Thought Leadership

Lessons Learned: Wisdom Gained from the Sea ​​

  Jeremy Bout   |     June 26, 2023 |   10 minute read
Mike and Linda Fitzpatrick features on Dream Weaver, and episode the Journey by Edge Factor

In the realm of filmmaking, there are moments when a single encounter can have a profound impact, changing the course of not only one person's life but also the lives of countless others. Such was the case when I received massive encouragement from Mike Fitzpatrick, a man whose influence transcended the boundaries of education and storytelling.


When Edge Factor’s first film, The Beginnings, was released, it caught the attention of Mike,  and when he played it in his class, it sparked an unexpected chain of events. One student, moved by the trailer, decided to change their major, setting off on a new path.


However, Mike's impact extended far beyond inspiring a single student. He became a catalyst for change, shifting my perception of what Edge Factor could accomplish. Recognizing the power of edutainment and storytelling, Mike encouraged me to explore this innovative approach to help students discover meaningful career pathways.


What drew me even closer to Mike was our shared love for the ocean. Setting sail with someone who possessed an intimate knowledge of the sea was a transformative experience. Mike's prowess as a captain extended beyond navigating the waves, he was a natural problem solver, always ready to face challenges head-on.


Having had the privilege of sailing with Mike and his wife, Linda on multiple occasions, I was captivated by their story. It’s a tale that deserves to be shared, one that embodies the spirit of embracing new opportunities and the character traits of a successful person.


Setting Sail: A Dream Becomes Reality

The Journey episode, Dream Weaver provides the perfect platform to showcase Mike and Linda’s incredible journey. Weaving their dreams together, even in the later stages of life, they demonstrated their unwavering willingness to learn and try something new. Now, it is time to honor Mike and Linda Fitzpatrick, not only for their gutsy decisions but also for their generosity in sharing so much of their lives with others.

Mike and Linda were always curious about what lay beyond the horizon. In 1989, they began planning for their journey. They spent two and a half years planning every detail of their voyage, from the route they would take to the supplies they would need. They knew that there was always more to learn and more to do, and they were determined to make the most of their adventure. They embarked on a journey to sail around the Pacific Rim, covering the vast expanse of the Pacific Oceans. Their journey would take them from Washington, south to the Galapagos Islands, then to New Zealand, Australia, Russia, and finally, Alaska. For four years, Mike and Linda sailed the vast expanse of the Pacific, encountering new challenges and experiences at every turn. Their journey was a testament to the power of curiosity and the importance of always pushing yourself to learn and explore.


Unleashing the Power of Curiosity: Mike and Linda's Epic Adventure Ignites a Four-Year Journey of Learning and Exploration


Mike and Linda's journey around the Pacific Rim taught them some valuable lessons that we can all learn from. Here are eight lessons that they discovered along the way:


  • Be Prepared

Being unprepared in the middle of the ocean is a life sentence. From repairing the boat to preparing the boat, having the proper medicines, navigation, and sailing technology is crucial. The same is true in life, we need to prepare for the unexpected. 


  • Teamwork is Key 

Communication and teamwork are crucial. Understanding each other's roles, supporting each other, and accepting that there can only be one person who makes the final decisions is very important. However, there are times when pushing back is necessary, and if team members don't know who is in charge of what, it can lead to chaos.


“There can only be one captain,” says Linda, “and we all know who that is. He (Mike) is very capable and I have every confidence that he can handle anything that comes along. I push back every now and then because I just want to make sure he knows I am here. But I am the master of the galley, I need to know where everything is in the galley and he leaves that to me.” 


  • Face Fears and Do Hard Things 

They had to deal with some complicated and difficult situations. Navigating in unfamiliar waters was hazardous and stressful at times. Situations can change quickly from clear blue skies to severe thunderstorms in minutes. Mike and Linda had to ride out a storm while at sea but they seized the opportunity to use their skills knowing that failure was a possibility. Success doesn’t come in a linear experience it comes with overcoming challenges and doing hard things. 


“Just like us in our career, there is going to be failure, there is going to stress, it’s not going to be all smooth sailing.” - Mike Fitzpatrick


  • Self-Reliance

They had to use skills to repair their boat, make decisions and solve problems on their own. Mike shares how he earned an income and used his skills to repair boats for others Self reliance requires you to be someone who wants to do for yourself. 


  • Appreciate the Simple Things in Life 

At sea, Mike and Linda were disconnected from the modern technological world and they had to get by with only what they needed, to simplify life. Even though they had less stuff, they were more appreciative and more connected to the natural world.  Mike and Linda also met people on their journey who also lived simply, they were not underdeveloped, and they had everything they needed. 


  • Adaptability & Problem-Solving

Mike and Linda had to be able to adapt when situations arose that were out of their control. Mike had to acknowledge that he didn’t know everything, so sometimes problems came up like the boat needing unexpected repairs. Mike had to figure out a way to fix it or acquire what he needed to solve the problem.


  • Cultural Awareness and Respect 

Traveling and meeting new cultures, gave Mike and Linda the opportunity to learn to appreciate the diversity of cultures and traditions. By spending time with people who were different from them, they experienced different cultures and witnessed how they live a simple life with less stress. Their most memorable moments were spent with the local people, learning customs, and new languages.


We knew we were going to exotic places and we’re going to see exotic things. We didn’t realize how important the person-to-person connections was going to be.” - Mike Fitzpatrick 


  • Give Back 

As a lifelong learner, Mike wanted to share knowledge as much as he wanted to receive knowledge. He would go in, meet the locals, offer to help the villagers and spend time with them. Giving back is an essential part of the journey.


Skills Give You Options


After 4 years of sailing, they returned home. The experience shaped them in ways they didn’t expect.


This extraordinary adventure and remarkable story of Mike and Linda highlight the lessons they learned at sea, but these lessons can be transferred to all aspects of life, professionally and personally.  They have left an indelible mark on the lives they have touched, including mine. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to pay tribute to their incredible journey of courage and generosity.


“A lot of people say, I’ve always wanted to do that - how do you get from, I want to do it, to doing it?  I like to know that I have options in life, and my skills give me options.” - Mike Fitzpatrick


I'm thrilled to share with the world what the Edge Factor team has put together to tell Mike and Linda's incredible story of adventure and generosity! It's truly inspiring, and my hope is that it will ignite a spark within you to embrace your dreams, live life to the fullest, and make a positive impact on others. Watch and share this unforgettable episode of the Journey on the Edge Factor platform today.


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