SS: What age did you decide to join the Army, and what was your motivation behind wanting to serve your country?
JL: I joined for a bunch of reasons: patriotism, the GI Bill, to kick in doors, etc. But the main reason I joined is that I never quite shook the boyhood fantasy of becoming some kind of elite GI Joe commando. Later, I discovered the Army Rangers, and when I was thoroughly bored with college, I took the plunge and enlisted.
SS: Explain the Warrior Poet Society and your role in it?
JL: Sure. We are lions, and we are lambs. We are lovers, and we are fighters. Folks who identify with this have the ethos of the warrior poet in them, and they find a common community for encouragement in their growth as warrior protectors, as well as in being good spouses, parents and human beings. I am the founder and the person doing a lot of the talking on our social media channels, but the Society is much bigger than a man — it is a movement.
SS: You’re a successful business owner, family man, instructor and public figure. How did your time in the Army help you to achieve your goals?
JL: You are being far too gracious. Let’s just say I’m a work in progress. My time in the Army helped me learn a great deal of the fighting side that informs some of our video content and what is taught in my classes. I also learned about discipline, creative problem solving, leading, overcoming fear and breaking through perceived limits. You didn’t ask this question, but I’d also like to add that some of the most important stuff I’ve been learning and working on are things I didn’t learn in the military, but rather are lessons I have learned from family life. These include life balance, romance, selfless service, effective communication and much more.
SS: Your company offers international training and speaking events. What makes your instruction so unique?
JL: I think folks are really interested in training with someone who is authentic that they can trust. I’m a regular dude who is on a personal journey to be a better protector and a better human being. I have not arrived. I’m a work in progress. My hunch is that this resonates with many people.
SS: Not to stereotype, but your demeanor online isn’t the typical “bearded, tough-guy operator turned tactics instructor” — which is refreshing. You are a dedicated warfighter and a Christian. Do people ever question how you can love God and still teach self-defense with firearms?
JL: I think that those who would find conflict between these two things are struggling with their picture of “Biblical masculinity” and the question of who is the God of the Bible. King David is one of the greatest worshippers in the Bible (writing most of the Psalms) and one of the Bible’s most dangerous warriors. God describes him as “a man after my own heart.” God is a protector of the innocent, and God calls Himself a warrior (Exodus 15:3). I don’t love war. I want peace. However, the world is a dangerous place, filled with violent men who prey on the weak and rape, murder, etc. Because of my love for people, I will energetically meet these predators on the field of battle.
SS: What are your long-term goals for the Warrior Poet Society? Bestselling author? TV show?
JL: Those would be some good personal goals I’ll work toward! For the Society, though, I want a larger reach so we can find other like-minded people and bring them into our fold. We are stronger together than apart. I want to help our followers grow as people and as warriors. My legacy and long-term goals are simple — more warrior poets who are growing stronger daily.
SS: Whether deployed down-range or on a mission trip with your church, what’s one piece of advice that always rings true?
JL: I have more than one: First, Jesus is King. Second, don’t take yourself too seriously — no one else does. Third, everyone has pride in themselves, and everyone hates pride in others. Fourth, dad-jokes are the spice of life. Fifth, date your wife, and finally, the success of a man is determined by what priorities he makes and how well he balances them.