In my experience, people tend to give off a certain type of energy. Some good … some bad. It’s that feeling you get when you see someone for the first time or you shake his hand.
I don’t know what it is for sure. Intuition? The soul? All I know is that when I first met Eli Crane, I felt something strong. Something powerful. Something … different.
Truth is, you won’t find much about Eli online – and he’s not one to brag. He’s a former Navy SEAL, with three deployments in Iraq and a list of skills and honors that goes on and on.
Eli turned into an entrepreneur, launching a company called Bottle Breacher with his wife, Jen. They started it in a one-car garage while he was on active duty. Just a year and a half in, they were featured on Shark Tank, and the business took off.
They don’t just try to make money for themselves, however. They make a point of hiring veterans and quietly yet powerfully supporting those who have served.
But as great as the company is (and yes, it’s my favorite gift to give my buddies), that’s not what this piece is about.
It’s about two battles that are happening right now. A battle for the soul of America … and a battle for our own soul.
It’s not something that people often talk about – ESPECIALLY when you own a business. You see, the thing is, many people are O.K. with your being a Christian (or whatever faith you may be) – they just don’t want you to talk about it.
Now, I’ve never been one to hide my faith and have openly told people that God is the true CEO of my company. But it’s not something that often comes up in business conversations.
That’s why it was such a humbling experience to connect with Eli.
Let me give some context.
Eli and I had just wrapped up a long day of filming together. He flew out from Arizona to be on a few of our shows – The Real Man Show, Whiskey Patriots, and Behind-The-Uniforms. To sum up our day … we shot sniper rifles, drove tanks, shot out of vehicles underneath high tension power lines, used a Ford F-150 to shred a Chevy Van in half, then flew helicopters for the second half of the day. Typical day in the life for us …
Anyway, we were driving from Rhode Island to Connecticut and swapping stories about our families and our businesses. That’s when the topic of faith came up and I learned a lesson that changed me at my core.
“Kyle – there’s something you’ve got to understand about the Devil,” said Eli. “God taught us to be fishers of men. But the devil is ALSO a fisher of men. Which means we’re competing against him for souls.”
He’s right – and you see it at work in America and all across the world every single day. Sometimes it’s in the obvious – the Vegas shooting. Attacks across the country.
Sometimes it’s in the less obvious. Disrespect for our police officers and our military. People refusing to stand for the National Anthem.
But Eli pointed out that it’s also happening to us personally.
“The devil doesn’t get to guys like you and me the way he gets to many,” Eli pointed out. “He knows he won’t get us with drugs and some of the other vices. But he wants the big fish like us. And so he gets creative to come after us. He uses ambition to take us.”
This threw me for a loop. Ambition? I thought ambition was a virtue. But what Eli shared with me changed that perspective forever.
“How many times have you been distracted from your family … from your faith … from a life of service … because you had the next great idea? The next opportunity? The next way to grow the business? The devil is creative and will use that ambition and drive and go after your soul with it.”
It’s scary how true it is. We think of ambition as being something that helps us provide for our families. For the families of our employees. For those in society we’re able to support and contribute to.
And it DOES. But it’s also a thin line. A thin line between ambition that’s led and driven by faith … and ambition that cuts and destroys in its blind hunger.
Ambition. Never thought of it much as being a tool of the devil.
Then again … how often do we consider the battle of good vs. evil that’s happening in America and even in our own lives?
This SEAL changed my life … with just a short car ride. I hope this story helps touch yours, as well. If it does, give it a little “share.” It’s time to talk about God just a little bit louder.
Kyle S. Reyes is co-host of The Whiskey Patriots and the Chief Executive Officer of The Silent Partner Marketing. Reyes is also an acclaimed keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and social media. You can follow him on Facebook.