Greg Cheek is a lot of things. Seriously, a lot of things. He’s a motivational speaker, a combat veteran who served for twenty years, a winner of the US Army Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, a cancer survivor, a marathon runner and an author. Possibly more important than all of those, and let’s face it, because of all of those, he is an inspiration. That’s a good thing for a motivational speaker. It means that when he stands up in front of you at one of the many events he speaks at every week, and tells you that you can do it. He tells you that you can overcome it and tells you that it won’t beat you. You can believe him, regardless of what it is. Because he did it, he beat it and he didn’t let it stop him.
Greg’s book, 3 Points of Contact, offers a 12.5 step strategy (because 12 steps aren’t quite enough) that you can apply to any challenge in your life. Greg lays out this unique strategy that he employed in order to overcome, failing out of high school and ending up homeless before embarking on his 20 years of military service. Over those 20 years, including being in active combat, he developed a set of strategies that would eventually help him to overcome stage three cancer.
So what are the 3 points of contact? They are the three grounding principles in anyone’s life: Optimism, Visualization and Action. Greg sets out to teach you how to achieve these key things in a manner that will also help you to overcome any other obstacle or road block that life puts in your way, and as stated, when it comes to road blocks, Greg has seen `em all and beat `em all. Then he ran a marathon…and then he ran 8 more, with all those marathons coming post cancer.
Greg has used all of this to become an amazing public speaker, using his personal touches, energy and passion to try and motivate others. He also somehow found a way to translate that style into his book.
It’s pretty easy to see how he came by his views on life when as he says, “When you don’t think you’re going to be here in a week or a month or a year, you can look at life differently. Every day is an opportunity. I tell people to take advantage of every opportunity they have. I’ve been doing that every day since May 10, 2010.”
It was on that date that he found out that he had been diagnosed with cancer. After every other challenge he had overcome in his life, Greg found himself a crumpled heap on the bathroom floor. “I was lying there, and cancer was trying to take my life right out from underneath my feet. From that point forward I really looked at everything different. I just said, ‘I’m going to be grateful for every single day.”
A point that Greg makes in his book, which should hit almost anyone like a ton of bricks when you stop and think about it, is that you are always, “entering, in the middle of, or leaving some kind of storm.”
Think about it, and then try to dispute it. Life is all about moving from one storm to another. That sounds far more negative than it is. It might make it seem like there are never happy moments mixed in there, but that’s not the point. The point is that if you learn to navigate the storms, you will have far more time to enjoy the happiness.
Overcoming the cancer itself wasn’t in and of itself what created his desire to help others. When his treatments had ended he wrote thank you notes to some of the people he had gotten close to. One of those was to a receptionist who he attempted to inspire her to live out her dream to go to college. He recalls that she was in tears as he walked away.
“I knew I changed somebody’s life,” Cheek said. “I could have gotten in a car accident right then. I could’ve died the next day. But I knew I changed somebody’s life. The last couple months I just felt like cancer was beating me down, I was losing weight; I was tired, coughing up blood. That feeling I got inside, it was that moment that I felt cancer kind of stop.”
That woman did get her degree and something sparked inside of Greg and since then he has devoted himself to helping as many people as he can, although he tries to view it as changing the lives of the masses.
“I have this thing, ‘One is greater than zero,” Cheek said. “So if it’s just one person that I can reach, one person I can talk to, if it’s the one kid that comes to me at the dining facility after I speak somewhere, that’s fine. When he says, ‘Your message really resonated with me. Can we talk for a few minutes?’ We talk, and I end up changing that person’s life. That’s what it’s all about. One is greater than zero.”
If you can’t be inspired by Greg’s life, by his overcoming of every obstacle, then you aren’t human. So take a look at his book, 3 Points of Contact or, if you can catch him live.