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Life Skills for Success and Fulfillment | Evy Poumpouras

Episode 48, duration 1 hr and 18 mins
Episode 48

Life Skills for Success and Fulfillment | Evy Poumpouras

Evy Poumpouras is a former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, co-host of Bravo TV’s competition series Spy Games, and author of the best-selling book Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, Live Fearlessly. During her time as a United States Secret Service Special Agent, Evy was considered one of the agency’s elite interview and interrogation experts. Evy holds a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology as well as a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University. She teaches Criminal Justice and Criminology as an Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York and Leadership and Negotiation at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

In this episode we discuss:
– How to build courage and make tough choices.
– Why it’s important to serve humanity and leave behind a legacy.
– How to read people and question them.
– What real power and strength in difficult situations looks like.

00:00:00 Introduction
00:01:11 Evy’s History
00:15:11 US Secret Service vs. Other Entities
00:23:00 Interrogation
00:29:00 Interviewing Tips and Media
00:31:00
Body Language
00:41:00 Broadening Horizons
00:45:00 Have Interrogation Techniques Changed?
00:54:00 Evy’s Legacy
01:05:00 Advice for Next Generations

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SPEAKERS
Evy Poumpouras, Dr Lyon

Dr. Lyon (01:00:00 -> 01:00:04)

Evy Poumpouras Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

Evy Poumpouras (01:00:04 -> 01:00:12)

Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited and I’m amazed this is amazing. I’m so excited for you. This is wonderful. And I’m honored you having me on your show.

Dr. Lyon (01:00:12 -> 01:00:49)

Are you kidding? This is going to be a very powerful interview. You are what I consider a unicorn. You are a former secret service agent, former law enforcement journalist, professor, all the things interrogator, which is fascinating, basically a master of human nature and oftentimes to become so accomplished. There’s history behind that someone doesn’t just unintentionally land in the spot that you’re in. I’d love to hear about your background and what brought you to where you are now.

Evy Poumpouras (01:00:50 -> 01:03:37)

So um I grew up in New York City and my parents were immigrated here from Europe, from Greece and we grew up in very like uh kind of a rough environment. You can’t go outside and play. You gotta be a lot of crime around us. We lived in uh subsidized housing, which is government housing, city housing, super rough. And because everything was be careful, be careful, be careful, you can’t go to this house, you can’t play with this person. You can’t go outside. It was a very fear based environment. Not because my parents were fearful people. It’s just, they were just trying to shield us and protect us and you grow up with kind of, you get tired of it. And so at some point I was just like, I just don’t, you know, it’s unfair and I’m sick of it. So I think just intuitively and I didn’t realize this was happening. I eventually went into law enforcement, but it was completely by mistake. But I always wanted to be a person of service. And even in college, I, I interned for a congresswoman, congresswoman Carolyn mccarthy. I interned for her. It was supposed to be a six month internship free and I get it and I loved it. I used to handle all the constituent cases. People would write in constituents from a district saying I have this problem. Could you please help me? And so I took those over then after my internship was done. After six months, I asked, I was like, can I stay on? And I think I stayed on two years. So, so service was always my thing um helping people and then it kind of shifted into policing which was completely by accident as well. Um It was right after college and I had gotten a job in a corporate environment and I didn’t, I didn’t last very long. I I was there a month, month and a half, two months. If that, I remember sitting on the train thinking like, man, this is just not me. I can’t do this. So I’m on the subway and then the subway and the subway doors open. I see the subway doors open and there’s this police officer and back then it was a little different and he’s just like hanging out his belly, his belly is hanging out over his gun belt. And I’m thinking I could do that. And that night I went home and I called 212 recruit. It was like, you know, I was like, are you guys hiring? They’re like, yeah, come take the test. And that’s kind of how it went. And I never looked back and it, it changed my life. It just, I grew the fuck up and it changed my mentality. It changed the way I thought it changed the way I saw humanity. And it made me a more grateful human being and a more assertive human being, a more confident, human being and a more humble human being. It just did so many things and I never thought that a profession could transform me as an individual so much.

Dr. Lyon (01:03:38 -> 01:03:57)

What was it about it that transformed you as opposed to you were very much a sheep dog, very much a sheep dog, very much a leader. And oftentimes those individuals are born that way and then cultivated was there a moment or a particular experience that really altered your thinking.

Evy Poumpouras (01:03:58 -> 01:05:20)

No, I don’t. I, you know, and I wish I, uh people asked me like, what was it? And I just, it was just a pull and I was always a fighter growing up a fighter, I always want to protect. And, you know, I, when I would see my family wronged or taken advantage of which would happen, you know, my parents, you know, my father spoke super broken English and it was always very hard to watch him struggle and go through different things. But I, I probably my mother was a very more quiet, not, not weak, not passive because she was a, she was a, she worked hard. She still does. She’s strong but silent strong. My dad was very much like a wild kind of in your face. And when I would struggle, he would be like, hey, get the fuck up. You know, I don’t want to hear it like you need to, you need to this and some people might be traumatized by something like that. And um I didn’t understand it when I was younger and I understood them better as I got older. And he very much despite being a girl and in our culture, being a girl was ok. He didn’t do that to me. He didn’t suppress me because of that, which I appreciate. He was always like just let’s go get up, you need to recover everything was, let’s recover, let’s recover, let’s recover. And they didn’t let me sit in something. It was always like we gotta go, you gotta, you gotta recover. You can’t live in this. You can’t sit in this whatever it is. And I think that that was my first taste of like resilience.

Dr. Lyon (01:05:20 -> 01:05:26)

Yeah. And it, it prepared you very well for what was to come. I’m sure.

Evy Poumpouras (01:05:26 -> 01:06:03)

Maybe I thought N Y P D was super brutal. I don’t know how it is. Now, I heard they’ve softened up when I went through. I’m thinking, oh, it’s an academy. It’ll be like college. No, it was not. You know, you go there you show up. I had no idea what I was walking into. They’re yelling at you, they’re screaming at you. And I’m thinking, I’m just here for a job. I didn’t understand. Um, I almost quit first week. I almost quit and I’m glad I stuck it out and I had, you know, I had someone close to me say it’s a game, stick it out that this is what they do to everybody and I stuck it out and turned out to be. I’m glad I did. I think I would have, I would have not been what I am.

Dr. Lyon (01:06:03 -> 01:06:12)

It, it built the foundation and 85% of law enforcement there. It’s male. Is, is that number still correct?

Evy Poumpouras (01:06:12 -> 01:07:31)

So I teach criminal justice criminology and I, I get those numbers right. It’s ok. So the last I uh had those numbers, it was about 12% 11% are female in law enforcement overall. Um, general law enforcement. So it’s still a, a vast minority. And I think, I think the number is shifting. And again, it depends though, on the police department where you’re looking at, if you’re looking at metropolitan police departments, N Y P D L A P D, those numbers are gonna be more wider, the, the they’re the departments that try to recruit, you know, more diversely. If you’re looking at smaller police departments, half the police departments in the US have 10 officers or less so small. It’s small. So you’re going to see it’s more male skewed and I think it’s more male skewed simply because of it’s the job. It’s a very physical job. It’s a very physical job. I also think if we’re just looking at gender, I think a lot of women just don’t put in for it. They just don’t, they don’t think it’s for them. And I often hear it’s like, oh, I don’t think I could. It’s right then and there you’re done. If you don’t think you could, then you’re done. You’ll never do it. There’s no point in putting in for it because you have to say, yeah, why not? I can do it. But we, we, we sell ourselves out before we have a chance to be sold out.

Dr. Lyon (01:07:31 -> 01:07:35)

I totally agree with that. And um, you were there for 12 years.

Evy Poumpouras (01:07:36 -> 01:07:37)

Yes, 12 plus

Dr. Lyon (01:07:37 -> 01:07:39)

years, 12 plus years. Then what was the next step for you?

Evy Poumpouras (01:07:40 -> 01:09:38)

So I worked in the White House and then the White House, he had the White House press pool. And so in the US secret service, you’re behind the scenes. You’re not supposed to be seen. I had zero social media. Um People asked me what I did. I actually use my mom’s professional. I was like, oh I do hair because my mom, we have great hair. Thank you. That’s, that’s mom. My shout out to my mom. Um So I would just say I was a hairdresser. So that would like end the conversation. And when I, but while working in the White House, uh we have the White House press pool which is the press that you see on Pebble Beach when they’re reporting here from the White House and you see the White House in the background. Now the press, we couldn’t let them kind of roam freely in the White House. So we’d take rotations being the press pool agent and I would get that from time to time. Most agents didn’t like it. They’re like, I don’t want to be with the press. We stayed away from the press because you did something wrong. It was in the news. I was the opposite. Yeah, I’ll take the press. So I just would get the press a lot and then met this producer. This producer was like, hey, you ever thought about doing news or TV? And they kind of sat there and I know I hadn’t. Um, but I like the medium of, of, of television and I thought I maybe sat on it for a year and then finally said, sure, I’ll give it a try. You know, I’ve always been a risk taker and I knew there’s a chance of failure because I had really secured this amazing job. It was an easy job to get. And I’m thinking all right, what’s next? And I ended up shifting, becoming a security analyst and starting over at NBC. And my first segment was inauguration, Washington DC. It was President Barack Obama’s second inauguration and I did the live assessment for it and it just went from that to another hit to another hit, hit like the news hits and doing more and more. And that’s kind of how that journey started. But it was a hard journey because I went from being pretty well established now in the US secret service to going into a whole other field and you go from here to, you just gotta go to the bottom and start with everybody else. And I don’t know what I was doing.

Dr. Lyon (01:09:38 -> 01:09:40)

How did you mentally cope with that?

Evy Poumpouras (01:09:41 -> 01:10:01)

That was hard to go. And it’s interesting because I hear this a lot from people that come from the military and go into, you go in the military and you go into the private sector because here’s the thing in the military or in the jobs like that. I, I come from, you’re about service. So you’re in there, you’re not there for you. Nothing’s about you. No. And you know what? Nobody gives a shit about you

Dr. Lyon (01:10:01 -> 01:10:02)

that you’re, uh,

Evy Poumpouras (01:10:03 -> 01:11:26)

you’re, you’re absolutely disposable. You’re absolutely absolutely expendable. It’s a truly, I don’t want to say a thankless job, but it kind of is, but that’s, you know, people don’t do it for thanks, they do it because you want to give and serve. So there’s that element, that element makes it hard because now you’re going into the business of you and you’re not used to it. So as assertive as you are, as I am, I wasn’t used to advocating for me. I could advocate for the president, I could advocate for this victim. I could, I could do all that. No problem. But then when it came to me, I kind of was like, oh, how do I do this, that part? I had to learn. And I also went from when you’re in these, also in these jobs, you’re taking orders. You, it’s interesting you think for yourself because when you’re on the street or in the middle of something, you have to be a great decision maker, which I was because they teach you to do it. But you’re used to getting orders. Somebody from the top is telling you what to do. But when you’re out there as I was afterwards. And now I’m the business, I’m the product, I’m the thing. And I had to be very careful not to look at my agent or my manager, which I eventually got. And I, and I did this in the beginning as them telling me what to do because I look at them, I’m like, what do you think? And I, it’s not what you think, but I was looking at them almost as if to give me orders and I had to undo that habit. So there’s, it’s a blessing and it, but it can be very difficult if you’re not in the business of you.

Dr. Lyon (01:11:26 -> 01:11:54)

I think that’s really helpful because we do have a lot of individuals that listen to this that are transitioning out, either they’re in the military, our practice services, elite war fighters and the transition from jobs, whether it’s from the military sector to the private sector, that transition point, people become very depressed, not everybody, but it is a very hard transition. Did you um, miss your team? Oh,

Evy Poumpouras (01:11:55 -> 01:14:10)

I miss that. We still do. I do because it’s your family. Here’s the thing you go to work. It’s your, it’s your, it’s your crew. It’s like, it’s, I can’t think of a better word but it’s like people join gangs because they want to be part of something like it. It was my gang. I showed up something broke bad. My gang was there and my crew was there. It was, it was your family but like a, a bad ass family. Like you go to them. It’s just like who’s messing with you and you miss that also. What I loved is that and this was difficult and I had to adapt to it. It’s, they do. So if somebody says I’ll call you at nine, they call you at 55 they, they gonna show up, they show up. There’s no like, well, you know, like there’s no, there’s no being mediocre. It’s just the phone rings. You don’t screen it. Yo. Hey, I’m here. And so I miss that. I miss the reliability, the consistency, the, you know, they’re, they’re there for you. And it’s nice showing up and being with a crew of people and everyone’s mission focused and oriented. And that also does something exceptional is that people aren’t, although it does, it can happen, but you’re not really competing with each other because everyone’s just mission driven. What you’re doing is not about you. It’s a collective goal. And so it promoted working together, it promoted team work where it gets tricky is when you leave. It’s not really teamwork, it’s for the profit of a company, the profit of an individual. And then now, well, I want to be seen, I want to shine and now you’re competing on a different level and, and, and that kind of takes away that altruistic feeling that, you know, that, that, that cleanness that I don’t want to say innocence. But there’s just this purity, there’s a purity there. And when you’re in this place and then you go out and now it’s just, it’s different also. And this is not to take away anything from people who aren’t in this profession. But you are hand picked to get into some of these professions like you a secret service, you are like literally hand selected. You have to go through interviews, you have to go through a physical assessment, you have to go through uh written examinations, you have to go through a polygraph. There is a selection process that you go through and to get to the point where it says we want you.

Dr. Lyon (01:14:11 -> 01:14:13)

How many secret service agents are there a year?

Evy Poumpouras (01:14:14 -> 01:14:20)

I’m not allowed to say, I don’t think, I think those numbers, I don’t, I it might be classified, let’s say there are a few 1000

Dr. Lyon (01:14:20 -> 01:14:23)

ok? For uh the seal team is about 2500.

Evy Poumpouras (01:14:23 -> 01:14:23)

Ok

Dr. Lyon (01:14:23 -> 01:14:33)

Um There’s a huge, huge attrition rate, huge washout rate for those trying to get into the teams. Uh And I’m sure that that is so similar to secret service.

Evy Poumpouras (01:14:34 -> 01:16:00)

I would, I will tell you this, the our numbers are probably higher than that for sure, special agents and it is super intense. Here’s the difference between us secret service and other entities. Everyone thinks us secret service is just to protect the president and that is, is it it is not, it’s actually a dual mission agency and it was one first, actually the US marshals were created and they were there to catch fugitives. That was the first official law enforcement agency. Second agency was US Secret Service. Us Secret Service was initially created for counterfeit currency. There was a huge influx of counterfeit money in the United States. It was crushing the economy many, many years ago. And so they said we need to monitor this. So us secret service was there for currency. So the jurisdiction of us secret service has always been money than fraud, crime, electronic crime, any kind of crime that’s happening on a computer device. So they were law enforcement. It wasn’t until there had been multiple assassinations and attempts that I think it was in 1901, they stepped in, the government stepped in and said we have to protect the people like our leaders and that’s when they began protecting us presidents. Most people don’t realize that. So it’s a dual mission agency and it’s the only agency that does this essentially. And the other thing is you don’t just protect the president. And it’s almost interesting you don’t get to the president. It’s actually very hard to get to the actual, to get a current living president is super hard, super intense. A lot of agents don’t want it

Dr. Lyon (01:16:00 -> 01:16:03)

because they have to put their life on the line. They have to be willing to die for the president.

Evy Poumpouras (01:16:04 -> 01:16:52)

No, you have to be, you have to be with your secret service agent. That’s just like understood, you’re gonna die for whoever you’re protecting. So if the Prime Minister of China or the president of China comes to the United States and we are designated to protect foreign heads of state, you need to take a bullet for the president of China or if Putin comes over and we’re protecting Putin. If that bullet comes, you actually have to take a bullet for Putin. So a lot of people don’t realize this if you protect the heads of cabinet, Secretary of Treasury Secretary of Homeland Security, um, certain people in different positions, former presidents. So it’s not one person. It’s, it’s, it’s a very myopic sense of what people’s sense of the US secret service is. So it’s, it’s a huge agency. They have a huge load. So, is there a burn out rate? Yes, it’s huge. I think a lot of people don’t realize what it entails. In fact

Dr. Lyon (01:16:52 -> 01:17:06)

I have never heard about the selection process. I’m sure it’s, it’s probably mostly classified versus what we know for the military where it’s boot camp and how weak the, the selection process. Is it physical and mental?

Evy Poumpouras (01:17:06 -> 01:18:00)

Yes. Yes. Because you have to physically be able to do the job. The idea is you have to carry the person you’re protecting. You have to carry other people. You have to wear your gear. You’ve got all these weapons and guns, you have to be able to physically, it’s a super physical job. And I think that that does disqualify quite a few people also, maybe intimidates quite a few people. The other thing is you have to be a very good shot shooting is huge in the US secret service. You have to be an excellent shot. And the idea is you have to be so good because if you’re taking a shot, it is more than likely in a crowded area. Because who are you protecting very public figures, these public figures, if they’re going to be exposed and vulnerable, it’s going to be in an, you know, at some event. And so if you’re going to take that shot, you better be very, very sure that you aim precisely and you don’t miss, you miss, you hit the wrong person game over. So there is no, there is no room for mistakes for error there.

Dr. Lyon (01:18:00 -> 01:18:03)

And the who applies to be in the secret service

Evy Poumpouras (01:18:05 -> 01:18:06)

people have a little bit crazy

Dr. Lyon (01:18:07 -> 01:18:21)

or is that something that they actually recruit people for? They say, ok, you’ve been in law enforcement for this many years because the skills of a secret service agent is interrogation included in that or is it special calls, special qualifications or schools?

Evy Poumpouras (01:18:21 -> 01:18:57)

No. So interrogation, which was my expertise. I was in a polygraph unit, a small, very super small unit. It was kind of a quiet unit and that came after I became an agent. So interrogation and interviewing wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know about the unit until after I got in. And then I went that I kind of made it, that became my specialization the way we’re talking about your husband. When he was in the military, he had a specialization as a medic. So I was, you know, in the US secret service as an agent. But then I’ve got, I, I was able to obtain a special specialization in something unique, which was interviewing and getting information from people so

Dr. Lyon (01:18:57 -> 01:19:02)

did they choose you to do that or did, was that your what you wanted to do?

Evy Poumpouras (01:19:02 -> 01:19:24)

I did not want to do it actually at all. And one of the senior examiners told me that his position was opening up because there was only a handful of people. It was kind of like the justices, the Supreme Court, like somebody has to move or leave for you to get that spot. And so one of them was shifting and he’s like you should put in for it. I was like, no way why who’s going to confess to me? That’s literally everybody. No,

Dr. Lyon (01:19:25 -> 01:19:30)

beautiful Greek blonde woman walks in the room. They, they’re gonna tell you

Evy Poumpouras (01:19:30 -> 01:20:26)

well, I had a very different view. I was like, you need somebody very intimidating, somebody who’s gonna kind of come at people. And I, I had a false sense of what it meant to do a proper interview, interrogation. Most law enforcement enforcement does. So I’m sorry, guys out there like you’re not, I didn’t get properly trained in interviewing until I became a polygraph examiner. And I, I realize that it’s such a disservice and the way you train law enforcement in K nine in tech and I T they should train them to do interviews and not everybody should be doing interviews. I think the number is something like 80% of crime in the United States goes unsolved the reason. So the primary reason in my opinion is because when you don’t have evidence, if I don’t have the smoking gun, the blood, the this and that the next thing is I do interviews to create new leads. But if I don’t know how to interview people and I think it’s going to be 10, 15 minutes and I’m done. I create no new leads. I can’t close cases.

Dr. Lyon (01:20:27 -> 01:21:05)

It’s really interesting what you’re talking about and especially when you think about the culture of policing and military, they value um in, in my opinion, outwards outward display of power, right? We think, OK, the guy has to go in and be big and brutal to get information. There are other ways to elicit information and display power as opposed to the outward display. And I, I’m so curious as to how you, I don’t want to use the word impose power but how you um utilize non-physical power in interrogation

Evy Poumpouras (01:21:05 -> 01:23:16)

So I think it’s, I think the correct term would be what it should be is an hour display of confidence, an authority in a certain. And when I say authority, authority doesn’t mean I’m the boss. I’m in charge. Nobody gives a shit quite frankly. Just you. And usually people who have that vibe are super insecure. They need you to know that they’re in charge because they need you to know they’re in charge. So people that truly master this correctly, it’s like I show, I show the world who I am. I don’t tell the world who I am. I show them. In fact, when I began doing interviews, I was schooled by all the different examiners. And one of them said, don’t ever walk into a room and tell somebody I’m in charge. I’m the boss. I’m the special agent. Don’t ever do that. Your, your, your stocks gonna go from here to here. The fact that you have to actually tell somebody, hey, I’m in charge. You just lost. They know you’re in charge. So if they’re pushing back on you, that means something in what you’re showing isn’t working. So you have to show strength. That’s the word. It’s not, I think power is the wrong word because power means I need, I need this thing. I need to feel validated. I need, I need and you need because you’re insecure. You need because your ego is taking charge. If you need to feel power. That’s a conversation you have to have internally and why do you need that? I’m not saying that people don’t go into this business into this line of work doing that, which is very wrong and it can draw in the wrong type of character. But again, it it depends on the recruitment process of different entities. I went through N Y P D different recruit recruitment process, N Y P D, there was 1500 people in my class, us secret service, 54. So the selection process is different for the different agencies. So do you come across bullies? And sometimes we would internally joke like if we’d have like an outlier come through and we’re like, dude, how did that guy get in? And we would joke, I’m like that guy had his lunch money stolen way too many times when he was a kid. And now he’s here to show everybody he’s in charge or she or she would happen with women too.

Dr. Lyon (01:23:16 -> 01:23:21)

How long did you work as an interrogator or should we say interviewer

Evy Poumpouras (01:23:21 -> 01:23:51)

interview? It’s got a stigma. I like to me interviewing interrogation is the same thing to the public. It’s not everybody watches Law and Order and they see that you did it, you did it or you know, torture which we’ve heard that you know of and people use actually all the countries use that. I just want to put that out that everybody thinks, oh America, it’s like everybody does it just so, you know, so, uh I did it for a number of years. I’m trying to think now when we do math here,

Dr. Lyon (01:23:51 -> 01:24:22)

I won’t make you do math several years. What are some of the skills that you learn that translate or what could the listener take from what you learned and translate that to being able to be in a conversation or get information? We, uh you know, it’s, it’s interesting. I, I feel like the communication in this world has gotten so different because of social media and what people think is OK, and how to treat people and um how do you even navigate this space of communication with tech and, and everything has changed?

Evy Poumpouras (01:24:22 -> 01:24:26)

I will tell you this, the number one piece of advice I can give everybody shut up.

Dr. Lyon (01:24:26 -> 01:24:45)

I think that’s what you told me when I, you know, I, I, I, I, you very nicely. You did it. I don’t need nice. I don’t need nice. I said, hey, I really want to do a great job and become a very good interviewee and interviewer and what you told me to stop talking just shut up.

Evy Poumpouras (01:24:45 -> 01:24:55)

You know, it’s interesting because we did, we looked at some interviews and we won’t say which one and you were like, hey, you know, this person, I feel like I have to fight to get my point across. And do you remember what I told you?

Dr. Lyon (01:24:56 -> 01:25:07)

I, I actually had set it up. I needed to wait until they finished and stop interrupting, which is actually feedback that I got when we, when I originally started this podcast and I have taken that advice to heart.

Evy Poumpouras (01:25:08 -> 01:27:07)

Yes, because the person that you were speaking to was getting it wrong. And you’re like, but he’s saying the wrong thing I said, I know, but you’re trying to compete with him. You’re trying to tell him, hey, it’s wrong. He’s not listening. So he’s competing with you. I’m like, just let him go, let him finish. Then he feels done. And then now you can come in and say I hear you because most people want to be heard. Most people like to talk. Let them, let them knock themselves out. Makes people feel important again. It goes back to self validation, right? I need to be validated. I need to be I speak, I need to be heard, which isn’t a bad thing but you want to keep that in balance. And so I was telling you, I remember I was like, yes, I know what you’re saying and I know you want to correct him but he doesn’t want to be corrected. He wants to speak, let him go, then come in and then say I hear you great points. But let me tell you why and then you hit those points because now he’s going to let you speak. Don’t fight, don’t fight for the mic, don’t fight for the mic. Everyone’s fighting for the mic, let them hold it when it’s time. Take the mic. Thank you because now they’re more likely to also let you go. They said everything they have to say they’re spent and if they cut you off, I actually use this in my interrogation room when I have people come into the room and they go off and you know, go off on me. Nobody was ever happy to see me except for you. But in an interview, nobody wanted to see me. I represented you talk to me. You could potentially lose your freedom. And I would let people go sometimes 20 minutes and sometimes they would berate me and they would say things they didn’t know me. They just what I represented and understood when they were done. I would speak. Now in that moment, maybe they would cut me off or intercept and I’d say, you know what, for 20 minutes I sat here and I, I listened to you. I let you speak. Would you give me that same respect every single time? Oh, you’re right. Sorry. People back off. So it was a great, that’s reciprocity. By the way I gave you something, please give me, give me that back. I gave you the 20 minutes for you to go now. Reciprocity. Give that back to me.

Dr. Lyon (01:27:08 -> 01:27:38)

What are some of the other big mistakes that people make when they’re trying to communicate or get information? And I definitely want to get into some of the things that you talk a lot about. How do you know if someone is lying, which seems to be a hot topic, but in terms of interpersonal communication and creating a relationship and a bond, how, what are the ways that you think are really effective and what are some of the things that you see people do wrong? Definitely in the internet space interrupt, obviously.

Evy Poumpouras (01:27:39 -> 01:28:43)

So I feel that those are two things. I feel if we go to social media or internet, everyone’s a cowboy behind a computer. I know everybody’s got something to say. But in the street it’s like come say it to my face. No, thank you. So those are two different spaces and what the internet has done. It’s given, I’m gonna just say this straight out. It’s given cowards a platform. It’s given people that would never say anything to your face, the ability to say something to you and they’re cruel because a lot of the folks that write stuff are insecure, they’re dissatisfied. Whenever I read comments. I’m always my first thought is what’s going on in this person’s life that they have to write something like that. And so that’s why there’s so much noise and chatter, I think online and social media and that stuff is great. That’s part of the way we’ve connected. And I’ve met some amazing people. Even my followers, love my followers. I’ve got some wonderful human beings that truly I’ve connected with and even met in person. So I want to say that it’s a great tool. However, it’s given people a voice and power not to be clear.

Dr. Lyon (01:28:43 -> 01:28:44)

They never earned it, they never

Evy Poumpouras (01:28:44 -> 01:29:25)

earned it well, with, with power. If you’re gonna have influence, there’s responsibility there, you can’t just shoot your mouth because your words impact people. I’m not saying we all make mistakes. We all say the wrong thing. Hell, I do live news and half the time I’m like, oops, I got that wrong but it’s, it gives a mic to people that sometimes should not have a mic and people who use that mic incorrectly and who in real life would never have the fortitude to say anything to you. So that’s one thing. So it’s created a lot of noise and even echo chambers, echo chambers. People hear somebody say something and then they repeat it. It’s echo chamber. There’s no original content or thought.

Dr. Lyon (01:29:25 -> 01:29:26)

I think we see that all the time.

Evy Poumpouras (01:29:26 -> 01:29:38)

Yes. It’s like who’s, you know, sometimes I see people post quotes and I’m like, that’s not your quote. That’s somebody else’s quote. Those are not your words, but it’s become so we can take other people’s words. And I don’t, I don’t think that’s right.

Dr. Lyon (01:29:38 -> 01:29:59)

I agree with you. I, I totally agree with you. What are some of the body language tactics? And I, I don’t want to use tactics, but I do think creating connection is really important and you talk a lot about first impressions and once an individual makes a first impression, can they ever undo that? And what are ways that we can do a better job?

Evy Poumpouras (01:29:59 -> 01:32:51)

Ok. So first impressions, here’s the thing once somebody has a negative impression of you. Yeah. Good luck. Once that assessment is made and it takes, it’s very quick. It is very, very hard to undo, it’s going to take a lot of work. So you do want to kind of get it from the front if you can to create that positive impression. But here’s the thing today, that positive impression starts from way before. So it actually starts with your reputation. Reputation today matters more so than it ever mattered before because now your reputation is online. It’s everywhere where before typically you would have to know somebody to say, oh, I know this person. I know that I know this is where my experience was. But now my reputation is my interviews, my social media presence, the things I write, the things I tweet. So that’s why I say the things you say online, it lives forever. I don’t care if you delete it. Somebody wants to go subpoena Snapchat Twitter or anybody. It is always there. Um So your reputation precedes yourself. I will tell you, I think, and this is my personal opinion. People need to be much more careful with what they put online. It is your reputation and that stays with you for forever. And I am thankful that I did not grow up during a time where social media was available to me. Because when I was 15 16 18 1920 I mean, I was still like, not, I was still figuring life out. I thought I knew it all, you know, I don’t, I still don’t. So I think your rep reputation starts there. It has to matter and we are in a space where it matters more than anything now because it’s so it’s just so amplified, even linkedin if you’re on linkedin, which is a business platform for anybody who doesn’t use it. But you look to see if somebody sends you a request to connect. What do you do? You look at the mutual connections and you see who do they know and based on who they know, you think, whether they’re a valid connection to make or not super, super important today, I would say it starts from there because that’s the foundation people bring in. And at this point, body language is like after the fact, unless somebody, you’re just meeting them and for the first time and they didn’t have time to do any research on you with body language, I will say this just own your own, your body. Think about how you sit up, how you speak, how you present research shows the majority of what we communicate is not with this. Like the the words that actually come out of our mouth. In fact, um One study showed 55% is we communicate with our body. This is the main tool that people receive information from about 33% is paralinguistics. It’s what, what do I sound like when I speak my, my tone, my pitch, my voice, my cadence.

Dr. Lyon (01:32:51 -> 01:32:57)

So how do people interpret people would Yeah. How would they interpret those things? Because it seems

Evy Poumpouras (01:32:57 -> 01:34:31)

we do it intuitive, intuitively intuitively. You meet people and you’re like, oh, you ever think of it this way? You ever go to an event and somebody walks into the room and they’re speaking and you’re thinking that person has presence, of course, because they’re owning their body and they’re owning their voice. Only 7%. Research shows only 7% is actually the words that come out of our mouth. It’s fascinating people connect with you based on how you make them feel. It’s always about them. What do they get out of it? We’re selfish creatures. We’re very egotistical. We’re kind of like in the space of me, me, me, we think we’re the sun. That’s OK. But if you know this about human nature, then you know how to be malleable and handle people. So, in ego, it’s the Greek word which means I, so if I understand it’s not all about me, I’m focused on you and that’s what we talked about. Forget you focus on who you’re interviewing build a genuine connection. You can build a genuine connection with anyone. I would build genuine connections with terrorists or terrorist sympathizers all the time. I would find something genuine and likable about them and I call it chasing the good. I would focus on something good about them. You can find something good in anybody if you want to and if you’re non judgmental and that’s another thing. Keep your opinions out of it, keep your judgment out of it. So people will say things to you. You may not like you may not agree but you gotta, you gotta control this. Don’t roll your eyes. Nobody is. If they don’t ask your opinion, don’t give it most of the time. I don’t, people come to me and they talk to me about politics all the time, about presidents all the time. I say nothing, nothing.

Dr. Lyon (01:34:31 -> 01:34:41)

Do you find that you feel neutral, internally neutral about what’s being said, neutral about the individual rather than have you been able to eliminate judgment?

Evy Poumpouras (01:34:41 -> 01:38:12)

Yes, I feel really, really comfortable with that. I don’t judge people. I’ve lived my life enough and seen enough to know like who am I first of all, to judge somebody else and the way they navigate their lives. I don’t judge now. I may have come across people that I don’t like the way they navigate their lives. Now, if it’s in an interview process or something like this super easy because you don’t impact me, the problem where it comes is comes in is in our personal relationships where we don’t like the way other people live their lives because it crosses over into our lane, it impacts us and it creates havoc or volatility in our life. And then we get frustrated with that person. And we’re like, why, why are they, why are they? And so at that point, you have to face two different things. One is, am I allowing this person to exist in my life? Did I invite them in? And this is someone I can maybe put a little bit more space or put more distance, it always comes back to you. Or if it’s someone you’re born into like a, a family member, the family we get is the family we get. And I’m not big on cutting people, family off. I, I think it’s done too much. It’s not a healthy thing if you’re going to and I don’t believe in cutting people off. I don’t think it’s the right term. It’s let people go because when you cut someone off, the intent is I’m cutting you off because I want, I want to spite you. I, I, I want to show you, I want this and that comes from a place of negativity and hate. That’s no good for you. But when you let people go, you say, you know, I’m letting you go peacefully. I wish you no harm. I send you no ill will or intent because I do believe in karma and what you put out there. You’re just not for me. I just, I just can’t, it’s too, it’s too much for me or you can just make space but, and I’m not saying all family is good because I worked plenty of cases where I saw like crime crimes being committed. In fact, it’s interesting in my class, we were looking at the statistics, the U C R Uniform criminal report, uniform Crime report which shows statistics of crime and the majority of crime that is inflicted. It is between people that know each other. Everyone is afraid of the stranger, forget a stranger, forget the stranger. Most crime is inflicted by people we know and what’s also interesting which isn’t spoken of. Uh I noticed that the most recent years, crime from child to parent was higher than parent to child. When I say child, I don’t mean just little kid. I mean the relationship so it can be an adult child to a parent. So the number increased actually from wrongdoing or criminal activity from a child to a parent. But the narrative has mostly been what does the parent do to the child. There’s a whole other narrative going the other way around. And I think we’re seeing that even more so um with these generations that are coming along and we’re seeing this, this break in the and family and community, which I think is also hurting the fabric of society because I will tell you this we’re seeing and this just happened the other day, there was a mass shooting in Nashville, I believe it was. And we’re seeing an increase in these and a lot of people are looking at what’s causing it. Guns comes up. I’m not saying guns don’t play a role, they do. That’s something else. But then there’s also something deeper here that we’re missing is what’s happening within the fabric of society that is causing this increase. And there is a disconnect and research is showing that people feel less community, less connection to families, to relationships, your connections to other human beings, keep you grounded and other people shaming you and saying, don’t do that actually keeps you from doing that. That’s important.

Dr. Lyon (01:38:12 -> 01:38:18)

So in this internet world, we’re so disconnected and reconnecting with our family and community would be key.

Evy Poumpouras (01:38:18 -> 01:38:45)

You need to find people to help you stay grounded. You can’t just be cutting everybody off, you can’t be hating on everybody again. I would always turn it if I start feeling that way and I’m very, very careful. But if I start kind of leaning that way, I pause and I say what’s going on within me that I feel this because if I’m good, I don’t care what’s going on. Right. I’m good. Right. So when we all, we’re all gonna kind of, it’s like being on a boat that, that back and forth kind of feel you have to ride the wave.

Dr. Lyon (01:38:45 -> 01:38:58)

Do you feel your experience in the past and growing up and then going into, uh, the police department? Then secret service, then interrogation? I know that you’ve spent time overseas. Do you think that, that changes the lens in which you view current relationships?

Evy Poumpouras (01:38:58 -> 01:41:00)

Yes. I, I started going overseas actually from college. I grew up in, although I grew up in New York, I, I grew up in a very tight knit community. It was a Greek cultural community. My parents kept me in there because they wanted to keep me safe and they wanted to make sure I learned the language. I mean, Greek was my first language English came later. So they wanted me to keep my roots. It was really important and I’m appreciative of that because I want that for my, my daughter now. Um but community is important. But at the same time, I understood that there’s a bigger world out there. So when I went to college and all my friends were clubbing it up. Not that I didn’t visit a clever bar too in my life, I, I, I understood and this just came intuitively that there’s a bigger world out there than me. And I wanted to live overseas. So I did a semester overseas, learned Italian, studied there, loved it. And then uh went to Mexico, learned Spanish, learned it, it kept me humble. It kept me understanding that the world is bigger than myself. And it, if you just stay in one small place, your mind stays like this. And then when I started traveling, my mind did this and it made me braver and it allowed me to be more exposed and to put myself in more situations that were outside my comfort zone. From a young age, you have to do it from a young age. I’m already starting. My daughter is only a few months old. I’m already thinking like, what am I going to do with her? How am I going to expose her from a young age? So that she’s always in scenarios that are challenging and can slowly build up her resilience. So I’m already looking at those pools where you throw the baby in. I’m not throw the baby. I think that’s critical. I want her to be in the water and feel that uh so that she can manage that panic. I started doing it in the bathtub with her and I can see her and I told my husband, oh no, we’re going in, I forgot what they’re called. But the where you teach them how to swim and how to take care of themselves after survival skills in water. I’m not always gonna be there for her and I need her to have that within her. I got this. She needs to have that.

Dr. Lyon (01:41:01 -> 01:41:35)

Um So well, thought out so well, thought out. I think that that’s um amazing and, and we believe the same, we believe the same, you know, as you went through interrogation, I just wanna go back there because I am so curious. You are very well read and again, you’re a journalist. So you like to keep up on the things that are happening. How has interrogation changed? How has our ability to communicate? What is the science showing in terms of new ways? I’m sure that they’ve made advances in the way that they ask questions or understanding body language or understanding humans. Has it changed? Yes.

Evy Poumpouras (01:41:35 -> 01:43:29)

So it’s so interesting that you bring this up because I don’t typically talk about it as much on this, on this platform because it’s hard for people to understand the way we do. I’ll give you kind of like a quick historical rundown before doing interviews and there was a third degree which was really the third degree police would just hit you and torture you or get you to talk. We know it doesn’t work back then for what they needed for it. That’s what they had. Then this, ah, research came out or this criminologist came out and he developed a technique. It was an incus style, which means I’m going to read you. I’m gonna read your body language. I’m gonna assess you. I’m gonna ask you some questions and the based on how you respond, I’m gonna be able to know whether you’re telling the truth or not. OK. So this technique was created. It’s called an accusatory style technique. It was created in the 19 forties and law enforcement began using it. Is it better than the third degree? Yes, it is. Problem is we have historically moved forward in time and we have all these, these advances in the sciences, the social sciences, psychology, all that and that style of interviewing still exists. It’s still pervasive. In fact, that was uh I went to Columbia Journalism School after the US secret Service. Kind of like your husband. He left the military and he’s going into a new profession. I left the US secret Service and there I am at Columbia journalism School, sitting there, I’m like, I’m back at school to get a second master’s to learn about journalism. And I wrote my master’s project about it and about how flawed our system of interviewing is in the United States in policing because we are using technique, techniques created from the 1940’s Think of it this way we’ve not advanced in that. It’s as if you’re going out, I’ll use it in your terms. Would you rather go to the hospital that is using the technology and techniques of the year 2023? Or would you want to go to a hospital that’s using the standards and techniques and advances in science? From the 1940’s

Dr. Lyon (01:43:29 -> 01:43:31)

Never, you’re not gonna get anywhere you won’t even survive.

Evy Poumpouras (01:43:31 -> 01:46:50)

Interviewing is the same way. So there, there does need to be a huge overhaul in the way we do interviewing in the US. And one thing that’s being shown is we’re seeing a lot of people being exonerated and a lot of people have given false confessions to crimes that they never did. And now we’re seeing them being exonerated. So it what we’re using today, it, it needs to shift and it needs to change and we need to be more of information gatherers and collectors. And I would see this first hand because I would go to police departments. I remember one case and I actually wrote about this in my first book becoming bulletproof. Just, just coming to me because it stands out case. It was a lot of child abuse cases. Unfortunately, that I worked, it was a six month old baby, cracked skull and it wasn’t because somebody dropped the baby. It was because somebody struck the baby in the head with a blunt force object. So they were looking at the nanny and the dad, nanny, dad, nanny dad. That was the narrative. We talked to both nanny, dad, my partner and I clear them both. He’s like, it’s not the nanny and he had the father. I had the nanny. We both come together. I’m like, it’s not the nanny. He’s like, it’s not the dad. He’s like, I want the mom give me the mom because the mom is the one who’s like my kid, my kid and I was like, give me the mother. And what happened when I, because I was very information based, I went in no judgment and I would tell people I’m an objective seeker of the truth. I don’t care what the truth is. I just want the truth. I’m not with this side or that side I’m with, I’m with you to help you get to where we need to go. And so because I could do that, I could see what other people could not see. So in this case, it was the mom and she ended up being, although I didn’t get a confession on that one, it was a very hard one. I knew she had done it just based on all the assessments the way she behaved and all that stuff. And I was able to tell police that you were looking at the wrong person. So in policing, you can get tunnel vision and it’s interesting because no offense to my, my brothers and sisters out there who work really hard when you think, you know what you’re doing when you’re so assertive and this sometimes become as problematic in trying to train law enforcement. I know what I’m doing. This works for me. You don’t always know what you’re doing. And if you’re not open to new research and ways and you’re doing this stagnant way because I just know that’s a problem. But it’s a, it’s a, it’s an American problem because in foreign countries, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia. They understand we need to be information gatherers, not information, judges, judgment needs to be out. And if I already think you did it, everything you say needs to fit the narrative of you. Did it? Oh Look how you’re sitting. Oh, look what you just did. Oh, look at how your eyes shifted. You must be a liar. That is insane. That is insane because each person is different. We preach diversity. But then everyone’s going to behave the same when they lie, you’re not taking people’s DNA, their genetic make up the way they’re raised. Their parents, did they have parents, their household, did they have an education? No education, how much education, their trauma, their drama, their lives, their experiences. And you’re going to tell me everybody is going to blink or touch their nose. I hear that stuff and it’s marketing, it’s marketing and it’s an easy way to simplify, hey, everyone’s the same. So if we’re all out there being, hey, diversity, well, there’s diversity in the way people respond with their body. It’s really about being in tune and connecting with people in a genuine way

Dr. Lyon (01:46:50 -> 01:47:38)

that is really powerful and so interesting to think about it that way. You know, um What, how do you think that that has played a role in the way in which we communicate you had mentioned earlier about being echo chambers and people aren’t talking about new information. It just seems that there’s a lot of regurgitation? Well, what happens if the regurgitation is again the way in which we communicate the way in which we interface with each other? What if that’s just based on old information, right? Old information. Like, I don’t know, I don’t know what the science or how people are talking about interfacing. But if it was kind of in the 1940 realm and that’s the way in which dynamics exist and what we’re talking about, how do you, do you think that that would actually change culture if we could improve it?

Evy Poumpouras (01:47:38 -> 01:50:19)

So if we’re talking specifically to interviewing, the problem with that specific thing is it’s become the dominant way in which to teach law enforcement to, in to do interviews and just going back to it, they’re private companies that do this. The US government doesn’t train its own people. They actually go out to uh private contractors who teach, who teach police and law enforcement. Here’s how she need to do an interviewing. Uh Come on, they’re in the business of making money. How can you? I’m not saying I would and I would go through tons of training from different entities and a lot of these entities that do this and it’s like it’s their business. So that’s where the US government dropped the ball and not teaching its own people and doing its own research and science in a neutral and biased way to make people better interviewers. That’s one thing now with regard to echo chamber that I think goes more to the public sector because I have social media and I look at everyone’s saying the same thing or somebody will say something, then they copy what the other person says. They put their name on it. People are echo chambers. It’s like know who’s giving the information. And I always say to people because a lot of people come to me, clients come to me or I do consultations and people say, you know, I read this here and I read that there and I get, I ask them, who, who said that? Who are they? How do you know it’s valid? You have to know where your information is coming from. You can’t just listen to everybody talking and that’s where there’s so much noise. So you have to become a very good filter of how much noise you let in. We have more noise around us now because of social media because we’re so we’re watching somebody say something. Oh, it must be true. I do this, I do this with my mom on Facebook. Do you know what I heard on Facebook today? Do you know what this person said? You need to be careful. And now I’m getting all this baby advice from my mom because she read something on Facebook and I’m like mom just because it’s on Facebook. It does not mean it’s true, but she’s so used to. Well, if it’s published, it’s in the news or media, it’s vetted because she grew up with that. And people need to know that there’s individuals out there putting stuff out there. And sometimes in a very strategic tactical way to kind of mess with the vibe you really have to, you have must be responsible for the content you consume. Also think about what you’re feeding your mind. If you feed your body garbage and this is your, your your lane, then your body becomes garbage. So if you feed your mind garbage, your mind becomes garbage. If everything you consume is noise, it’s chatter. It’s negative. Guess what space you’re going to be living in like you must be responsible for what you consume. Don’t blame other people don’t be like, look what this person is putting out there. Look at this TV show, look at what these women are doing and I hear it. It’s like, why do you watch it? Why do you consume it?

Dr. Lyon (01:50:20 -> 01:50:25)

Creates a lot of distraction. So people don’t have to show up in their own life to execute and do the things that potentially would drive them forward.

Evy Poumpouras (01:50:26 -> 01:50:55)

Yes. Yes, it is. It’s like let me focus on this other person because I don’t have to look at my stuff and because this other person is doing so much worse than I am. I’m doing OK. I feel better. I feel better. Well, at least I’m not that much of a shit show. Right. Right. But then we don’t deal with the stuff we need to deal with in our lives and our karma. Yeah, because we’re all here to learn something. And are you learning your lesson or are you just kicking the can down the road and taking it, taking it with you?

Dr. Lyon (01:50:55 -> 01:51:07)

You’re a trail blazer. And I’m so curious as to what your thoughts are about that in terms of a legacy that you want to leave. how do you see what you’re providing to the world impacting it?

Evy Poumpouras (01:51:08 -> 01:52:44)

I love that word because everything today seems to be about acquiring things and making money. And I’m not saying I’ve never been driven by money. And I’m not saying financial wealth isn’t an important thing. You need that to sustain and it gives you peace and harmony. But it’s very much the narrative today. The success is defined by the car you drive the house, you have, how much money you make that success. And even in my life, that was the, the barometer, you know, make money, money, money equals success. And I, my personal standpoint is it does not, in fact that there’s this great story with Alexander the great who was Macedonian Greek. And um my mother is from Northern Macedonia, Greece. And the story was when Alexander the great was dying. He said, when I’m dead, I want you to take my body and I want you to parade it out amongst the people. And I want you to make sure that they can see my hand and that my hand is out and open and exposed and empty. And they asked him, Alexander the great, why do you want that? And he said, well, he’s like I amass all this wealth and I can’t take any of it with me. And despite all my wealth and the best doctors and stuff that I have around me, I’m still dying. I was born into this world with empty hands and I’m going to leave this world with empty hands. So that comes back to your legacy. The only thing you take with you when you go is your legacy, whatever that is for you.

Dr. Lyon (01:52:46 -> 01:52:48)

What do you think it’s gonna be for you?

Evy Poumpouras (01:52:49 -> 01:55:03)

I have no idea. But I will tell you this. There were two points in my life where I, I was fortunate to have this happen. But there were two moments in my life where I really thought I was gonna die in real life. The first time was 9 11 and I was younger. At that point, I hadn’t experienced a lot of things. I was an agent and I had done well to, to an extent where I had a career. But I remember specifically when I found myself because we were triaging people and trying to help people and we obviously didn’t know the towers were going to fall. But as the first tower started to collapse and it was coming down around me. I realized I’m gonna die. And I had, I wasn’t afraid I had two moments, two things that made me sad. One was I’m going to die alone. And that made me sad. You know, you’re going to leave this earth. And I’m like, I have no one to say goodbye to. The second thing that made me pause is I remember thinking, man, I haven’t lived, haven’t done things yet. And for me that was, I hadn’t married yet. I hadn’t had a family yet. And I was like, I never got to do those things. And that was just something intuitively that I wanted for myself. I survived. And there was another point later in my life where I came close to passing again. And that time I was OK, I was actually OK to leave the earth. And I was like, I’m all right to go now. I did everything I wanted to do. Yes, I did the work I did meaningful work, which left me a legacy. I think legacy is for me, it’s not so that people can talk about me. It’s for me because that goes back to ego. I, I did my legacy for me, for my soul. And then I had a family. I did the things I wanted. And so I remember in that crucial moment where maybe I, you know, it was possible I was going to pass again. I remember thinking I’m all right to go this time I can go. So I think that’s what my barometer has always been. Am I OK to leave this earth tomorrow? And maybe that’s, it’s not sad for me. It’s, it’s truth. No one escapes death. So are you OK to go? And if you’re not OK to go fuck, you got work to do.

Dr. Lyon (01:55:03 -> 01:55:06)

You’ve got work to do. You felt courageous in that moment?

Evy Poumpouras (01:55:07 -> 01:55:16)

No, I didn’t even think about that. Courage is you just do. You just do.

Dr. Lyon (01:55:16 -> 01:55:29)

the narrative people always talk about is how do we build courage and bravery? And I, I think you build it, not necessarily in those moments, you build it for a lifetime just like what you’re doing with your daughter.

Evy Poumpouras (01:55:29 -> 01:57:12)

You know, it’s interesting. Somebody showed me a quote actually this morning and it says success isn’t taking the elevator up, it’s taking the stairs. Courage is like that resilience. Everyone thinks like give me that magic pill levy help me be courageous. Start making brave decisions every single day, small decisions you do make you brave. And if there are things in your life that you know, you must make decisions on then be a person of action and do it. Deal with stuff. Do not avoid, do not fear, conflict and confrontation. I’m not telling you to go look for it. I don’t like confrontation, but we must deal with things, deal with them, whatever that looks like because when you don’t, that’s actually worse, you create chronic stress, which now I think I’m speaking, your, your term stress is good. Chronic stress is no good. So, when I stay, let’s say, um, I’ll just overly simplify it in a job that I don’t like or in a relationship that I don’t like. And I’m like, I’m just staying here because I’m avoiding conflict and confrontation. It’s actually what you’re doing is you’re, you’re, you’re destroying yourself slowly and it’s a long term stress that you’re causing yourself. Whereas if you face it, it’s stress, but it’s a short term stress and it passes, that’s how you build courage. I do. But you can’t tell another person to be courageous. If you’re not courageous in your own life, the life you’re living, it’s yours, it’s your legacy, it’s your, whatever you want it to be. And if you do not have courage, I don’t know how you’re gonna move forward. You’re always going to be in fear and fear is compounding when you don’t face what you’re afraid of. I face everything. I’m afraid of everything. I’m afraid of. I’m like, all right, I’m gonna do it.

Dr. Lyon (01:57:13 -> 01:57:21)

You probably seek it. What, what am I uh maybe, what am I gonna be afraid of? I’m gonna run towards the sound of gunfire and as, as opposed to run away.

Evy Poumpouras (01:57:21 -> 01:58:57)

But you know what man, that wasn’t, that wasn’t hard for me. Like everyone thinks like taking a bullet for the president. I was like, all right, that’s fine. I think because I was in service of something greater than myself when you’re doing something bigger than you. There was less fear for me. I think it’s, you know, in other areas I, I, I was never afraid but I was always, and I say this, I was always around other people who were strong and resilient and brave. So that rubs off on you and that’s a huge thing. I tell people who is in your circle who’s in your environment, your network of people, you must have a network of people, the network network of people should be people that you admire, that inspire you that help give you courage and strength to teach you new things. But if you are around the same like mindedness and everybody is a certain way, you will be that way. I don’t care who you are that applies to me that applies to everybody else. That’s why even if you take people with substance abuse issues, one of the things is they tell them go to rehab away, don’t be in your space, go away so that you have a better chance of actually dealing with your addiction because part of what you’re dealing with is your environment and who’s around you. And the goal is they take you out and they put you somewhere else. Training is the same way. I was just thinking that yeah, training is the same way. My training was first training us secret service. I had to go to Georgia. I had to pick up my stuff. Georgia. From New York City to Georgia. I was like, where I can

Dr. Lyon (01:58:57 -> 01:58:59)

work under these conditions. What is this? A

Evy Poumpouras (01:58:59 -> 01:59:47)

Starbucks? Where is the, I don’t think that was there Starbucks back. That, I don’t know. But I was kind of like, oh, my goodness, this is ok. So I go to Georgia. I’m uncomfortable. I’m right out of college. I don’t know anybody. Everyone’s from all over the country. Everyone’s got this massive military background, law enforcement background. We haven’t had a seal in my class and I’m there and I’m thinking, whoa, and I’m gonna be filled out and they’re happy to fill you out. That was uncomfortable. That’s how you build bravery. But I was like, I’m here if I fail, I fail. But I’m like, I’m gonna do everything I can not to. And then even training in Maryland, they put you in an uncomfortable environment so that you can thrive, you can thrive. But if you’re waiting for warm and cozy and soft, we can’t have that just

Dr. Lyon (01:59:47 -> 01:59:48)

what everyone seems to be looking for

Evy Poumpouras (01:59:48 -> 02:00:40)

because that’s the narrative. live a stress free life, everything should be good, everything should be perfect. And then when things are not like people just lose their minds and it’s soul crushing. Why do you think we have such high rates of depression? Why are people mentally struggling so much? Why Why is there so much negativity? Why? Because people are told a narrative, they are sold this story. Your life needs to be perfect. You must be happy all the time. Happiness is overrated. The most extraordinary things I’ve done in my life. The most, the greatest accomplishments, happiness wasn’t even on the radar. What does that even mean? I’ve lived a life of fulfillment. But if we expect to live in this state of bliss, you will be disappointed, you will be depressed, you will be let down time and time again. Your life will feel deal with your stuff. You’re supposed to go through this, this wave, go through it and enjoy it.

Dr. Lyon (02:00:41 -> 02:01:12)

I love it. And it’s so critical. Iron, sharpens iron get in a fight and we are, we’re sold this narrative that things should be easy and it should be soft and you should take a bubble bath and you should relax and it handicaps people because they believe that they should live a life that is stress free. And you know, I think that we both really enjoy this book. Um Man Search for meaning. He found meaning and hardship. And in fact, a life worth living is one that is stressful. Stress isn’t bad

Evy Poumpouras (02:01:14 -> 02:03:11)

if you want to say, see who people are, people’s true nature. And I would see this, especially in my previous career. People show you who they are in moments of stress. You’re not thinking it’s your authentic self. Coming through and there was like, sometimes we have a saying when we do search warrants and arrest warrants and you would pick the people you want on your team. And it was very crucial because you wanted someone that you knew if there was gunfire, they weren’t gonna leave you, they weren’t gonna panic and go. And so that is who you, at least who I, I strive to be and I strive to find the people like who’s gonna, who’s got my six all the time no matter what. And I think that’s the, that’s how you measure, measure grit and resilience and strength. It’s not an, it’s not loud. Everybody thinks like heroism is loud and courage is in your face and I’m gonna write you this tweet and I’m going to tell everybody how strong I am. It’s like it’s silent, it’s quiet. Truly powerful. People don’t need to flex in any way. They just know what they are. They flex only when they need to. So bold manner and bold action are not the same thing. It again, bold manner and bold action are not the same thing. Bold manner is my mannerisms. I’m in your face. I’m this, I’m that I’m trying to show everybody I’m strong but taking bold action in a moment when you need to, that’s different because I can be a quiet person and a silent person. But when the moment needs for me to step up or take action I take it but people confuse those things. I must show everybody. It’s like why again that goes back to I need validation. I’m insecure. I need people to say, wow, you’re why do I need that?

Dr. Lyon (02:03:12 -> 02:03:17)

What advice would you leave to our Children? Your daughter, my daughter, her sons

Evy Poumpouras (02:03:21 -> 02:04:55)

live a good life. And now when I say good, I know I just live your life. Let me take good out, live your life and be here for humanity. I believe in humanity. And I believe in the goodness of humankind because it’s interesting in law enforcement. There, there was a character, character trait, there’s one predominant characters trait. And that’s cynicism when they, when they assess all people in the law enforcement, military community, cynicism is like the number one thing. And that’s because in these jobs when I was a secret service agent and even the NYPD, you’re dealing with people at their worst and you’re seeing people at their worst. So what happens is you tend to see humanity that way. I had to be very careful not to do that because I understood that I’m dealing with a population of people, number one. And I’m dealing with people when they are at their worst. So don’t, I don’t want her to be cynical. I want her to see the good in humanity and I want her to have a balance of both, but to be someone who contributes to the world, I want her to leave something. What’s her legacy and legacy is? How am I impacting people in the world now? How am I coming and taking and making money and leaving? I’m making money isn’t a good thing. But there’s leaders out there who are very successful financially and they’re doing things to impact the world, impact the world, do something for humanity because that stays when you’re gone. That’s what I hope for her.

Dr. Lyon (02:04:55 -> 02:05:00)

It’s beautiful. So service oriented, very altruistic and noble.

Evy Poumpouras (02:05:00 -> 02:05:36)

Yes, she might, who knows? She might grow up and be like mom. I don’t need to hear this stuff. Get off my back. You and your, your soapbox. I think it’s critical. But I’ll tell you this. I also want her to live her life. I, I, my child is not my property. She’s not mine. She’s of me and I have to let her I can guide her, but I want her to be her own person and she cannot be an extension of me. So she might be like mom. I just want to be a ballerina. All right, then just go be, don’t half-ass it. Go be the best ballerina. You can be.

Dr. Lyon (02:05:36 -> 02:05:51)

I love it. And again, there’s so much that you offer the world and I’ve taken a course from you. You do live in person courses in New York City. You have a book becoming bulletproof, which I’ve read. You also do. Are you still doing mentorship?

Evy Poumpouras (02:05:52 -> 02:07:02)

I pause those because my, my waitlist was long but I do, I was doing consulting and mentoring and uh um there’s a waitlist now, people can go and they can sign up for the waitlist. And I started doing online courses because people, I began doing live sessions like the one you came to. And that’s how initially, how we met. And uh I started doing it online. So I created like an online community where I teach uh twice a month. And the goal was to give people life skills because I and I’m a college adjunct professor. They don’t teach this. I agree. They don’t teach this. They will teach you math, that the majority of the population will never, you never. But they don’t teach you life skills and so many people are in need of them. And so I launched a community called Beyond Bulletproof. And every month we tackle a theme or a topic like this month, April’s going to be resilience, how to build resilience. And then I also allow people to come and share their stories because everyone’s looking for support and not everybody has it. And I understand that and although I am a person who’s like, who says, figure it out, but we also need to ask for help or get guidance.

Dr. Lyon (02:07:02 -> 02:07:03)

We need teammates.

Evy Poumpouras (02:07:04 -> 02:07:55)

Yes, you need a team. I was lucky. I had a team and I understand what that means. People need a team. They need a support system. I think the military and law enforcement are the best things for you, for your soul. Not everyone agrees. But, but it’s, I got something out of it on a personal level as well. And the majority of people, majority people who go into this line of work do so because it’s, they want to be of service in some way. Um But here’s the thing, you can be of service to people in so many other ways, even if you’re an entrepreneur creating something, if your goal is I’m trying to be of service in some way to people and create something like even your podcast, you’re, you’re trying to be of service to people and give them information. That’s the vibe, that’s the essence of what you want to hold on to.

Dr. Lyon (02:07:56 -> 02:08:03)

Yeah, we’re gonna link everything and I’m gonna definitely pop on. I want to see and learn and continue to learn from you. I’m so

Evy Poumpouras (02:08:03 -> 02:08:53)

grateful I learned from you. And I just wanna, you’re super humble because you’re my doctor. I’m so grateful, you know, and you, you help people in you. I would have never thought to ask you. You approached me and you said, hey, can I help you? And I said yes, yes, you can. Yeah. And so you’ve, you’ve helped me, you’ve guided me. Although I understood fundamentally going through training health lifestyle and all that, you know, as I, as I go through this world and the aging process and experiences that my body has gone through, you know, because I know you deal with people in the military and because these are physical jobs, your body goes through a lot and so it needs care because we put some serious, we, you know, I got some serious wear and tear on mine. Um, you’ve, you supported me and you support others in this community as well, which is, I didn’t know that.

Dr. Lyon (02:08:54 -> 02:09:43)

Yeah. Um, it’s really meaningful to me. I actually applied to go into the Navy and it didn’t align with my bigger picture of going into nutritional sciences. I had an opportunity that it was either military or this fellowship and I chose the fellowship because I knew what I wanted to contribute. Um And taking care of people that take care of the world is paramount. It’s paramount importance to me. And that’s why I wanted to take care of you. I felt like, and all with other operators as well is that we care and if I can’t serve in that way, I know that I can serve you. I know I can serve these other military members to help them change the world.

Evy Poumpouras (02:09:43 -> 02:09:49)

I, I appreciate that because you’ve helped me so much. And even with my supplements, I’m like, what’s this one do?

Dr. Lyon (02:09:49 -> 02:09:54)

I’m like 50 50. She’ll take this one but, but we’ll spread it out. I’m, I’m, I’m used to it. I’m used to it,

Evy Poumpouras (02:09:54 -> 02:10:22)

but it’s, you need that and it’s like we’re not. People use the term I’m self made. I’m not self made. Zero. I’ve had people along the way and everybody in some way help me to get to where I am and even to this day, like you helping me and guiding me health wise and helping take care of me so that my body can be strong and I can be around for my daughter and be able to do the stuff I do. You help me exist.

Dr. Lyon (02:10:22 -> 02:11:16)

It, it, it’s my privilege. It really is. Um you know, oftentimes the alpha individual and alpha entrepreneur, they are so capable that they don’t put themselves first because they got it. It doesn’t matter, they could be exhausted and every single one of them will run themselves into the ground. And that can only last for so long before things catch up. And it’s really, really important that we all kind of step up and into the, the place that, you know, you train physically, you train mentally. We have to put that health care piece always just as high as, as everything else. But thank you for your service and everything that you’ve done and everything that you continue to do. I’m so grateful to be able to share this time with you and have you on the podcast. Thank you so much.

Evy Poumpouras (02:11:16 -> 02:11:18)

Thank you. Thank you for having me.