Have you ever wondered how you can be the change in your world and be the change in others lives? Jill Chambers and Michael Peterson wrote a book called Little Is Good! They join Neva Lee Recla to talk about how to live life on purpose. Jill is a former Army Colonel and was in the pentagon on 9/11, she is truly inspirational. Michael sings all around the world and performs for the troops who are serving for our country, he is truly amazing. Listen in as the awesome power couple and Neva share their insight on how to inspire change.
Hi everyone! This is your Super Power Kid, Neva Lee Recla, and today I’m so extremely excited for today’s interview. We are talking about being the change.
And I’ve made an impact and have changed other people’s lives, but so many other people have changed my life. And two of those people are our guests today, Jill Chambers and Michael Peterson. We met at CEO Space International. They are both so extremely amazing and inspirational. Jill was a colonel in the army and was in the Pentagon during 9/11 and Michael sings all around the world and performs for our troops who are serving for our country. So without further ado, will you help me welcome our amazing guests, Jill and Michael.
Hi Neva. That was so sweet.
Oh, Thank you.
You are just a natural. My goodness, we are so happy to be here with you.
Thank you. I’m so excited to have you guys on.
So what are your guys’ super powers?
Well, my super power is just one that I adopted. Actually. It’s named Jill. Every good thing about me comes out of her.
That’s very sweet.
She’s such an inspiration to me. You said the theme is the change. And I would have to say to Jill exemplifies that. She has something she’s focused on and is committed to. She doesn’t talk about it. She doesn’t go, “Hey look at me. I’m doing it.” You’d never even hardly see her sweat. She’s like the kid in the commercial where the whole team gets punished because the one kid isn’t sweating and the coach thinks nobody else’s working hard. That was Jill. Right?
Well, she’s an agent for change, but she just goes and does it. She just exemplifies it. So yeah, it’s sort of a silly thing to say, but I would say having Jill in my life has enhanced my superpowers and challenged me to grow.
Oh, that’s very sweet. Thank you, honey.
Thank you, good night!
Well, now that he’s said all that nice stuff about me…
No, you don’t have to say anything nice. It’s fine.
I know. I actually had a chance to talk with your mom a few weeks ago and we talked about these super powers. And it’s such a good question for people to then reflect on how they feel about themselves and what they feel like they can bring to the world. Yeah. When I’ve thought about this before, it feels like just the ability to actually calm my life down. And I know that might seem like a silly superpower, but the recognizing that the running and the striving and the grabbing and the reaching are all good things, but just having the idea of balance. Being able to play and work and sleep and run and just do all of that. But all in good balance, good food, good friends. It’s really nice to be able to think about all that and incorporate that in my life now.
Yeah. I’d like to add to that, too. Years ago there was a friend of ours, who give us an illustration that I’d never thought of my life in this light before. He said, “So many people go through life as though they’re sitting at a stop light with their foot on the brake all the way to the floor. And there were other foot on the gas all the way to the floor.” And he said, “It’s like we’re revved up all the time. We’re revved up, even when we’re should be at rest.” And I think that’s part of what I think of when Jill says what she just shared. And that is a superpower, it is the ability to be in gear and be fully on point without having to be so wound up. Just, it’s not necessary. You don’t have to have your adrenaline at full tilt in order to be effective and powerful. But it took some learning to recognize that.
But that is. It gives you the ability to be calm in the face of stress. And that’s just, I think that is a super power. Now, a lot of people are maximizing that.
No, it takes time… Unfortunately we had to wait until we’re this age to figure this out. So, exciting for your younger listeners if they can start, at least think about that and reflect on that every now and then. I honestly get more work done now. And we’re very, very busy when I did in the Pentagon where we were extremely busy, but we were so ramped up. And sometimes it was hard to get things done because you’re so ramped up, thinking that that’s how you had to be in order to get things done. It’s not. We’ve learned.
So I’ll give a more serious answer to the question you asked about my super powers. I think it’s tough sometimes to evaluate what your own superpowers are because you don’t see yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to think, well what do other people say they recognize in me as a gift? And then you come to see it may be as a gift yourself. But I would think creativity, for me. The ability to catch a brand new idea and imagine and I love the word imagine, imagine what the possibilities would be for that idea. Whatever idea it is. Something that I’ve nurtured for years and years, but I think it’s also something that kind of came naturally to me. And I used to take it for granted until I had a lot of people say to me that that it wasn’t so easy for them. So I guess maybe that’s a superpower for me.
Yeah, that’s a good super power to have. And a lot of people, when they become adults, they’ll take being creative for granted. And sometimes say, “Oh, that’s more of a childish thing.” Then really that’s such a gift to have because some people live their lives in like black and white when there are so many other colors surrounding them.
That’s right. It is a gift. I see him in this. I mean, I have rarely seen adults be as creative as Michael. He can walk along and see a crack in the sidewalk and the next thing you know, it’s morphed into this beautiful design and he’s been thinking of a tagline to go along with this crack. And there’s a whole advertising campaign. It just happens in a minute. He can just do that.
And it’s exhausting if you’re my partner.
Sometimes. It’s, “Hey, I have an idea. Hey, did you think about it? Oh, wait, stop, stop, stop.”
Well, I have that creativeness as well. And so when I see someone else who has that creativeness inside of them and I can see it, and then they take it for granted, it’s such an interesting thing to witness. Because I just want to be like, “Come on, be creative with me.”
That’s so great. Yes, you do have a gift. That’s fantastic.
Thank you. How did you guys meet? I’m sure our listeners would love to hear this.
Yeah. Well, I was in the shadow of 9/11, I was really feeling a strong desire to make a contribution somehow, as so many people wanted to make a contribution. And so I had said to my agent if he would allow me that opportunity to serve soldiers and their families or military members and their families, if there was that opportunity, I wouldn’t need to worry about getting paid. Just let me know and I’ll do it. So I was responding to an invitation that I had to do an event at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. And it was that night that I met the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. And his assistant, executive officer I guess they call them, asked for my contact information. And I gave it to them. Sort of typical songwriter fashion, I gave it to him written down on a napkin with a pen, with a Sharpie probably. Very professional. And I gave it to this guy, not knowing if I would ever hear from him or what would come of it.
And about a week later, maybe two weeks later, I got a phone call from some guy at the Pentagon. He said it was the Pentagon. And at first, I thought it was some friends of mine playing a trick on me. Like, “Oh yeah, sure you’re calling me from Pentagon.” Right. But it wasn’t. It was a gentleman named Mike Anastacio and he worked for Jill. So the XO for the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army had given my napkin with my phone number on it to
Her. Jill was the Director of Strategic Communications for all of the Army at that point, which her job was, among other things, to help create new ways of sharing the Army message. And the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, her boss, four-star General, gave her my contact information and said, “Hey, this guy’s good for the army. We should work with him.” At which point, I’ll hand off to Jill.
And I said, “What am I going do with this?” And I actually gave that information to a gentleman that I worked with and said, “You call this guy. I don’t know country music. I don’t get why we have this. You take care of it.” Well, the day came where we had invited Michael to come out to Washington DC. We actually wanted him to come to Fort Meade where the Army Field Band was because it was music and it seemed like that’s a thing to do. So the morning that he was due to arrive, I’m still sitting back in Washington DC. So, Fort Meade is about an hour away. And I thought, “Uh-oh, what if my boss asks me how this meeting goes with this Michael Peterson guy and I don’t even show up for the meeting?” So I hopped in my car and drove the hour, all the way over to fort me to meet Michael.
Sometimes, fear is a gift.
Well, that’s true. You know what? The best thing about actually meeting him for the first time is I saw him walk into the building. And there was probably about 23 or 24 of our service members who were there, Army Field Band guys. So they were music guys, all lined up ready to meet Michael. Because they were all excited about Michael Peterson. And I watched from a distance that Michael just introduced himself to every single person. So you know, “Hello Neva. Hello Tanya.” He just, all the way down the line, like 23 of them. And he asked specific questions like, “Neva, where did you go to school? What are you studying? How do you like the Army?” Just very specific questions.
So it was about seven hours later after we showed Michael around and we did some talking. He went back. Now, this was the trick. He went back to every single person he had met, called them by their first name, and recalled a specific thing about that person. I have never seen anybody do that ever in my entire life, particularly with people who come to the Pentagon, because they just want money. They just, they come and they introduce themselves.
Look at their contracts.
“Hey, I’ve got a deal. I got a deal.” And Michael was completely the opposite. He just wanted to know everybody and wanted to know what everybody was up to. And I thought, “Now that’s a different kind of fellow.” So that was our first meeting. And then, I don’t know, 12 years later we got married.
She fell in love with me instantly.
We did an awful lot of work together. Did we end up going to Iraq and Afghanistan 11 times together?
Nine times together. Just as battle buddies. And I learned that he was going to take good care of me and he could trust me to keep him out of trouble.
Jill always had my back.
We just took really good care of each other. We were very, very good friends before we got married. That made a huge difference in how we got together.
Oh, thank you.
That’s a really cool story.
We might seem to be on the surface, like people say, the cowboy and the colonel. How did that happen? They’re such different worlds. But you know what, Jill and I have so much in common. We’re very close in age. We grew up listening to the same cultural things, music, TV shows, all that. So those things we have in common. But on top of that, Jill loves music, Jill loves sports. Jill’s a very sort of balanced from a gender standpoint. She’s very feminine, but she’s also has a side of her that appreciates things that are maybe culturally traditionally male things. And I feel like I’m the same way.
Yeah. Sense of balance.
Just sort of gender balanced. And we just have so much in common, in spite of the different career paths that we took.
It just makes it so much fun. More fun now.
That’s really cool.
Yes. Whenever I ask, like when I ask for a new truck or something, she always says..
No, this is Yes.
Well, that’s an amazing story. And I would love to keep talking with you guys more, but we actually have to take a quick break. Can you tell our listeners where they can go to find out more about you?
That’s awesome. Definitely, go check their websites out because they are such amazing people. So we will be right back after the break. We’ve been talking with Jill Chambers and Michael Peterson about be the change. We’ll be right back.