Terrance Sookdeo was born on the island of Trinidad. He grew up in very poor conditions, but through his untiring perseverance he lifted himself above his circumstances. His mother gave birth to eight children—five of them she gave birth to by herself at home including Terrance. Terrance’s mother often reflect on how very early in life Terrance was tested for his tenacity to survive when he got stung by a scorpion while playing. Because of their isolated home it took almost a day before he was admitted to a hospital and put under observation; against all odds, he survived. Terrance spent his early childhood living in the countryside of the island. Walking to school meant several miles of trekking down winding roads each day, and chores included walking long distances for potable water or to go to the river. With limited financial resources Terrance fought his way through school and despite his circumstances, he excelled. He understood that no matter how unfortunate we believe our life is – we have the power to choose and make a difference. After completing high school, Terrance was awarded a national scholarship, which afforded him the opportunity to attend the university and purse his engineering degree.
While in school, he found an interest in martial arts; however, his fascination with martial arts was quickly transformed and replaced by the focus and discipline of the harsh reality of a full-contact system of training without any protection. His teacher quickly became the most uncompromising, and astute person he has met in his life. Terrance’s life is therefore greatly influenced and molded by the teachings of his Tai Chi, Kyokushinkai, and Zen teacher, Sensei Michael Jarrette. As his new-found mentor and teacher, Sensei Jarrette often required him to endure long hours of physical training, meditation, and lecture sessions. “Respect is NOT something you fight for, grab for, curse for, or even earn. Respect is something you attract by the person you become,” said Sensei Jarrette. Terrance says that after more than two decades he still vividly remembers some of those powerful lecture sessions like, “When your life is a PAIN, what do you care about others?” And “Attitude and Respect is everything.”
A very disciplined approach to learning and maintaining his physical health was instilled in him by his teacher Sensei Jarrette. Terrance believes that, “If you don’t make time for exercise, you will make time to get sick. Then the doctors will then tell you if you don’t exercise death will come much sooner rather than later.”
Shortly after graduating from the university with his engineering degree, Terrance entered the oil industry in Trinidad, and in 1998, he immigrated to the United States with his wife, Marcia, and two children, Rhea and Christopher, to work in the oil industry in the United States.
After over a decade of working as a top performing frontline Field Engineer Terrance eventually moved into management in which he used his personal experiences in life to bring powerful insight, excitement, and motivation to everyone around him. He was eventually encouraged by close friends to join Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association so that he could refine his skills and find more avenues to transform people’s lives. He speaks on The Power of Flawless Execution and delivers several programs on The Foundation for Frontline Leadership. He also loves being a Keynote speaker and presentation/speech coach. As a Motivation and Communication expert his message is always tailored to the audience and their specific goals. He often uses stories (including Zen stories from his teacher Sensei Jarrette) to convey his perspectives. “We as humans may be predisposed to remembering stories and tales since they give vision to our beliefs,” says Terrance. He takes common sense and converts it into common practice. His love for learning, sharing, and connecting with people are among his strongest attributes.
“You can beat a man, break his arms and legs, but don’t EVER hurt him,” – Sensei Jarrette.