We are familiar with stories of people who overcame what seemed like impossible odds and made it to the top. These stories are enlightening whether they happen in real life such as a Soldier severely wounded in war overcoming his or her injuries to lead a productive life or an athlete who is considered too short or small and goes on to capture their dream. Movies such as “Rudy” and the Rocky films have captured the imagination of many people because they were about people who wouldn’t take no for an answer and overcame the odds to achieve their dream.
Luke Air Force Base welcomed Dr. Jeff Spencer, an Olympian at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, author and the man called “America’s top champion maker” Sept. 26. His presentation was called the Champion’s Blueprint for Peak Performance. He is a man who likes to help people achieve their goals and make their dreams come true.
“Everyone needs a guru in their corner,” said the late fitness icon, Jack Lalanne, about Spencer.
There are myriad books and motivational speakers who stress the importance of being on top of one’s game in business and sports, but it is as important for military personnel to be on top their game.
“The key to ultimate victory on and off the battlefield is having the readiness to perform at peak levels at any place, any time, under any circumstance and being on top of your game is the ultimate readiness,” Spencer said. “This is especially important knowing that a split second in reaction time is the difference in winning or losing.”
What’s more, Spencer said he likes to give presentations with military groups as often as he can.
“I present to the military whenever I can, as they represent some of the finest minds and spirits I’ve ever been around, and I honor them for their commitment and courage to create a safe world for us and others,” he said. “As an Olympian having competed in the Munich Olympics as a sprint cyclist, I understand the sacrifice and stepping up to meet the challenge those in the military have committed to. I love being around people in the military. I admire, respect and honor them at the highest level.”
But, what about a person who gives all they have in an endeavor, but doesn’t do well. Have they failed? Spencer offer this observation and advice.
“Failure is the best teaching moment, as it is our best teacher because it tells us what isn’t working and what to do to keep life moving forward,” he said. “If someone doesn’t experience failure on occasion it doesn’t mean they’ve mastered failure, but are living life too much in the safe zone. We need to see what has to be modified from a failure and get it right. Failure is our friend in that respect.”
One of the challenges of success is not getting complacent. It is in the human element for a person to lose the hunger for success after having many great achievements. One has to honor success, Spencer said.
“Pride of ownership and honoring the privilege of life and the opportunity combined with the desire to leave the best legacy possible are the attributes that keep successful people always striving to give back more than they received,” he said. “They really believe that they’re giving their minds, souls, bodies and spirits to create excellence in life, and that’s how you honor it.”
In all, Spencer offered some personal thoughts and said that he has a dream he hopes will come true.
“It was an amazing honor to spend time on the base in the simulator and on the flightline with the 309th Fighter Squadron, as I felt at home with everything about the experience. I’m still keeping the personal dream alive of taking an incentive flight in an F-16 as one of the highest honors for me and a childhood dream come true. I hope it does as dreams are meant to be chased and realized.”