Redefining Limits: The Hidden Value of Hard
Some of you may recall how taken I was with the coverage of the Bounty hearings by Mario Vittone at gCaptain. I wondered, “Who is this guy who writes so knowledgeably and compassionately about an event that is so outrageous and outraging?”
And then I did what I do when something or someone captures my imagination: I google-stalked Vittone like crazy, read everything of his I could find, and watched every scrap of video that was available. Here he is recounting the rescue of a family, including a an infant and 13 year old, from a sailboat 300 miles out, in high wind and seas, with on-scene footage from the rescue:
And when I was done, I thought, “I want to work with this guy.”
With that in mind, you can imagine how very pleased I am to announce Sailing Montauk’s Corporate Event offerings, featuring leadership training workshops with decorated US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Mario Vittone:
“Learning from failure is often cited as a key element of success, but how can we learn the lessons failure has to teach us when we operate in a mission-critical environment?
“Mario Vittone answers that question in Redefining Limits: The Hidden Value of Hard, a one day theory and practice leadership workshop that will redefine your conception of risk, failure, and grace under pressure.
“Mario is a former U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer and the director of the Maritime Safety Systems division of VLinc Corporation. He is a leading expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea. His writing has appeared in Yachting Magazine, SaltWater Sportsman, MotorBoating Magazine, and Reader’s Digest. He has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary heroism and in 2007, was named as the U.S. Coast Guard Active Duty Enlisted Person of the Year.”
I’m excited about this for a few reasons.
First off, working with Mario is going to let us bring a world-class leadership training program to Montauk. These classes will typically take place in the spring and fall when our hotels have empty rooms and our restaurants have empty tables. Working with Mario will help establish Montauk as a premiere destination for corporate visitors at a time of the year when our town needs them most.
Secondly, Mario has very graciously agreed to make community engagement an integral part of his visits to Montauk. He’ll be offering his extensive water-safety experience to our local rescue services at no cost, and bring the most-up-date knowledge on water safety, accident prevention, training, and leadership to Montauk and the rest of the East End water safety community. Helping make that happen is part of the “giving back” I wanted to bake into how we run our new business.
Lastly, as the title of his workshop hints at, Mario has a take on the value of our “flintier virtues” that I find utterly compelling. I instinctively know there’s a good reason recruits have to do push-ups till they pass out, but until I heard Mario break down the why, I had no words to explain my intuition. Conversely, there is no machismo in his message. Mario is heart-breakingly humble and compassionate.
After 9/11 I read Steven Pressfield’s Gates of Fire, and was comforted by it. In the end, before they make their final stand at the Gates of Thermopylae, the wise old Spartan soldier comes to the answer to a question he posed to his platoon:
“Do you remember last night, Xeo, when we sat with Ariston and Alexandros and spoke of fear and its opposite?”
And I said I did.
“I have an an answer to my question. Our friends the merchant and the Scythian have given it to me.”
His glance took in the fires of the camp, the nations of the allies clustered in their units and their officers, whom we could see like us , approaching from all quarters the king’s fire, read to respond to his needs and receive his instrutions.
“The opposite of fear,’ Dienekes said, “is love.”
Embedded below is a video of Mario giving his presentation to the men and women who train our nation’s elite operators. I think you’ll find it well worth the 45 minutes it takes to watch: