11/09/04 — 'Chicken Soup' contributor gives motivational speech to base

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'Chicken Soup' contributor gives motivational speech to base

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on November 9, 2004 1:56 PM

An internationally known motivational speaker encouraged airmen at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to look within themselves to find the keys to success.

"Before we can make the team better we have to make ourselves better," said Dan Clark, one of the primary contributors to the popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series.

"It's about passion, creativity and imagination," he said. "Who I am today is the starting point for who I am tomorrow."

Clark addressed airmen, their families and others who work on base. The crowd gathered in the 333rd Fighter Squadron hangar at Seymour Johnson on Monday.

Clark is also an entertainer, songwriter, recording artist and a New York Times best-selling author. He has spoken to combat troops all over the world and is a leadership and character development consultant for the U.S. Armed Forces. Achievers North America and Achievers Europe named Clark as one of the top 10 speakers in the world.

He said change is against human nature, but changing from the inside out creates power. People change because it is what they demand of themselves.

Clark used Tiger Woods as an example, of how he stretched his potential even when he was at the top of his golf game.

Woods changed the golf industry single-handedly in the mid and late 1990s. He was interviewed after winning the British Open and said there were many parts of his game he could improve. He still thought he could stretch, but needed the help of his coach.

"To be great, you have to surround yourself with great people," said Clark. "It's not what we do, it's who we do it with."

He said that in the real world, it is about winning teams. The two I's in winning stand for "individual preparation" and "interdependent collaboration."

In the Air Force, it's about airmen looking after one another and contributing to the rise of the entire Wing with a shared vision and mission.

"Every single person I've met on base takes so much pride and ownership in their job," he said. "You understand what a winning team is more than anybody."

Clark signed copies of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books after his speech. His visit is part of a tour through several Air Combat Command bases. The visit was sponsored by the Seymour Community Outreach Program and funded by the Air Combat Command. He plans to travel to Iraq soon to address military personnel.

He was scheduled to fly in one of the base's F-15E Strike Eagles today. This is his first time visiting Seymour Johnson. He said the first thing he was told was how great the relationship is between the base and its surrounding community.

"Thank you so much for your service," said Clark. "God bless each of you."