dr Jennifer L'Hommedieu Stankus has accomplished a lot in her 53 years on this planet. Whether it was her career as a BMX rider, police officer, pilot, cave diver, rock climber and mountaineer, surfer, extreme skier, motorcycle enthusiast, shooting and tactics expert, actress, producer, screenwriter or court expert, the philosophy has always been consistent - perform Do the best possible job and make other people's lives better. After reading all of this, you might be wondering when she would have time to sleep, but she has confirmed that she still gets her eight hours each night.
"Sleep is actually super important to me," she said. "I'm just very efficient at everything I do while I'm awake."
Stankus has been efficient with her time since she was a child. The teenage BMX rider and competitor actually graduated from high school two years early. She used this extra time to join the Naval Reserve at 17 and eventually receive her EMT license as well as work in the local sheriff's office. She used to live in Hawaii and really enjoyed surfing and hanging out on the beach. She knew the importance of the work to be done and forced herself to follow a rule.
"You must finish your work, and you must finish it very well, before you can do that."
dr Jennifer L'Hommedieu Stankus
The Colorado native credited the enforcement of this rule with both its efficiency and effectiveness. She eventually became a police officer and served in the military as an Airborne Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) and as a military judge. Their vast talents and remarkable achievements seem matched only by a desire to hunt down greatness in as many forms as possible.
“As a kid, I was driven. I think people just show up with the personality that they have and you work around that personality.
This drive was fueled by watching the Olympics in the 1970s. Stankus was very patriotic as a child and dreamed of one day representing her country. She started running at the age of six and looked for activities that could help her get in better shape. That was the beginning of a commitment to excellence in fitness that she honors to this day.
“Fitness has been a key issue my entire life. Being super fit has led to a lot of great opportunities," she shared. Stankus feels that an important part of that engagement was enjoying the process.
"I enjoy everything. That's just my attitude. I enjoy everything. Even if I find it difficult or challenging, it's still fun.”
She doesn't commit to one type of training either. Stankus believes that a well-prepared athlete is a better athlete. So she wasn't just running or just surfing or just lifting weights. She has focused on improving herself in all facets of fitness.
"In my opinion, you always want to remain open to new ideas in training."
Another theme that you may have noticed is that many of her jobs were roles that gave her the opportunity to help others. Whether it's saving lives as a paramedic, doctor or police officer, protecting them as second generation military personnel, or inspiring others through their careers in entertainment and accompanying others on adventures, helping and serving others of highest importance.
“I firmly believe that life without service to others can have no meaning, be it biblically or ethically. Helping others can also backfire on you tenfold if you're the type of person who is willing to help others for the right reasons. You don't even have to see it coming back to you. It just does.”
dr Jennifer L'Hommedieu Stankus
Stankus has seen that generosity return in her favor in many ways, both personally and professionally. Among them is her success on television. In 2016, someone introduced her to American Ninja Warrior. After applying, she got the chance to compete in a special military edition of the show, and she prepared for that challenge by setting up a home gym version of the set in her garage. Fast forward to 2021 and she joined the cast of "Surviving Mann," a reality-based survival competition show starring Seal Team 6 Special Operations veteran Don Mann. Stankus would also be cast in the sequel as well as Surviving Mann All-Stars in 2022. As of this writing, she is preparing to produce and star in a new show called Lifeline! The show is expected to air in late 2023 or early 2024, but she's excited about the potential of this new show.
"What I hope to see from this show is to really help people and empower them to know what needs to be done to either avoid or survive a violent crime incident. I want it to enable people to live freely and without fear and save lives.”
As if all of the above careers and passions weren't enough, Stankus is also a professional diver and she wants others to enjoy the experience of exploring underwater. She offers a few select opportunities to join her on Aggressor Adventures cruises, where you can swim with her and see parts of the world you'd otherwise only see on TV or online. Visit aggressor.com for more information.
The common theme of Stankus's life, career and ministry is that none of it falls into the ordinary category. It's an aspect of life she doesn't want to experience much of, and she hopes others will step out of their comfort zone and experience whatever form of success and excellence they can find for themselves.
"You can't be successful if you don't face your biggest challenges and overcome them," she explained. “You can be marginal. You can get by, but you cannot excel and succeed without overcoming those fears and trying. You have to be fully committed, otherwise things don’t go well.”
You can follow Stankus on Instagram @_dr_jenn , Twitter @Dr_Jenn_ and subscribe to her YouTube channel @dr_jenn.