“How the heck is a flashlight going to help you?”

“How the heck is a flashlight going to help you?”

The question came from an older woman in the crowd. She was also laughing and shaking her head when she heckled me from the audience. I had just held up my palm sized, pink, J5 Tactical Flashlight and told the entire room it was my favorite personal safety tool.

Since I absolutely love my tactical flashlight and always carry it with me, I wasn’t fazed. In fact, I welcomed the opportunity to go more in depth on WHY a small, compact flashlight is a great self-defense tool for women.

It Fits in the Palm of My Hand

I can comfortably hold and conceal the flashlight in my hand when I’m walking down the street. I can hold on to it and put my hands in my coat pockets without being obvious that I’m holding it (which draws attention to you and makes you look like YOU have something to hide). Its compact size also fits in my clutch purse on date nights and when I go out with friends. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of room in those small handbags and I don’t want to go anywhere without a tool for protection.

It’s Heavy Duty

This is not a plastic flashlight. It’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum and is impact and water resistant. I keep it in my handbag and as the mom of two small boys, I have a lot of random stuff being thrown in there.

(Basically-I’m ready for anything. Did you spill lunch on your shirt? I have a Tide pen. Need a band-aide? I have a mini first aid kit. Hungry or thirsty? I have snacks and drinks. Need small, metal cars to keep your kids occupied?                                  Would you like a car or a truck?)

Also-J5 Tactical offers a lifetime guarantee on their flashlights, no questions asked.

It Can Go Everywhere

On a work trip to Washington D.C. last year, a friend and I planned a morning run to the Washington Memorial before the conference started. I brought my Mace Sport Model (it has a strap to secure the spray to your hand) to bring on the run. On the way home, I got stopped by TSA because I forgot to transfer the Mace from my handbag to my checked luggage. The male TSA agent said, “I’m really sorry to have to take this because I think all women should carry Mace, but I can’t let you get on the airplane with it.” You know what he didn’t have to take? The tactical flashlight that was also in my handbag.

I’ve gone to outdoor music festivals on the beach, caught professional baseball games in stadiums, attended rock concerts in large and small venues, and flown to other countries-all with the tactical flashlight in my handbag.

It Uses AA Batteries

At home, I have a bazillion AA batteries because just about every one of my kid’s toys that need batteries, takes that size. Having a self-defense tool I carry every day, use a battery I have on hand, is practical. I don’t need to search endcap displays for an obscure “ABC3241” size battery. If I’m being completely honest, if it required a special battery when it went dead, it would stay dead.

I Don’t Worry About My Kids Getting Ahold of It

If you have young kids, I’m sure they listen and obey all your rules 100% of the time…right?

(It’s a rhetorical question, don’t worry-you don’t have to answer that 😉)

Even though they’ve been told to ask before digging through my handbag, my boys love to find the snacks I mentioned earlier any time they think I’m not paying attention.

I swear we feed them!

I love not worrying about them finding my tactical flashlight and hurting themselves. Yes, they may temporarily blind each other or even themselves, but it’s not anything that won’t go away in the time it takes me to ask “what’d ya learn?”

Which leads me to the next feature I love…

It’s Really Bright

The J5 Tactical flashlight I carry is 300 lumens. It also allows you to choose from a focused or wide beam of light. To get an idea of how bright that is, a mini Maglite is typically 15 lumens at max.  Another great feature of this flashlight is it has three modes- high, low, and strobe. You can temporarily blind someone with the high or low light mode and cause disorientation with the strobe setting. This allows you to further convince a potential attacker “not me, not today”.

Who Else Has a Flashlight at Night?

In my presentations, I talk about the things potential attackers look for when selecting their victims. They watch the way you carry yourself when you walk and if you’re distracted. At night, you probably won’t see them watching you until they step out of the shadows to approach you. If you have your flashlight turned on as you walk down the street or through the parking lot, they’re going to see the beam of light before they see you. Who else has a flashlight at night? Law enforcement and security guards. An attacker is NOT going to stick around to find out if you’re a cop, they’re going to get away from the light. They don’t want to be seen!

Remember-having situational awareness is about AVOIDING a physical confrontation.

The Beveled Edge Would Leave a Mark

I like to think my cute little pink tactical flashlight is representative of me. It’s not intimidating at first glance but when you notice the beveled edge, you know it could do some damage if a situation called for it.

I hold the flashlight so my thumb rests on the button to turn it on. If I’m walking down the street during the day, the end that the light shines from is actually facing behind me. I don’t need to light my path because of the daylight so it’s in the ready position to throw a hammer punch to an arm, face, collar bone or whatever bony part of an attacker’s body is most readily available (if they’re tall, the bridge of their nose may be out of reach). My goal is to cause the most amount of pain as quickly as possible. Think about hitting your shin on something, it hurts like hell! That’s the effect I’m going for on an attacker.

At night, I hold the flashlight the other way because it’s more natural to walk down the street swinging my arms. If an attacker steps out of the shadows, it’s easy to bring my hand up and flip the flashlight so my thumb is on the button. That way, I’m ready to switch to the strobe setting if necessary and also ready to use the beveled edge as a weapon.

Oh…and it Helps Me See in the Dark

Let’s not forget that it’s also a functioning flashlight. I like things that have multiple uses because I already carry enough stuff in my handbag (see my list above).

Anyone Can Carry A Flashlight

Whether you’re just starting to think about carrying something for your personal safety or you’ve been carrying tools for years (Mace, Taser, Personal Alarm, Knife, Firearm, etc.), a tactical flashlight is something anyone and everyone should have. Do you have a sister, mom, daughter, niece, cousin, friend you care about? A tactical flashlight makes a great practical gift that they will have and use for years.

In fact, if you want to get one for yourself and one for someone you care about, send me an email and I’ll give you a deal on buying two tactical flashlights. 😊

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

-Helen Keller

Forget Perfect, I am Resilient

Forget Perfect, I am Resilient

You Can Do A lot of Things Right…But Not Perfect

A follower on IG messaged me last week about an incident that happened to her a few years ago.

“I love your messages on here about how to stay safe. Just a quick note that even when you do everything ‘right’, you can still be a victim. Several years ago, I was mugged in uptown in Minneapolis. It was light outside, I was walking with my head up, gave the 4 guys eye contact and smiled and as they passed me, I got jumped. I’m fine, all 4 were caught that night and were convicted. I guess the moral of the story was there are people that will find a way to be evil. And there are heros too…so just be aware. A guy across the street immediately came running (towards me) and I luckily had my cell phone in my pocket, not my purse (they took that) and I was able to call 9-1-1 and could say what each of them was wearing and what direction they were running in. Again, awareness is key, but also sometimes crap happens and it’s how you respond that can be just as important. You don’t want a false sense of security, nor to live in fear.”

When I asked her what the one thing she would want all women to learn from her experience, she said this:

“Trust your instincts but believe in good in the world. Bad things can happen when you least expect it, but people can also surprise you and be heros too. There isn’t a perfect solution to safety, but you can take steps to be safer…but don’t let fear stop you…make it drive you forward. Truthfully-what (is) learned is you truly don’t have control…but you can control how you handle life situations.”

BOOM. Read that again, “but you can control how you handle life situations.”

Resiliency: noun

  1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

It’s Not Easy

Resiliency is such an important character trait. Life is hard. We all make mistakes. We’ve all had bad things happen to us (bad being relative). The most important thing to do is to get back up and keep moving forward.

Let’s Be Real

As my husband likes to say,

“Bad things almost always happen to bad people. Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to good people.”

We can get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe it’s the late-night trip to the store to pick up the class snack your kid just told you they need tomorrow. Maybe it’s having to stop at that creepy gas station at night because you completely forgot to fill up your tank earlier in the day. Maybe it’s making the smart decision to get a taxi after two glasses of wine with friends, only to have the driver start making inappropriate comments.

Cue the Armchair Warriors

All the armchair warriors of the world can dissect your choices AFTER the fact and from the comfort of their own home. The truth is, we all make better decisions with hindsight.  Sure, your kid could’ve told you earlier that they were in charge of bringing snack the next day. Of course, you could have given yourself enough time to fill up your gas tank earlier in the day. Did you need to drink to hang out with friends? (no, but I’m not one to turn down a good glass of vino-let’s be honest!)

I don’t believe there is such a thing as perfect situational awareness. For one, I’m human. Letting go of the perfectionist mentality is crucial in building my awareness skills.

What Does Perfectionism Have to do with Awareness?

Let me explain.

I am resilient. With my resilience comes the confidence that no matter what happens, I won’t give up and I’ll come back even stronger. I’ve failed at many things, but each time I’ve learned something new, and continued moving forward. I still make mistakes, and I can pretty much guarantee I’ll continue to make mistakes when it comes to my awareness. Not only do I have two small boys who are always saying “watch me mom!”, I’m also a wife who thinks about her husband, a friend who tries to be good at remembering important milestones in other’s lives, and a business owner who’s always thinking about the next thing on my to-do list. To say I’m 100% aware of my surroundings all the time, would be a lie.

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect, You Need To Be Resilient

In her article, “The Art of Resilience”, Hara Estroff Marano, states:

“Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.”

“It’s possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent. It’s possible to fortify your psyche. It’s possible to develop a sense of mastery.”

What I learned from all those failures is they weren’t my last chapter, just a change in my story. Contrary to what my own teenage mentality told me when I was younger, it was never the end of the world. I simply needed to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and decide what I was going to do next.

Being physically attacked is different and yet if we can use those same resiliency skills to say, “I’m not perfect and this event does not define me”, our ability to recover and help law enforcement find our attacker(s) will increase exponentially. Going back to the story shared by our follower, she was aware of her surroundings and even looked right at the attackers- and they still mugged her. Because she was resilient and quickly took control of her situation, she was able to give physical descriptions and the direction they ran to police, who were then able to apprehend and charge all 4 attackers. Kudos to her!

Going Forward

I hope you’re never in a life or death situation.

I hope you never find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I hope you practice being present and aware of your surroundings every day.

I hope you build your resilience with the knowledge that you are a fighter. That if someone is trying to bring you down, mentally or physically, you won’t go down easy and you won’t go do without a fight. You are smart, you are brave, and you won’t give up.

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

Steve Maraboli