My ITS Story: A Mental and Physical Journey Towards Success
My ITS Story: A Mental and Physical Journey Towards Success
While I know many ITS followers and members have a story of their own, today I’d like to share the incredible role that Imminent Threat Solutions (and the individuals associated with it) have played in my life over the last five years. I’ve also come to the realization that when looking back on it, it appears as a complete accident.
I say that because this is really a story about overlapping personal transformations and the convergence of several sizable life events at around the same time. Coincidentally, ITS rolled into my life about the time of these events and in my own estimation, this phase of my life would have been completely different and far less meaningful to me without the influence of ITS, its people and those whom it attracts. ITS was the catalyzing element for me at the perfect time.
Henceforth, my story is a truly shameless example of a solid testimonial on the positive influence ITS has been. Not because they’ve become my friends, but because the idea of ITS has truly changed and enriched my life and continues to. The term “the idea of ITS” is one I will explore as we get further along.
No story works very well without a timeline, so in chronological time, this story will begin around late 2011 and continue through to the present. (This was about two and a half years in for the ITS folks, for those of you who’ve been following them that long.)
From 1992 to August of 2016, I lived with my family in Long Beach, CA. Professionally, I’m a partner in a privately-owned wealth advisory firm and continue to serve my clients out of our Long Beach office. However, my family and residency is now in Fall Creek, Oregon; about 40 miles southeast of Eugene.
Why am I sharing this? An important part of my story is my love for our Constitution and my commitment to the belief that “the 2nd amendment protects the 1st” and so on… This was central to my family’s decision to leave a state that for the last 10 years has demonstrated with successive legislative sessions, that its elected politicians cannot respect our Constitutional rights. Particularly those related to the 2nd Amendment.
It’s my association with ITS and in particular my fellow Muster attendees, that brought home for me the central importance of the 2nd amendment to one’s existence as an American and that it simply shouldn’t be compromised. This is a dicey spot to find oneself in, especially when the money’s good.
Yet my connection to ITS and to those actively associated with it, provided the strength to make some difficult decisions. It washed away some of the isolation I’d felt for so long. (In fairness, I must add that being surrounded by left coast loonies for a couple of decades has a way of creating a feeling of isolation, even though it’s still part of America). As a result, we took action and made a design change in our life.
Whether one sees this as pure coincidence or divinity doesn’t matter. The fact is that my association with ITS and its family, solidified a major personal transformational decision for us and resulted in a major change for our family.
I’m 61 years old now and I’ve been a professional for almost four decades; two of which have been spent in Long Beach building a loyal client base. For most of that 20 years, I’ve been hell bent on serving my clients, making money, building up my business, being a part of my community and raising a family.
About 10 years ago, my partners and I looked at a transaction that would render a lot of money to us individually and irreparably change the culture of our firm forever. We were looking at selling and all of us dissented once we began to see the structure the buyer wanted.
This especially rang true when we began to project what that would mean to our clients and employees. I was 51 then and thus began a 10-year period where several large life forces began to collide.
We observe this in many of our long-term clients regularly as their lives transition; we call this kind of event, a “trigger event,” that has serious financial implications that need addressing.
So for us, it was our turn for a trigger event and the questions flowed. If we don’t sell, then what happens to our firm? We’re all “young” (meaning in our 50’s, full of energy and ambition) but not in the next generation of management’s eyes.
To them, we’re just in the way of their paths to enjoy the same advantages we enjoy today. How do we manage that in a way that sustains our company for them too? How do we keep things interesting for them so we can retain them and realize our investment in them?
However, because we don’t want to stop having fun either, where do we strike a balance between continuing to do so and letting them have all the fun? How do we share the wealth that they help create? This is all thorny growth stuff all by itself and I’ll stop on that right here and hope that the description I’ve given serves to demonstrate the catalytic effect this revelation had.
Exploring questions like these in my 50’s after having my head down for decades, led to other questions for me that I had no idea I’d be addressing. As it turned out, there were far bigger life questions than the mere business problems we were addressing.
These were tectonic, career-shifting questions I’d never addressed before, because I’d passed the midpoint of my working life several years before without even noticing. I found myself in a spot with a lot of unanswered directional questions.
My large career event seemed to be the seminal one in catalyzing a much broader convergence of forces. Thinking them through for this story, I’ve found them to be numerous.
First and foremost was facing the fact that I was approaching 60 and thinking about what all that means as a professional, business partner, husband and father. (Hell, most of the time I still think I’m 19, so this was tough!)
Another such force was the physical result of what I call “professional commitments.” The work hours, travel, sacrifice of a regular fitness routine, obligatory meals and consumption of alcohol.
Doing that regularly for decades took me to a place 80 pounds heavier than my fighting weight and resulted in a physical condition that upon honest reflection, repulsed me.
One of the larger forces too, is a social one. More and more, my wife and I began to feel out of place in Southern California. This is a tough one to explain, but for us, so many of the things that seemed to be important socially in the circles where we navigated (or had to navigate as a function of living there) were hugely divergent to our belief set and pushed the limits of ridiculousness.
For us, this translated to concerns over the influences our children were experiencing. If I elaborate here, I might get downright offensive, so I’ll leave exactly what I mean to the reader’s imagination. I’ll say this however, it all lies within the absurdity of so-called “political correctness” that’s gaining popularity these days.
I alluded to another force earlier, when describing the revelation of realizing how old I’d become, without really noticing it along the way. I think there’s a reason for this and it’s something that’s inherent in my baby boomer generation; the reason is longevity.
In general, we’re benefitting from better medical technology and we’re reaping the benefits of being a generally more active and fit generation than previous ones. While I can never bank on this notion, I intend to work into my 70’s with good health and plenty of energy. I have no desire to “retire,” whatever that means…
The implications of this to my industry are profound and one only has to understand how poorly prepared for retirement my generation is. Especially as they’re more than likely going to live longer than their parents. If they’ve not accumulated the resources and built out a social network to support a protracted life, things have the potential to get ugly for them as they burn through their resources.
Take a cohort of 77 million like the boomers, adding financial and social deficiencies as a common demographic and viola, the USA has a huge social problem looming ahead. To whom will these folks turn when they run out of money? Unless we want a government solution, which I believe will never succeed, we’d better get cracking on this problem as a generation.
ITS author, Nick H. and I wrote about this risk in this past article. You can also gain more insight into how some of these issues are being addressed on a larger scale by absorbing the content in a synopsis of The Sightlines Project, being conducted by the Center for Longevity at Stanford University. This study explores implications of longevity on financial security, healthy living and social engagement. Very thought-provoking stuff.
I think the longevity forces are the biggest ones in this whole “convergence” issue of mine. However, I saved a critical one for last, because I’m finally getting around to where this becomes my ITS story and the idea of ITS.
DIY AR-15 Video
At or near the end of 2011, just after another round of anti-2nd Amendment legislation in California, the Assembly successfully passed a bill that would have rendered the AR-15 platform illegal in its present configuration. Fortunately, that legislation was litigated as unconstitutional and was overturned. (Unfortunately, similarly restrictive legislation was passed and signed by the governor in 2016, effective in 2017.)
However, the anti-gun force is equally as powerful as any of the others I was experiencing and seemed to carry a larger weight for me in terms of importance, relative the others. Hence I set out to build my own AR-15.
A simple web search started my ITS journey. I found the DIY AR-15 Series hosted by this ebullient, bearded young man with obvious enthusiasm for the platform. There were other videos to be sure, but his was the most engaging for me and accordingly, was the one I picked to guide me through my build. I then signed up for an M-16 Armorer’s course (I now have an Armorer’s Certificate), built out my parts list, accumulated the parts and necessary tools and went back to the video to finish it off.
That could be the end of this story, but it really is the true beginning. From there, I just kept digging into the content on ITS and yes, spending inordinate amounts of time on the ITS Store.
In April of 2012, a post showed up on ITS about their Inaugural Muster, being held the following October. I didn’t make it that first year, or in 2015, because of overlapping commitments to the Boy Scouts. Apart from those two though, I’ve attended Musters II, III & V. (My life is also complete, as I possess a coveted FTX paddle, from Muster II. Alpha’s up!)
Muster and ITS, put my entire life on its head and on track; it continues to do so each time I go. Upon completion of Muster II, after making friends with not only members of my squad, but those on other squads and on the cadre team, everything came into focus for me. Never in my life have I encountered a group of people that care little about what I do, but a lot about who I am and that I value our country and our liberty.
That’s enough, really. I guess there’s a modicum of desire to always improve ourselves, to be better prepared for trouble than we presently are and to learn new skills. That’s all a given when this group convenes. However, there’s something bigger that I really struggle to get into words. One of our colleagues recently commented in the AAR for Muster V about how Muster gets one back to one’s base. That can’t be overstated.
My associations through ITS have obliterated the desperation and loneliness of being a constitutional conservative today. Particularly a mouthy one in Southern California like me. I got home from Muster II and swore to my wife that we really weren’t alone, but that there were many like us!
But now, after my third Muster, (the best of my three I might add) it’s so much more than merely associating with like-minded people. It’s refueling. It’s spiritual. It’s what I need to keep going in the face of encroaching so-called “progressivism.” It “brings one back to one’s base.”
Within a few months of the end of Muster III, I’d reached an apex of 230 pounds. For a 5’ 11” frame, I was pretty “full-bodied.” Then, three other forces converged. I hit age 60, read a book called, The Boys In The Boat and ITS published their Motivational Print.
Well to clarify, they all fell into my life at the same time. The Boys In The Boat is a true story about the 1936 Olympic Men’s eight-oared rowing shell that won the gold medal to beat and frustrate Hitler and his Nazis. It reminded me of winning a gold medal of my own, in 1984, at the US National Men’s Rowing Championships.
It was in the lightweight eight event and I tipped the scales at a svelte 148 pounds. A far cry from the 230 pounds in 2015. The Motivational Print said it all and it told me how much I’d forgotten about myself. It took ITS to remind of that. Otherwise, I wonder if what I did as a result, would’ve happened without ITS. Maybe, but probably not.
The goal was set. The target was to hit 160 pounds before the end of my 60th year. By my 61st birthday, I was at 150 pounds and moving my boat faster than I was ten years ago; being 20 pounds lighter than 20 years ago helped!
The journey of the weight loss was nothing special either; just prudent nutrition, training and a commitment to solid sleep. Hence the physical transformation is done and now in maintenance mode. I don’t dare dissociate with ITS at this point for fear of a backslide!
I realize what I’ve written here isn’t anything profound. All people go through transitions, transformations and life convergences as a matter of living. However, we all take ourselves through those things in different ways, with varying results and varying degrees of success. “Success” here is being defined as being happy and generally satisfied with one’s choices.
Yet my nod goes to ITS on this one. It’s the “Idea of ITS,” the bridge between the firearms industry and the preparedness industry, that created the right mix of people and inspiration for me, at the absolute right moment in time. I am understood. I am supported. I am part of something worthy.
At my age, I’ve accumulated a lot of friends over the years, but my love for ITS and those people I’ve gotten close to as a result, eclipses all that has come before.
Editor-in-Chief’s Note: Please join us in welcoming Tim, “The Jeweler” Anderson as he shares his ITS Story. Tim is a licensed CPA, a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation. He’s been gaining experience throughout his lifetime and has worked as much overseas as he has domestically.