Cascading Leadership - The Show

Terrance Cooley: How Eating Out of Trash Cans Influences Your Leadership Mindset

January 12, 2023 Jim Season 3 Episode 2
Cascading Leadership - The Show
Terrance Cooley: How Eating Out of Trash Cans Influences Your Leadership Mindset
Show Notes Transcript


In today's conversation, Terrance Cooley discusses how resilience, adaptability, and a minimalist lifestyle is the key to seizing opportunity and success in life. 

Terrance is  chief information security officer (CISO) and the CPO for the US Air Force.  In his previous role, he was a cyber threat hunter for the Air Force. He has also worked as a IT systems program manager for logistics in Europe. In his current role, he is responsible for the security of the  information systems and ensuring that they are compliant with regulations. He is also responsible for the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program.

Terrance talks about how he is responsible for driving the culture of the organization and ensuring that it is aligned with the strategic mission. He has extensive experience in leadership and management, and he is passionate about creating a positive and productive culture within the Air Force.

Terrance  talks about how his early life was very challenging, with his family moving around a lot and him having to restart his life multiple times. He also talks about how his mother had to bring him to her college classes in order to continue her courses. He talks about how he attempted suicide when he was 12, but it failed and discouraged him from trying again. He talks about how he eventually got more comfortable with change and found his own happiness.



Terrance Cooley: A Resilient Life


A Career in Technical Management and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


The Air Force's Approach to Innovation and Culture Change


The Power of Outcomes


The Importance of a Good Foundation in Life


Terrance Cooley's Journey from Survival Mode to Success


The Importance of a Mentor


My Struggle with Toxic Masculinity


Experience with Depression


Failed suicide 


 Finding His Voice


The Best Years of Your Life? Terrance Cooley Disagrees


The Importance of a Good Work Ethic and Quality Character in the Workplace


The Air Force as a Stepping Stone for Success


The Importance of a Diverse Education System


Career Navigation Lessons


The Career Path 


Leadership Development in the Military


The Air Force's Approach to Maintaining Technical Proficiency


The Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle in the Workplace


The Power of Change: Lessons from Terrance Cooley

Music Credit: Music Credit: Maarten Schellekens - Riviera

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 Terrance Cooley: Survival Mode to CISO 

Terrance Cooley: Survival Mode to CISO 

[00:00:00] Dr. Jim: welcome to today's episode of Cascading Leadership. I am your friendly neighborhood talent strategy nerd, Dr. Jim. And today we are in for another powerful conversation. In today's conversation, we're gonna learn how resilience is a critical success factor for a fulfilling life.

[00:00:16] Dr. Jim: We're gonna learn why adaptability is the key to seizing opportunity, and we're gonna learn what a minimalist lifestyle has to do with maximizing satisfaction. So those are some broad topics that we're gonna cover in the person that is going to guide us through that journey and answer some of those questions is joining us today.

[00:00:35] Dr. Jim: Terrence Cooley, welcome to the show. 

[00:00:37] Terrance Cooley: Hi, Jim. Thank you for having me on. 

[00:00:38] Dr. Jim: Super excited to have you on. I think the audience is going to be really interested in the story that we're gonna tell and and a lot of the experiences that you've had throughout your life. I think it's gonna be broadly relevant and translatable to just about anybody that's out there moving and navigating through their life in general and through their professional life in particular.

[00:00:58] Dr. Jim: With that being said, [00:01:00] let's get the audience caught up on who you are and a little bit about what you've been up to and your current state. So tell us a little bit about yourself so that the audience can get familiar with where you are. 

[00:01:10] Terrance Cooley: Absolutely. So I am the Chief people officer and CSO for the United States Air Force jas C two r D labs since for joint all domain command control, we're just gonna call it jassy two cuz it keeps it simple for everybody. I'm responsible for building inclusive teams in our organization using an agile methodology.

[00:01:25] Terrance Cooley: And how I got here is a pretty interesting story because in the military it's a meritocracy. You are promoted up through your ability to be successful and lead teams and push the organization's values further. So my journey here has been pretty exciting. But the things we're doing here are probably gonna change the face of defense for the world.

[00:01:46] Terrance Cooley: And I've served in a few other roles. I was previously a vice president of cyber compliance and risk for overseeing about 742 cyber analysts developing a bunch of pro bunch of programs for that. And then prior to that I was a IT systems program [00:02:00] manager for logistics over in Europe where I was living in Germany.

[00:02:03] Terrance Cooley: Had a lot of fun managing programs, moving convoys and aircraft and a lot of equipment across for a 132 million wireless system portfolio. But I cut my teeth originally as a IT systems technician. And through that journey, I've learned about resilience. I've learned about adaptability, and I've learned about just taking opportunities when they're presented to you.

[00:02:23] Terrance Cooley: And that is how I built my career. 

[00:02:25] Dr. Jim: A lot of interesting stuff that you just mentioned in just that quick recap of where you are and how you got to where you are from your early professional career.

[00:02:33] Dr. Jim: But one of the things that's really interesting about what you've mentioned is that you're at this intersection of sorts, or at least this is how I interpret it. You're certainly in the technical side of it. So for those that aren't familiar as CISO is a chief information security officer, and what caught my attention is that you're at the integration of that and also some aspect of del diversity, equity and inclusion.

[00:02:57] Dr. Jim: And I wouldn't expect [00:03:00] that to necessarily be a focus in the military. So tell me a little bit about how you landed in that sort of intersection of those two functions 

[00:03:09] Terrance Cooley: absolutely. So in my last role as vp, what we were doing is it was pretty much the height of my career.

[00:03:14] Terrance Cooley: I had just finished being a cyber threat hunter for the Air Force. Very technical job. I'm moving up into management and I'm starting to understand more about the people function. And one of the unique things about the Air Force is that it's a very diverse organization. We hire people from everywhere.

[00:03:29] Terrance Cooley: And that a, that perspective means we have to think about the different styles of thought, the different characteristics of people, different backgrounds, to take maximum advantage of innovative ideas and trust people so that they can solve the bigger problems and connect them to the strategic mission.

[00:03:44] Terrance Cooley: My experience doing that gave me an opportunity to be picked up for this opportunity where I was originally hired to be the Chief Information Security Officer and developed that program. In that process, I determined that in organization we had a culture issue where there was [00:04:00] some toxic leadership issues, there was unclarity of mission.

[00:04:03] Terrance Cooley: It was very challenging to work in that environment. And so I stepped up to help guide that culture just by being a good person. And when our new c e O came in she chose me to fill that function on top of my other duties and then gave me additional duties on top. A unique aspect of the military is we just get things done, and so we are trained to be leaders.

[00:04:26] Terrance Cooley: We are trained to be adaptable, and so when you're given these duties, you either succeed or fail and failure's just not an option 

[00:04:31] Dr. Jim: I'm listening to some of the things that you mentioned as far as key initiatives or things that you're trying to drive within your role.

[00:04:37] Dr. Jim: My immediate thought was how is he how is he gonna do this in a large government organization? And obviously a military organization where government in general is known for a level of inertia that just, is more conducive to maintaining the status quo. So how do you navigate those specific challenges?

[00:04:56] Terrance Cooley: That's a 

[00:04:57] Terrance Cooley: great question. And we're not often equipped with [00:05:00] the tools to navigate this. So we are very fortunate with our current co She pushed. The boundaries and she's been pushing the boundaries and giving us the freedom and flexibility to go after these things.

[00:05:09] Terrance Cooley: She implemented an agile methodology into our organization, so we are very much familiar with that framework and that is how we are shifting a lot of the paradigms because we are encouraging, enforcing our senior leaders to actually accept a results first methodology where if our folks are getting the job done, we don't need to micromanage that they come in from seven 30 to four 30.

[00:05:30] Terrance Cooley: We don't need to constantly have check-ins and keep 'em in until the last minute and then throw more work on 'em. We tell them these are the things that need to be done and accomplish it. And as she's been able to prove it and as she's empowered us to support her in this mission, it has created its own kind of inertia where even though there are other organizations that aren't willing and ready to jump on board, because we keep getting things done, our particular niche, organiz.

[00:05:54] Terrance Cooley: Is within our corporate structure the best performing organization up for [00:06:00] the next three tiers. 

[00:06:00] Dr. Jim: I, one of the things that I really like about what you just said there, and this is something that comes up in several of my conversations and also when I'm not on a show, it's a conversation that I have regularly with people that I happen to lead when I'm in leadership roles, is that the focus should be on outcomes.

[00:06:17] Dr. Jim: Your role as a leader is to point to a direction that shows a better future. It's not to manage every single step that your people take to get there. As long as you get there and you're doing it in an ethical way it doesn't really matter. , all the different ways that you can get to get to success or the outcome.

[00:06:35] Dr. Jim: So the fact that even in the military, the focus on outcomes, or at least that conversation about activity, fo focusing less on the activity and the process and more on the outcome, it's it, those are really strong conversations to have and I'm glad that you actually called that out.

[00:06:50] Dr. Jim: We have a good sense of kind of some of the things that you're up to. But I think it'd be valuable for us to wind the clock back and talk a little bit [00:07:00] more about where it all began or how it all began. Would it be safe to say that if you went back in the past and told, five-year-old Terrence that you're gonna be this person that you are now, what would've been the reaction that five-year-old Terrence would've had to that view of the future?

[00:07:17] Terrance Cooley: There's no way I would've believed me. Five year old me was still eating outta trash cans. So I was born in Michigan and Detroit, Michigan, and it was pretty rough growing up. I was fortunate that we did have a nice house my grandmother was able to provide.

[00:07:30] Terrance Cooley: She worked a ton of jobs, pulled up a lot of pensions so that she could create a life for us. But my mom literally had to drag me into her college courses in order to meet them as a little kid. So I got to cut my teeth early on, on criminal justice and microbiology. But it was a very challenged life I grew up in.

[00:07:46] Terrance Cooley: But when my mother was able to get out she married my stepdad who's a Marine. They, we moved all the way out to California and just to try to figure things out and it. I can't even undersell the amount of stress that I went through as a kid [00:08:00] between moving to different localities, having to restart, uproot my life, rebuild all over again.

[00:08:05] Terrance Cooley: I had a suicide attempt when I was 12 from all the stress I failed at that fail, that's not the right word, but I didn't successfully in my life. And that was maybe the best turning point in my life because it discouraged me from trying other attempts, but I was only 12. That's how bad it felt at that time.

[00:08:20] Terrance Cooley: But as life grew and as I got more comfortable with change, as I got more comfortable accepting that things are going to be different for me and that I don't have full control of my life, I was able to start looking at the things that I did have control and find my own happiness. I play a lot of video games as a kid.

[00:08:36] Terrance Cooley: I made some social connections. I rode around my bike. Mainly, it wasn't until high school that I really came into my own. I had three different high schools, one in Alaska, one in two in Maryland. The one in the high in Alaska was actually very foundational. Taught me to really get out of my shell to be comfortable with who I am and to really accept that as a black man in a very not black state I have to be [00:09:00] okay and get a thicker skin and accept that I'm gonna have a different lived experience from other people, and I have to learn how to navigate that.

[00:09:06] Terrance Cooley: I didn't do a good job thin, but going forward, I was able to accept that. I'm just gonna have a different life. And I made the most of that and stopped letting it be a crutch for me and started letting it be, become a tool, a success for me. Where I was leading in band I was leading in debate clubs and I was making a name for myself not to prove to other people that I'm worth being here, but the prove to myself that I'm worth being here.

[00:09:30] Dr. Jim: I think It's important to break this down a little bit because I think you're glossing over a lot of important points. And I think it's worthwhile for us to dig in a little bit into some of the details.

[00:09:41] Dr. Jim: One of the things that you mention, was that the hypothetical that I presented was five year old you and immediately you mentioned five-year-old me was eating outta trash canes. What were the circumstances that led to that? 

[00:09:52] Terrance Cooley: There was not a lot of money in my household. It was my mom had to drop me off at various family members. It I had spent a lot of time with my aunt, [00:10:00] like for months at a time. I spent time with my grandmother at a time. I spent time with my other grandparents. My mom had to drop me off wherever she could to make ends meet, and that wasn't always they were in reasonable positions where I could.

[00:10:11] Terrance Cooley: Eat. But when I was living with my mom, she couldn't always balance it. And it wasn't her fault. It's just you have X amount of income, you're trying to go through college so you can make a better life and you have to make some sacrifices. So maybe we only ate two meals a day. Maybe we only had one meal a day and I had to figure out how I was gonna eat on my own.

[00:10:27] Terrance Cooley: And I had to be okay with, yeah, I'm digging through this trashcan cause I'm hungry and I would love to eat a sandwich. And I saw someone throw away a half eating sandwich. I'm gonna make it work

[00:10:35] Dr. Jim: That's a really important point that I want to stretch out a little bit and dig into.

[00:10:40] Dr. Jim: So y you're basically describing living in survival mode. When people theoretically think about survival mode, they have an image and there's oh how do people allow themselves to get into that? It's not something that you control, it's something that just is given the circumstances and you just have to figure out how to make it to the next day.

[00:10:58] Dr. Jim: So one of the things that's interesting [00:11:00] about you being in survival mode, and you spent a period of time in that sort of state, oftentimes you see this, where folks that are living in that sort of circumstance there's a lot of influences around them that can easily stray you the wrong way.

[00:11:17] Dr. Jim: So how did you navigate? , staying away from those influences, that is the easy way out. And we're talking about, if you're living in an underserved community like I was in section eight housing when when we first got here as immigrants. And it wasn't quite to the degree that you're describing, but there are a lot of people that live in the projects or projects adjacent or are in similar sort of circumstances as you that they fall in with the wrong crowd.

[00:11:44] Dr. Jim: So what was your guiding principle that kept you out of those sort of crowds as you were growing up? 

[00:11:50] Terrance Cooley: At that time, it was absolutely family. My grandmother was a big influence in our household. She was our center of gravity. And so she lived in Red Fern, which is right [00:12:00] off of seven miles.

[00:12:00] Terrance Cooley: That's like kind of the barrier between the really bad neighborhoods and you have a shot at starting getting into the nicer neighborhoods. It's almost like a little oasis between all of the struggles. But if you venture out past that, you're taking your life in your own hands. But she made this, she made it very clear that we have to stick together.

[00:12:17] Terrance Cooley: I would, through a lot of family reunions, we would always come together. So my circle wasn't really a lot of at that time other individuals at school or in the neighborhood. It was my cousins. It was my uncles of my my aunts my grandmother herself. My. It was very much a family focused unit, and that did keep me out of trouble, even though some of my other family member did have friends that were questionable, she created this barrier for those the younger of us to protect us from those influences too old them to start making our own decisions.

[00:12:47] Terrance Cooley: And then I left when I was eight years old to go to California with my family. 

[00:12:50] Dr. Jim: so during that time, Before you were eight years old, was there anybody in particular outside of your grandmother that stood out as, maybe an aspirational person that you [00:13:00] wanted to model yourself against?

[00:13:01] Dr. Jim: Oh, this is a person that I should that, that's giving me some version of what success could look like. Was there anybody like that in your family? Outside of your grandmother? 

[00:13:09] Terrance Cooley: Yeah. I don't talk about him a whole lot, but my act biological father he passed away when I was very young, but I have a few very treasured memories of him.

[00:13:18] Terrance Cooley: He, it wasn't, I didn't know until later. He was very much into cocaine and getting into drug houses, but he wasn't a bad person. He just made bad choices. And so with his kind of final choice in life, he chose to be an upstanding father. And he gave me this figure of dignity, of honor, of do the right thing even when no one is looking.

[00:13:37] Terrance Cooley: He would spend time with me and we would play hide and seek even when he couldn't see as he was going blind. And even when he was literally on his deathbed, I did something dumb and he still tried to spank me like, Hey, we don't do that as he's wasting away before me. And it was really powerful moments for me hey, like there are limits, there are rules.

[00:13:56] Terrance Cooley: And that helped give me a central principle to follow because after [00:14:00] him, I have my stepdad to look towards. And he wasn't the best example of a marine. He brought his work home. He was often very angry. I didn't often know what things were gonna get me in trouble and he would overreact and there was a lot of corporal punishment in our household because of that.

[00:14:13] Terrance Cooley: And the two very different images create a dynamic that I know I want to be this side of the line and these are the things I'm gonna learn. So I don't be this. So there, there's some 

[00:14:24] Dr. Jim: really powerful stuff in what you just mentioned, and one of the things that I just wrote down is that there's a difference between being a bad person versus being making bad choices.

[00:14:35] Dr. Jim: And I think that's an important sort of distinction for everybody to carry through their life because it's very rare that you meet legitimately bad people. Bad people are out there. But your choices don't necessarily define who you are from a character perspective. I'm curious you specifically call that out.

[00:14:53] Dr. Jim: How has that principle carried you throughout your life?

[00:14:57] Terrance Cooley: I wanna say that's the boundaries that I've lived up to. I [00:15:00] haven't, it took me a while before I could really understand, appreciate the lesson as a kid, I was just railing against my family at that point. I just wanted to have some sense of closure. I wanted to have some sense of belonging. And I got that from my mother, but I didn't always get that from my stepfather.

[00:15:14] Terrance Cooley: So we were often at odds. I would try to hang out with around other kids, but I didn't quite know how to connect. My social skills weren't always there. It was very challenging. So it isn't until I would say that high school period I mentioned before where I'm really starting to go, I have to be a better person.

[00:15:28] Terrance Cooley: And that's when I got a mentor in my life. Mr. Benson he was a medically retired lieutenant commander from the Navy. He was a submariner and he definitely just took me under his wing because he knew I was interested in joining the military. And he actually encouraged me to go for the Air Force over the other services and of guided me down that trajectory.

[00:15:46] Terrance Cooley: And if it really wasn't for him, I don't think I would have followed that because. As a teen and as a young adult, I knew here are the things that I wanna do that are right. But oftentimes I would cut corners or be lazy and not want to do certain things [00:16:00] because I just didn't see the value. But he helped really frame that narrative like, you have to be a good person to do good things.

[00:16:07] Terrance Cooley: You have to try to make decisions that show and encourage a habit of being a good person because you can be whoever you want to be by the definition of your choices. 

[00:16:17] Dr. Jim: I think earlier when we were talking about, hey, who were the people that influenced you before you moved to California, that might have pointed you to better future, I think your point about, about Mr.

[00:16:27] Dr. Jim: Benson being that person once you moved, I think that's that's pretty important. Outta curiosity what was the background? What was the reasoning or suggestion? What was the basis of his suggestion that you go the Air Force route versus some of the other military branches? All 

[00:16:41] Terrance Cooley: right, so I kinda gotta wheel back a little bit.

[00:16:43] Terrance Cooley: I have moved so many times. I keep, I used to keep a little postcard and the only place I haven't lived is Hawaii. And so that, that experience of moving to pretty much every single state or traveling through every single state gave me this a very metro guess cosmopolitan impression of the world.

[00:16:59] Terrance Cooley: And [00:17:00] I got to see that the Army isn't really a great fit for me and the Marines aren't really a great fit for me to my stepfather's example. But I didn't know anything about the Air Force. I didn't know anything about the Navy and I didn't know anything about the Coast Guard. So when I met him, when we moved to Maryland, He came from a Navy perspective.

[00:17:15] Terrance Cooley: He said, here are your, pretty much the two choices of what you want to do. The Navy does these things really well, and the Air Force does these things really well. You express interest in technology. You really like building computers. You are very excited about coding and programming. I recommend you go to the Air Force, not because the Navy doesn't have those programs, because the Air Force, their standard of living, the the constructs that they build around technology and the training that they give you is more tailored towards the things you wanna do, especially when you leave the military and get back into the civilian sector.

[00:17:45] Dr. Jim: Great stuff. So I want to move the needle a little bit further ahead. And one of the other things that you've mentioned earlier on in the conversation was that you had attempted to take your life somewhere around 11 or 12. What were the driving [00:18:00] factors behind that,

[00:18:02] Terrance Cooley: That is a great question. The, it really comes down to when we talk about being toxic. My, my stepdad. He meant I know he meant well, but he struggled with how to connect with me, and he struggled with how to be the person he wanted to be.

[00:18:17] Terrance Cooley: He had a lot of trauma and baggage in his own life that he's still working through to this day. But the way he expressed that to me created this very, this climate of just, I didn't want to be there. And as it got worse and worse, as he's trying to balance managing his marriage, creating a life for me, and creating a life for himself with very limited resources in a very difficult branch of the military to, to live and work through I just felt like I, I was running out of options.

[00:18:46] Terrance Cooley: My mom could only do so much. My friends at school weren't all that helpful because we would just move and I would just move and I was uprooted. I didn't have anything. And when I made that decision, I remember playing this day. I walked into my mom's room and I saw she had these [00:19:00] pills on the counter of her dresser.

[00:19:02] Terrance Cooley: And I just picked them up, open up down the whole bottle. And it talked to her about this later when I was promoting that. I am, I'm not a very spiritual person, but there, there had to have been someone looking out for me. There had to be some, because those were just placebos because she was doing medical studies and while she was receiving them for something to help her sleep or something they didn't do anything to me.

[00:19:22] Terrance Cooley: But at that moment, I was really, I was willing, ready and able to take that step. Did take that step, and then felt just this demoralizing loss after it because wow, I can't even do this. And moving from that has definitely been a journey that I don't think I really appreciating got through until I was well into my twenties.

[00:19:43] Dr. Jim: Wow. That's really interesting. , you found a way to exit and then it turns out that that wasn't what you thought it was. And you fast forward now thank God, or whatever it is that you worshiped that didn't end up being the case. That's really interesting.

[00:19:56] Dr. Jim: Did you share that at the time that you tried to do this? Or was it [00:20:00] after the fact that people in your family or whatnot found out about it and what was their reaction? Whew. 

[00:20:05] Terrance Cooley: I think the first time I talked about it was in 2016, I was doing a paper on my Air Force story, and I happened to mention that and it, my whole speech changed when I said it, because it was like a sense of closure.

[00:20:18] Terrance Cooley: But up until that point, I just held onto it. I buried it. I just forgot about it. didn't want anything to do with it. I never told my mom until I was 34. In fact, yeah, it was just last year. Or just last summer that I told her that I had done it. And

[00:20:31] Terrance Cooley: sorry, it was just like, it was a moment for her too, because she didn't know. And it, and I told her in front of all of my peers because I wanted to show that at that time I was being promoted to my leadership position. And I wanted to show people to be a good leader, you have to be vulnerable, you have to be willing to open yourself up to people.

[00:20:48] Terrance Cooley: And it felt like the right time to come clean with it for her and to let everyone know you can trust me because I've been in the worst places and I chose to keep pushing through. 

[00:20:58] Dr. Jim: That's really a [00:21:00] powerful takeaway and I want to fast forward from that point going forward.

[00:21:04] Dr. Jim: If I'm putting myself in your shoes at that time, . There's all sorts of these external stimuli or circumstances that are happening around me where I'm not really feeling that great about myself. So I decide I make the decision there's not really much for me, so I'm gonna just check out.

[00:21:20] Dr. Jim: And I tried to check out, and I screw that up too, you said wow, I messed that up too. So that could be even it. It presents crossroads. It presents crossroads where you can really go hard into a destructive path or take the other direction and look at it as a second chance. How did that failed attempt shape the path that you decided to take going forward?

[00:21:45] Dr. Jim: From there? 

[00:21:45] Terrance Cooley: I that was the moment that I realized I have nothing left to lose. And when you accept. That there are things outta your control when you accept that you can make choices and they're [00:22:00] not always gonna come out the way you expect or desire. At some point you just go, okay, what are the things I can control in my life?

[00:22:06] Terrance Cooley: And I didn't have it at that time as mature a thought, but that's essentially the direction I was going. And I stopped really getting angry. Cause I used to be a very angry person. There was still a well of anger there and I still had to work through my teenage years, but I stopped letting a lot of things go.

[00:22:22] Terrance Cooley: Yeah. Okay. My stepdad's kind of being a jerk. I think it was only like a month or two later he tried to spank me. And at that point I'm like, 12. I'm like, what are you doing? And that's when it stopped when I started realizing I, oh that's it. And I, I started developing better friendships.

[00:22:36] Terrance Cooley: I had a friend a couple friends, Bobby, Tony, when I was a kid, and they were great kids. Maybe not the best influences, but they were great kids. But I started being able to be more free of myself. I started to be more open because what's the worst? I they don't wanna be my friend. They say, no.

[00:22:50] Terrance Cooley: All right I've been in a worst place. And that's how it went. I these decisions of started snowballing into a place where I am just more open to different experiences. I'm accepting. [00:23:00] Okay, we're gonna move. I remember my mom telling me when I was 14, Hey, we're gonna move to Alaska.

[00:23:04] Terrance Cooley: I hope you're okay. If that was like, okay. And I just cool. It's just like, really? Nope. No fighting. 

[00:23:09] Dr. Jim: I would not have been okay with a move to Alaska . I'm like I can just stay right here. . You guys go on ahead without me. You had that mindset shift and now it makes sense how, in your high school years you started coming into your own as far as your voice and the things that that you believed in terms of mindsets and all of that sort of stuff.

[00:23:28] Dr. Jim: What's interesting is that a lot of people don't even figure that out until they're well in their thirties. So you had an accelerator of sorts through some adversity that kind of got you to that position. Now you're finding your voice in high school and you're going through that journey.

[00:23:42] Dr. Jim: And it's interesting that if I understand what you just said, you've adopted this, go with the flow, hey, no big deal sort of mentality. And that's generally in stark opposition with what's typical in the high school era, which is everybody's trying to do whatever they can to [00:24:00] fit in and not stand out.

[00:24:01] Dr. Jim: And you're taking this 180 degrees separate position. So how did that influence your high school experience? 

[00:24:08] Terrance Cooley: Yeah, so when I get to Alaska, obviously I have no friends.

[00:24:11] Terrance Cooley: I don't know anybody. And so I'm just open to whatever happens. I go to classes and I get pulled into the band. Cause I love music. I really love playing music. And that was something that was, I picked up in the fifth grade. I wanted to continue doing that. I won't say that I made a lot of friends in band at this point in my career because I was definitely a kid with a chip on his shoulder and I was like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna do and be whoever I want to be.

[00:24:31] Terrance Cooley: And some people responded to that positively. But I definitely had one guy we would get back at fork because we just could not get along that We later became friends before I left. But because I was becoming more outspoken and finding some direction, I had a couple teachers like, Hey, you should go be a programmer.

[00:24:44] Terrance Cooley: And they literally dragged me into the programming course and I found I really love that and it helped settle me. And then I got picked up to or got, I told to volunteer for a club and I joined the ballroom dancing club. I have no aspirations to be a ballroom dancer, but hanging around for a [00:25:00] bunch of people, a bunch of kids who are like, we're all in this together, taught me a little bit more about how to be a part of a team and how to open yourself up and be intimate with people in certain respects 

[00:25:09] Terrance Cooley: and it really just started, I start enjoying being social. It might not sound like it, but I'm probably the world's biggest introvert. But I'm starting to learn that. I like being around people and talking to people and learning more about them and seeing a bigger piece of the world. So that starts to influence my decisions on going through high school.

[00:25:28] Terrance Cooley: And then we move, I moved to Arundel High School in Maryland, and it's a huge school and nobody knows everybody. There's a hundred students in the band class alone, and I'm just a number again, and I joined the debate club and I'm starting to really enjoy that. Then to move again. And now I'm in Glen Burnie High School.

[00:25:46] Terrance Cooley: And at this point, it's probably the first time I really would say I have found a community and I stuck through my music career and I stuck in band and this community of people, of the geeks and the outcasts of I fit in here. This is my tribe. And that [00:26:00] kind of formalized my high school experience from there.

[00:26:03] Dr. Jim: One of the things that's really interesting about all of those moves that you're describing so on the one hand it probably forced you in a way to not get too many deep attachments and be zen about all of those pivots. And on the other hand, you find yourself in environments, and I would imagine if I'm putting myself in your shoes, I'm calculating, okay, what can I get involved with that's gonna keep my interest for a period of time and build some relationships around me so that it gives me some outlets?

[00:26:34] Dr. Jim: So both of those things are versions of adaptability or flexibility that that you probably acquired through that. Am I on the right track 

[00:26:42] Terrance Cooley: oh, yeah. The 

[00:26:43] Terrance Cooley: third time I changed high school is it definitely became intentional. The first time I was just trying to figure things out. The second time, I just had to accept that I'm gonna have a few friends if that, and the third time it was like, okay I really want to belong because I'm really tired of all these moves.

[00:26:57] Terrance Cooley: But what it did do is, yeah, it forced me to [00:27:00] be adaptable, to be open to these changes that are happening in my life. And I think if I'm just being like, I like how you said, like armchair looking. This is the moment in my life where I go, just go take the opportunities that they're presented and make the most of them.

[00:27:16] Terrance Cooley: And this is when I start deciding. I don't. Hundreds of friends. I need people to be social with. I need people to network with. I need people to make my high school experience more bearable. But if I am able to move around and just be comfortable where I'm at, that's enough. And then as I go through my life, I have a few friends where I'm able to make deeper connections with, and I have a smaller group of people, maybe a handful of friends that I could call very close friends, and I treasure those and I protect and defend those.

[00:27:44] Terrance Cooley: But with these more instantaneous type friendships that I'm having, I'm able to just flip around and I become okay with that. I don't need to fall into the popularity contest trap because as I've learned, when you leave high school, don't remember. It's who you were. No one remembers what you did at your last high school.

[00:27:58] Terrance Cooley: No one was there to experience [00:28:00] those things. So I don't need to prove anything to anyone. 

[00:28:03] Dr. Jim: I was raising my eyebrow when you were mentioning that pop culture makes you believe that high school is the the best years of your life. And I find that such an odd perspective because high school is just, I don't know it's a non-entity.

[00:28:19] Dr. Jim: I think I'm right now in the best years of my life because I'm not I'm at a point where I ro really don't care how the optics of what I say are impacting somebody else. I can just run my mouth and, it's fine. I get to meet a lot of interesting people.

[00:28:36] Dr. Jim: And if I look at that and compare it to high school experience in general, , everybody is so controlled and, cautious about what they say, what they do, who they sit with, what they eat, what they wear. That sounds terrible in how anybody could actually make the point that high school is like the best years of your life probably peaked in high school.

[00:28:58] Terrance Cooley: In my experience is high [00:29:00] school created this kind of culture that now I am unpacking and helping people unpack in my current job. Because there's this belief you have to do these certain things to be successful. That you have to constantly be around certain types of people and it devalues that the quality of your work and the character of your person is what gets you further in life.

[00:29:22] Terrance Cooley: Tied with an ability to make friends and network and make meaningful connections with people, but it's not who you impress and please, it's what you bring to the table and how you market that they don't really teach that in high school and it. The things that I'm working through, especially with junior airmen who come in through the pipeline is you're teaching them hey, you don't need to try to be best friends with the sergeant.

[00:29:42] Terrance Cooley: You don't. That's not quite how this works, right? You're your boss and in this professional environment, you have to learn the skills that you're being taught, and then you need to be able to educate others. That is what we find valuable, not your ability to rub elbows with people who should not be rubbing elbows with you in their social life.

[00:29:59] Dr. Jim: And [00:30:00] that's fair. I I think the other thing that that I take away from some of the stuff that you mentioned about your high school experience is that, you have to be open to the widest net possible. And I think the people that kind of cloister around the echo chamber of what's quote unquote acceptable do themselves a disservice as they're navigating themselves through the rest of their life.

[00:30:19] Dr. Jim: As an outsider listening into this conversation, things seem to be tracking in the right direction. If I'm thinking about all the stuff that you mentioned you establish in resiliency, you've navigated a bunch of different moves, so it sounds like things are setting it themselves up to a fast track into college and in the private sector.

[00:30:40] Terrance Cooley: So this is where 

[00:30:41] Terrance Cooley: things take a turn. I complete high school and I knew I was gonna go to college. My mom made that a condition of being able to live in the house and save Buddy. I get a job at Borders and I'm going to community college AONA Community College.

[00:30:53] Terrance Cooley: I actually really liked this school. I'm thinking it was a quality education. I didn't. I did very well my first year. My second year I started [00:31:00] to realize some things about myself that a structured school environment is not the best use of my time and interest, and so I spent more time socializing. I made great friends, lifelong friends in the time between classes and in the time during classes that I should have been at class.

[00:31:15] Terrance Cooley: But I'm realizing, and it's an expensive lesson, , it's an expensive lesson that, that kind of specific structure wasn't what I was looking for. I wasn't feeling challenged. I wasn't feeling like I was doing things that were of interest to me. And so I stopped doing them. And about the, I think the fifth year that I'm go, cause I started in when I was 18 and it's 23 when I make the decision, I'm joining the Air Force or 21 when I make the decision.

[00:31:39] Terrance Cooley: 23 when I actually. I'm joining the Air Force. I don't know what I want to be. This is I've gone through three majors. I was, I wanted to be a music teacher then I wanted to be a video game designer. Then I wanted to be a computer programmer. And I'm just understanding that I don't know what I wanna do.

[00:31:53] Terrance Cooley: And when you talk about that wides possible net, I think my college experience was foundational to giving me [00:32:00] a ton of credits. So I used to figure out where I wanted to go, but I didn't really know what I wanted. So I figured let me join the military. They will tell me what I want to be, and from there I can launch board off of that to find a different direction of vector.

[00:32:12] Terrance Cooley: But they're gonna pay me the whole time. . 

[00:32:14] Dr. Jim: One of the dumbest decisions that you can do or make is very early on decide that my pathway to success is high school, college, private sector.

[00:32:24] Dr. Jim: I think you need to have a much broader set of options and it's interesting to me how we hold up college graduation or college degrees as the pinnacle of achievement or the foundation for success in everybody's life. And I think a lot of that is just complete crap because you have people that just go ahead and get this piece of paper and come out with like ridiculous amounts of debt and.

[00:32:51] Dr. Jim: Now they're pot committed into a path that they had no intention or desire or even the knowledge that they wanted to go down this path. I [00:33:00] think I think one of the disservices of the education system is that it doesn't present options as far as, Hey, here are all the different pathways that you can take and still end up being successful.

[00:33:11] Dr. Jim: Instead, we're just pointed this single path. If you don't go to college, if you don't graduate from college, if you don't get a degree, you're a failure. And it seems to be paralleling kind of your thought process, but you had to go through five years of figuring that out, that they, Hey, there's a different way that's gonna work for me.

[00:33:27] Terrance Cooley: I would say what made it fortunate for me is that I think I only had $3,000 of student debt. I only took out one loan and I used it to actually buy a computer. So it was terrible idea. It was just terrible. But I was like, oh, I could just do that. Cool. I learned a valuable lesson from that because I went through community college.

[00:33:41] Terrance Cooley: It did keep my overall cost lower. I was working 30 hours a week and my mom paid for the first two years. But I wasted a lot of my, so those last three years I threw money at the problem and I had middling results. I got enough credits to make it but I never actually passed with a associate's degree from that college.

[00:33:57] Terrance Cooley: And I would say that it was helpful, but [00:34:00] yeah, that's an expensive way to learn it. But what it did teach me is, , there are other options out there because when I do join the military at this point, they have a world-class training program and a number of 300 different disciplines that many do translate to the civilian sector.

[00:34:13] Terrance Cooley: So now I get specific training in what it is that I'm doing, and at that time it was radio frequency transmission system. So basically I'm a radio guy. My IT system specialty is how to bounce radio signals off of a layer of the atmosphere to get it somewhere else in the world. So a little bit of physics, it was really cool.

[00:34:28] Terrance Cooley: But because it didn't, it doesn't require a degree, it required good training. And now in my, my, at this level that I'm at, What I'm completing my bachelor's degree. I have two associates from the Air Force, but I'm completing my bachelor's degree because it serves a purpose for me to allow me to take a commission and then allow me to follow further my master's to get into a certain level of education that I need to fill in gaps in my experience.

[00:34:53] Terrance Cooley: So I'll be working on my MBA after my bachelor's degree to as a tool of education to fill very specific [00:35:00] gaps in the skills that I want to pursue post my military career, and I can use in my military career. 

[00:35:05] Dr. Jim: I really like what you just did there, what you just talked about because the purpose of higher education as a way to fill in specific gaps in knowledge or training, but I, what I especially like is what you mentioned about, hey, what the military afforded me was a way to get training in all sorts of different disciplines that I was interested in.

[00:35:24] Dr. Jim: I could later if I decided to monetize into something in the private sector. And I think that's important. You could apply that principle in terms of what your post high school career could look like. You could get trained in any number of different things, any number of different certifications in a hands-on way that you could immediately put into action in the private sector or public sector.

[00:35:47] Dr. Jim: And then as you figure out what you like or don't like while you're being paid a salary to go through that process, you can later on in life decide, okay, the next thing in my career is to do this. In order to do that, I need to [00:36:00] have this piece of paper that says whatever it says. I think that is a much more reasonable and strategic way of navigating your life path, and people just don't talk about it.

[00:36:11] Dr. Jim: So I'm glad that you actually brought that up, and I'm probably putting some words in your mouth, but that's how I'm taking what you're saying and I'm running with it. . 

[00:36:18] Terrance Cooley: That's exactly how I feel about it. And that's what I try to teach a lot of our junior airmen who are coming in that look degrees are important.

[00:36:24] Terrance Cooley: We want you to get educated, but we want you to make sure you're tailored into skills that are useful in the business and skills that are useful for you when you get out. Cuz one day every single one of us will take this uniform off. What do you have left afterwards? And then what I'm, when I'm talking with HR leaders and other summits and other folks across the aisle, I'm talking about how are you training your folks and preparing them to be well-educated workforce in your organization, ready to move on to their next step?

[00:36:52] Dr. Jim: So great conversation so far. Terrence and I think just in this, first act of what you're describing and maybe [00:37:00] part of the second act you're describing there's a lot of important, career navigation lessons that people can take away.

[00:37:06] Dr. Jim: Let's dive into your military career. You're a CISO and your chief people officer might be getting the title wrong, but you get the idea the path that you took to get to that point is really interesting. So tell us a little bit about where you started and how that shifted over the years to where you are now.

[00:37:23] Terrance Cooley: So 2011 is when I joined. I complete my basic military training in 2012, and I moved to my first military installation, which is. Moody Air Force Base. It's in Valdosta, Georgia, middle of nowhere. There's a Walmart 20 minutes away, and V s u is apparently the highlight of the town.

[00:37:40] Terrance Cooley: It's actually it was a lovely area, but I didn't have a lot of appreciation for it. But what I did appreciate was the fact that when I got dropped into my first job, finally having eight months of training, plus the basic military training, I'm learning how to do radio things, and they hand me a radio.

[00:37:56] Terrance Cooley: They tell me you're in charge of a 69 million program, and this is how that [00:38:00] works. That's the most money I've heard about in my entire life. And they just trust you with it. They teach you what you can do, what you can't do. They give you some guidelines, but , I wouldn't say my first job was a highlight of the military training system because when I come out, I'm ready to learn, but I don't.

[00:38:15] Terrance Cooley: Supervisors ready to teach. We're the first group of junior enlisted in the organization. So we're first entry level employees and they're supervisors who've never supervised before. I go through nine of them before. I am really foundational where I need to be, but one of the ones that I hold the most dear is the one who told me, Hey, I don't have a lot for you to do right now.

[00:38:35] Terrance Cooley: Go volunteer for something. And they leave me over to this airman's council, which is basically like a small organization where the junior employers get together to talk about the issues that are affecting them across the force and advocate themselves and advocate for others across the installation to the senior leaders.

[00:38:49] Terrance Cooley: We have a seat at the table. It's really interesting concept that allows you to direct communication with the top leadership. And I go there and I, they happen to be doing [00:39:00] elections for their executive council and it's part of the Toastmasters organization. I don't know anything about speaking. I, they ask after they are saying, Hey, does anyone want to.

[00:39:10] Terrance Cooley: Step up for the council. I've been in this installation, I think three days. I stand up and say, sure. And I give a speech about how I like to empower people to do stuff, and I walk out as the vice president of this organization. It just happened. I don't know that I said anything particularly special 

[00:39:23] Terrance Cooley: either.

[00:39:23] Dr. Jim: I

[00:39:23] Dr. Jim: think I think some of that comes out of your forensics experience when you were in high school. You said that you were in debate club and all that sort of stuff, so that probably positioned you well to take on at least some version of that Toastmasters component that you that you just hopped into.

[00:39:39] Terrance Cooley: Yeah, and it I would say that the, at this point in my career, I'm not a great public speaker. I'm, I've talked like this. I'm very quiet and you probably got to turn up the gain. Yeah. I was a very different person to where I am now, but it felt. And it's one of those being adaptable. I've given an opportunity, I seized the opportunity and then I made the most of this opportunity.

[00:39:58] Terrance Cooley: I We had huge impacts across the [00:40:00] installation. We were helping them with the air show. We got I think we supported 17 counties with food drives. We uplifted junior enlisted across the organization and the base. And there was a point where I was the only person in the organization because for various different reasons people got pulled away and I'm running everything.

[00:40:14] Terrance Cooley: So I got a huge leadership boost at that time while I'm still trying to do my day job, which is figure out how do I do this radio thing. Six months into that a para rescue unit, which is the, we call them the nine 11 for the Navy seals. They're looking for someone to take over their communications section.

[00:40:28] Terrance Cooley: I should be actually be more clear, their IT communications section. And I raised my hand and volunteer. I say, sure, what am I volunteering for? And now I'm over there working filling out a senior leader in a senior manager position as a person who's been doing this job for six months. and I learned how to do it, and I step up to the plate and they give me the tools, they gave me the support, and then they leave.

[00:40:48] Terrance Cooley: And I'm the only person who charges this organization. And there's like a, this is like a trend here where I've learned some sort of this technical skill, but then I get pulled into a man position very early in my career. And from this [00:41:00] experience, I am in this organization for another five months before I am forcibly moved real hardship tour to Germany 

[00:41:07] Dr. Jim: I think there's something interesting about all of these moves and it parallels some of the advice that that I often share with people who have reported into me, or I've had that advice given to me as well is that, don't worry about how you aren't a fit for an opportunity that's gonna stretch yourself.

[00:41:26] Dr. Jim: Focus on how you are a fit and then figure out the gaps when you get in the seat. , and I think that's important. I was actually recently having a conversation with one of the vp VPs at a company called Bullhorn, and she mentioned when she was navigating her career arc she decided to take a step back into an individual contributor role to prove that she had the chops to.

[00:41:49] Dr. Jim: A much more senior role. And I posed a question and I was like how much of that was sort of a function of you having to feel like you weren't good enough to just step right into [00:42:00] that senior role versus that was just cutting of the teeth process. And I think oftentimes and the reference that I made was, everybody talks about readiness.

[00:42:08] Dr. Jim: Nobody's ready to be president until they're in the seat. Nobody's ready to be vice president until they're in the seat. Nobody is ready for the next job until they're in the next job. So why create all these artificial layers that you have to like step, just jump right in and figure it out? I think I'm more inclined again I'll wind this back to, If I had any advice to give my 20 year old self, it would be that. It's don't worry about where you aren't a fit. Jump in based on the things that you are a fit, and then figure the rest out. 

[00:42:39] Terrance Cooley: Yes, absolutely. And I would say one of the. Highlights of the military hiring system, I guess we'll call it, is that your future success is determined on your present and past performance.

[00:42:50] Terrance Cooley: So if you, the idea is that if you are effective and if you're highly effective in your current position and you've had a record of sustained performance, you can be [00:43:00] expected that if we put you into the next higher position, that you will succeed there. And the goal is to keep gradually moving you up in capabilities until you either hit your cap or you're at the top.

[00:43:11] Terrance Cooley: and that's how we develop our leaders. And when you look at from that lens, if someone has been successful in their position as an individual contributor, and they're already performing management level functions in that form, it should be a safe assumption that they can be put into a management position.

[00:43:25] Terrance Cooley: And then you just have to teach some of the mindset changes that come up. Now you have to let go of things and focus more on empowering your teams, but you can teach that if they are not already successful where they are, then they need more time to be groomed and educated and molded into a position, into their position.

[00:43:40] Terrance Cooley: You can teach that. 

[00:43:41] Dr. Jim: So there there's an interesting element of what you just mentioned that I might need to push back on. And it's this idea that, . If you're good in a certain position and you're actually executing some of the elements of the next higher position, you should logically be moving up the chain.

[00:43:58] Dr. Jim: And I think that's [00:44:00] dangerous. And here's where I'm coming from. What if you're the type of person that you know, hey, yeah, you do some managerial tasks and you're good at doing those managerial sort of functions, but in your heart you don't really want that role full-time. I think it's important to build that distinction too.

[00:44:17] Dr. Jim: As a leader, you have to identify, okay, what is this person that I'm thinking has development potential? What do they want to do? And maybe what they want to do isn't necessarily. That next vertical lead vertical step into a people leadership role. Maybe it's some other vertical way that allows them to maintain their technical capability.

[00:44:37] Dr. Jim: So that has to be factored in the condi consideration too. I'm not necessarily sold on the idea that, just because you can execute some of the elements of leadership, that means that you should go the leadership path. It's largely dependent on, hey, what's the comfort level of this person that's in this role in terms of their vision for their professional professional journey.

[00:44:57] Dr. Jim: So what's your response to that sort of position? 

[00:44:59] Terrance Cooley: [00:45:00] So this is probably one of the most contentious issues in the Air Force, in the military at large, because it is a leadership development pipeline. And at a point, typically around E six, that is when you're at the height of your technical acumen for the enlisted side and about oh 3, 0 4 for the officer side.

[00:45:19] Terrance Cooley: I have a member of my staff who has expressed to me specifically, all he wants to do is be technical. And so I respect that. I put him in only technical assignments. He's actually specifically asked me not to promote him. And so what we are now up channeling is that is there an opportunity for a technical leader path where this person can be technical, continue developing these specific trade craft skills that are highly aro they atrophy very easily and continue that development, but be in charge of technical teams to some extent so that they are still on the team performing right next to their peers, but they are still able to develop a little bit and guide and grow other technical leaders to maintain their technical proficiency.

[00:45:58] Terrance Cooley: That is how I would approach [00:46:00] that problem. That's what we're communicating up. But from an Air Force writ large, there's only so many of those positions, so they become highly competitive and that you are going to be rank locked out of them in a lot of cases. I don't control that. We are influencing that.

[00:46:14] Terrance Cooley: So I would say it, it depends on your organization, the value. And if you're building a pipeline for people to maintain technical efficiency but still move to higher levels, for example, if there are many technical chief information security officers, I think that you can still meet the aims of both without losing that highly credible technical proficiency that you can continue to cultivate in that personal and still keep those skills.

[00:46:37] Terrance Cooley: Great 

[00:46:37] Dr. Jim: stuff. And thanks for thanks for mapping that out. I think one of the other interesting things about the entire arc of the conversation that we've had, you've had all of these pivots and even in your. Military career, you've had all of these different hops that you've had to do.

[00:46:52] Dr. Jim: There's a lifestyle component that probably lended itself to making those pivots a lot easier. So tell us a little bit about how you structured your [00:47:00] life so that you have the ability to make these quick jumps, 6, 12, 18 months into a, into an assignment, and you can just do 180 degree turn and go do something else.

[00:47:09] Terrance Cooley: Yeah. 

[00:47:10] Terrance Cooley: And it was right around the, it's actually, yeah, right around this time when I'm moving into IT program management, I'm flying to Germany and I have tons of stuff and I start realizing I don't want to carry all this stuff with me. So I'm starting to cut down things, and I do this for every move going forward.

[00:47:25] Terrance Cooley: What do I actually need? What do I, what can I get rid of? What stuff can I toss? And it starts changing my approach on things because I look at the things I keep around me as, is this really important, do I need this? And I try to downsize and only keep the things that I need. The benefit of this is now I start looking at the work that I'm doing.

[00:47:41] Terrance Cooley: If someone is giving me a task, depends on who it is, obviously. But if someone's giving me a task, I look at this, is this something that only I can do? Is this something that builds me up or adds to my to where I'm trying to go? Or is this something that I can hand to somebody else and oversee and help them groom it, but it doesn't really need to be on my plate?

[00:47:59] Terrance Cooley: [00:48:00] So I like declutter things both in my physical life and I declutter things like in my mental life where I'm only doing the things that, that only I can do. What's the specific value that I bring to an organization? And it is bringing people together and solving problems by taking advantage of diverse thoughts, ideas, and backgrounds is having a technical proficiency.

[00:48:20] Terrance Cooley: Technology and using that to support people. And so I focus on these aspects and I try to push away or redirect tasks that are better suited for different personalities where if there's people around me I know would be more passionate about those tasks, I can hand that to them and then I'm still providing value and not becoming oversaturated, which is very easy to do in the military.

[00:48:42] Dr. Jim: Terrence fantastic conversation. We covered a lot of ground in really not a ton of time. So I appreciate you sharing your story and your lessons. And there's been a ton of them. So when you reflect on the entire conversation that we've had and or your life in general, what are the [00:49:00] big things that people need to take away from this conversation that's gonna be impactful for them when it comes to moving their careers further, faster?

[00:49:08] Terrance Cooley: Yeah. I would say the ability to accept change and seize it. Taking action even in the face of adversity and fear is probably the number one trait that should be cultivates a muscle. You gotta practice There's a framework we use called the UDA loop O D A, observe, orient, decide, act. You observe your surroundings to get a sense of where you are.

[00:49:27] Terrance Cooley: You orient yourself to the direction you need to go. You decide on your course of action, and then ultimately you act on it. If you follow that general principle in your life, it will set you up for success because you will go in a direction and you can avoid being paralyzed and stuck or afraid of what might or might not happen in your life.

[00:49:43] Dr. Jim: Awesome stuff, Terrence. Last question before we we sign off. Where can folks find you? 

[00:49:48] Terrance Cooley: Easiest, best place find me is on LinkedIn. I'm very active there. You can keep up with me, some of the summits and other talks that I have. I keep it all in my little headline or in my publications. Come on, visit.

[00:49:57] Terrance Cooley: I'm open to. , 

[00:49:57] Dr. Jim: great stuff. I appreciate you hanging out with us and [00:50:00] sharing your story. I think it's gonna be really impactful for a lot of folks that are navigating their own journey in their in their fields of work. So I appreciate you sharing with us that wide ranging conversation and wide ranging story.

[00:50:12] Dr. Jim: I think it's gonna be really helpful. So for those of you who are listening we appreciate your continued support. Tell a friend. We are everywhere. So you can find us on all of your major podcasting platforms. We're on YouTube, we're on TikTok, we're on Facebook, we're on LinkedIn. That's where you can find us.

[00:50:27] Dr. Jim: If you like the show, leave a review. If you don't like the show, reach out to me directly on LinkedIn and tell us how we can do better. But make sure you are sharing and subscribing to the show so that we can we can continue to grow it and continue to have the impact that we've had over the last roughly year or so.

[00:50:43] Dr. Jim: The goal of the show is to help professionals move their careers further faster, and I'm sure that Terrence is going to help a lot of folks do that. We look forward to sharing his story as well as all the other great leaders that are gonna be joining us in the future. And until next time, thank you for tuning [00:51:00] in to Cascading Leadership.