks in, and the only way to book appointments is actually through an app online. Magaro.
Right, and that’s it and they’re always full, you know, they don’t take walk-ins ever because they’re always booked up. You know that they’ve built this over the years, you know, and sometimes it’s hard for me. I have to book like three weeks out and travel so much I need to make sure that I get you know, like my next five appointments set up because I get this trimmed up every single week. You know, so I’ve got to strategically plan this. Just to make sure I get in I can’t go in just by booking the same day that never ever happens. So he comes in and he’s always like Yeah, I need a haircut. And they’re like, well, we don’t take walkins you have to go online. He’s like, Well, I figured, but I called here and your voicemails are full. And so they’re like, well, we don’t check that the only thing we do is we text message reminders to people. That’s it, you know, because otherwise, you just go online and book with the Vaccaro app. And then he goes, “Well, I’m 61 years old, so I’m a little old school.”
The guy got, he was belligerent, you know, and was not very friendly at all, with these individuals, and you could tell and I’m sure you saw this in law enforcement, too, you can tell he was already in a mood when he walked through the door by his body language, you know, and was just there looking to just rail somebody that said, verbally anyways, you know, and then when he, he was standing there, like, well, it’s no problem. You know, we have people that stop in here, and we can book the appointment for you, when you walk in here, not not a big deal. So the offer that like, just wait a couple minutes, I’m gonna finish up with the cut that I’m doing right now. And then I’ll help you book an appointment, you know, so it might have been like, 10 minutes. Remember that whole, like, it seems like an eternity thing. But really, it’s a short period of time. It was probably like 90 seconds that he waited. That’s it? And then they like, just said, I mean, eff it and walked out the door, you know, that’s it, and one of them was, she’s 24 years old, something like that, and it’s a dude and a woman who cut hair there. I get it done by both of them. And she’s like, I hate old people.
I’m 61 and I don’t feel old.
This is what I’m thinking that you know, I’m there. And I mean, even on the show, it’s like the demographic that listens to my show. All in right now. The crowd that I resonate with the most are those that are between 18 and 25. You know, it’s just a passion, a heart that I’ve always had, because I know what I went through when I was at age, and I don’t see things any different. It’s a tough time because, uh, you know, it’s a time where society expects a lot of decisions from you, that are supposed to affect the rest of your life, which I think is asinine, you know, it’s ridiculous. But when I talk, I’m like, there’s, it’s okay. I’m like, you know, that dude obviously has a lot of regrets in life. Because you could just tell what’s going on. And it’s like, he’s gotten to the point, and I’m like, you know, I remember my grandmother, who had always wanted to stay up on the latest stuff. I’ve known elderly people that are in their 80s and 90s. And even approaching 100 That would jump on computers, and always try to learn the latest things that were there, you know, and it’s so interesting, because I would see them and they’re, like, so fulfilled, and able to look back in their life and smile at certain things, of course, they would mess up, and they had failures, like we talked about, too.
This was a dude that obviously had some regrets, you know, you could just see it on his face, like he doesn’t ever have a good day. And it’s by his choice to, and then also, I’m talking with Liz, who’s 25. Thanks for letting me monologue for a bit too, because this really grabbed my heart, man, you know, because I was able to even coach her on the spot. And I’m like, you know, so many people, I said this on a solo podcast, let so many people die at age 25 and aren’t buried until 75. Still, at 61 years old, that dude still probably has like a good 20 years left. And he still absolutely can do something right now, he can’t make up for what he didn’t do already. But he still has an opportunity to do something else that he wants to write now. There’s no age limit for when you can start. There’s also no age limit at the beginning, from when you’re supposed to be able to start. So I love what you’re saying there man about regrets and failures. And if there’s one piece of advice, what’s your favorite age group that you love talking to? You talked about kids already? Right?
Oh, I love young people. I mean, they’re so pliable, so malleable. So you know, it’s like, gosh, you’ve got it all right there. My brother and I were drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and, and so our whole family was jocks. You know, growing up, yeah, we’re all basketball baseball players. And we’ve we talk even today, it’s like, if we knew, you know, 40 years ago, 50 years ago, about, you know, mindset and working our bodies smarter and things like we would have been so much better athletes than we were. We were very good athletes, and you think about what young people have access to today in terms of knowledge and, and I always encourage young people especially to be lifelong learners. It’s kind of like what you were saying, 80-90 years old, jumping on a computer. I don’t know. I mean, when I started my blog, I was kind of like that, man.
I was like, blogging. I shouldn’t start a blog. I’m 61 years old. I can barely turn my cell phone on, you know, so starting a blog was ridiculous, and it took me four months to do four pages. But it was, excuse me four months where I learned, like, I don’t know what that means I gotta go find out. I gotta go learn. I’m sure my 25 year old daughter could have done it in 15 minutes. But for me, I don’t know about that. I don’t understand that. I’ve got to go learn it, and I’ve always tried to be that way. I don’t know. What does that mean? Tell me more about that. I guess that’s one thing that I think made me a good negotiator. I wanted to learn about you. Why are we here? What’s going on? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So that curiosity is something that well it’s 61 I haven’t lost it yet. So I hope young people never lose it that they keep being curious and asking questions.
You got it. Terry said everyone keeps being curious. He’s got an amazing website motivationalcheck.com and on Instagram at sustainable excellence author Terry amazing having you on again, brother.
Thanks, Rick. It’s always fun talking with you.
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