When people have the courage to speak about their role actualizing ideas that changed the world, it’s worth listening. Jill Chambers, retired colonel and U.S. Army Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, joins host Tonya Dawn Recla as they unpackage a riveting story of battling the behemoth U.S. military system to create change. Jill is widely recognized as the first person in U.S. military history to develop a successful, sustainable strategy to address the unimaginable destruction created by stress, trauma and mental illness. Jill’s efforts profoundly altered the post-war experience for service members and veterans everywhere. In addition to her heroic efforts in the policy battlefield, she carried the internal burden of being in the Pentagon on 9/11 until realizing the damage of untended constriction in the body. As a dynamo in a little package, Jill embodies ultimate courage, intestinal fortitude and an internal compass consistently pointing her to magnificence. Listen in to this raw, vulnerable and uplifting exchange between two women who fought through the trenches of embattlement to emerge on the other side in grace, gratitude and contribution to others.
Hello everyone. This is Tonya Dawn Recla, your Super Power Expert, and as part of our Disrupt Reality series, today, I have this amazing woman. It’s just like “I’m kind of in awe,” like, “I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy.” Maybe you have to kind of know the world that we come from to understand just how impactful this woman has been. But I’m going to do my darndest to help you understand that because I think it’s important that we know that it takes a single person’s courage to truly create the waves that change the world.
So today’s conversation is all around ideas that changed the world. Jill Chambers is joining me and she is the absolute embodiment of somebody who had the courage and listened to her guidance and went way swimming upstream in an extreme way. In a world where a lot of us never have an opportunity to enter into. Jill is a retired colonel from the United States Military. She’s been inducted into the Army’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015 for her contributions. So if you don’t have any access to that world or connection into it, let me just frame for you that that is a big freakin deal. To be a woman and to be a colonel in the military, first of all, to retire, to serve long enough to retire, and then to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is, you know, for those of us women who didn’t do that in our military career, you know there’s so much awe and respect for that.
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But that actually wasn’t the biggest deal. She did over 30 years of service but we’re going to flesh out her story about her work and it’s such a remarkable story. Changed how the military dealt with PTSD. As we all know, we take that for granted. Like, of course, that’s a thing, and they’re helping. It’s an issue that’s being addressed. But it was not always that way.
So we’re going to talk to Jill about what happened in that work. I’m just, so much, in honor of this woman who disrupted reality. If you’ve met her, like she’s just, she’s this itty bitty little woman, like she’s so cute. I just laughed because I was like “Oh my gosh. Like the world just doesn’t see you coming.” She just kind of gets in there and she’s feisty and she’s strong, just a brilliant delight. And she’s married to this remarkable man Michael Peterson, who also happens to be a country superstar.
Anyway, they are so much fun and our family is really honored to call them friends and to be able to love on them. So please, please join in welcoming Jill to the show. Welcome, Jill.
Oh, that was such a sweet introduction. Thank you so much. That made me feel so good.
I mean you’ve done so much for so many people. It’s absolutely my honor. Wow, I’m getting choked up, to present you to our audience and just thank you for having the courage.
Thank you for inviting me. It was such a treat to meet you when we were at CEO Space. I mean, it’s like we’re little magnets. We got drawn to each other. Plus with your beautiful daughter and your wonderful husband. It was like oh, “I think I’ve known these people before.”
Forever and ever.
So I totally love meeting you, love your book, and we’ll actually talk about that a little bit maybe. But thank you for just allowing me into your space.
Beautiful. Well, I appreciate you coming on the show. I know that Michael’s usually in the spotlight. But it feels so important to share your story. As we like to here at Super Power Experts, our stories always start with what are your super powers? I think I’ve identified a few of them.
I love that question.
I guess, okay there’s a couple of things that I feel like really have helped me throughout my, of course, it didn’t all happen at once so these are like experiences built on together but really understanding the concepts of making sure I knew how to play, knew how to take care of my health, the power of compassion. Of course, later in life, understanding about resiliency. I’m really, and this a really fun one, and we sort of talked about this before, you and I did just before you started this radio show. I used this term vulnerability, is you were sharing a bit about Neva, and understanding that you don’t have to be perfect. You and I came from a world where perfect was kind of the thing you needed to do to move along.
So you know, I really, actually understanding that being vulnerable is actually an asset. So I turned it into and really understanding how vulnerability allows you to take chances, develop your courage, fail, learn from failure, and get up and go do it again in a smarter way. It makes life so much more exciting than always just living on the edge of, “I can’t make a mistake, I can’t, I can’t.” We lived that way for a long time, haven’t we?
Yeah. Well, it makes sense to make on some level that that would be kind of that realization, that real embodiment, that that would be kind of this outcropping of the discoveries that you made about trauma in the body, and how it works. You know, I know a lot of our work here at Super Power Experts was informed by the realization when we saw that if we don’t work with people. We call it, you know, your residence, your vibration. But if we don’t work with people on what happens inside of their bodies and if they’re holding stress for too long and how that has an impact on decision making and on what they’re creating, then we’re missing a huge part of the conversation. When we implemented that into our curriculum, everything started to shift.
But the idea that you’re going to go at this from your mind alone is super erroneous and it’s creating problems and disease and mental illness and other things in people. If we don’t address that and if we don’t have sophisticated methods for dealing with it, we’re hurting people. Like we’re causing real damage if we’re not careful. So I think that it makes sense to me that you would be able to feel that full on release and the freedom and the power in vulnerability and transparency, that everything that we seek is on the other side of that piece of it, right? It’s when we enter into the space of connecting with others and being vulnerable and really allowing others to hold accountable in being transparent and all that fun stuff that we talk about. Everything we seek exists there.
Exactly. How I just love how you explained all of that. That was perfect. Well done.
Oh thank you. Thank you very much. That’s my super power.
Yeah, it just releases all of that. You can listen to other people’s opinions without digging yourself into a hole. Like, “No, I’m the only one that’s right and I don’t care what you have to say. I’m at a place now where I can listen to others and say oh well isn’t that interesting.” I can use that as a fun phrase now. If I don’t agree with it, it’s okay, I don’t have to like you said, stress myself out and try and make my point. It’s either the energy is there or it’s not and ultimately, I get to choose that and I choose peace, and not getting just so wound up that it’s gonna be then detrimental to my other happy super powers of wanting to play and being very healthy. So it all rolls together.
I love that. You know it strikes me that where that really came into play for us was coming out of counter intel and then going into due diligence and bedding and business. Somebody asked us one time, they were like well how do you kind of exist in the world? Like aren’t you paranoid and suspicious, like do you have friends? And it was funny because I kind of got this confused dog look like I love people, like what are you talking about? It dawned on me that there’s what we had done is in our own personal development is we had gotten to the point where nothing was a threat. You know, when you’re connected and you’re walking your path and you trusted the divine and you commune with it and you’re willing to face the stuff that comes up internally. You’re pretty much untouchable from that space. There’s no threat to your existence because what we look for security and safety in the external environment is fleeting. It’s not solid and there is no promise of that level of freedom if we look into the external environment first.
But in doing that internal work, we had processed through that and so I was very clear. I’m like “There are certain questions we ask before we make decisions in business or before we make a decision that puts any of us at personal risk.” Like there are questions we ask before Neva partakes inactivity or it’s like you would do a background check on babysitter before you had them watch your kid like that’s a pretty obvious point. But it doesn’t mean we can’t love the babysitter even if we don’t utilize them because it just doesn’t seem like a good fit. We even took it beyond the point of allowing our minds to go to a place that we don’t agree, and it’s like I don’t need to agree or disagree until they have an impact on me personally or something that I’m stewarding or something I’m responsible for. I don’t care what you think, like that’s your opinion, like that your business. I’m busy, I don’t have the energy or the time to concern myself with how you developed your thought process unless you’re paying me to help you work through that. It’s just not that fascinating to me.
Isn’t that great? Isn’t it so great that you discern all that and yeah, I just, I love everything that you’ve said, that you, well I guess both of us, have really developed a really interesting and very healthy toolkit because of our careers. It doesn’t mean that we’ve taken our careers and just discounted anybody who wasn’t in line with us or now we’re doing something different. It’s funny how you said the thing about you get that dog look. How many times have you introduced yourself and you know just said you’re in the military and all of a sudden somebody will, whether it’s meant in a playful way or they really mean it, they’ll snap to attention and salute. It’s like what? Who? Where? But I’m not that, you don’t, but of course, we lived that for our career time, and if there were people that weren’t of our rank that you know, of course, they did that.
But life, that’s not who I am, it’s what I did. Do you know? I love how you said that bringing your tool kit of asking good questions and I remember learning this in the military. Let me think this through. This is making good decisions, but it’s not the precision what most people who haven’t spent time in the military think: Everything was just so dressed right dress and don’t spill anything. Stay in line and don’t smile. It’s like.. It’s not us.
Yeah, I treat it like everything else since I believe that all of our experiences, everyone that we connect with, we’re designed to integrate the pieces from them or from the experience that we need in order to kind of stand in our gap to our work, right? Where we’ve integrated it. Justin and I are very clear a big part of that world went and taught us amazing skill sets. It trained us, right? We certainly got sandpapered and polished through that process.
That’s my delicate way of putting it. But also the credentialing. Like there’s some serious work to be done in this world and like it or not, we want to know people who have walked through the fire and they’ve been tested before we rely on them and relax into them with trust. I think that that’s a good thing, that’s a good check and balance that we have. Now, sometimes, those accolades and those experiences aren’t necessarily, haven’t necessarily been integrated by everybody and them kind of stop at how they look on paper. But that’s for us to discern. You know what’s the gift in it or what’s the value of it for us. I really want to dive into your story about how this came to be.
I’m cognitive of the time, so let’s take a quick break here. But before we do, why don’t we tell people where they can find out more about you and about your lovely magnificent husband also? Where can we send them to find out more about you and your journey?
Sure. So my website is ThisAbleVet. So this ThisAbleVet.com. That’s my whole website that just talks about things that we’ve done and my past. Michael and I are actually, our websites are connected together. So if you went to that one, you’d find him too. But if you went to his, MichaelPetersonMusic. You can find him too. So that’s where both of us are found. We’re joined at the hip forever and ever.
Beautiful. I’m going to tell you, this is all about Jill so go to Jill’s website. She’s such beautiful support and love for Michael and his career. Wow, she doesn’t deserve to for this to just being told. So I’m super excited. Let’s go on a break real quick and then when we come back, let’s share with our audience just the magnificent work that you’ve done. So stay with us folks, we’re going to be right back.