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Get Mentally Tough With LaRae Quy

Posted by Wes Schaeffer | Apr 21, 2021 4:10:53 PM

The FBI made her tough. She'll make you succeed.

 

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Mental Toughness lessons covered on The Sales Podcast

  • Former counterintelligence FBI agent (24 years in espionage and undercover)
  • Grew up in Wyoming on a cattle ranch “where fast food is hitting a deer at 60 mph!”
  • Founder of the Mental Toughness Center
  • Trainer
  • Author

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  • Was gritty when the FBI interviewed her
  • Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity.
  • Worked with the CIA
  • Got an advanced degree in spiritual direction
  • The FBI taught her to dig down, to peel the layers back
  • We’ve had it so easy in our nation and people are not tough
Most good things are hard.”
  • Change your mindset to change your behavior to change your outcome
  • More of an understanding from the humble leaders that we don’t have all the answers
  • Take control of your life instead of just witnessing
  • It’s not just bulldozing your way through obstacles
  • It’s a curiosity
  • Men and women have similar challenges
  • We must fight for what we want
  • She “ran over them with competence” if they got in her way

Related Posts:


  • “The FBI was hard on anyone who was weak!”
  • Push-ups came difficult to her so he had to work on it
  • Don’t try to make the road easy. Prepare them.
  • Positive thinking is a cornerstone of mental toughness
  • On her first day of class at the FBI Academy
  • We need to develop and cultivate five positive thoughts for each negative thought
  • Marries neuroscience with social psychology
  • Our brain is wired to be negative to keep us safe so it looks for the bad things that can be a threat to our safety
  • Good news is like Teflon while bad news is like Velcro
  • Positive thinkers are not optimists. They think they will prevail despite their circumstances not changing for the better.
  • Optimists think their circumstances will change for the better.
  • Life is not always fair
  • Adapt
  • This has to come from within
  • Do the hard work
  • We live in a shallow world
  • Most of us are living someone else’s values
  • Know what your values are
  • If something is important to you, you’ll find the grit
  • Believe in what you’re doing
  • “Follow your passion” is so much about you. Ugh! Look at your purpose to find what you can contribute to the world.
  • You’re not your own god.
  • Someone besides you matters!
  • Her first arrest she was with her training agent and had a SWAT team with a plan to get this guy at a red light
  • They hit a series of green lights and they lost the SWAT team!
  • Her trainer pulled up next to the bad guy and told LaRae “It has to be you.”
  • How do we get to the truth?
  • How aligned are you with what you’re selling?
  • Meet the people where they are.
  • Don’t allow your sales agenda to bubble up to the surface and dominate.
  • Be true to who you are

 

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Links Mentioned In The Sales Podcast

 

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Topics: The Sales Podcast, Marketing Automation, Digital Marketing

Written by Wes Schaeffer

Wes and his wife just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. They have seven kids, which means Wes is motivated to find what works and help you apply it to grow your sales so he can buy diapers, groceries, braces...and bourbon.

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LaRae Quy - The Sales Podcast: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

LaRae Quy - The Sales Podcast: this m4a audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Wes Schaeffer:
LeRae Quy, all the way from Scottsdale, former counterintelligence FBI agent and author of "Secrets of a Strong Mind: How to Build Inner Strength to Overcome Life's Obstacles." Welcome to The Sales Podcast. How the heck are you?

LaRae Quy:
I am doing well and thank you for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to your audience.

Wes Schaeffer:
So I saw one of your videos. You grew up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, where fast food is hitting a deer at 60 miles an hour. So I'm like, all right, I like her.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah, that's pretty much my life. My grandmother had ammo on her Christmas list, so I learned to take orders and not sass back and not whine and complain when I didn't want to do something.

Wes Schaeffer:
Hey, you know what? Ammo is still on my Christmas list. [chuckles] You remember that guy, "The rent is too dang high," that guy running for office? Well, the ammo is too dang high. That's going to be my platform when I run for office.

LaRae Quy:
Astronomical. Yeah, I know. It was a great upbringing. And it's actually -- when I interviewed with the FBI that's one of the things they really liked about me; that I wasn't spoiled, that I was entitled. I knew how to -- I knew how to get out there and work -- stack bales or work cattle, ride horses, all that kind of stuff.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. I spent one short, quick trip to my friend's grandfather's ranch in Huntsville, north of Houston. Oh, yeah. Oh, my gosh. We bulldogged cattle. They were -- he was waiting for us, and he was waiting over the summer. So they were too old -- I mean, they weren't too old; they were older than they should have been. So they were big, and had to de-horn them and castrate them and brand them and they were like 400 pounds instead of 200 pounds.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah. That's way too late. And it's so much harder on the calf.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. It was work. And then we're bailing hay, and I'm like now I know why these boys up here, so tough in football. They don't need gyms or weight rooms; they're just corn-fed --.

LaRae Quy:
They just work every day.

Wes Schaeffer:
Every day they work.

LaRae Quy:
That's just part of the life there. And the thing about a cattle ranch is there's just no room for whining or making excuses for yourself because you basically have the lives of hundreds of head of cattle that depend on you getting the job done. So their lives depended on you, so you had to take it seriously. It's hard work. Boy, ranching is -- I love it, I love animals; but ranching is really hard work.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. So how do you go from Wyoming to the FBI? It seems like a big jump.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah, well, it is. It was. I knew that I wanted -- when I graduated from high school, I wanted to go get out. I want to get a degree and I just knew that if I didn't leave then I probably never would. And I just want to experience a little bit more what the world had to offer. And so I got my first job out of college was as a department store buyer for like a bit of fancy department store. And I did not care for that job at all. I mean, at the end of the day, the I looked at my life and I said, so I'm persuading women just to to buy polka dots this year instead of stripes. I mean, it just wasn't what I wanted.

So I went back to school to get my master's at ASU, and the FBI came on campus and they -- I just interviewed with them. I never -- even though I'd grown up on a remote cattle ranch in Wyoming with lots of deer and elk and everything, I never shot a gun, but the Bureau loved that because that way they could teach me the right way to shoot, which was the FBI way, right?

Wes Schaeffer:
You didn't have any bad habits.

But like I said earlier, they they like the fact that I could get -- you know, I wasn't spoiled. I wasn't all prissy, you know, and so I just kind of fell into that position. But it's interesting because I talk a lot about values and mean if, you know, if you want to persist at something and have the grit to make it through the mental toughness, you have to -- you must care about what you do; otherwise, you'll give up, right? And internally, when I got into the Bureau, I found out that FBI internally stands for fidelity, bravery and integrity. And I knew right then -- that's how I was raised, with those kind of values, and so I just knew it's going to be a good fit. It was just -- it was a God-given thing.

Wes Schaeffer:
Nice. And like I said, I was watching one of your videos, you mentioned espionage, and I guess people -- we usually think of the CIA as doing espionage, but I mean, the CIA technically, officially has to work outside of our borders, right? And then when it's happening here, the FBI gets involved?

LaRae Quy:
That's exactly right. So whether it be counterintelligence -- and so just to differentiate between the two. Counterintelligence was identifying foreign spies that came into this country to steal classified or proprietary information. Espionage is when a U.S. citizen is spying for another country. And so if that person is, let's just say, been recruited by the Russians or the Chinese and they work at some either political think-tank or defense-related or Silicon Valley high-tech, they're stealing that information and then forwarding it, giving it to this foreign intelligence service or foreign country. So that's espionage. So we work both.

But we would work with the CIA a lot of times because obviously, if you have a foreign government, they're going to be the foreign partners over there working the same cases. So we coordinated quite frequently and closely.

Wes Schaeffer:
So 24 years doing that and then you -- I mean, that's a full career. And then how did you make that transition? Because a lot of people, they'll go coast after that. You've got a pension, you got health care, you know, go back to Wyoming, raise some cattle. I mean, why did you decide to to get into this mental toughness space?

LaRae Quy:
Let me just qualify why I didn't go back to Wyoming to raise cattle; because I don't know if you've ever been in a Wyoming winter, but I spent 18 years in Wyoming winters -- actually more than that because I came home for school. So that's why no Wyoming. Just the winter weather is brutal; I got to tell you, it's brutal.

But as far as mental toughness, actually the first thing I did was I went back and got a graduate degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary in spiritual direction. And most people question how do you go from being an FBI agent, working spies to being a spiritual director? And I just said it's the easiest transition in the world because the FBI taught me to always look at -- to pull back layers and continue to dig down and find out what's really going on with the person or whatever is going on with the case.

And the spiritual life is much the same way. I know myself employing layers of to get to the heart of the matter or perhaps if you're a director or somebody else so you work with other people. It's all about communication, though, and taking the time to appreciate who they are, getting their point of view, and then taking it a bit deeper so that you're sharing a little bit more about who you are.

Wes Schaeffer:
Gotcha. So you make that transition and then, you know, this mental toughness seems to be -- I don't know if "in vogue" is the right name. You know, it's funny how things come and go. But I mean, the reality is, anybody that's ever done anything noteworthy in life was tough, right? Physically tough. Mentally tough.

LaRae Quy:
Yep.

Wes Schaeffer:
But does it seem like it's more of a fad right now, even though it should be just ingrained in us? Like, was it not taught for a couple of generations? Like, how how do we arrive at this point?

LaRae Quy:
You know, I have to tell you, I think a lot of people these days have had it so easy that they haven't had to dig down. They really -- this thing we're going through right now is tough; I mean, whether it be COVID or the economy or the political divisiveness or the racial equity we're looking at, it's hard. It's a hard time in history. It's a good time. Most good things are hard. That's kind of the point. And I just think now a lot of people are realizing -- I mean, it's been such a, hey-look-at-me-I'm-so-cool kind of culture for so long that this is really the first time a lot of people have had to dig down and even uncover what's important to them; even care about it, because it's all about selfies and the biggest cars and whatever being being popular, whatever it happens to be.

So I think the Great Generation grew up with the resilience, with the grit, with the mental toughness. They went through some hard times. We've had it pretty easy here, really, to be truthful. So as far as being mentally tough, it's basically just your mindset. It's you change your mindset, you change your behavior, you change the outcome. And that is where you have to take responsibility or that individual has to take responsibility rather than, you know, blaming somebody else or pointing fingers or expecting your parents to make life easy for you or whatever it happens to be.

Wes Schaeffer:
So, I mean, I agree 100 percent. It's -- my dilemma is always, like, the people who need this book will not admit that they need this book and the people who don't need this book will probably buy it anyway, maybe to -- iron sharpens iron. Have you kind of found that?

LaRae Quy:
Yeah. I love that; iron sharpens iron. It's one of my favorite verses actually. I have found -- interesting that you're asking this question now because I'm working on corporate training programs, and there's more of a I want to say humility, but I think there's more of an understanding that maybe we don't have all the answers, and so maybe we do need to reach out and and and even dig into our own personalities a bit more and try to understand how we can become more in control of our own life rather than just being a witness to it, you know?

And so I don't know. It's a great observation, a great question. I find that people are intrigued by how they can become develop a stronger mind, how they can become more mentally tough. Because the first thing people think, mental toughness is just bulldozing their way through obstacles. And that might work in football; it doesn't work in life. So I think there's a curiosity there about what mental toughness is, what resilience is.

Wes Schaeffer:
So it's not just bulldozing? We may have to end this interview. All of my questions were around bulldozing. [chuckles]

LaRae Quy:
[laughs] But I do think that's a concept a lot of people have, you know, about what mental toughness is. And it's applied to athletes so much, and I think that's another sort of metaphor. It's like mentally tough athletes. And I get that; there's a lot of mental toughness to be a good athlete, but it means pushing yourself through an obstacle and and and making it through to the other side.

Wes Schaeffer:
Mm hmm. Well, and I notice, too, and -- I mean, it's even in in the book in your titles, I see it on Twitter. You've got an emphasis on women. Do women -- are they stuck between a rock and a hard place? Because a lot of times if they are firm, if they are strong, then they're seen as bitchy; you know, pushy. Are women in a no-win situation?

LaRae Quy:
You know, I don't think so. I do appreciate and understand that a lot of women do feel that they hit a glass ceiling and that there's only -- there's nowhere to go and there's no support. I guess part of it was my upbringing in that I think everybody has this confrontation. I don't know of any guy or any man that I worked with that got things just handed to them because they were a guy. And I kind of took the same approach. And if I felt like somebody wasn't giving me a fair shake, I just ran over them with competence. I was just competent, and I made sure I was as competent or more competent than my colleague.

Did I actually find that the Bureau was hard because I was a woman? I found that it was hard on anybody who was weak, to be truthful. It wasn't just because I was a woman. It was because I hadn't prepared or I wasn't physically as adept as maybe one of my colleagues, but something I had to work on. I had to work for push-ups. They didn't come naturally for me. Could I said, oh, you know, I'm a female; I shouldn't have to do that much? But you know what? Yeah, if we want to be treated equal, yeah, we do have to do the same stuff, no exceptions. And that's kind of a hard rule.

So do I think women are between a rock and a hard spot? I think if they see themselves as a victim, they will become a victim, there's no doubt about it. But there are so many women out there who have already forged this path. It's not like, women who are listening now, it's like, oh, my God, I'm the first one. I mean, I'm happy to break through the snow here, the snow plow, because no one's been before me. There have been so many women who have been very competent and have paved the way for younger women today that I don't really I don't really think that's a excuse to be truthful.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah, go, go. Hey, I'm down with that. I have five daughters; I don't coddle any of them. And my oldest son, you know, he's the firstborn -- two boys and five girls and my oldest son, he's got a vision disorder. He's legally blind, but you wouldn't know it. He's a computer programmer. It's the craziest thing.

LaRae Quy:
Awesome.

Wes Schaeffer:
I get vertigo, I get I get carsick watching him because he has to zoom in on everything. So he's constantly -- and he has all these shortcuts on his keypad and keyboard, everything, zooming in, zooming out, moving -- and I'm like, dude, I'm getting busy. And we never cut him any slack. Every now and then, like my wife, it would kind of hit her, she'd get emotional, like he'll never drive. The crazy thing is he got his driver's license, but he doesn't drive -- doesn't drive by choice because it is getting worse.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah, no, but your point is still well-taken. And it's just this coddling idea and it's become so pervasive. I just say, parents, don't try to make the road easy; prepare them for the road. Because the road is not going to be easy. Life is hard; pain is inevitable; but growth, that's optional. So be sure you're on the right side of that equation.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. So what are some things -- I mean, this is a good time to talk about mental toughness, right? It's as good a time as any. The reason I like it now there's a guy, retired Navy SEAL I kind of know, Jocko Willink. Don't know if you've heard of it.

LaRae Quy:
I haven't.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. Jocko Podcast, super-successful, made the transition the business He was in charge of training for the West Coast SEALs and did a lot in Iraq, but he talked about how he would hit his guys the hardest after they thought the mission was done. Because they would draw it all up, they'd say, okay, we're going to come it, hit the target, blah, blah, blah, you know, then we're out. And he's like, you let your guard down right here. I got the objective done, blah, blach, blah; we took out the bad guys, everybody's safe; let's head back for a beer.

Wes Schaeffer:
But it's like, you're not safe when you're in a foreign land, right. In a war zone, you're not safe until you're back behind the wire. So they kind of let their guard down, then he would just hammer them. And I feel like people are thinking that right now. They think COVID's over, they think the economy is just going to bounce back, it's going to be the glory days, the roaring '20s are here. And, you know, I'm not a negative person. I'm just -- I'm looking around like I see some storm clouds.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah. So you talk to any investor, they're seeing storm clouds.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. We are not out of this. So now when people want to let their guard down, I'm like, I think they better ratchet this thing up and get even tougher for what's about to come.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah.

Wes Schaeffer:
So what are some -- you know, we still want them to buy your book and we're linking to it. But what's a nugget we can share --

LaRae Quy:
Thank you for that.

Wes Schaeffer:
-- to keep us mentally tough?

LaRae Quy:
Yeah. Yeah. You know, the book covers a lot of topics and I thought about this is like before I joined you today and I'm thinking, you know, for your audience, yeah, there may be a shitstorm ahead. There most likely will be. And I was thinking positive thinking would be -- you know, it's a kind of a cornerstone of mental toughness, positive thinking. Do you want me to -- I can give you an example of how I had to use positive thinking, if you want to talk about an FBI story, I don't know if you -- does that sound okay?

Wes Schaeffer:
Sure.

LaRae Quy:
It kind of dovetails with what you were just saying. So at the first day of my class in the FBI Academy, we all step up and introduce ourselves. And one guy was a former Marine who had fought terrorists and in North Africa, and another guy was this was this lawyer from New York who brought down an organized crime gang. And then yet another was a police officer. You know, all these stories. And when I stood up and told them that I was a buyer at a fancy department store, they all just kind of turned to me to look at the fluff ball that had accidentally gotten into the FBI. And then things got really bad. One of our physical fitness requirements at the academy was to dove off a 20-foot diving board while holding an M-16 rifle and then swim to the other side of the pool with the weapon. And I had two problems. I was afraid of heights and I never learned to swim -- no need on a cattle ranch in the middle of Wyoming. So as my training class and my instructors all waited for me to jump, I seriously doubted that in real life I'd need to jump into a pool of water with an M-16 while chasing a suspect.

But it was something I had to do to graduate. And I was watched as even experienced swimmers came up gagging. And I just knew that if I took a step off that diving board, I'd die; but I knew if I didn't take that step, my dream of becoming an FBI agent would be the thing to die. So I instinctively kind of came up with, okay, what can go right here? What is the positive in my situation? And first is I'd never heard of a new agent drowning at the academy, and I thought that was the kind of information that would get around. The FBI wouldn't want the lawsuit that my parents would launch against them if I did drown. My coach was an excellent swimmer and he could save me. I had put on a life jacket.

And I think probably most importantly, I felt certain that career in the FBI was my path forward. I took a step and jumped. I did bounce back to the surface with the weapon and I basically crawled to the other side at the bottom of the pool. It wasn't pretty, but I made it. And so it's one of those things where even we're in the middle of a situation, an obstacle, whatever, to take the time to think. And research has shown that we need to come up with about five positive thoughts to counter each one negative thought. So it's -- I mean, your friend and you probably have heard this already, you have to hunt the good stuff? I mean, that's a term that we hear in military, here at law enforcement a lot.

Wes Schaeffer:
So why so many positives? Because I've heard something similar; something like 90 percent of our thoughts are negative, counterproductive and self-defeating. I mean, why are we so hard on ourselves?

LaRae Quy:
You know, thank you; it's a really great question, Wes, actually, because what I like to do and what I talk about and what I write about, really, is I marry neuroscience with social psychology. And so when you get to the bottom of a question like that, which is an excellent question, because we are hard on ourselves. We are. We are always our own worst critic. But there's a scientific -- neuroscience can explain that because the brain is wired to be negative. And the reason is not because the brain is some sort of sadist, but because it can keep us safe. It's primary job is to keep us safe, so it pays more attention to negative information because it could be a threat to our safety.

And I didn't say this; Rick Hanson came up with this -- good news is like Teflon; it just slides away. Bad news is like Velcro; it sticks. And so we do have to work harder to find the good stuff because our brain, while it's nice, it's fluffy and all warm and stuff, it's not -- our brain will turn immediately if something negative comes up so we can pay attention to it, so we can evaluate whether that's going to hurt us in some way.

But not everything that's negative is a threat to our safety anymore. In caveman days it really mattered, or if you're in Iraq, behind an enemy line. But for most of us, we need to take the time to think through it.

Wes Schaeffer:
So what exactly is this positive thinking, though? Because that's -- I remember I was at the Air Force Academy and -- I got there in '88, so there were still a whole lot of lessons learned and being discussed from Vietnam. And Admiral Stockdale, Medal of Honor winner, not too long -- '92, he was running with Ross Perot as his vice president, but he was the ranking member in the Hanoi Hilton, so he was kind of leading things. And then they asked him, who made it and who didn't? Like, what do they have in common? He said, oh, that's easy. He said, the guys that didn't make it were the ones -- and I don't know if it was like positive thinking, but he was -- the guys that didn't make it, they're like, oh, we're going to be on by Easter and then Easter came -- we'll be home by Memorial Day, we'll be home by Christmas -- and then they just lost hope and died.

LaRae Quy:
That's exactly right. His is a great story.

Wes Schaeffer:
So what's the nuance there? Were they hopeful thinking versus positive thinking? Like, what's the subtlety there, so you can get it right.

LaRae Quy:
You know, positive thinkers are not optimists. There's a difference. Positive thinkers believe they will prevail in their circumstances without expecting their circumstances to change. Optimists do expect their circumstances to change and for the better. And that was, as Stockdale had pointed out in his book and the book written about him, they just kind of lost hope. They wouldn't adjust. They couldn't adjust. It was always about something that was going to change in their environment.

Well, it's like -- I don't know if you've ever heard this by Victor Frankl, who is a Holocaust survivor. His whole family was killed. He was the only one that survived. And he said, at some point, when you can't change your circumstances, you're challenged to change yourself. That's what Stockdale did. I mean, he was a positive thinker. If he had bugs in his rice, he was thankful for the protein. If he had a broken arm or some other issue, he was glad that he had his other arm or leg or whatever. He always looked for the positive.

And that's a positive thinker. You believe you will prevail rather than expecting your circumstances to change. And positive thinkers, it's not wishing or hoping. All things that are bad in your life will go away, because at some point we learn. At some point we learn life is not always fair; nor can it be predicted. So he just adapted. Positive thinkers adapt to their circumstances without ever losing hope.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. Yeah, that's good. That's a good differentiator. I want to make sure we touch on because it's nuanced.

LaRae Quy:
It is.

Wes Schaeffer:
And I tell people, you know, hope is not a strategy, right?

LaRae Quy:
No. But it can be the end result, though, of when you -- again, it's your mindset. It's how you look at yourself and your circumstances. You change the mindset, you change your behavior, you change the outcome. So Stockdale's story is a brilliant one. Thank you for bringing that up. That's just an excellent illustration.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. You know, four years ago, June 2017, I start writing a daily post on the Bible because there was this guy that I follow -- and I still know him. He's just a little too edgy and foulmouthed for -- I mean, I still like him. I mean, hey, I grew up in the military and in sports; I can make a sailor blush. It's just not my -- it's not my default.

LaRae Quy:
When I say "can't" is the only four letter word I never heard in the FBI -- "you can't do that, I can't do that, this" -- whatever. So I hear what you're saying.

Wes Schaeffer:
This is not my default mode of communication, but he has a big influence. I'm like, well, okay, that's my fault for not having a bigger presence to give people an alternative message. So, I mean, for almost four years now, every day I've written that. And I know just over and over again you see the suffering servant, and it boggles my mind. It saddens me in a way as well, you know, that so many people are -- you know, they say they're strong in their faith. And then you see him in the next breath whining and moaning about, oh, woe is me. I'm like, well, which is it? Are you that suffering servant? You say you're a good Christian and you're down with everything; it's like, well, pick up your cross. Everybody's like, well, it's an old growth wood and some spotted owl was de-homed to make this cross; I shouldn't be forced to carry it. I'm like, oh my gosh.

LaRae Quy:
[laughs] Sounds like an excuse, myself.

Wes Schaeffer:
So I hope your book is selling a lot, because people need this. We're not mentally tough. But can it be self taught? Can I get a book to be tougher or do I need to, like, join a group? There's all these men's groups and stuff, come sit in the cold water. And it's like a baby Navy SEAL, you know --

LaRae Quy:
Yeah, I know.

Wes Schaeffer:
-- 72-hour indoctrination. They all dress in black suits and they got rings and I'm like, oh my gosh. But I think it's needed, unfortunately.

LaRae Quy:
I've seen that, too. Yeah, they're making a lot of money from those little things; those weekends you walk on coals or you sit out in the cold or whatever. They're making a lot of money from it. But in a week they'll forget. I mean, it has to come from within. So what you're talking about, whether it be faith-related or -- and actually I think people of faith find it easier to do the hard work and to go inside to uncover what's really important to them, because so many people -- it's such a shallow world we live in right now, that most people are living someone else's values that they think they're supposed to live by because they admire a person or that's what they're told is the right thing, or -- social media is responsible for so much of this and is quite actually carries a lot of responsibility for where people are going these days.

But actually, what I find is important to stand firm or grit or whatever you're talking about is you have to understand what your values are and you have to do that inner work to even know what your values are. I mean, I can ask somebody, you know, what are your values? And they'd say -- and they'd be hard pressed to even know what I mean. It's like, well, I got a great car; I've got a new house; I mean, you know, I've got jewelry -- whatever the thing is. But I'm talking about values, and that's where if you really -- if you love what you do, if something is important to you, you will have the grit to follow through on what you've started. We must believe in what we're doing. Otherwise we'll just give up when the going gets tough.

Wes Schaeffer:
You know, that's -- well, Frankl was quoting Nietzsche, wasn't he, where he was saying, like, if your why is big enough, you'll figure out how, basically something --

LaRae Quy:
Yeah, he did say something like that. I'm just a big "Man's Search for Meaning," I'm a big Victor Frankl fan and he's influenced a lot of my thinking and just what I write about, to be truthful.

Wes Schaeffer:
Right. So you leave the FBI, you enter the theology program; when did you launch your own business, though? Was it right away or did you take some time and then -- I mean, did you stumble upon it or was it always a vision you had to do this?

LaRae Quy:
You know, I've always wanted to write. That's something even when I was in college I wanted to do. I took writing classes and art classes. But there's a part of me said I'll never make a living as a writer and I've got to pay the rent, right? So I decided after I retired -- well, first of all, my retirement is such a -- I think it's a misnomer.

I guess people really do sit on their butts after they retire and do nothing. But I don't know; maybe they play golf all day every day; I don't know what they do. But that's not normal. It's just not normal; it's not even healthy. And so it's like when I left the Bureau, then it gave me an opportunity to craft something that I really wanted to do, something that was was important to me, and that was writing.

And so that's why I started doing -- I started my blog and I started writing a book, the first edition and it was, what, almost 10 years ago, and so my writing has improved, and that's why I came out with a second edition. But I think one of the biggest things that really came out for me was -- you know, you hear this so much. It's like, well, well, I don't know, what should I do? Well, you should follow your passion. Oh, my God. If I hear that one more time, I'll just die. Because following your passion is all about you, what turns you on. And, okay, at some point in life, you may want to go a little bit deeper than that and not just all about you, but purpose asks a very different question.

It asks what we can contribute to the world; what we can contribute to others. Then you start you start digging down a little bit deeper. You realize, first of all, you're not your own God, that maybe there's somebody else in the world beside you that matters. And really, it takes people -- it can take people a while to get to that point. If I know several young people who are well ahead of me; they were farther ahead that I was at their age, that's for sure. And I was like, wow, I had to wait so many years to kind of move to that point.

And so about purpose, I think now more than just what I like to do. And believe me, the FBI, with the values that it holds, kept me there for 24 years and I loved it. But now I'm thinking -- there's a sense of purpose there, too. You're helping victims, but this is a different kind of purpose for myself.

Wes Schaeffer:
So you never chased a bad guy with an M-16.

LaRae Quy:
In a pool.

Wes Schaeffer:
Did you rope any of them at least, like hit them with a cattle prod or something?

LaRae Quy:
[chuckles] No.

Wes Schaeffer:
Did you get them loose -- like NASCAR, get 'em loose in the corner and crash into a light pole?

LaRae Quy:
No. You know, I have a lot of just come-to-Jesus-moments stories because of the Bureau and arrests and holding a gun. And when you hold a gun at a person, you realize what power you have and how responsible you must be in order to make sure that that person is not hurt or that you're not hurt because at some point it could go either way. Right. So, you know, again, it was being sort of honest. If you have time, I'll tell you kind of a short story about that.

Wes Schaeffer:
Sure.

LaRae Quy:
It was my first arrest and I was with my training agent, and he was after a guy who was considered armed and dangerous. And he had a lead and he got the SWAT team -- FBI SWAT team all lined up. And we worked out the plan. You know, we had a plan and it was the SWAT -- we'd follow this guy and when he came to a red light, we would -- "red board," we call it -- but a red light, the SWAT team would jump out and arrest him, just like we trained in the FBI academy, right? But it was traffic and we hit a series of green lights, and oh, my God, all of a sudden I looked back, there weren't any SWAT team cars and Ron was in the driver's -- and he was not going to let this guy get by and get away from us.

And so he pulled up right -- there was a red light and Ron pulled up right next to him. And I was on this shotgun seat right over here, and he looked at me and he said, it's going to have to be you; okay? Oh, I mean, it was my first real arrest. Everything else had been in the academy. And I mean, my God, I was scared. And my emotions was just like carrying away with me. And so kind of like that swimming board thing, where I said, okay, I have to think this through.

So I took off my raid jacket so he wouldn't know who I was and pulled my sweater over my gun. And I don't really look like your typical FBI agent. So I got out of the car at this red light --

Wes Schaeffer:
This is what, like, 1984?

LaRae Quy:
This was something like that, yeah. Yes, somewhere in there. And I just tapped on his window and I smiled and he kind of smiled back and indicated he should roll down his window and he's smiling the whole time. And when he rolled down his window, I just pulled out my gun and said FBI, you're under arrest. And he was just so shocked.

His mouth dropped open and his foot actually slipped off the clutch and his car lurched into the intersection. But I just followed him with my gun. And so I knew there was no way I could make this happen because he was such a big -- he was a big guy. But it was like, okay, I'm going to stick with him. And I kept my gun and I said, put up your hands. And he did. And by this time, SWAT team had just gotten out of their cars and running down the street so there wasn't some sort of shootout or something.

And they did pull him out of the car and threw him to the ground and slapped handcuffs on him like we had been trained in the academy. But it was one of those times when I was just like, oh, my God, I have to think my way through it. I can't feel it, you know, because if I let my emotions take over, I'd be scared to death. But I had to calm down my emotional -- my fear, and just be as logical and as thorough as I could be. I was prepared if he did -- he did have a gun, by the way. I forgot to mention that. He did have a gun, and if he reached for it, I was prepared to shoot him.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yes, I was going to ask, I mean, he didn't see you get out of the car. Were you literally just right next door and just popped out into traffic?

LaRae Quy:
I looked over. He was right here. I mean, we were side by side. And so I was in the passenger seat right next to him. So, yeah, I did. I got out of the car and I think he was not sure what was going on. He was looking ahead. But when I tapped on his window to get his attention, then kind of -- kind of winked and said, roll down your window, I want to talk to you kind of thing. So it worked.

Wes Schaeffer:
What if he just drove off? I mean, if nobody was in front of him, I mean, nothing really was stopping him from just accelerating and driving away; right?

LaRae Quy:
He was at a stoplight. He was waiting for the stoplight.

Wes Schaeffer:
Yeah. I mean, you could still risk it, I guess. I mean, do you think you'd have shot him if he accelerated?

LaRae Quy:
No. No. I would not have, because at that point, he's a fleeing -- kind of a fleeing felon --

Wes Schaeffer:
But he is armed and dangerous.

LaRae Quy:
He's armed and dangerous, but he's fleeing. And if it's a fleeing felon, you don't. You just don't shoot somebody in the back.

Wes Schaeffer:
Okay. Got you. Well, technically would kind of be --

LaRae Quy:
From the side. [chuckles]

Wes Schaeffer:
From the side-back. The back left quadrant. I mean, that's kind of the side.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah. No, there was traffic.

Wes Schaeffer:
But you're a trained FBI agent. You could shoot it off the frame, the front so the bullet hits him in the chest so you're shooting him from the front.

LaRae Quy:
That's right. And I see that you've been watching a lot of good FBI TV shows.

Wes Schaeffer:
Oh, my goodness.

LaRae Quy:
Right. And contrary to what those FBI TV shows indicate, it's really difficult for somebody smaller to beat the crap out of somebody who's a lot bigger, and this guy was a lot bigger than me and I. Yeah.

Wes Schaeffer:
So what was the issued sidearm back then? What was the gun they gave you?

LaRae Quy:
Oh, I came into the Bureau with a Smith and Wesson /357.

Wes Schaeffer:
Oh. Little short barrel?

LaRae Quy:
It was a short barrel and I still had to qualify at the 50-yard line with a short barrel like this. So I'll tell you a funny story.

Wes Schaeffer:
That's hard to shoot.

LaRae Quy:
I was very -- I was a good shot, actually, because I trained the FBI way, right? But when I first started out at the 50 yard and you're down there trying to hit the target, and I looked at it and I go, oh, my God, I hit the target, and I ran down in the bern behind us. It had rained the day before. And all I did was spit up mud from where I'd hit too low. So it was like, oh, my God, I've got a lot of work to do.

Wes Schaeffer:
That's a hard one. I've had a little Smith and Wesson .38, little air weight, hammer-less, you know, just throw in your pocket.I am not very good with that thing. I mean, it's hard.

LaRae Quy:
It's hard. And the recoil. We shot about three thousand rounds.

Wes Schaeffer:
Oh my God.

LaRae Quy:
at the academy. And the recoil, as you know --

Wes Schaeffer:
But it will leave a mark. It'll leave a mark on the bad guy.

LaRae Quy:
Oh, yeah. It was a great gun. Yeah. Those were the days when you had to load, you know? And now we've got a Glock. I had a Glock-26 and I love that gun; actually I still have it And you've got the magazines and I mean, it's a whole different game back in those days. It was tough.

Wes Schaeffer:
Well, that had to be scary. Like I do I do jujitsu, and I didn't start until I was almost 47, and I tell everybody it took me -- and these were just small in-house tournaments, which I think in a way are worse than big tournaments, because in an in-house tournament, you kind of know everybody, you know some of the people from the other schools, and they just cram hundreds of people in your little bitty gym. And so they tape it off like regulation. But like my very first one, like all of my coaches and friends, like literally -- like you're on your back fighting this guy and your guys are like six inches away, "Do this, do that" -- I was -- took me three tournaments to not just want to throw up and quit. And that's a friendly like not life-or-death situation. You're playing for all the marbles. Did your training kick in? Did you feel like you were prepared for that moment?

LaRae Quy:
I did. I did. All the arrests we had made at the FBI Academy, of course, were compliant, and we took turns being the bad guy. Right. So you could ratchet up as much as you wanted, but mostly everybody complied because you want to make everybody look good. Oh, you know, they follow directions. When you said step out of the car, hold up your hands. But I did find that the training, it was just -- it did just kick in. I didn't have to think twice because there was a lot going on. But I had my stance. I knew what I wanted. I had my voice. I mean, you know, I had my voice under control. It did kick in. And that's where training, really -- I mean, it really does matter. It really does.

Wes Schaeffer:
Mm-hmm. My son and I served a subpoena or whatever, notice to appear on a guy that -- it was his ex-wife, boyfriend, live-in boyfriend. And so he hit us up -- it was probably two years ago -- and that was nervewracking. And I mean, the only comforting thing was the guy was older and I mean, he was a white collar CFO of a big organization. So, like, I wasn't too worried about getting beaten up, but it was -- you know, we had to wait. My friend, he drew a map of where the guy lived; here as a gate -- wasn't a gated community, it was private property, but his own gate -- and nighttime. And we had to follow him and -- and my son's driving and I -- get up, get up before the gate would close.

And I show up and and I went -- I got out. I went way wide. I didn't want to, like, come up and ambush him any more than I had to. Plus, like, maybe he's got a gun. But I held that envelope and I kind of waved and I called his name. He's looking at me with these big -- I mean, the guy was terrified.

LaRae Quy:
Poor guy. I know.

Wes Schaeffer:
And I'm like -- I say his name; he's like, no. I'm like, yes, you are. I lifted his windshield wiper and I put it in the front like, you've been served. Oh, my gosh. But I mean, I'm not trained for that, you know?

LaRae Quy:
Yeah, no, no. If you're not trained for something -- but it's amazing how how that how much confidence that gave me, even though I was shaking in my boots.

Wes Schaeffer:
Oh yeah.

LaRae Quy:
I just wish it hadn't been my first arrest; I wish I had backup. Because Ron was in the car and we didn't know how long until the light switch turned. And in a way, you know what, I survived and I learned something about myself, which at the time I was shaking, but I learned something about myself, and I realized then if I put my mind to it, I could control that emotional limbic brain that just -- the drama queen limbic brain that's always so emotional.

Wes Schaeffer:
So do you have tips -- and it's related in a sales sort of way -- to get the truth out of people? Because in sales, people are always afraid to pick up the phone. They're afraid of that tough negotiation. They're afraid to stick to their price. And the prospect will say, oh, that's really nice, send me some information; or, you know, we'll get back to you; or, you know what? Go ahead. We're getting three quotes. Go ahead and we'll let you know how you do. I mean, oh, they said they'll get back to me.

We trust too much maybe, I think, because we don't want to get uncomfortable and make that next call, but is there -- is there a way to get the truth out of people a little easier just so we know where we stand? I always tell people that it's not the noes that kill us; it's the indecision; it's the unknowns. Is this deal really going to close? I mean, here we are, we've got nine days left in the month -- in the quarter as well, right? Oh, is this deal going to come in? Like, it ain't coming in, man.

LaRae Quy:
Yeah. You know, I hear what you're saying. I always start with that kind of question by just asking whether how really aligned is that person with what they're trying to sell. Because if you're not aligned with that -- if you're not aligned with that product and or service or whatever it happens to be, it's going to be really hard for you to look somebody straight in the eye and honestly say this is a good deal, you need this, and this is what it can do for you. So that's always the first place.

Again, it gets back to a little bit about values, but I could sell the FBI, okay? And that's why I was spokesperson for four years. I could sell it. I believed in it. So that attitude is conveyed by the way we speak and how we relay our message. So that's always the first thing.

And the second, truthfully -- and I actually worked, done a lot of work and persuasion, is to meet that person where they are. It's so easy to let our own agenda bubble to the surface. And Of course, you're in sales, it should bubble to the surface, but take the time to get to know that person. I know that sounds so trite, but the best salespeople I've met, actually dealt with, would call or get in contact would have nothing at all to do with what they were trying to sell me, but had to do with an interest I had.

For example, I love animals. I just adore them. Horses, dogs; I grew up with them. I went to a private school because our ranch was so isolated I couldn't go to a regular school. So it was just a little rural school, just my brother and I. So I mean, when I say I love animals, they were like -- you know, they were my friends until I was in high school. And so when this person, his name is John, and when he found out, he said, man, I found this great animal rescue right in your neighborhood and he sent it to me. I'm going, wow. Thank -- he actually listened to what was important to me. And he sent me this and I didn't even need it, you know? I mean, I did, but I didn't that -- it was unrelated to what he was trying to sell me, to be truthful.

And then the other way I found, I was selling the FBI to a foreign spy. I mean, that's the bottom line. And so I had to find a way to gain their trust. And a lot of it had nothing to do with the FBI per se because I was selling myself. I was the FBI; I was representing the FBI; and all I could do was be true to who I was in that moment. I never lied to people. I never -- I mean, I wanted them to trust me so I developed a relationship with them that was authentic. And you can always tell when somebody is trying to be who you think they want you to be, and it just doesn't ring true.

And I will say this. The only time I got into trouble working undercover was when I tried to be somebody I wasn't. You know, you could slap on whatever name you want or title, but the essence of who I was needed to be what seeped through. And that got me a long ways in undercover work.

Wes Schaeffer:
Very interesting. Very cool. All right. Well, we are linking to your website. You've got a free assessment, right, a mental toughness assessment?

LaRae Quy:
I do. Absolutely. I'd love for people to take it.

Wes Schaeffer:
And your name is quite unique, so I will spell it. It's L-a-R-a-e, Q-u-y, right?

LaRae Quy:
That's it.

Wes Schaeffer:
LaRaeQuy.com. And then the assessment is there. And your book, it's on Amazon, it's everywhere. "Secrets of a Strong Mind: How to Build Inner Strength to Overcome Life's Obstacles. Did we miss anything? Is there like a super-secret story I should have asked you?

LaRae Quy:
[chuckles] No secret super-secret story. And I'd love to connect with people if they're on Twitter, LinkedIn or through my blog, whatever. I love to hear from people.

Wes Schaeffer:
Sure. All right. I will link to all of that as well. Well, thanks for taking the time. I'm in Phoenix often. We'll look you up. Are you a golfer?

LaRae Quy:
I'm not a golfer.

Wes Schaeffer:
All right. I used to be. I'm not anymore. Good. So we don't have to go golf. [laughs] Sounds good. All right. Well, all the way from Scottsdale, thanks for coming on the show. It's been great.

LaRae Quy:
Thank you very much for having me as your guest.

Wes Schaeffer:
Have a great day.

LaRae Quy:
You too.

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