My “work” these days hardly seems real. I don’t use the word “luck” because luck has nothing to do with how I got here. I will say I am grateful, fortunate, and highly thankful for everything I’ve ever gotten to do and call it work. I owe so many people and organizations gratitude for giving me endless opportunities, and for that, I am blessed. I’ve been working with Athlon Outdoors on their Free Gun Friday video series this year, and part of filming the last few videos included getting to shoot and film with Jack Carr.
Yes, I’m a fan girl, and it’s not the first time I’ve met my “hero” or a “famous person” I’ve wanted to meet. But it was the first time in a long time I was excited to meet someone who had accomplished so much I was passionate about. I’ve read all the books, seen the show, and listened to the podcast, and while I’m not in that phase of my life yet, one day, I’d love to attempt to write a book. At the end of the day, all people, famous or not, are just people. I don’t admire the fame aspect of it, but rather I respect and look up to the accomplishments of people putting in hard work to get to where they’re at.
After spending half a day filming at Park City Gun Club, getting to shoot side-by-side with Jack, and hearing all that he is currently working on, I’ve had time to digest some things I learned from him that are valuable to others who might be on a similar path to fame as him or who don’t see the full picture of what it takes to get there.
Lessons from Jack Carr
Appreciate Anyone and Everyone Who Looks Up To You
I used to be a surfer and travel to California every year to watch the US Open of Surfing. I grew up following Ian Walsh, a big wave surfer, on social media and watching him compete on the circuit. On my first trip to CA, my 19th birthday was during the US Open, and Ian had always been great about replying to Tweets or DMs, and I’ll never forget what he did that year for my birthday. He left me some rad surf-related gear and a signed poster addressed to me at his hotel. He also took time to get a photo with me at the event and wish me a Happy Birthday. To this day, that signed poster and photo of us still hangs in my room. Some of the other surfing pros were just as awesome to me and took time for their fans to sign hats, take photos, or just say hello. Others, the big names, not as much.
I’ve learned that people are people, and we all are going through stuff, no matter how famous or wealthy someone is. We all get tired and frustrated and have good days and bad days. And I forgive those that maybe don’t have time or feel like taking a photo or signing something. Fans are not entitled to any of this or should ever expect these things from someone they look up to or are excited to meet. That said, the people who take time for their fans or appreciate those who look up to them are worthy of fame. After all, without the fans, the readers, the followers, and the people who buy their merch, would they be able to get to do what they love to do day in and day out?
Jack Carr was SO patient with my excitement levels, beyond kind and generous, and just seemed so dang happy to get to be filming with me on that Saturday. I can tell you from experience that he is grateful for everyone who messages him, shares his posts, tags him on social media, listens to his podcast, EVERYTHING. A little behind-the-scenes knowledge I’ll share with you is Jack Carr himself is the one who adds posts to his Instagram story and is actually seeing his fan’s posts. He’s truly connected with his online following and appreciates all the content people share and tag him in.
So Jack, if you’re ever reading this through, thanks for the warmth and kindness you showed to me as a day I’ll never forget.
Never Think You’re Too Good To Learn
Regardless of where you’re at in your life, you should never feel like you’re too good to learn something new. Unfortunately, I meet too many people who think they know everything and that there’s nothing much more they need to learn. We all should strive to be life-long learners, and I can tell you Jack is hungry to learn anything and everything he can.
I have imposter syndrome a lot, and I certainly don’t know much compared to experts in their fields and Grand Master-level shooters, so when Jack Carr asked me questions about how I would hold a specific rifle with attachments on it or about the guns we were shooting, I was caught way off guard. He’s a Navy Seal. What could I possibly know that he doesn’t already? After he asked, I did explain how I would shoot that specific rifle and not use a specific attachment that was on it because my purpose for shooting a rifle is mostly in the competition shooting world. He showed me what he typically does when he’s shooting a rifle, and that experience of sharing knowledge reminded me of my time training at Gunsite. The competition world and CQB/defensive world are two totally different things, but knowing how to safely use a firearm, understanding the basic mechanics of specific weapons, and all the experience I’ve had shooting under the pressure of a timer helped me greatly to focus on learning about defensive tactics instead of having to focus on basic firearm manipulation. While Jack and I both have spent a great deal of time behind firearms, we both have expertise in different purposes of using the same weapon platform.
All of this to say, Jack Carr is a class act through and through, and he understands the value of learning from anyone and everyone you meet. Every concealed weapons permit class I’ve taught has a student in it that taught me something new; whether it be about a specific firearm or a law in another state I hadn’t heard of. The entire premise around the Reticle Up Podcast that I host is that you can learn from everyone, no matter if their “expertise” is more than or less than you in one area; they have something they can teach you from their own experiences, background, and what they’re passionate about so long as you are open to receiving the information.
There’s Plenty For Everyone
What I mean by this is there’s plenty of room for everyone at the table, and helping someone out is not going to hinder your own progress. I have over 100 published episodes of podcasts I’ve been hosting for over two years now, and I recently asked someone to be a guest on the show. They declined because I wasn’t “famous” enough for them to give an hour of their time to listeners of the show. That’s the first time I’ve had a “no” to give back to the firearms community and share their story with listeners. Unfortunately, this is what it’s like asking most “online influencers” these days for anything. Unless you’re writing them a check, they aren’t interested. I think many people forget where they came from and what they started with. They forget about their community; once they’ve hit a certain level, they see themselves above others in worth. Once again, though, that’s okay. No one owes you anything, and you can’t expect to always hear “yes.”
After the weekend was over, I made an Instagram Reel with footage from the range with Jack Carr and added his account as a collaborator on the post. I often do this with brands when I create a Reel dedicated to a specific product, whether it be a gun, optic, ammo, gear, or specific tool. Some don’t accept these collaborations, but many are starting to. The brands that do marketing and social media well share content created by their customers and end users, repost it to their profiles and accept collaboration requests. Gone are the days when brands must create their own content. By sharing and reposting customers’ content, brands are also showing appreciation to the people out there spending their hard-earned dollars on their products. So when Jack accepted the collaboration request, I was very excited and appreciative of him. Did he have to do this? Absolutely not. But by doing so, it grew my followers by a few and added some behind-the-scenes action for his followers to see what he’s up to on any given day.
I’ve always known that I can’t do anything alone, and I haven’t done anything on my own to get to where I’m today. I’ve had plenty of help, have asked loads of questions, and continue to be given opportunities that help me grow. Similarly, I am happy and honored to help anyone out there that is looking to do more and to better themselves. I have invited plenty of new writers to the table with the companies I write with. I have made introductions for brands, resulting in some pretty incredible partnerships. I have given advice and feedback to anyone that asks for it. There’s enough “food on the table” for all, and I wish our community was better about collaborating and sharing rather than harboring knowledge and opportunity.
Hard Work Pays Off
Many people who follow me or are reading this now have probably seen or played a part in my shooting journey. My career in the firearms industry has not been an overnight success. It’s been 10 years in the making, and still isn’t where I want it to be. But I will say that every bit of blood, sweat, tears, late nights, early morning rises, delayed and canceled flights, and every other hardship I’ve gone through has been worth it. I never would’ve been on a range with Jack Carr without every bit of effort I’ve put into my dream.
Similarly, without knowing Jack’s full story, I do know the results of his success speak volumes about the work that he has put in. After leaving the range, Jack shared that he was off to seclude himself in a room to write his next book and continue writing it until it’s completed. He’s hosting a podcast, writing several new books, has his prequel Amazon TV show he’s working on, plus events he goes to, and more I’m sure I don’t even know about! Not to mention the family and kids he wants to spend time with. His work ethic has brought him success, and I’m sure he’ll tell you that all the work he’s put in has been worth it.
Whatever it is that you dream about doing or desire to accomplish is possible. We live in a free country to pursue our wildest dreams, and hard work is the only path to success. It is always worth it and pays off, but all in its own time. So get to it!
More to Come
These few lessons I gleaned from Jack Carr in a matter of a few hours. He was everything I had hoped one of my favorite authors would be and everything I expected of a Navy Seal. He is down-to-earth, humble, generous, grateful, and extremely hard-working. He deserves all the best things in life, and I’m excited about so many projects he’s working on. Be sure to check out his website, subscribe to the newsletter, listen to the Danger Close Podcast, and watch The Terminal List on Amazon if you haven’t already!