“I turned 80 this month, and still wondering what I’ll do when I grow up. I definitely don’t relate to the number. It sounds old and I’m not.”
Success is not always what we think it is. It may be living life without fear, rather than putting big numbers up on whatever scoreboard one is keeping their tally on; discovering that joy and happiness are not only their own reward, but that they may lead to other treasures as yet unimagined.
But how does one get to understand that the limits in their lives may not be their circumstances, but rather their beliefs? This is where self-described recovered businessman Terry works. As we often say here, we can only work towards what we imagine is possible; our greatest limitation is in our own minds and our ability to imagine and push our beliefs to new heights. It is not where you are, it is where you think you can go that is the key.
How old are you?
So tell us, who are you?
Haha. Someone last night asked me this. That’s a really hard question. I’ve noticed most people answer in terms of credentials and titles and such. I’ve got plenty of those. But who I am, I’m a scout. I like to think that I’m heartfelt and spirit-directed inside out. I discovered that I have a sensitivity way beyond what was acceptable when I was little. I have a deep level of caring; and heartfelt, that’s my intention.
I’m a recovered businessman. I was a type A entrepreneur right out of college for 15 years. Go, go. More, more. Bigger, faster. And I looked successful but I didn’t feel it inside. I was killing myself.
Inside Out Leadership
What are you scouting for?
I’m really curious and it’s taken many forms throughout my life. I have a leadership seminar that I call Inside Out Leadership so I’ve done a lot of looking and experiencing what’s effective in leadership. Not just in business but in your own life. For my business clients, I tell them: happy people are productive people. And most of them aren’t happy but after 2 and ½ days with me they’ll touch back into joy and happiness and maximum effectiveness.
People say they want to get from A to B. They want a higher market share or a bigger salary or more time with their kids and they aren’t there yet. So I find a way for them to get there. A scout goes out and finds a way and comes back and shares what they found. What I like about my work is that scouts do their work alone but then have the group time and I love that balance.
What do you find is most self-limiting for people trying to get from A to B? Why aren’t they at B?
Belief systems. Limiting beliefs and the fears and assumptions that come from that and dictate their choices and limit their behaviors. Everybody’s got a fear of failure but that’s usually a small part of it.
Recently, people have been asking me a lot about health. People who have health issues. That’s not my main work but I’ve healed myself so I know a way. I was paralyzed and told I would never walk again. My only thought was “those doctors just can’t help me. I’ve got to find somebody who can.” So I went to find people who had healed and asked how they did it. Then I did. Now I have a way and work with a number of people on their health issues.
I ask my clients two questions: Do you really want to get to B? and Do you think it’s possible? If we don’t have a clear yes to both of those, don’t even start. Don’t bother. A lot of the work is clearing up the unconscious blocks.
“My work is to take people outside that comfort zone in hundreds of ways”
The approach that you’re taking with the health issues sounds similar to the approach you take in your seminars. That it’s around belief systems.
We work a lot with belief systems. The main model that I use is the comfort zone. We all have this zone that we live in that feels familiar and comfortable and all the learning and the growth happen beyond that. So my work is to take people outside of that comfort zone in hundreds of ways. My forte is experiential learning. I was an A student, I have a good brain, I got into Stanford, I graduated; mentally I do fine. But that didn’t produce what I wanted. I learned a lot playing sports. I didn’t just learn how to throw a pass but I learned how to work with a group of other people, how to be a team. I look back and the things that have stuck with me were all from experiences.
You’re now 80 years old. How are you different now from 20 years ago?
There’s a part of me that feels no different at all. I’d say that’s my soul or essence or something inside that feels just the same. The part that is different is what I think. In college, my nickname was Tight Ass. I was a world-class worrier. I had ulcers; I was an insomniac; I worried! What’s really different is I just don’t worry now. It’s a miracle. It’s been that way for 20 years maybe and it was a conscious effort to change.
The stopping worrying… that was you changing your belief system about worry?
The belief system started changing like dominos. What it came from was realizing that where you look is where you go. What I focus on determines what I call “reality” and then consequently experience. My physiology is affected by what I focus on. That worry was directing my focus towards a negative outcome and it wasn’t there. It was what I was imagining would happen. It wasn’t real. And then I realized that I didn’t have to do that. I could imagine a positive result. It was hard for me to consciously shift like that because it was an old habit that would just unconsciously go back to the worst that could happen and the worry. What if I don’t pass this test? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if my daughter’s born crippled? What if I get in a car accident? It went on and on.
“I’m not consciously afraid of anything. I’m really not”
What are you afraid of today?
I’m not consciously afraid of anything. I’m really not. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m approaching it. A very good friend of mine died yesterday. So I’m at that age where it’s happening for the last 10 or 15 years where people I know are dying. I’ve never been afraid of dying. In fact, my spiritual study is a priority for me and the result of that has been soul transcendence which in a way is dying here while I’m alive, if that makes any sense.
I don’t want a painful, long, suffering death. Am I afraid of it? It’s not a fear thing. But I just don’t want it. So I look at the alternative. It would be nice to just go to sleep and not wake up. That’d be a nice way to die.
What’s your ambition for the next ten years?
That’s a real challenge for me, honestly. I used to be quite ambitious and the biggest challenge I have right now is been there, done that. I don’t mean that arrogantly at all. The things that I thought I wanted I’ve done or I’ve got. Right now, what’s got my interest is figuring out how to be a good father to my young son. I have two grown daughters and I did the best I knew how but I wasn’t the father that I would’ve wanted as a child. That’s my main thing. I’ve accumulated some wisdom. I’m an elder now. I wish I would’ve met the me now 40 years ago, and listened! I probably wouldn’t have listened. I’m very interested in offering my wisdom. I’m working on an online course to help people use me. I have no intention of retiring by a golf course and playing every day. That’s not my nature.
“That’s part of scouting; I’ll only find things out if I explore them”
You mentioned your spiritual practices. What sort of spiritual practices do you have?
Well, I’ve been meditating for about 45 years. I study with a man named John Rogers, a spiritual teacher. I started teaching meditation in my business seminars; however, if I would’ve called it meditation they wouldn’t have let me in the door. I called it a stress reduction technique. Now, the term mindfulness has crept into the jargon. I think meditation is maybe the most valuable thing I’ve ever learned and I would’ve never expected that when I started. I thought it was weird when I started. But that’s part of scouting; I’ll only find things out if I explore them. So I did meditation and it was really hard at the beginning. I felt like I was wasting my time. If I were rewriting the world’s rules, I would teach kids about karma and meditation. I believe the world would be a very different place. People would make very different choices and more positive, friendly, productive choices.
How old is your son and what’s it like having a young son?
He is 6. He’ll be 7 in November. I’m completely in love with him. Often when I’m interviewed they ask, “If there’s one message you can leave for the listeners, what would it be?” The first thing that pops in my mind is: “If I can be more loving, everything else would work.” That’s always been an intention of mine but I always fell short. But when my son was born it was a level of loving that I’ve never had; I had heard about it. It’s constant. I look at his picture on my desk and just come alive. That’s the main thing. I’m the age that most people are with their grandchildren but now I have a son. It’s hard to describe. I’ve got to be one of the oldest fathers. I don’t have a lot of company. I’m out here where nobody else is but I’m learning some things.
In order to have a younger son my wife has to be younger. We met soon after I had left a 30-year relationship and I had no intention of getting into another relationship. I thought, “I’m done.” All I can say is that the heart has a mind of its own. In my marriage right now and having my son, I’m following my heart and there’s often no logic with it. We now know that the heart and the gut have more intelligence than the brain might. With a young son, I’m living in that heartfelt, intuitive gut level. I think that’s my ambition, to get more of that following my gut and to get better at that.
“I don’t want to come to people with lack”
What are the 3 non-negotiables in your life?
Take care of myself first. Then I can take care of others. I don’t want to come to people with lack. It might seem selfish but it’s a non-negotiable. I’m going to take care of myself first. That means I’m going to make sure I get enough sleep, I’m going to eat good food, I’m going to exercise. This morning I canceled a meeting so I could go run. Why? I’m going to run 3 days a week at least 30 minutes no matter what.
I’m not going to go to war. That’s a non-negotiable. I grew up in the Vietnam era and most of my friends and I were trying to figure out how we were going to avoid that. I’ve just always known that I’m not going to go kill someone else. I don’t care what you say.
The third is my family. My family’s in Idaho right now. We moved up there for my younger son. It wasn’t okay with me for him to be at school with a mask on, distancing and not playing. I know a lot about psychology. I know how formative those first 7 years are. So I moved us to Idaho so he could be a kid.
I understand that’s controversial. But it’s a non-negotiable for me.
Main image by: Doug Ellis.
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