Louise Thaxton talks about bridging the GAP from Wonder to Warrior. Louise Thaxton is a NationalSpeaker, Veterans Advocate, and Director of the American Warrior Initiative.
1:07 – Louise Thaxton introduction
4:14 – The Louise Thaxton story. It was a dark and stormy night. Serving those who serve. Recognizing the gap between civilians and the soldiers who protect them. Bridging the gap between warrior to civilian.
9:54 – Stop falling in love with your product or service, fall in love with your customer and quadruple your business.
12:14 – None of us can do everything but all of us can do one thing. The American Warrior Initiative
18:18 – What was Louise doing before the mortgage business?
19:56 – Who was it that said, “I believe in you?” Sometimes you have to do it before you love it.
22:02 – Louise as a child. Who shaped you? What were the lessons from your childhood? Things that we say to our children and grandchildren matter.
23:04 – Always work. Always tell the truth. Always have a great work ethic.
24:39 – What is the American Warrior Initiative and how can people get involved? Service dogs to home repairs. http://www.AmericanWarriorInitiative.com
28:08 – Remember Everyone Deployed. RED shirt. A nation that forgets about it’s veterans will cease to be a nation.
32:03 – A veteran story that shook your soul. The Battle of Camp Keating (Kamdesh). Heroes among us.
41:42 – Knowledge through the decades. Believe in you.
42:51 – Advice from the age of 10. It’s not about how you look. It’s about what’s inside.43:23 – Advice from the age of 20. Meditate on the Word day and night for true success. Joshua 1:89
44:08 – Advice from the age of 30. It’s not over till it’s over. This too shall pass.
45:25 – Advice from the age of 40. It’s not too late to change your profession.
46:39 – Advice from the age of 50. It’s never too late to go from average to over the top. It’s never too late to find your passion.
47:48 – Advice from the age of 60. Develop a mental toughness.
48:48 – Show close
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We are covering Attitude Booster #10, which is be a part of something bigger than you. We have the famous Louise “Wheezy” Thaxton. Louise has a big personality. She has an even bigger heart. The thought of her being a part of something bigger than herself is maybe an oxymoron. Louise is a Leader at Fairway Mortgage, #FairwayNation. She’s a top-producing successful loan originator, team leader, and also the director and the passion behind the American Warrior Initiative, who is doing unbelievable things for our fallen warriors and our warriors who have come back. I want to welcome the infamous Wheezy Thaxton. Welcome, Louise.
Thank you for inviting me. What an honor.
It’s a pleasure and an honor to have you considering all the people that you’re affecting.
You and I have been buddies for many years. I could say decades, but I won’t.
That’s good. I was introduced to Fairway and what an amazing company. I’ve told the story about how Steve, the President of Fairway, helped me launch what I did as a keynote speaker.
He’s an amazing CEO. He’s got a heart to serve. I couldn’t do what I do without him behind it.
When you think about being a part of something bigger than you, let’s talk about the leader and the president, Steve “Jake,” for a second. When you think about being a part of something bigger than yourself, what are the lessons that you’ve learned from that great leader?
He has a heart to serve. He has a servant’s heart. It’s never about him. You hear that, “It’s not about me.” He is one of the most humble servant-hearted human beings you could ever meet. We have three nonprofits with Fairway. The American Warrior Initiative is one. What company has three nonprofits?
Tell us what the other two are.
One is the Fairway Foundation. That has been in place for many years. Fairway Cares was started a few years ago, and that gives back to people who are hurting from cancer or traumatic injury. There are hurting people out there. Sherri Anderson, Jake’s sister, is the CEO of Fairway Cares. She does an amazing job. She has the heart to serve also. They send packages and sometimes there are grants. Hurting people reach out to Fairway Cares, and Fairway does care.
What was the other one?
The Fairway Foundation. That was established many years ago at the beginning of Fairway. It did scholarships for students and different things. As people within Fairway had a need, they would fund that. Three nonprofits for a company are amazing.
What we’re here to talk about with you, Louise, is the story of how you filled the gap from where you started to where you are now. Our show is about the people out there that are wanting to move their life, get more vitality, accomplish more, and bridge the gap from who they are to who they want to be. When I think about you and what you’ve done with the American Warrior Initiative, I had to have you and talk to you. Your story and what you have to offer can move people. Talk to me about your story. Where did you start and how in the world did you get there?
It’s so interesting. I’ve been writing a book for about 40 years. For those of us that are at a certain age, we know that in writing, do you remember this? “It was a dark and stormy night.” You think about that in literature and that is how it started. It was a dark and stormy night in September 2005. A hurricane hit my husband’s farming operation and destroyed it. We were left with only a quarter of the income that we had before the storm hit. We had no insurance.
At that point, I wanted out of the mortgage business. I was looking for something bigger than myself. I was looking for something with a purpose and that I could have passion for. The mortgage industry was not it. At that point, my husband asked me, “Can you make more money in the mortgage business until our farm is rebuilt?” I go, “How long?” because I wanted out of the mortgage business. He said, “About a year.” I thought, “Oh.”
There was a little military town south of me. I couldn’t spell VA and knew nothing about military culture, but I thought I had met a real estate agent that summer before September 2005. That was Hurricane Rita that hit. I met this realtor in a transaction over the summer for a little bitty $35,000 deal, if you can imagine that then.
It’s a big commission. You made about $400 on it.
I had met her and so I went to her because I knew she was down there. I said, “I want to break into this market.” Long tall drink of water, 6 foot tall, dropped dead gorgeous real estate agent, she trusted me. She said, “You better take care of my sergeant.” The first time I sat across the table from that young man that had come back from Iraq, he was in uniform. I thought to myself, “I have to do this right.” Gradually, I’m always one to want to know about the story. If I’m sitting with you, I want to know your story.
As I started to hear the stories of these men and women who are fighting in a war and as I began to read books, I fell in love with what I was doing in the mortgage industry. I could see that they had a need for a watchdog to step in and take care of their needs. They had fought for our country. Now, they needed someone on the lending side of the transaction to take care of them.
I began to read warrior books and watch warrior movies. I had always been a fan of those. But I became passionate about it and determined I would become an expert not just in VA, but also in military culture. At the end of that year when my husband’s farm was rebuilt, I no longer wanted out of the mortgage business. In 2005, I closed 74 units. In 2006, I closed 280 units. In 2007, I closed 360 units. I quadrupled my business by falling in love with what I was doing. That was serving those who serve.
I wanted to spread that message of how these men and women needed us to step up. As with anything, the more you know a culture, and this is an amazing group of individuals. You realize that they have a lot of needs. There are a lot of challenges. I realized, and this is one of the messages I try to take across America, that there is a gap between the civilians of this country and the warriors who protect it.
I took on a mission to bridge that gap between warrior and civilian. Most civilians want to know, but they don’t know what to do but they want to do something. We live in divided times in this nation. I believe there’s one thing that we’re united on and that’s taking care of the men and women who have protected us. Civilians want to, but they’re not sure how to do it. Warriors and our veterans and active-duty military, many times think they’ll never understand. The divide stays like that unless someone says, “We’re going to build a bridge between civilians and warriors, and we’re going to bridge the gap.”
Isn’t that appropriate?
That’s what I thought.
You got talent. What a beautiful segue. We have a lot of realtors that follow us. We have a lot of mortgage people that follow us. It’s so great to have somebody from your industry with us. I’ve always said, “Stop falling in love with your product or service and fall in love with your customer.” When you talk about being a part of something bigger than you, you have done it. You fell in love with your customer and you quadrupled your business.
When people tune in to this, you need to ask yourself if you’re out there, “Am I in love with my customer? Am I falling in love with my customer? Does my customer love me?” What a fantastic takeaway for our salespeople, but not even our salespeople, anybody in service or business. How are you feeling about your customer? Do you feel the way about them that Wheezy does? More importantly, our military and our warriors fell in love with all of us Americans that aren’t fighting. They pay the highest price.
They do. Too many times, as sales professionals or whatever business you’re in, we tend to want to take on the role as we’re the hero in the transaction. It should be our client as a hero. We’re the guide showing them and their hero story. When you’re serving veterans or active-duty military, it’s a little easier. What if you’re serving school teachers, aren’t they heroes? Also, first-time home buyers or single moms.
They are heroes to their family and we’re helping them. You think about that single mother with two kids. She buys that home and she goes in. Those kids are looking at that mom and saying, “She’s my hero.” We help to build up our clients and them become the heroes of their stories. With me, it’s easier because they are heroes of America.
That’s so powerful to have an attitude that when you look at a customer or anybody that you meet to make them the hero of their own story. What a great mission. What a great relationship tool. What a great lesson for everybody. Wheezy, that’s awesome stuff.
With anything, the more I delved into the culture, I realized there were so many needs out there that were left unmet. I am not going to bash the Veterans Administration or the VA, but anyone knows that there are some challenges with the VA. My answer to that is this. None of us can do everything but all of us can do one thing. That is my mantra and mission. Collectively, we can do something to step in and fill the gap. Steve Jacobson “Jake” allowed us to do was through payroll deduction, Fairway people could contribute to the American Warrior Initiative, and then 100% of those funds go to a local vet.None of us can do everything, but all of us can do one thing. Click To Tweet
That’s pretty cool. We have offices all over the nation. The Fairway underwrites the American Warrior Initiative. They cover the cost. If you want to donate $1, you can, but that $1 will go to a local veteran. You talk about the heroes of their own story. We step in and we say, “We’re not giving a handout. We’re giving them a hand up.” The veteran suicide rate is horrendous. People will argue with you about what the number is. If it’s one, it’s too many. We say 22. They’re saying it’s coming down. I hope that’s right.
I don’t see any evidence of that. If you think about 22 veterans or active-duty military who are taking their lives every day, we need to do something as Americans to step up. My mission this year is to put 52 service dogs in the hands, hearts, and lives of 52 veterans or active-duty military. I want to put a service dog into their lives. Service dogs save lives. We heard it over and over again, and we’ve probably donated over 50 over the last 2 or 3 years, but I want to do 52.
I love it. Are you doing that? Wheezy is in town from Louisiana here in our beautiful studios in Broad Ripple, Indiana. She flew in and got off the plane. She was late and said, “We’re going to do this. We’re going to spread the word.” Are you giving away a dog tomorrow?
We are supposed to give away a dog tomorrow. This is one of the challenges. You’re going to shake your head at this. It is finding a veteran. Do you know why it’s hard?
I have heard from a veteran who had lost both legs said, “There’s someone that needs it more than I do.” Each one of them is so self-sacrificing and so humble. They go, “Do not give it to me. There’s someone else.” It is hard to find veterans who will step up and say, “I need the help,” because they’re warriors.
It’s like the people that are tuning in to our show who aren’t asking for help because of limiting self-beliefs or because they don’t understand. Those who are getting ahead in life and those who are bridging the gap are the people that have the courage to say, “I need help.” If you’re tuning in to this, have a mentor or copy one. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s a great point.
I changed my mind, and that’s what I did. I changed my attitude in September 2005. I knew I needed mental toughness. I needed to develop a warrior mindset. For the next year, I changed my brain through neuroplasticity. I didn’t know that word at that time. I only learned that word in the last 2 or 3 years. I realized that’s what I did. I changed my thought patterns. You talk about mentors. Books are good too. I’ve had mentors that have been dead for 100 years and I’ve read them. That is one of the first things that anyone can do to change their mind. Listening to podcasts like yours is one of the amazing things that someone can do. It is to develop a passion, develop a purpose, and get a mission. Have a mission. Wake up to a mission. I say, “Get up, gear up, and show up.”
Number one is getting up. That is getting up physically, but also getting up mentally. Sean Parnell and I traveled together with the American Warrior Initiative. We cofounded the American Warrior Initiative. He woke up on September 11th. When he saw the towers fall, that’s when he knew he was going to join the military. Do you know how many hundreds of veterans active-duty military I have talked to over the last eighteen years that have said, “That’s when I signed up, I knew there was a mission?”
For me, it was my family. Whoever is tuning in to this, you know what your mission is, you know the cause, and you know the why. That’s what we have to wake up to. We know. I talk about wake up, get up, gear up. That is with books. That’s with podcasts. That’s where you will take the “I can’t” thinking and turn it into “I can” thinking.
I talk to and train a lot of loan officers and real estate agents on having morning rituals and evening rituals of reading, writing, recording, and keeping a journal. For the guys, Sean Parnell kept a journal in Afghanistan. Don’t think it’s a diary. You just need to journal. That is part of the neuroplasticity, and then just showing up. Getting up, gearing up, and then you show up and do the work.
It sounds like the big shift in your life when things started was the tornado. Take me back to Wheezy when she was in her twenties starting. What did you do before you got into the mortgage business? What were you doing? Did you go to college or after college? How did things start for you?
I was a stay-at-home mom and I went through a divorce. I went to work. I worked three jobs. I was a single mom with three little children. Eventually, I landed a job at a law office where I worked as a paralegal. I thought that’s what I would do forever. I was a paralegal and thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I did closings but I was also side by side with the attorney when he was in court. There came that period of time where I thought, “I’m sick of this. I’m done with this.”
A local banker said to me, “Do you want to come run our mortgage department?” I said, “I don’t know anything about the mortgage business.” He said, “You have the personality. We’ll train you.” I stayed with that bank for about two and a half years. They shut down the department. That’s when someone from out service that I used said, “Call this guy in Madison, Wisconsin, Steve Jacobson.” I’ve been with Fairway for almost nineteen years.
Who was it that said, “Your personality is great, and I believe in you. I don’t care about what you know but I feel you.” What was the name of the bank?
It was People State Bank at that time. It was JJ Blake. Here is the thing. The bank would close loans and I handled it. I handle little small towns where we handle a lot of transactions. He was the president of the bank. We were friends. I go, “JJ, I have no idea.” He says, “Don’t worry about it. You can do it.” He sent me all over the country and trained me to be a mortgage banker.
We interviewed a billion-dollar real estate broker. Her theme was “Be Nice,” and we were talking about compliments and what it means to be nice. I said, “What was the nicest thing anybody ever did for you?” She said, “It was when somebody found the talent in me and said, ‘You need to work for me.’ It raised me up.” I love to hear stories about that. That was one of the nicest things anybody has ever done for you. If there’s something else, I want to know.
It was. He believed in me and he was saddened when the bank shut down the mortgage department. It wasn’t his choice. As it turned out, I ended up with Fairway, which has been a blessing to me. By the way, it was a hurricane, not a tornado. It wasn’t supposed to be coming up in Central Louisiana either. The forcing function that happened was the hurricane. When I started changing my mind and thinking, “I have to do this,” I fell in love with what I was doing. Too many times, we want to love it before we do it. Sometimes you got to do it and then you love it.Too many times, we want to love something before we do it. Sometimes, you have to do it, and then you’ll love it. Click To Tweet
You got to grow into it. Tell me about Louise when she was a child. What was your childhood like and what were the lessons from your childhood or your parents that shaped you or shaped your thinking now?
You can’t tell it now because I have never put color on my hair, but I was a flaming redhead with red hair and freckles and that Irish temper. My younger brothers and sisters would say that I was pretty bossy. I loved my mother, but my grandmother was very special to me. I spent summers with her. She always believed in me. My mother did too but my grandmother always believed in me.
I’m a grandmother now. I tell one of my young granddaughters that I remember back when my grandmother talked to me and told me stories and how it impacted me. Things that we say to our children and our grandchildren matter. Decades later, I still remember some of the things my grandmother taught me.
Can you share? It doesn’t have to be a long story but when you think about those stories, that impact, that slogan, or the phrase, what did she say that sticks with you?
Always wear a hat in the sun. They didn’t have sunscreen back then. It was a work ethic. Always work. Always tell the truth. She had a great work ethic as my grandfather. My mother had a great work ethic. My mother was a true artist. She was very creative. One of the things that I remember about my mother, because she influenced my life a lot also, was she always wrote a book, but she never published it. I am writing a book and I’m thinking, “I need to get that published to honor my mother.” My mother and grandmother both impacted me a lot.
We can help you publish that book. If you need our help, let us know. We have a speaker’s bureau at the University of Attitude. We also can help people get books published. We’d love to talk about that some more. Did you grow up in Louisiana?
Yes, I did. Most people would not believe this, but I have lived in the same town. Not in the same house, but in the same town for 61 years.
I live one mile from where I grew up, so I’m there with you. What I want to get back to then is being a part of something bigger than you. Talk to me a little bit about the American Warrior Initiative. Give me the sweeping. What is it? I would also like to know if somebody out there feels your passion for this and wants to get involved and wants to help, where can they go to do that? Tell us what you’ve done, what’s the mission, and how we can get people involved.
About eight years ago, Steve Jacobson allowed us to go forward with this initiative. It has morphed into the American Warrior Initiative, which is a nonprofit that gives back to active-duty military, disabled veterans, and first responders. Over the last three years, the Fairway employees, through payroll deduction, have donated almost $3 million to the American Warrior Initiative. We have helped hundreds of veterans across the United States, from California to Boston to Florida to Texas. We find the need and we fill the need. We have helped Vietnam veterans put in walk-in bathtubs.
I was at a military-affairs meeting the other day in Leesville, Louisiana. That’s where I have a little office in Leesville, Louisiana, home of Fort Polk. I was sitting across the table of the Military Affairs with a guy from the DAV, Disabled American Veterans. I looked at him and he was talking. I said, “Do you have a need with any of your veterans?” He said, “I do. I have a World War II veteran. He is 93 years old. The bathroom is falling in. His niece had promised him that he would not have to leave his home.”
He wanted to stay. He was born in that home. He wanted to die in that home. He was 93, but they were going to have to move him because of the floor.” I said, “No, you’re not. We will fund that need.” It’s from service dogs to home repairs. A branch emailed and they had a need. There was a veteran who had not been upstairs of his house for years because he couldn’t walk. We installed a lift.
How do we get there?
It’s the AmericanWarriorInitiative.com. You can donate now. People are always wanting to do something cool for their birthday. I had a birthday in April. You can do these birthday fundraisers. I thought, “I’m going to do it.” I did and raised $3,000 and had someone that was going to match it. We’re going to fund a service dog from my birthday. They can choose American Warrior Initiative as their charity of choice.
We have one of our vendors that works with Fairway that wanted to run his first marathon. He said, “Wheezy, if I can get enough donations, will AWI match any of it and could we do a service dog?” I said, “Heck yeah. Are you kidding me?” He ran the Philadelphia Marathon. He raised $5,000. AWI matched his $5,000. At the end of that marathon, we had a need and we had a veteran and we gave a service dog. There are so many things that you can do. Do you notice this shirt that I had on?
I do. Remember Everyone Deployed, RED.
You wear RED on Friday.
I got my shirt. If it was Friday. I would’ve worn my shirt.
I wore this so I could talk about it. Wear RED on Friday to Remember Everyone Deployed. One of the ways that you can even stir it up within your community is to remind people that we’re still at war. Remind people who are living in cities that maybe hadn’t thought about that. If you don’t have someone who is deployed, maybe you don’t think about it. Wear RED on Friday. If you don’t, I’m coming after you.
I’ve heard that and we’re still at war. I’m not sure if half of Americans don’t understand that we’re at war. Talk a little bit about that mentality and what that means. People are oblivious. I don’t know that people even think about the men and women who are serving our country. Talk to us a little bit about that warrior mentality, and what’s going on with the perception that you see on Americans, because you travel the country. What’s their perception of all this?
It has been said that America is at war. I always say, “That’s not true. America is at the mall.” We’ve got men and women who are deployed and they’re at war. As I said earlier, unless you have someone who’s in your family, a lot of times unless you turn on the news, we have become desensitized to it. We have been at war for eighteen years. I want you to think about this. I was at a graduation where the high school principal stood up and said, “These kids who are graduating were not born when 9/11 happened.” If you think about that, we got high school seniors going out into the world that do not know.
There are people who are bringing awareness. One of our veteran initiatives is Lisa Thompson. She is a high school teacher in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She is teaching Outlaw Platoon, Sean Parnell’s book. She is teaching that to her seniors because it has some language in it. He’s a soldier and he wrote a book. She’s teaching Karen Vaughn’s book World Changer to ninth graders, which is about the life of Aaron Vaughn who gave his life. She is teaching two warrior books to high school students because when they leave school, she wants them to know. Wouldn’t that be great if more high school teachers did that?
They’ll probably get shut down, unfortunately, “You’re not allowed to talk about that.”
You asked me about what I see. This is one of the challenges. If I go into a military community and let’s say it’s riding the big mill. A lot of the real estate agents are either military spouses or veterans. They hear what I say and they think everyone knows that because it’s their everyday life. I go into Boston, Atlanta, Georgia, Idaho, or some of these places, then they say, “I didn’t know that. I had no idea of that.” It depends on the location. Don’t trust what I say. Google the gap between military and civilian.
What is the divide? There is one. What could we do to bridge that gap? One of the things we can do is start to get involved with our veterans as they have come home from war. How can we help them as they reintegrate into society? I believe we have a duty. This is our obligation. A nation that forgets about its veterans will cease to be a nation.A nation that forgets about its veterans will cease to be a nation. Click To Tweet
I know you have lots of stories, but what’s the one military or the one vet story that personally affected you the most and shook your soul that you said, “I got to do more?” Can you share with us that person or that situation?
You put me on the spot. I’m going to share this story because I believe that many times, as sales professionals, we have heroes sitting across from us and do not even know it. If you come into my office and there is someone sitting in a chair and they’re looking at me on my credenza, it is filled with war books. It is hundreds of war books. There was a young man and I was doing his loan application, and he looked past me. I knew he was looking at the war books. He said, “They’re writing a book about a battle we were in.” I said, “What was the battle? Who’s writing the book?” It was Jake Tapper of CNN. The battle was the Battle of COP Keating or Command Outpost Keating.
I said, “Can you tell me about it?” He started to talk. He said, “There were 60 of us in a remote outpost in Afghanistan when 200 Talibans descended upon us. It took ten hours to get help. By the time help got there, eight had died.” When he got to that point, he broke down. We’re talking about someone who was almost twenty years in the Army. He sat across me and said, “I thought I could talk about it. I don’t think I can right now.” I said, “It’s okay. We’ll talk later.”
As he would come back, because I’m in the middle of his loan application, he would tell me more and he would tell me bits and pieces. We ended up doing a short video, but the Battle of COP Keating stuck in my mind. He introduced me to a Facebook group. That was a private Facebook group of the survivors, those eight families.
There was one of the mothers of the fallen. His name was Michael. She reached out to me and said, “I love those boots you’re wearing. I would love for Michael’s son to have a pair of boots.” I said, “I will send him one.” She said, “When I get the money, I’m going to get me some.” I said, “No, let me send you some boots.” That had nothing to do with mortgages.
Flash forward, the book came out, and then my husband said, “You need to come to see this on television.” I come in there and for the first time in twenty years, two Medal of Honor recipients for the same battle. It was the Battle of Cop Keating. I’m going, “It was two Medal of Honor recipients.” Flash forward another year, we have one of those Medal of Honor recipients speak at one of our events. I go up to him. I said, “We may have a mutual acquaintance.” I told him the name of the young man that I did his loan. He goes, “That man is a hero and he saved my life.” Here’s a Medal of Honor recipient telling me that the guy who was sitting across from me a few years before had saved his life.
I think about that. We do not take the time to listen to the stories. When we do, we will realize there are heroes among us. That impacted me. What if John had not seen the books? What if John had not felt open to say to me, “They wrote a book about a battle we were in?” What if I had not said, “Could you tell me some? Tell me in bits and pieces if you have to.” There are hundreds of stories, but that one impacted me as a professional to find out and ask about their stories.
Our Vietnam veterans, that’s one of the forgotten groups of individuals. They were disgraced when they came home. America did not honor them the way they should. It is the truth. My mission as I go around the country is I always ask if there are any Vietnam veterans in the group. Many Vietnam veterans will not raise their hands. In fact, there was a Vietnam veteran, and he showed me his Vietnam veteran hat. He said, “This is the first hat that I’ve owned in 50 years.” He put it on. He said, “That’s the first time I’ve put it on.” As I talked to Vietnam veterans, they’re finding out stories and talking about stories.
When you have someone and you know they may be from that generation and they tell you they’re a veteran, tell them this. I’m going to say this to the audience. If someone has served in Vietnam or even a Vietnam-era veteran, you say two things. 1) Thank you for your service. 2) Welcome home. I was on a plane. We were deplaning. A gentleman was ahead. He had the hat. I touched his shoulder. I said, “I wanted to say thank you for your service.” His wife said, “Honey, when was the first time you heard that?” He was a Vietnam veteran? He said, “Three years ago.” She said, “Have you ever heard, ‘Welcome home?’” He said, “That was the first.”
Isn’t that great? You’ve told me that before. I make it a policy to do that. Sean had said about talking to veterans, “It’s okay to ask.” When civilians or people that aren’t in the military come across a veteran, those two things are wonderful. Any other thoughts about how to treat a veteran when one comes across you?
Thanking them for their service. If they have a family, say, “I want to thank your family,” because family serves also. When I’m in the airport and if there’s someone that I’m standing by, I hear a lot of people say, “Thank you for your service,” I usually add something to that. “Thank you for your service. How many deployments?”
It’s amazing what that answer can be.
It does. You know the expression on their face. I was at Dallas DFW and the little Skylink going around. I said, “How many deployments?” He goes, “Seven.” I go, “Seven?” He said, “Yes, seven.” You can get into a conversation by just saying, “How many deployments?” Some may feel, “Why does she want to know that?” It helps them to know that you’re concerned about that. If you have the address of someone deployed, send them some homemade cookies. Do you bake, Glenn?
I bake a little bit. I prefer to eat what is baked for me though.
It’s just doing the small things. Anyone can start an initiative wherever they are. No matter where you live, you could start with a small initiative. There’s maybe a Vietnam veteran that needs a walk-in bathtub for $4,000 or $5,000. That could change their life.
People now have a source to make that request.
AmericanWarriorInitiative.com and they can make a donation. Put #GetAttitudePodcast. Do that and shoot. We can do something. Wouldn’t that be awesome if you and I could get together and present something?
I would love to do it. We should.
I do believe that most Americans want to do something. They’re not sure what to do, and they’re unsure of where to give. With the American Warrior Initiative, you know that 100% is going to a local veteran.
Wheezy, you understand the concept of doing something bigger than yourself. Your stories and your wisdom in this show have been humbling. It has been eye-opening. Most of all, it has been empowering because you don’t have to be a warrior to be a hero. I do believe when you said there are heroes among us. You’re looking at heroes every single day. That’s the spirit and the attitude. If we looked at everybody as a hero, not as a person on the other side, or not as a threat to them, or not as competition, but truly as a hero, that attitude could breed some unbelievable growth.
It could. We are just the guide helping them, and that’s what you’re doing. You’re the guide. You’re helping people be heroes of their own stories. You’re the guide and you’re showing them that. Thank you for what you do.
My pleasure. Here’s the deal. We always like to end our show with a little wisdom, and it’s a quick-hitter interview. You speak from your heart. You’re our impromptu, so I’m not worried. If your answers suck, we can edit them. It’s okay. I guarantee you, knowing you, you’re going to give us some wisdom. I have a feeling you’re 61, which means you’re going to have to give me six answers.
I’m 66 now. I’m on Route 66. That was the theme of my birthday party in April. It was Route 66. I am traveling that.
You’re probably living your life to the fullest and you probably have more vitality. You’re probably making bigger impacts than anything and you’re 66. You’re just getting started. Let’s get some wisdom from the decades for you. What I want you to do is tell me what comes from your heart or your head. We call our listeners GAPers. Give our GAPers a quick shot of knowledge. This may or may not make sense, but Louise as an infant, what advice would you give our GAPers as an infant? What comes to your head as a baby?
Believe in yourself and believe that you were created by God for a purpose.
Believe in you happens to be our Attitude Boosters #3. It’s right up there. I love it.
When we’re born, I believe that we’re born, and it is in our DNA because we are created in the image of God. Think about it. You’re a baby. You’re going to cry and think, “Somebody is going to satisfy my needs.” You believe anything is possible and you’ve got that possibility, and then our brains get hacked by the world.
That is true. I want you to think about Louise or Wheezy as a ten-year-old. What advice would you give our GAPers from when you were ten?
It’s not about how you look. It’s about what’s inside. I was a skinny kid with freckles and red hair. I was always thinking, “I don’t fit in with everyone else.” Speaking to that girl or from that girl, I’d say, “What matters is what’s inside.”
You started getting a little rambunctious. That redhead turned twenty and became a young woman. Talk to me about that attitude. What would Louise at twenty give our GAPers as information?
I wish that at twenty, I would’ve gotten this message. I didn’t get it until years later. In the book of Joshua 1:8-9, it says to meditate on the Word day and night, then you will have true success. It’s one of my favorite scriptures. I always put it on my graduation cards when I’m giving it to those young people. I’m not saying I got that when I was twenty, but I wish I had.
That takes us to when you were 30. Tell us what was going on. When you think about being 30, I’m guessing you probably had your 3 kids at that point. You might have been going through that divorce at that time. What advice would you give our GAPers about attitude from being 30?
It’s not over until it’s over. I remember when I was going through a divorce, someone gave me a slip of paper. I’ll never forget it. In fact, I’ve since heard it many times but all of my friends thought I authored it because I would always say this when anything happened, “This too shall pass.” That is whether it’s good or whether it’s bad. Sometimes when we are rolling, we think it’s always going to be there. There’s going to be a bump in the road. When things are bad, a smooth road is up ahead, so this too shall pass. You keep pressing.When anything bad happens, remember that this too shall pass. Just keep pressing. Click To Tweet
It’s perseverance. We always say #8, Love Adversity. We know that adversity is the mother of perseverance. You cannot persevere unless you have a little adversity. For those of you who are facing adversity, we will be doing a whole month on Love Adversity. Understand that you can’t have perseverance unless you got a little adversity. Let’s talk about Wheezy at 40. That’s probably right when you hit Fairway and things probably started to change.
It was not exactly 40 but what I would say to someone in their 40s is you’re never too late to make a profession change. I had worked in a law office as a paralegal, and I switched in between there. I call it my temporary period of insanity, where I opened a restaurant. That was crazy. I went into restaurant rehab and then went to work for the bank. Eventually, I ended up with Fairway. I did that stint, but it’s never too late to change your profession. Sometimes when you’re in your 40s, you think, “I’ve always done this line of work.” It doesn’t have to always be that way.
Would you say then that piece of advice might be, “Do not open a restaurant?”
Somebody probably told Colonel Sanders that and he goes, “I will.”
If you know the story of Colonel Sanders, he was told hundreds of times not to do it. About 1 out of every 100 restaurateurs makes it. Let’s go to your golden birthday, 50. When you hit your 50s, what lesson did you learn in your 50s?
It is never too late to go from average to over the top. I was an average loan officer closing 5 to 7 transactions a month. I call that average. I was in a little town of 2,900 people. A lot of people might think that would have been good.
That’s great market share.
I went from there to a military community of 8,000 and went to 25 to 30 transactions a month. I did that when I was in my early 50s. It’s never too late to find your passion. Don’t settle for average. Look for where you can direct your passions to make a difference. When you get on fire for something, you’re going to light up everybody around you.
There’s no doubt. I love that. That’s so good. This is going to be the last one, which is your 60s. What have you learned in the past years? What can our GAPers take from Louise being 60?
What I have learned from my life probably goes back to my grandmother and especially my mother. I come from a long line of tough women. I have 5 daughters, 17 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. I have some tough women that come or that are coming after me also. What I have learned is that we have to develop mental toughness. That right there, the mental toughness of life and the mental toughness with our families, that means having a high EQ and being able to handle things without an emotional breakdown, but having that mental toughness.
I love it. Louise, you are amazing. You’ve lit up our show. I hope that everybody feels her. I hope people visit AmericanWarriorInitiative.com. I hope they make a request with #GetAttitude. Louise, your message of where you started and your proof that being a part of something bigger than you affected your life and quadrupled not only your business but as I look at you as a 60-year-old beautiful woman, the impact and the influence you’re having has probably quadrupled too. You’ve probably never had the impact or the influence.
If you’re out there saying, “There’s more for me and I feel stuck. I know there’s something that needs to happen in my life to bridge the gap, to get me from where I am to where I want to be, to get me from who I am to who I want to become, Louise’s message of having a passion and giving of yourself to other people and looking at everybody as your hero, when you look at everybody as your hero, the attraction, the contagious of your spirit, your ability to live a bigger life, something that’s bigger than you, to be truly fulfilled, to squeeze the juice out of life. That’s what Attitude Booster #10 is all about. That’s what our unbelievable guest, Louise Thaxton, has taught us. Louise, thank you so much.
Thank you for inviting me. It has been fun.
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