Your Own Rescue. Hand grabbing another hand to pull someone out of the water.

Participate In Your Own Rescue

My brother, a former Coast Guardsman, has a saying, “I’m going to need you to participate in your own rescue.” It derives from that moment when facing down a boater or a swimmer flailing in panic and inhibiting the rescue. The Coast Guardsman delivers the phrase while looking the afflicted square in the eye, simultaneously conveying professional competence borne of training and utter command of the crisis at hand. The individual suddenly gets hold of themselves and complies with specific instructions required to save their own life.

I can’t help but think of this concept when I speak to audiences filled with prospective clients who don’t yet recognize the gravity of their situation. Most are similar to the victim of the boating accident, treading water miles offshore and only just beginning to recognize, “Man that’s a long swim” to safety. Hint: I don’t care how close to shore you are; you can’t swim there without exhausting yourself and you will likely drown going it alone.

Recreational boating offers many opportunities for safe fun and family enjoyment. But because there are changing environmental factors ever-present, there are precautions a prudent boater must take before venturing too far. For example:

  • Routine boat maintenance must be performed despite the urge to defer.
  • Complete training in safe boating—classroom and practical training is available.
  • Keep safety gear on board, beyond the basic life vest, fire extinguisher, and signaling device.
  • Offshore examples include multiple VHF radios, flares, locator beacons, ditch bags of water and simple durable food, handheld GPS, SPOT or Garmin GPS tracker (so someone else is tracking you), and filing a float plan

That list might seem the proverbial “belt and suspenders” overkill. It is, but it is also a layered defense that can be called upon as conditions worsen. There’s a saying in boating that, “If you ever have to energize your emergency locator beacon, you’ll be home for dinner.” The dark humor is a tribute to how effective the tool is and the responsiveness of the Coast Guard recognizing that the beacon only gets energized when someone is in peril.

Back to my speaking. I offer talks throughout the country that follow the taglines of “Follow the Funding of Federal Sales,” and “Embrace Your Influence.” In each talk, I offer prescriptions for varying conditions of the federal sale. I highlight specific examples of small, medium, and large companies that scored outsized wins. Sharing free and time-tested concepts help company executives improve their levels of awareness about the critical aspects of influencing the funding that underpins their federal sale.

I previously shared via this newsletter some of the findings of my academic research. One finding is confirmation of the impact of the level of awareness regarding federal processes and communications techniques. Those with high awareness do well; those with low awareness struggle. Sounds obvious, right? The problem is most executives believe they have high awareness when they actually don’t. Further, they conflate their time in the industry with actual expertise. This is a critical error in judgment, and a failure to self-assess.

My expertise as a Navy Captain honed my abilities self-assessing a ship’s material and personnel readiness. This expertise translates directly into my ability to boat safely. Yet, even after the command of large ships, I saw fit to refresh my training by attaining Coast Guard Captain licensing. I also understand how to implement my skills of self-assessment evaluating the readiness of my recreational boat and the crew and family aboard. I’m participating in my own rescue by doing all within my power to reduce the need for a rescue.

The executives sitting in the audience but scrolling through Instagram, mirror the executives with low awareness, unable to objectively self-assess. Executives who ask questions or follow up for a consult are at least open to the idea that they may have gaps in their knowledge.

Executives with high awareness of the nuances of federal sales are rare indeed.

Are you participating in your own rescue? Or are you waiting for the professional to stare you square in the eye and deliver the line?

Make Your Move is a navigational guide for those transitioning out of the military and considering the next steps— or anybody facing a major career change. My story is both an example and practical guide to dream big and achieve big things.

100% of the Proceeds of Make Your Move Go To Freedom Fighter Outdoors

Freedom Fighter Outdoors started as an awareness of the physical, mental and emotional suffering of the men and women who served our country in the military.

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