Big decisions are often a gut wrenching ingredient to the recipe of life, often slung at the strangest and most inconvenient of times, always requiring undivided attention.
I’ve had to tackle one of those recently.
Ky here! In the next couple of minutes, I hope you see how nothing about your journey is coincidental, change is constant, planning can be petty, and you leave with encouragement and a new boldness to turn your life into a one-of-a-kind journey!
I had a dream and achieved it, followed a passion and lived it, was given a skill set and developed it, and now…it’s time to change it up!
To Juxtapose A Journey
I actually love making big decisions. Life is like an intense game of Risk to me. Weighing several options, outcomes, imminent roadblocks and possible surprise ones. And then when it’s time to make a move, stock to the shoulder, finger on the trigger, and boom! No looking back.
There have been several juxtapositions in my life where a single decision changed the outcome of my future. From attending Biola University, to packing my bags and moving to Washington, D.C., these monumental and intimidating moments are what keep my blood flowing. Man, is it fun to look back!
And once they’re made, I find myself already asking, “What’s next?” This tends to be a curse more often than a blessing. That’s a charachter trait that I battle with. “Relax, Ky,” I often say during my self-help sessions with me, myself, and I. Goal setting is fine and dandy until the goal becomes a god.
I was a pretty normal kid growing up other than the self-esteem issues I dealt with until the 5th or 6th grade. That held me back from really believing in myself to try things in fear of failing. Looking back, if I had to be fearful at anytime in my life, I’m glad it was then and not now! I’ve put fear as far from my cerebrum as the east is from the west! Details to come, keep reading.
Being charismatic has always been in my wheelhouse. In high school, I was that student leadership kid organizing events and selling them to the masses. I learned very early on how much of life is sales. Not just exchanging goods or services for money, but being a representative of certain ideas and getting others on board. One of my favorite high school memories was doing the morning news. “Ky and Mason in the Morning” was our show. Funny how mini-miracles lead to big ones and some things come full circle.
That’s pretty much all I’ve ever been known for…fun and exciting television where my product is ideas and information and the price is a smile. It’s what my passion has been for a long, long time.
Channel 2 News in Reno was always the goal, the dream, the beckoning achievement I knew I would obtain. And once I got it, I quickly found myself asking, you guessed it, “What’s next?”
And here I am at another juxtaposition in life, heart wide open, knees on the ground, begging God to guide me in this new journey…working like it depends on me, praying like it depends on Him.
Ain’t it funny when God taps us on the shoulder? Does that ever happen to you? I believe it does whether you realize it or not. God might be tapping you on the shoulder now to quit your job, move, and start over. God might be tapping you on the shoulder to stop spending money on this or that and invest for the long haul. Maybe he’s tapping you on the shoulder to date him or her, or maybe, not to.
I had a near and dear professor in college explain this “God-tap” concept to me and I’ve never really experienced it until now. But if what is to come isn’t a pretty gnarly God-tap I don’t know what is!
I firmly believe it’s not just my story where this can be true. Everyone’s story is unique and everyone’s is providential.
“Ky The Traffic Guy”
If you would have talked to the college graduating Ky of 2015, he would have told you in-depth, investigative journalism was his future and a shelf full of Emmys his destiny. I didn’t choose to work on a morning show. That was the open position when I needed it. I quickly learned how I was pretty good at the fun-loving feature pieces that tell a story of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. I also had a lot of fun giving people a heads up of what was happening in town over the weekend (#Things2Do). That’s what morning viewers wanted and I could deliver.
If you’ve ever seen some of my live shots, it’s clear this was the time of my life and I had really found my talent.
I had visions of loving local news especially in Reno, a community I love. But like with a lot of things, it wasn’t what I seemed. The reality of local news hit me early on. The stories I found most riveting were few and far between. Fires, stabbings, and snow storms topped our newscast more often than not and when they didn’t, finding a story with strong characters, visuals, and viewer-appeal was not as fluent as I would have liked.
Does that ever happen to you?
You envision something being one way and it turns out to be different? I wonder why this is. We are forced to adapt and realign our perspective to get the job done. I’ve reflected on my ability to adapt. You do what you have to do when it comes right down to it, but at the end of the day, you’re disappointed you even had to.
After I got back from Israel in March 2017, I was offered a promotion to be the new traffic anchor in the mornings. It was a great opportunity to start a new and needed brand in the community. I was excited to have a project to develop from scratch. “Ky the Traffic Guy” rolled off the tongue. When I accepted this job, I saw it as a way to drift from “news” and build a brand of entertaining information. I had my own segment! Exactly what I wanted. This is going to be fun!
And it certainly was…
But, my restless (and somewhat obnoxious) soul was still left with discontent. Some cons came with the pros of this new anchor position. My vision of meeting the style of storytelling greats such as Steve Hartman, Mo Rocca, Jane Paulie, were still not being met. I was on an unending path of exhaustion because of the early-morning schedule and disappointment in what resources I had to execute my presumptions. Funny how presumptions really do mess up the mind.
Whether I was out in the field at an event for “Things 2 Do!” or reading tweets on the touchscreen as “Ky the Traffic Guy,” the local news lifestyle was gratifying at times, destructive at others, but always at the end of the day…unsustainable.
“Do you think I could do it?”
I stood in the Dallas airport angry and saddened listening to Mom cry on the phone in Reno. After six long months of negotiating and working towards a final sale of the business, it all came to a halt.
The buyers backed out.
Lend-A-Hand Senior Services has been my parents and grandparent’s passion for 25 years. They have helped thousands of seniors live comfortably and safely inside their own homes. A ministry, as Mom calls it, to reach those who are in the last stages of life.
Mom and Dad had been wanting to sell for years. Each time they tried, it always ended in disappointment. This was the closest they had ever gotten to the dotted line. Six days before the sale, it was over. Mom was especially devastated. Lend-A-Hand is her “first born” as she likes to say. (I would take offense to that, but it’s true!)
I was returning from a trip to Washington, D.C., the place where I find unending energy, creativity and innovation. That place casts a spell on me to dream bigger than I had before. That’s why I make a yearly pilgrimage! (Most people have a place like this… where’s yours?) This trip was especially intentional because I knew in my heart I needed to plan my next venture. The clock was ticking on how long I could stay in local news. I was trying to figure out how to diversify. What else could be out there for me?
I honestly thought D.C. was in my future. I even picked an apartment near Nationals Stadium and Eastern Market. I dreamed about catching a Bryce Harper home run ball on the way to the train. Amazing things happen in that city, I tell ya!
As I sat down in Dallas to wait for my connecting flight, I told Mom to get back up to bat and try again. Another buyer will come. The emotional toll of selling your “first born” is a lot harder than you’d think.
“Maybe this is a sign from God to keep it in the family,” she said.
“Do you think I could do it?”
“It’s in your blood.”
The Beginning of a Sad Summer
I landed back in Reno and Mom picked me up. Her hours of crying were apparent. She was still recovering from the shock. We continued to talk about what was next for our family and for the company. She didn’t know either, but wanted me to think about how I could play a role. My parents have also never wanted me to feel like I was being guilted or forced to do anything. They have always wanted things be my decision. I needed to think long and hard and figure out how I would go about leaving the only thing I’ve ever known.
Less than 10 days later, tragedy struck the family.
Our Papa, Mom’s dad and the man who helped start Lend-A-Hand was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Our Grandpa Tony was about to pass away as well. The two were just a few doors down in the hospital. The sadness of a failed sale was minuscule to this.
It’s amazing to look back now at this time and see how these things happened so close to each other. Almost like God really wanted to grow our faith twofold. In one way, with money and business, the other to grow our family together for the next stage.
For me, this was the “straw that broke the camels back.” I needed to think about not just what was best for me, but for my family. Luckily, I think they are going to go hand-in-hand.
If 2017 has taught me anything, it is that things change. There is so much that is out of our control. Who are we to plan things in certainty they will work out?
James 4: 13-17 puts it like this:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
I look back at my plans where I had said I was going to be in news for the long haul to eventually meet the ranks of CBS Sunday Morning. Sadly, there’s “the road to Jericho” in the news business and there’s no guarantee you’ll make it.
I never think my passion for storytelling will go away, but it certainly changed. Experiences in life alter our thinking. It’s not something to apologize for and this took awhile for me to grapple. Why don’t I like “news” anymore? Did I ever actually like it? Why am I not feeling satisfied with the stories I tell?
Why? Why? Why?
I was seeking answers from somebody or something to help me deal with this, but in the end, I know as a believer in Christ, he has always lead me in the right direction and there’s something about surrendering your life to the change that will come. Unfortunately for type-As like me, we just get frustrated in the unknown.
There is something I am sure of in my quarter century of life…when God is leading me to do something, or in this case, not to do something, I can feel it.
Leaving news is what is best for my family now and my wife and children to come (oh Lord, please someday! Ha!) If I were to ignore this opportunity to take over the legacy my parents and grandparents have built before I was even alive, I would be incredibly selfish and staunchly resistant to the change God is calling me to accept.
Change is good, especially when it makes the next decades look brighter than you had originally planned.
Long Haul, Short Steps
Do you ever think about where you’ll be in the next 5 years? 10 years? 25 years?
I do. And as James 4 just said, it can be dangerous, but I think there is merit in seeking God’s will and trusting in it.
Taking steps little-by-little to a grander prize is what the journey of life should comprise of and as Pastor Mark Batterson out of D.C. says:
Never put a COMMA where God puts a period, and never put a PERIOD where God puts a comma.
Periods are harsh! Commons leave a sentence open ended, often running on, and without closure. But periods mean done, over, finished!
Taking over the family business feels like a period to me. But then I think about all the commas to come…like how I will be able to take on other projects (oh boy do I have plans!), rejuvenate the business in areas where 1992 is calling, and to excite, nurture, and expand what has been established…heck, maybe start a business of my own!
Because this decision means a period on a dream now achieved, so many more commas are to come. The same can be for you.
Where do you need to put a period or maybe, a comma?
Here’s Your Permission
I went to go and visit a Lend-A-Hand client who is 93 years old, has dementia, is very frail, and recently lost his wife of 72 years. He now lives by his television, unable to walk on his own or cook his own meals. He started to cry after a few short minutes with him.
He is sad, confused, and probably feeling hopeless.
Many of Lend-A-Hand’s clients are like him…in the last stages of life, having to come to the realization they cannot do day-to-day things by themselves any longer.
I left his house thinking, oh Lord, how short is life?
Dear reader, here is your permission…permission to take a big leap of faith, do something BIG, believe in a miracle to come.
Thank you for reading,