Colin O’Brady

American Professional Endurance Athlete, Motivational Speaker, and Adventurer

This week’s Team Never Quit Podcast guest, Colin O’Brady, could be classified as an over-achiever by most standards. As a passionate outdoorsman, his adventurous life took a turn for a worse when he suffered a tragic incident in Thailand. While he was fire jump roping (yes, a rope on fire), the rope got caught around his legs, causing severe burns on over 25% of his body. The burn wounds were so critical that doctors told Colin that he would probably never walk normally again. But Colin was too full of ambition to let his trauma slow him down. His mother challenged him to set a goal for himself and he decided that he would compete in a triathlon. After a year and a half of intense rehabilitation and training, Colin competed in the Chicago Triathlon. He not only competed, but he won. Since then, O’Brady has raced in 25 countries on six continents over six years.

As if that weren’t enough, Colin’s biggest claim to fame is that he became the first human being to walk across Antarctica solo entirely on human power. No sled dogs, kites, or powered machines. He consumed 8,000 calories a day while burning off 10,000 calories a day. Colin gained 20 pounds of muscle to prepare for the trip.

Colin O’Brady became The Impossible First, which was the name of his amazing attempt to achieve the unachievable.


In this episode you will hear:
  • While I like being around people, there’s something beautiful about solitude.
  • I had parents who always gave me positive reinforcement.
  • When we don’t know exactly how we’re going to get where we’re going, you’ve got to create your own reality over time.
  • We’re the net product of the 5 or 10 people we spend the most time with.
  • I started out with a curiosity for nature and adventure in my own back yard.
Fun Scale:
Type 1 Fun:  Laughing, watching a great movie, dancing, drinking a cocktail on a beach while watching the sunset.
Type 2 Fun: Is not fun when it’s happening, but a week later you’re telling your friends that it was epic.
Type 3 Fun: Is not fun when it’s happening and it’s not fun afterwards.
For me, Type 2 Fun is most gratifying.
  • In Thailand, I saw these guys jumping a flaming jump rope, and because I’m 22 years old, I had to try it. I tripped, the rope wrapped around my leg, and I caught on fire. I jumped in the ocean to extinguish the flames, but not before 25% of my body was severely burned.
  • My Doctor said “You’ll probably never walk again.” The emotional trauma was intense, but my mom would come into my room with positivity, and have me set life goals & accomplishments. I call it “a possible mindset.”
  • My mom was a positive influence on me throughout my entire life.
  • All of us as humans have reservoirs of untapped potential to achieve extraordinary things.
  • My body can always handle more. My mind is stronger because of my previous traumas.
  • I’m lit up. I have this aliveness inside of me.
  • Sometimes, you make decisions when you’re 22 years old – Then you wake up and you’re 65 years old and still on that same path.
  • My childhood dream was to climb Mount Everest. What is your Everest?
  • If you’re not on the path that YOU’RE meant to be on, then you’re not living with integrity with yourself.
  • What I was really fascinated about crossing Antarctica is that it had never been done; it was a world first. I couldn’t call up anyone to ask how did you make it?
  • Most people are stuck in what I call the zone of comfortable complacency.

Recent Episodes

Chris Cassidy

NASA Chief Astronaut, Navy SEAL, National Medal of Honor Museum CEO on His Inspirational Career
Listen to Episode →

Chris Gothro

Navy SEAL Master Chief Recounts High Stakes Missions, Red Cell Bank Robbery, Fun Stories From The Teams
Listen to Episode →

Surviving the Unthinkable

Mason Sawyer's Story of the Phone Call That Changed Everything, Persevering & Helping Others
Listen to Episode →