Jamie Clarke Wows at Credit Congress General Session

NACM's Credit Congress kicked off this morning with a rousing, inspirational presentation from Jamie Clarke, an author, motivational speaker and adventurer in the purest sense of the term.

Clarke noted that his roots as an adventurer started with his mother. “She gave me books, and around age 13-ish I accidentally start to read the books,” laughed Clarke. “I began to read the stories and in these adventurous tales they came home changed and I said 'I think I want to be an adventurer.'”

Eventually Clarke's accidental reading soon became a habit, and he stumbled into one goal in particular that became his focus. “So I grabbed the encyclopedia and learned what is mountaineering and I found this one mountain,” he noted.

That mountain, as one could guess, was Mount Everest.

While his goal was now clear, Clarke's actual journey was a bit more complicated. Years later, when it came time to actually make the trek to the top of the world's highest mountain, he faced a great deal of adversity. For example on his first attempt, “we failed in our attempt to reach the summit,” and then he tried “three years later and we didn't make it,” this time only coming about 160 meters shy of the summit. “It's a block and a half,” said Clarke.

Then in his third attempt, having never succumbed to fear of failure or loss of purpose, Clarke made it to the top of the mountain that had so fascinated him years before. “Fear is manifested in any kind of adventurer,” he noted. “Fear of judgment, all those things in our lives that we're concerned about, sometimes they create paralysis and prevent us from doing anything.”

“That intrigues me,” said Clarke. “Why is that fear there?” And it was at the top of Everest that he found that simply asking that question, and really considering it, makes it so that “it's no longer as scary as we thought. It was here that I learned how to manage that fear.”

In a way, fear became a flag, or a signifier for Clarke. “Fear is a companion, and fear also brings that energy,” he noted. “There's a little worry that maybe I won't measure up, and that fear is a good indicator that maybe you should give it a whirl.”

Now having ascended the famed Seven Summits, including Everest on multiple occasions, as well as becoming the first person since the middle of last century to cross the Arabian desert by camel, Clarke's endeavors served as a potent metaphor for attendees looking to ascend their own educational peaks, to the heights of continuing credit education. “On the other side of that fear is freedom,” he said. “Freedom to build the life we want

Stay tuned to NACM's blog for more updates from this year's ongoing NACM Credit Congress!

-Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer

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