“Don’t ever give up”, like “Drive safely” is a common refrain repeated so often by mothers and mentors that  sooner rather than  later, it loses its mojo. We hear without listening.

But for one young man from Brisbane’s northern suburbs, ‘don’t give up’ became a lot more than another vague instruction. Those three simple words took root in his heart and swelled until they became both a shining star and the driver that saw him achieve the seemingly impossible.

Now, I don’t know this young man: I’ve never met him and in fact have never seen more than pictures of him.

But I admire him enormously.

His name is Joe Medway and he is a rodeo rider.

You may not think that bring a rodeo bloke has much in common with your own corporate ambitions?

But you may be surprised.

To me, Joe is the personification of what can happen when a youngster – or anyone for that matter –  powers a dream with a clear goal, self -belief, resilience and sheer determination… and never gives up until they’ve made it!

When Joe was a kid, growing up in a semi-rural area, he played at riding and roping calves with his mates. As he matured to manhood he developed a love of rodeo and set his sights on becoming a champion.

But, it was clear he had precious little hope of that: he could only watch  – and wish – as a spectator. Any thought of joining in – or even learning to ride a horse – was laughable.  Joe’s passion for junk food had pushed his weight way up to beyond obese levels and to put it plainly, he was seriously unfit.

But, Joe Medway wasn’t giving in that easily. He knew that first he had to confront a humungous weight loss challenge. As Josh Alston, Quest News journalist tells it: “(Joe’s) watershed victory came after a life-changing tilt at reality show
The Biggest Loser
back in 2010.”

Having the guts to make this decision and take the first momentous step towards a more normal life must have called on enormous reserves of courage and determination. But Joe made it through – and who could ever know at what personal cost.

Again to quote Josh Alston : “When (Joe) loped onto the TBL set, his weight had ballooned out to 179 kg. He walked out a new man – over 80kg lighter at 97.2 kg.”

One of the first rewards that Joe gave himself after that gruelling rite of passage was to get on a horse and learn to ride… something he’s been doing every day ever since.

It’s now five years on.

And while that’s quick to say, for Joe it has been a long, hard learning process – beginning with basic to get the whole complex rodeo thing right at the same time as waging a continuous battle with his weight.

But it’s finally, finally paid off.

After years of incredible effort, Joe Medway racked up his first-ever rodeo win this month, when he took first place in the steer wrestling at the extremely competitive Teebar Rodeo at Caboolture.

So, next time, your plans are faltering, just spare a thought for Rodeo Joe and what he’s put himself through in order to achieve his dream. And don’t ever… ever.. give up on yourself.