I’m very fortunate to be able to caption all kinds of speakers from around the world. One of those speakers is Colin O’Brady. This 34-year-old has two world records in mountain climbing. He completed the Seven Summits Challenge, which is climbing the tallest mountains on all of the seven continents, and he holds the speed record for it. He also completed the Explorers Grand Slam, which is climbing the tallest mountains on all seven continents along with expeditions to the North Pole and South Pole. The most fascinating part of captioning his speech was his recollection of crossing Antarctica solo and unaided.
While giving this speech, he talked about how Mt. Everest had been a goal of his for a long time. He and his fiancée had formed an organization called Beyond 7/2 to help kids be active since childhood obesity is at its highest levels ever. He shared with the kids via social media his conquering of these world records, the 60-degree windchill on Everest, and how he had to tell himself to take one step at a time to make it to the top. He began asking the kids, what’s your Everest? They would say things like, be the first to graduate from college in my family or save this endangered species. His next Everest became his Antarctica record. There are always goals to be conquered.
I found myself asking this same question. What’s my Everest? I have been very fortunate in my career as a captioner. My first Everest was getting hired by the largest captioning company in the United States, Vitac. It took me four months to test with them after I learned a colleague had gone for it. I was so scared and never thought I would be good enough, but then I got the offer. My next Everest was becoming an independent captioner that worked for multiple companies. I made the leap with the help of colleagues and the support of my family after four and a half years of working at Vitac. Now my new Everest is launching my own business. With the support of my mentor and partner, I’m doing just that. It’s exhilarating! I am taking a step at a time, sometimes unsure if it’s the right one, but I keep forging ahead.
Colin O’Brady’s words will always stay with me. Achievement is for those who never quit and overcome the greatest obstacle of all – your mind. Some days my mind questions whether I can do this, but deep down I know I can with my grit. The mind is a powerful tool, and I’ve gotten this far. I’m going to keep going one step at a time. I’m sure after my business they’ll be another Everest. Perhaps competing in speed competitions or realtime competitions at my state and national associations. When you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Now, what’s your Everest?