Jessica Watson is one of the Australian heroes. In 2010, she completed a 38,000 km trip sailing around the world in a 34 ft boat.
At just 16 years of age.
Facing the uncertainties of the weather, treachery of the seas and, probably worst of all, facing loneliness for 210 days.
Knowing that there is no one there to help her if things go wrong.
Jessica with her dad, waving to tens of thousands of fans, at her homecoming in Sydney Harbour, 15 May 2010
She did what all successful people do. She dreamed big and decided to achieve big.
She set in motion a careful plan to bring her vision to life. She knew she could not control the winds and the oceans and decided they would not control her either.
She learnt how to master the skills of high achievers: commitment, self discipline and optimism. And she knew that optimism comes with knowledge. So she decided to master sailing, safety, dealing with emergency, hand sewing sails, repairing machinery, desalinating water...
And she kept her positive attitude. "I'm just going to have to toughen up some more and deal with it", said Jessica in one of her blog entries, ..."there's no reason that I can't take anything on, huge seas, knockdowns."
Jessica had a few setbacks: a failed start, storms, some knockdowns, and controversy. Debates about her not breaking the official world record.
So what? Who cares about an official technicality?
She didn't play by the official rules. She did not out-do someone else. She out-did herself.
She is still the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe. But she has achieved so much more. She has shown the whole world that if you set your sights on doing what you love, even if that seems impossible, you can.
Get her book at Amazon to learn about she did it. Her accomplishment is amazing. Partly because of her age, though it would be amazing at any other age. But mostly because of the determination and passion in pursuit of her dreams. Because she didn't allow anyone to deter her from her goals.
Jessica Watson, welcome to the Australian heroes hall of fame. You are a true inspiration.