The inspiring piece to what makes Mark Pollock tick isn’t that he’s just become the first blind man to trek to the South Pole (incredible as that feat alone is).
(Watch what these guys do 2.5 mins into this video!)
Nor is it the six marathons in one week in China’s Gobi desert sand that cuts your feet like glass, and the other amazing challenges he’s set and met.
No, what strikes me as extraordinary is the pragmatic manner in which he’s dealt with the cards that fate dealt him.
Losing the sight in his remaining eye while still a 22-year old student at Trinity College Dublin (and about to sit his Finals) came as a terrible shock in 1998.
His identity at that time and the world that he had constructed around it was now not only unseen but very, very uncertain.
On one video I listened to him describe how challenging it was just to get up from bed and go find a toothbrush in the bathroom.
And then to get to the front door; to the end of the driveway, and to eventually getting a job.
What I’ve learned about Mark is that over the next ten years he continued to set and meet challenges and tasks one step at a time. He prepared as meticulously as time, finances and abilities would allow.
And he saw time and again the real benefits and power from committed team work.
But sometimes he just had to run with what he had, come what may (the trek from Dublin to make the South Pole press launch in London was a classic case of never say die.)
For me, perhaps the most moving example of when guts and courage met practical limitations are the 2 Coast-to-Coast races he participated in New Zealand’s South Island.
Strictly speaking, Mark knows he failed to complete within the race rules. But by recognizing what he’d accomplished from his two experiences, the whole adventure turned into a soaring triumph.
(Read the last three paragraphs about that race and see if you feel that way too.)
I’m not therefore surprised that Mark defines his goal as follows:
My goal is to help others to achieve their potential, just as I strive to achieve mine each and every day.