Becoming a fighter pilot is a career many young kids dream of doing, but only a select few achieve. Joel "Thor" Neeb did earn his place flying some of the world's fastest aircraft, but that's not his true legacy. His world perspective shifted when he was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare type of stage 4 cancer. From 18 months to live to thriving a decade later, Joel's new mission is to inspire others to push their boundaries and chase their dreams.
Joel's path started as a kid enthralled by "Top Gun." At the Air Force Academy, he underwent mental, physical, and emotional challenges to become an elite pilot. Joel talks about the destination meaning something and how the journey prepares you for that destination.
In a way, the toughness and mental preparation helped ready him for battling cancer. As someone still crushing it in the gym, and a dad of two young kids, hearing he needed massive surgery and maybe had a year to live was shattering. Going through it with his sick toddler was even more mental. But Joel brought the same deliberateness and perseverance to his cancer battle. Sitting in the chemo room with other patients changed his trajectory. It was here he nurtured a positive mental attitude and realized what he truly valued in his life.
As it became clear to Joel he was going to survive; he made it his new mission to pursue meaningful moments as hard as he could. Today he lives by his 3G's: growth, giving, and gratitude. Whether it's competing in American Ninja Warrior, authoring his book, or excelling as a VP at software company VMware, Joel continues to push his limits, give to others, and treat each day as a gift.