Outside of the Comfort Zone

Outside of the Comfort Zone

In everyone’s life, there are times that demand the expansion of known operational zones.

Sometimes these are mandated by circumstances… others, strictly by desire.  Regardless, growth, empowerment, understanding comes from actually “doing” rather than simple passive education.

Depending on our clients, our business is often based on this principle.  Many individuals come to us with limited to no weapons training.  Some are terrified about the prospect of actually shooting a gun… others, are terrified subconsciously about the potential of realization that their skills do not necessarily match the ideas of competency that they imagine they already possess.

Our goal is always to push past that and to achieve real learning and ultimately… mastery.

Sandy and I along with our daughters had the opportunity this past weekend to become students to something that was very foreign to us… thus… having us experience the same level of trepidation that many of our clients go through.

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Growing up, I had always wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle.  This was based exclusively on a singular interest:  They look cool!

My arguments had no utilitarian values.  Cheaper gas, quicker drive times, faster speeds… these were irrelevant to me.  Motorcycles simply looked bad ass… and I wanted one.

Unfortunately, there was an insurmountable obstacle that prevented me from learning:

My mother.

There were certain rules in our home.  Generally, these rules had some degree of flexibility that allowed them to be tailored to specific situations, but there was one that was carved in stone inspired from Divine Providence.  NO MOTORCYCLES.  The mere act of taking a class would have violated this fundamental principle since the class would have necessitated riding one at some point.

Upon marriage, my mother transferred her angst of motor bikes to my wife Sandy.

Oh, there was one point a few years ago where the power of my logic almost overcame the arguments against “the bike”.

While Sandy and I were coming home from somewhere with the kids in the back seat, I pushed and pushed the idea that we should at least “know” how to ride a motorcycle.  This appeal towards education was having the desired effect.  I could see Sandy’s internal gears turning and the possibility was beginning to exist… that I might actually change her mind.  Then the cars ahead slowed down and we crawled past an accident scene.

A motorcycle vs. a car.

The results of the combat resulted in a fatality.

Sandy watched as we rolled by the carnage.

“Get your mom to agree to you learning how to ride and then we will talk about.”


Then something changed…

A few months back, without any prompting.  Sandy came to me and suggested that both us and the girls should know how to operate a motorbike.  Specifically an off road bike.  Her arguments were sound… the same arguments I had used in the past:  Lack of knowledge in a critical time could result in our demise.

At that same time, our eldest put on her Christmas wish list… “motorcycle riding lessons”… when it comes to education and training, Sandy is totally open to it.  So this past Christmas, Santa not only gave our eldest the lesson, Santa gave us ALL riding lessons.  The next step was looking for quality training and after discussions with our member Aaron Cress and David Langford (both team members of Kawasaki at the Corporate level)… a plan was set.  They were  going to personally teach us how to ride.

As we arrived at the muster point off Stoddard Wells Road in the High Desert, I was nervous.  The kids and Sandy seemed perfectly fine, but I was scared.

I’m not sure if the fear was based around the precepts that my mother had instilled over these many years, or simply not having the skills to actually ride these things… but to argue that there was no trepidation on my part would have been wrong.

Aaron and David got the bikes ready and began to explain the clutch and the gear select.


When I was a kid learning how to drive a stick shift, I had my dad in the passenger seat next to me.  There are no passenger seats on a bike.  I was going to have to take all this information in and then go with it on my own.  As soon as I got the bike into first I would be flying solo.

I was also worried about my kids and Sandy.

If I was this nervous, how were they?

I slowly increased the throttle and let out the clutch.


Ok… I think I get the concept.

I tried it again… This time to my shock I found myself moving.  Yes… actually moving!  Well.. in first gear and probably at about 10 miles an hour… but moving none the less.

Since we were on a clear expanse of land and I could hear the engine straining, I pulled in the clutch, lifted up the gear select to second gear and released the clutch again.

HA!  it worked!

Well… if that worked, let’s try third gear.

Again!  Success!!

I could see that Sandy and the kids were enjoying the same rate of success that I was as well.

Within 30 minutes… we were taking the bikes on dessert trails.

Sure, there were a few stalls.  Dumped the bike a couple of times too.  But these were minor set backs… not catastrophic failures.

By the end of the day, we noticed that we were sore and tired, but unbelievably satisfied.

We all had a blast!

Sandy and I had something else though:  The knowledge that “if we ever NEEDED to get on a bike and go, we could and so could our kids”.

One of our clients years ago witnessed a horrible home invasion robbery.  One that easily could have resulted in the death of his son.  During that event, one of the criminals dropped a Beretta 92FS.

Our client, who had no knowledge of guns was afraid to pick it up.

Guns scared him… and the Beretta has a “complicated” look to it.  He had no idea how to operate it.  His response was to freeze.

After that event, he came to us and asked us to teach him how to shoot.  He was not convinced he would ever buy a gun, but he knew he needed to know how to operate one.

I am fairly convinced that we are going to end up acquiring bikes here in the near future… maybe not a cruiser at this time, but one for emergency purposes… after all, I still have to obtain  the approval of my mother before we move on… once we acquire them… we will need to head out and practice with them some more… not a problem… they are simply too much fun not to do so.

They do have an obvious utilitarian value.  Knowing how to operate one is the ultimate point.

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