Attn. Man

In the Bible, we are told a foolish man is one that does not first consider the cost of building a great structure prior to beginning construction. What man builds a tower without first counting the cost? This verse has stuck out to me on many occasions, as there have been many proverbial towers to be built in my life. Or, in the case of Duvall Wireless, a very literal tower; standing over 100 feet in the air, assembling the structure I hoped would be the foundation of my entrepreneurial career. The simple calculation for death probability in falls is roughly one percent chance of death for every 1ft. of height you ascend. 100% chance of death in the case of an unfortunate fall. It’s mildly ironic that the moments where our lives are most at risk of death are the moments we feel most alive.

Climbing that tower, I did a significant amount of thinking, prayer, and inner reflection. Before putting it up, I had several nightmares where I fell from the tower. Sometimes you have to take on your fear by the horns in order to own it. To be honest, I’d sooner climb a 1,000ft. tower than take on the risks life has to throw our way. The difference between literal death and figurative death is that one of them cannot be justified, excused, or forgotten. The plunge of a sword was all that was needed to silence the excuses of any failed warrior. No excuses…just the certainty of a painful death or the chance to experience glory.

Today, I said goodbye to a very good friend of mine who came to visit me, here in Los Angeles. Without doubt, I can say that I would not be the man I am (and am becoming) were it not for this friend. He and I bonded through many questions, doubts, and failures we experienced as we both pursued what it means to have the real heart of a man. From women to workouts, we helped each other become better versions of ourselves; living with integrity, training until we puked, and constantly asking the difficult questions that separate many from having a real relationship with their Heavenly Father.

Perhaps there are no longer any battlefields or arenas where we can fight to the death for our lives. I believe that life presents us with a much larger arena than any coliseum could be; offering countless chances of not only losing your very life, but failing to reach your fullest potential. Death begins when we stop breathing. Hell begins when we realize we shortchanged ourselves from realizing our fullest potential; discovering what we could have been, rather than what we ended up being. Take a deep breath, friend.

There have been many moments where I can look back and discover the times where we pushed ourselves to the limit; discovering something within ourselves that we didn’t know was there prior to that moment. We often did this during our workouts. “You’ve got this — now go get it” we’d tell each other before hitting a hard lift. What I find to be a good reflection on life is that we would often experience our greatest lifts during times where we were ready to throw in the towel. I’ve always wanted to bench press 315lb (3 x 45lb plates on each side of the bar. Beastly.) And there was one day where I was reaching for my one rep max with this weight. After the appropriate man pump-up, I sat on the bench and got my mind into the right place. Chimaira screaming through my headphones, I lay on the bench and executed three perfect reps. Glory.

We often do the things we didn’t think we could when we finally convince ourselves to just give it a try. What have we got to lose? What do you have to lose? Hell, try and lose it. I dare you to pursue your goals. You dare you to pursue your goals. Do it. Get out of the safety of security and allow yourself the privilege of having the opportunity to fail.

Men of character do not walk through life without getting noticed by others. It’s not a physical trait people notice, but the inner strength of character that is displayed within the way a man conducts himself. Does the man wear the suit or does the suit wear the man? “Hey man, I don’t know if you noticed..but everybody is watching us” he said as we tearfully tore into the Cazuellas burrito challenge; a 12inch burrito drowned in habanero pepper salsa. Foreheads sweaty and eyes tearing, we only made it through about 80% of that burrito before having to throw up outside. However, he was right about getting noticed; our seats were in the middle of the restaurant and almost every eye was turned to watch these two crazy guys tear into a burrito too hot to eat. Critics hate those who are doing what they are not, often fueled by the inner realization that it’s fear preventing the critic from trying.

“It’s not the critic who counts…”

When I think about people in life who I am most thankful for, Travis Tucker comes immediately to mind. Many people boast of the letters they hold behind their name; Esq., PhD, J.D., but Travis carried significant letters in front of his his; Sgt. Travis Tucker. And I have a feeling it’s not very long before he has a beefy title before his name as a proud member of the Columbus Police Department. Honored several times as the Solider of the Year in his battalion, Travis is the type of guy that does not take kindly to second place.

Sitting here now, I’m looking at a red wristband I wear. It has quite the story behind it. Travis and I would watch inspirational videos to pump ourselves up before workouts, or to kick-start our days. One of the videos is titled “I am a champion” which was the locker room speech of a coach who was firing up his team. “My heart and my mind will carry my limbs when my body is too weak…who am I? I am a champion.” We fueled ourselves off of the video; pushing ourselves to the limit to live as hard as we possibly could. After being asked to speak at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting, I talked about what it meant to be a champion, through counting the cost, paying the price, and taking the risks that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. Several weeks later, the group made a custom order for these wristbands, each one reading: “I AM A CHAMPION” followed by a Cross.

And so this goes out to Travis Tucker, the man who has had a huge impact on my life, development as a man, and determination to live as a warrior. He is a brother in Christ, fellow warrior, and as close as brother to me. Around the time I moved to Los Angeles, he sent me this poem he wrote, which I share with you:

Heart of a Warrior

He yearns for a righteous battle.
He wants his strength and heart to be tested.
But he must be patient.
His battle with this test will eventually come.
Long before the battle he must discover the meaning of his purpose.
He must strive to find his worthy cause to believe in.
Only then will he find his path.
His belief gives him hope.
Without belief there is no path, he is left to wonder aimlessly.
Has an arrow ever hit what it is not aimed at?

Heart of a Warrior

A warrior can only be born in the company of warriors.
He draws strength from those warriors around him.
They protect his flanks and rear. They are his true armor.
He will honor them as they have honored him.

Heart of a Warrior

Adversity will be his training, this is reason to rejoice.
Just as a sword being placed into the fire,
he will become stronger and more powerful.
Through his journey, it is not only his body that is being trained,
for that is only a fraction of what he is.
What gives him his power is his heart and mind.
These must be trained much more than his body.
So when his day of battle comes and his body becomes too weak,
his heart and mind will be able to carry him.

Heart of a Warrior

Along the way he will encounter the critics.
They will criticize everything he does and says.
Especially when he falls but are silent when he stands back up.
They do not understand righteousness like the warrior does.
He doesn’t put people down, he pulls them up.
He pays no mind to the critics, he is too busy walking his path.

Heart of a Warrior

At times he will fall short, but because a warrior refuses to give up it is not defeat!
Victory and never surrendering is his only option.
He falls down 6 times but gets up 7.
Falls down 6, gets up 7.
Falls down 6, gets up 7.
Heart of a Warrior

For duty and honor, he is willing to fight and die.
This is what he believes in, his calling, his purpose.
Every warrior’s duty is different, but duty it is nonetheless.

Heart of a Warrior

The battle has now come.
His purpose will face the test,
this is what he has poured his heart and strength into.
He knows that only after he has given everything, victory will be had.
And finally when the battle is over he will stand in victory and look towards the heavens.

Heart of a Warrior

What beauty is it when one day the warrior will stand atop the walls of Heaven
and cheer on future warriors to come as they will one day find themselves in battle
just as the warrior has been cheered on during his.

Heart of a Warrior.

Parting words.

Travis Tucker

Never be afraid to pursue your goals, no matter how impossible they seem. Never be overwhelmed by those around you who do not share your passion for integrity, love, or life. Stand out and realize your full potential so that you may ultimately become the best version of yourself. If you look, live, and talk like all of those around you, you may never reach the height of your mountain. Count the cost and climb.

Glory awaits.

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