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International adventurer shares the summit of success

Audrey Kittrell 07/26/2011 @ 10:15am Editorial Intern for Successful Farming magazine and Agriculture Online

Charlie Wittmack had a goal.  In 2010, the American adventurer became the first person to complete The World Triathlon—a staggering 8,000-mile journey from the frigid waters of the River Thames to the snow-capped summit of Mt. Everest.  The feat was described by the BBC as “the toughest human endurance event ever conceived.”  To a group of 50 young people at the New Century Farmers (NCF) conference, Wittmack, 34, asked, “What’s your Everest?”

Wittmack encouraged the NCF participants to challenge themselves in the fear of uncertainty, where competitive advantage grows. 

But how does this apply to farmers?

After escaping death on an expedition and flunking out of college, Wittmack found himself on his family farm in Boone, Iowa, desperate to keep climbing. So, he froze the side of a corn silo, and taught himself to climb a 90-degree slope.

“You guys are the best farmers in the country; you know bad things are going to happen, so you’ll have to learn how to overcome them,” Wittmack said.

While no NCF participants admitted to wanting to climb any mountains soon, Logan Skeen (Nyssa, OR), said he can take Wittmack’s inspiration back to the farm: “He put his life at risk for his dream.  Sometimes the biggest risk is when you’ll get the biggest payoff,” he said.

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