Dreaming BIG with Ben Pettingill
We first met Ben when he joined us our Altitude Day Roadshow in 2019. His powerful testimony of resilience and living with ‘Limitless Vision’ empowered students across Australia. So much so, we asked Ben to join us on the road again for our 2021 Altitude Day Roadshow. Ben is a valuable member of the yLead community, and we’re grateful for the inspiration he has brought to our world. Ben joined us in 2021 at ALL Altitude Day events except Canberra!
Here’s Ben’s take on what it means to dream BIG:
What was a dream you had in high school (or Year 9 specifically)?
In Year 9 one of my biggest dreams was to become a helicopter pilot once I finished school and be able to travel Australia while working and flying helicopters.
Can you share with us a goal that you have achieved and what it meant to you to achieve it?
One of my biggest goals since I was a child was to compete in the Southern 80, one of the fastest water skiing races in the world. When I lost 98% of my eyesight overnight at age 16 and I hadn’t achieved this goal yet, I automatically wrote it off as now being impossible. Four years later, I had the opportunity to compete in the race despite not being able to see. I had to do it slightly differently to how I first imagined all of those years earlier; however due to the challenges that I had to overcome in between, it meant so much more to me than it would have if I had never lost my eyesight. The bigger the challenge we have in the way of our goals, the more it means to us when we do achieve it. Crossing the finish line meant so much more than simply that, it helped build my belief that my situation didn’t dictate what I could achieve.
Ben sharing his message of 'Limitless Vision'
Ben with students at our Gold Coast Altitude Day
While chasing dreams there are moments of highs and lows (mountain tops and valleys if you will)… what motivates you to continue chasing that dream when you’re in the valley?
The Why! The reason behind the dream is what keeps me going and pushing through the tough times along the way. Sometimes we set goals because someone else wants us to achieve them and they don’t actually mean something to you, so it becomes much harder to push through the valley. Our dreams need to align with our passion and then through this the tough moments will just become part of the journey.
What piece of practical advice would you give to young people who want to start, or are in the process of chasing a dream?
Surround yourself with a team of people you trust, who believe in you and who can become your cheerleaders. There are always times when you are chasing a goal or dream where self doubt will creep in, or you question whether it’s worth it to keep going. When you have people around you who know your dream and have your back, you are able to lean on them to keep pushing towards achieving your dreams and goals.
All dreams, big and small, are valuable. What are 5 dreams you are currently chasing?
Five dreams I’m currently chasing are:
- Completing the push up challenge for mental health
- Learn to play a full song on guitar
- Build momentum with my fitness by exercising every day in July, because consistency is key!
- Launch an online program to help people build resilience, achieve goals and stay accountable
- Equip myself with the knowledge and confidence about becoming a Dad at the end of the year, and proactively coming up with strategies to overcome the challenges of doing so without being able to see