Do you ever wonder why God put you on this planet? Do you ever think about your purpose in life and what your real job in life is?
If you’re a parent, that’s an easy one. Trying to keep our kids out of jail seems to be pretty high on the list. But for many of us, I have to believe there’s more to it than that. The hard part, I think, comes when your meaning – God’s purpose for you – isn’t what you expected or even what you wanted. For some of us, it could be one brief interaction with one person at some point along the way – one that was entirely forgettable, to you. But it could be profoundly motivating or inspirational to that other person. And who knows – that inspiration could lead to X, which leads to Y, which changes the world. Maybe it was a substitute teacher that Abe Lincoln had when we was 9. Maybe it’s your neighbor who always seems to be upbeat and positive, no matter what is going on in the world.
The more I struggle through life and philosophically try and find my place in it, I’m coming to the realization that maybe I’m not driving this boat nearly as much as I thought I was. I’ll explain.
I’ve been around guns most of my life. After a series of significant life events including time on the US Air Force Academy pistol team and then years later my marriage and the birth of my son, my wife and decided to get serious about learning how to use a firearm for self-defense. So, we started taking classes. We both got our Colorado CHP and we first opened our eyes to this new world called firearms training. We had some great classes – some we absolutely loved. And then we had others. Some were not-so-good, and others were downright awful. Scary bad. Keep-you-up-at-night-worrying-what-these-instructors-are-still-teaching-their-students bad. So, long story even longer, we decided that we can do this better and give people what they need to know and treat the people like they deserve to be treated.
So we started a company, originally with a business partner. But it wasn’t long before he left to pursue other things and we now had this company to mold and shape into what we wanted it to be. We got certified to teach by the NRA (that’s another long conversation sometime), then it wasn’t long before we really realized how much that we didn’t know. We started reaching out to other people and we continued taking classes – but from a different breed of instructor, I’ll say. All this time, we were trying to offer the best classes we could, changing them frequently (and we’re still changing them – it never ends!). We’ve started to find our niche with our style and our goals, and I really feel like we’ve made a difference for some, or many, people.
Along the way, I started to think that maybe this our lot in life – this is how we can make a positive difference in our world. Maybe this is what I’m sent here to accomplish. And it might still be, I’m not sure.
Then again, maybe I’ve completely missed the boat. It occurred to me recently that maybe my purpose in life has nothing to do with me at all, and everything to do with my beautiful wife. You see, there’s been an interesting series of events that I’m beginning to think happened not for my benefit at all, but for hers. Let me know what you think or if I’m absolutely out in left field.
First, and it didn’t even register at the time, but more of our students started becoming women. Wait, that came out wrong. I actually have no idea if any of our students have made the transition and became a woman. [shiver] But you know what I mean. Thinking back, I think for awhile there, maybe 90% or more of our students were men. That’s actually not an uncommon statistic in this industry, as shocking and unfortunate as it is. But then it was more like 80%, then 70%, then about 60%, then about 50/50, and now we actually have more women students than we do men. Not by much, but that’s fascinating to me, and encouraging.
Next, and this was when we were running ads on the radio, I’ll never forget the day I had this phone conversation. Jenna is usually available more than I am, so she’s usually the one you get when you call. But today, it was me. It went like this:
- Me: “Hi, good afternoon, Carry On Colorado, how can I help you?”
- Voice on the other end: “Umm… hi… umm… is Jenna available?”
- Me: “No, I’m sorry, she’s teaching a class right now. Is there something I can help you with?”
- Voice: “Umm… well, I, umm, I was really hoping to talk to Jenna.”
- Me, slightly offended: “Well I work here too. Was there a specific question about a class you have that I can help answer?”
- Voice, slightly offended: “Umm… well no, I was just hoping to talk to Jenna. I heard her on the radio and I was just hoping she was available. I talked to her before and, well she…”
- Me, slightly more offended: “Ok, then can I take a message?”
- Voice, frustrated: “No, I’ll call back.” Click.
It’s stupid, and I should have probably seen the bigger picture then, but, well, you see where this is headed.
But here’s where this takes an interesting turn. So we finally get Kathy Jackson out to Colorado (she’s coming back in April!!) for a 2-day defensive handgun class (my write-up is here) and guess who gets sick and has to miss all of Day 1 and part of Day 2 of this historic event? Yep, yours truly. But ya know, now I think I understand why – Kathy got to see Jenna for who she really is, on the range, in action… and how good she is.
Fast-forward a few months. I met Marc MacYoung along the way – at the barbershop, of all places – and yet again, another door opened. He has since opened our eyes to yet another world we didn’t really know existed. But at some point, we talked Marc into coming to audit one of our classes. It was kind of a big deal, at least to us. And yep, guess who was sick that day. Yours truly. But as is the norm now, Jenna stepped up and hit one out of the park.
Seriously, I think I was sick for two days in all of 2013 – and both of them happened on huge days for us, professionally. And I think now I finally get it: the Lord works in ways we don’t expect. He quite literally sat me down and said “Kid, you’re on the bench for this one. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.”
(language: consider yourself warned)
And in case that wasn’t awesome enough, Jenna is going to be hitting the road with Kathy Jackson this year and we have several other exciting things in the works. Stay tuned.
So I now think that maybe my job here is to help Jenna down her path in life. Maybe I should focus more on that. Maybe my job here has quite a bit less to do with me and much more to do with helping her succeed. I have a feeling that several of her students would agree.
Well I don’t intend for this to be sappy or emotional or morbid, but one of my favorite movie quotes ever is this one:
Jenny, I don’t know if Mama was right or if it’s Lt. Dan; I don’t know if we each have a destiny or if we’re all just floatin’ around accidental-like on a breeze… but I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both are happening at the same time.
So I’ll leave you with this question: why are you here? Have you ever taken a couple minutes to stop and analyze what your purpose might be? Maybe it’s time to take a few minutes to look around and think about it.
Carry on, Colorado!