Acclaimed speaker Dr. Eric Thomas motivates Airmen

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  • By Kevan Goff-Parker, Staff Writer

Acclaimed motivational speaker Eric Thomas “ET,” Ph.D., spent the morning of Dec. 7 sharing his own personal story mixed with inspirational messaging to a crowd of more than 400. He emphasized to Airmen they should continue to bring excellence to their jobs during his “Take Control: Respect the Process” presentation at the Tinker Club at Tinker Air Force Base.

A speaker who uses high energy and humor, Thomas’ powerful voice boomed at times as he encouraged Airmen to always be fully accountable as they continue to embrace the Air Force’s core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

Thomas drew from personal experiences to motivate the crowd. He shared how he overcame challenges, including not having his biological father in his life, hunger and homelessness, as well as how he beat educational challenges to eventually earn a Ph.D.

He attributed much of his success to his wife, who encouraged him to further his education, and the birth of his son as to why he decided to push himself academically. This success eventually led to him becoming the renowned speaker, author and popular social media presence he is today. Thomas is also a pastor and is building a church when he isn’t traveling the globe motivating audiences or acting as a life coach.

Thomas described the Airmen as the “cream of the crop” and said he was at Tinker AFB to challenge Team Tinker to continue to be phenomenal.

He asked Airmen to remember why they decided to join the Air Force and said it is vital for Airmen to serve and report to the highest level despite whatever hardships they may endure.

Thomas said there is no room for average or for mistakes because the Air Force commissions Airmen with the greatest responsibility for excellence.

He said a shift in his own thinking occurred after his son was born. It changed him in fundamental ways to think about others before self and he believes a similar mental shift occurs and transforms Airmen when they join the Air Force.

Thomas asked the audience if they understood that when Airmen behave in an excellent manner they are demonstrating what excellence looks like not only for the Air Force, but for other military branches.

He also urged Airmen to take personal time each day to recharge because self-care is important before being tasked to care for others. He compared people’s continuous charging of cell phones in their cars, at work and home, noting that it is a wonderful device, but not if it doesn’t have power.

Thomas urged Airmen to find balance in their lives, to continue to work on their own legacies and to hold themselves and others accountable. He said Airmen are in one of the greatest of military branches in the country and the commitment made by today’s military service men and women is one where others might not stand as tall. He then asked Airmen to go to the next level of excellence.

Thomas received a standing ovation and after a question-and-answer session, 72nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Kenyon Bell extended commander’s recognition to him by presenting Thomas with a Wildcatter coin.