Triple-Amputee Royal Marines Commando Mark Ormrod

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On Christmas Eve 2007, Royal Marines Commando Mark Ormrod was on patrol in the Helmand province of Afghanistan when he triggered an IED and lost both legs and one arm. Today, Mark is an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, a peak performance coach, an entrepreneur and the author of the award-winning autobiography, Man Down. He is grit. He is resilience. He is the model of what it means to overcome.

I first met Mark when I wrote a feature about him in 2015. His story is one that has stuck with me and transformed how I think about life.

If you’ve ever come up against an obstacle in your life that felt too big to overcome or felt so low you never thought you’d get up again, Mark’s story might change your mind. His story moved me in a way few things ever have, and I think it will move you, too.

You can follow Mark on Twitter @markormrod, on Instagram @markormrod, on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/MarkOrmrodMotivation and through his website, https://www.markormrod.com.

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You are what you overcome. Choose the Hard Way.

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Andrew VontzEpisode 08
Camille Ricketts on Failure, Grit & Resilience in Silicon Valley

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The content & marketing mastermind shares lessons learned from a career that has included working as a journalist at the Wall Street Journal & Venture Beat; in PR at Tesla; and in content + marketing at Kiva and First Round Capital where she created the esteemed First Round Review. Camille is a powerhouse storyteller and authority on actionable insights for technology entrepreneurs. This episode is a deep dive into success, failure and overcoming obstacles to achieve escape velocity in Silicon Valley. And how to handle being asked, “What is your Mt. Everest?” while you’re in the middle of a bouldering problem at Dogpatch Boulders and thinking about where to get a burrito.

This interview took place while Camille was working as the head of content and marketing at First Round Capital, a seed-stage venture firm renowned for its deep & incisive content--thanks in no small part to Camille’s work. She helped launch the First Round Review where she wrote and edited dozens and dozens of articles & long-form interviews with top founders, execs & other hitters in tech about how they build, grow, innovate, lead, learn, fail, transform and more.

Previously, Camille applied her content strategy prowess at microfinance nonprofit Kiva and managed PR at Tesla Motors. Prior to that she was a reporter for VentureBeat & the Wall Street Journal. Camille has spent the last several months traveling and testing the water on new opportunities to tell great stories.

We dig in on the lessons Camille learned from her work interviewing entrepreneurs, founders and execs at length and at scale during her time at First Round. Follow Camille on Twitter @camillericketts.

If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe now, share with your friends and give us a 5-star review!

Get The Hard Way newsletter and never miss a new episode. Find more at www.choosethehardway.com and reach out @vontz and @hardwaypod on Twitter or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com.  

You are what you overcome. Choose the Hard Way.


Former Army Ranger & Writer Marty Skovlund, Jr.

Marty Skovlund, Jr. is a veteran Army Ranger who served in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Currently the executive editor of Black Rifle Coffee Company’s Coffee or Die magazine, he’s an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, award-winning filmmaker and the author of Ranger Knowledge: The Complete Study Guide. His book Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror, is a gripping, remarkable history of the GWoT told through first person accounts from Marty, other Rangers and their families and spouses. Marty is a guy who has done hard things and keeps pushing himself into new and challenging terrain, whether that’s going back to Afghanistan as a journalist to do in-depth reporting on the state of the ongoing war on terror or producing and directingdocumentaries. He’s currently working on his third book, a memoir. Follow Marty on twitter andInstagram @martyskovlundjr and on his website.


If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe, share with your friends and give us a positive rating. You can find more at www.choosethehardway.com and you can get in touch @hardwaypod on Twitter or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com.  

Andrew VontzEPISODE 06
Ex-Pro Cyclist Phil Gaimon

Former professional cyclist Phil Gaimon once almost died in a bike wreck, but he never rode the Tour de France. Today, he’s one of the biggest creative forces and personalities in the sport as the author of three books, creator of The Worst Retirement Ever YouTube series and host of The Peloton Brief Podcast. Phil has started multiple businesses and overcome huge odds to succeed. A self-described fat kid growing up, during his pro career he transformed himself into one of the best cyclists in America and clawed his way onto a World Tour team, the designation for teams at the highest level of the sport. In this episode he gives insight into how he has done it, how he has survived the worst moments of his life and where he is headed next. For even more Phil, follow him on Strava here or on Twitter, @philgaimon.

If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe, share with your friends and give us a positive rating. You can find more at www.choosethehardway.com and you can get in touch @hardwaypod on Twitter or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com.

Andrew VontzEpisode 05
Climber and Adventurer Emily Harrington

The North Face athlete on El Cap, Everest, anger, rock climbing, expeditions, origins and her evolution from one of the greatest competitive climbers ever to big mountain alpinist, skier and explorer.

Emily Harrington has summited Everest, free climbed El Capitan in Yosemite and completed numerous first ascents of 5.14 sport routes. She has been on expeditions around the world seeking out big mountains to ski, big wall free climbs and high altitude peaks in Nepal, China, Myanmar, Crimea and Morocco. At a young age, she was one of the best sport climbers in the world. As a member of the USA Climbing Team, she competed on the national and world competitive circuit winning 5 US National Sport Climbing Championships and 2 North American Championships. But her path has not been easy. In this episode, Emily shares the doubts and fears she has felt on her journey and how she turns her frustration to her advantage as she continually pushes herself in new directions. You can follow Emily on Instagram @emilyaharrington and on her website.

If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe, share with your friends and give us a positive rating. You can find more at www.choosethehardway.com and you can get in touch @hardwaypod on Twitter or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com.

Brian HicksEpisode 04
Former Green Beret & GoRuck Founder Jason McCarthy

Special Forces qualification, startup growing pains & successes + the tools it takes to succeed in the military and business.

Jason McCarthy is a combat veteran, former U.S. Army Green Beret and entrepreneur. In 2008, Jason founded GoRuck, the gear, apparel and events company that created the GoRuck Challenge--events modeled after Special Forces selection led by SOF cadre that last between a few hours and several days during which participants ruck with packs loaded with 20-40 pounds and get a small taste of what Jason calls ‘Good living.’ GoRuck gear is bomber, they have a unique, transparent approach to doing business and their community-led approach to marketing has helped propel the brand and the sport of rucking to rapid growth. But not without a few painful bumps along the way. In this episode we talk about Jason’s experience in Special Forces including selection, the hard decisions and sacrifices he has had to make to do great things and much more. Find @GoRuck on Instagram and on the web and check out the GoRuck Show podcast.


If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe, share with your friends and give us a positive rating. You can find more at www.choosethehardway.com and you can get in touch @hardwaypod on Twitter or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com.

Brian HicksEpisode 03
Adrian Ballinger on Everest & Life

7x summiter, 1x without supplemental oxygen, on the sacrifices made to fulfill a lifelong dream. Adrian Ballinger has summited Mt. Everest seven times. He attempted Everest without supplemental oxygen in 2016 as part of the Everest No Filter expedition with national geographic photographer Cory Richards. Cory made the summit. Adrian didn’t. They went back in 2017, and Adrian achieved his goal of summiting without oxygen. It wasn’t easy. In 2011 Adrian and two Sherpa partners became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He’s the first person to ski Manaslu, the 8th tallest mountain in the world, from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks.

You can follow Adrian on Instagram @adrianballinger, through his website and if you’d like to climb with him, check out Alpenglow Expeditions.

If you like this episode, please subscribe, share with your friends and give us a positive rating. You can find more at www.choosethehardway.com and you can get in touch @hardwaypod on Twitter or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com.

MORE ABOUT ADRIAN:
He is also the founder and CEO of Alpenglow expeditions and has led expeditions where more than 100 clients have successfully summited Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (the 8th tallest mountain in the world). He climbs, guides and skis all over the world including North and South America, the Himalayas and Africa.

Adrian has been a sponsored climber since he was a teen. His current sponsors include Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Petzl, Kaenon, Goal Zero, Hypoxico, Alpenglow Sports and High Altitude Fitness.

One of my favorite musicians is Bob Mould. And one of my favorite Bob Mould songs is Wishing Well. I’m not great at is remembering song lyrics. But a Bob Mould lyric that I do remember, is this--There’s a price you pay for a wish to come true--trade a small piece of your life. In this episode you’ll hear about what Adrian Ballinger has had to trade to be who he is and achieve what he has achieved.

Brian HicksEpisode 02
Crisis Management with Barbara Morgan

Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign head of comms/Booker+Bloomberg administration comms veteran shares her story of a crisis on the Weiner campaign. Morgan is a VP at the strategic communications firm Greenbrier and the founder of Apex Strategies. She served as a former senior aide to the NJ State Department of Education and the former administrations of Mayors Bloomberg and Booker. Barbara also headed communications for the mayoral campaign of Anthony Weiner.

She plays a gripping roll in the documentary Weiner about that campaign where both he and Barbara go through their own very public crises. During the Weiner campaign, Barbara became the news when a reporter wrote a story about comments she thought she had made off the record about a former campaign intern who had published a tell-all about working on the campaign. On this episode we’ll hear about what happened, what she learned, how she grew from it and much more.

As VP at SKDKnickerbocker, Barbara oversaw and managed strategic communication planning and execution for high-profile clients in finance, government, philanthropy and education such as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, The Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities, AT&T, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Columbia University, the State University of New York (SUNY), and others. You can find Barbara on Twitter @barbarakmorgan.


If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe, share with your friends and give us a positive rating. You can find more at www.choosethehardway.com and you can get in touch @hardwaypod on Twitter or send an email to choosethehardway@gmail.com.  

Brian HicksEpisode 01