Great leaders are passionate, encouraging, motivating, inspiring, innovative and committed to what they do. And, when faced with a challenge, they persevere, overcoming adversity and accomplishing incredible feats.
And when we think of great leaders, we often think of them sitting behind oak desks in an office tower or speaking to large audiences.
We don’t normally think of leaders as emerging from the pages of the book of Guinness World Records 2020.
Fifty-six-year old Cobourg, Ontario resident Reverend Kevin Fast, best described as a modern-day Popeye, holds a whopping 31 Guinness World Records, including the heaviest aircraft pulled (male).
Fast’s journey began as a curiosity.
One time he watched a fire truck being pulled on TV. He then called the fire department and asked to borrow a fire truck so he could do the same. He did, pulling it 10 feet, which resulted in the fire department asking if he would do the same for fire prevention week. “We all have a fascination with strength,” Fast reminisced.
While pulling that fire truck was not a world record, it set him on his quest to setting one pulling a plane. A feet he accomplished on September 17, 2009 at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in Ontario.
“I was so afraid,” he says, as he recalled approaching the plane. (It was like) “a football field on wheels.” He used up all his energy pulling the plane within the first 10 seconds but, after nearly 45 seconds of extreme effort, it hadn’t moved.
Doubts and fear of being embarrassed entered his mind at that point, he said, “People had flown in from around the world to see this.” He was also concerned about what his wife might say.
His son, who was there, and fans were cheering him on. He knew he had practiced enough and decided not to give up.
Then, something happened. The plane started to move.
“It finally cooperated,” he said.
One minute and 16 seconds later he had pulled a CC-177 Globemaster III plane weighing 188.83 tonnes (416,299 pounds, more than a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, 8.8 metres (28 feet 10.46-inches) for a new Guinness World Record.
Fast sees his accomplishment as a metaphor for life. Making an effort and using what he calls our “determination strength”, no matter how impossible the task may seem, might surprise us.
While Rev. Fast enjoys setting records, he has an ulterior motive: using this as a means to raise money for charity.
Farthest Arrow Shot Using Feet While in a Handstand
Brittany Walsh, aka AcroBritt, hails from Portland, Oregon: she is a dancer, a gymnast, a former circus performer and now a world record holder in acrobatic archery. She’s featured in the Guinness World Records 2020 for the farthest arrow shot using feet while in a handstand. She’s appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and has been immortalized with her own wax statue at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!.
AcroBritt describes the elegant process of balancing herself on two handstand canes, essentially two poles with wooden blocks on top.
“I load my bow and my arrow in one foot, kick up into a handstand and draw my bow with my other foot, arch my legs over and aim at a target and shoot.”
Her accomplishment “started as a dare from a friend” after he saw a picture in an old circus book. “I thought, he was totally joking,” she laughed.
One day, bored, the pair picked up a kid’s bow and arrow set from the local sporting good store. It only took Brittany a few weeks to get the hang of the trick but two years to master the aim.
That came, she said, from establishing a solid exercise routine, which consisted of warm-ups, balance and body awareness to control body flexibility and building up her body strength (especially in her toes).
“You have to have a strong handstand and think about a million things while you’re doing it,’ she said, “including feeling the (heavy) bow in your toes while focusing on the target.”
During live shows she focuses on the task at hand and how she’s feeling, but also listens and connects with the audience.
“It’s part of what I love and do, sharing my art and my passion with them.”
Preparing to set the world record “helped me break out of my own shell. I was very quiet and shy growing up. I never wanted to draw attention to myself and I was fearful of trying new and difficult things.”
She now believes she is capable of more than she had imagined. “The worst thing you can do is not try and maybe have regrets in life.”
On March 31, 2018 at Creston School in Portland Oregon, Brittany shot her arrow 12.31 metres (40 feet 4.64 inches) for a new Guinness World Record.
Speaking with this amazing duo brought out three important leadership lessons:
- When you feel the odds are against you or the task seems impossible – persevere. Rev. Fast may have lost his energy when he started to pull the plane, but he committed to do it; Brittany took two years to perfect her shot, breaking it down into small steps, finding the energy within herself and harnessing the energy of those around her.
- Be inspired to say YES to possibilities. It’s so easy to be dismissive, to say no. You’ll never know what you might be capable of if you never try. As the great one, Wayne Gretzky, once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
- Innovation and ideas can come from the strangest places. It could be at work, at play, a dare from a friend or even in your sleep.
If you’re trying to reinvent yourself or revamp a product or service, don’t force it. To be innovative, be open and aware of your surroundings. It’ll come when you’re not looking for it.
You can get the Guinness World Records 2020, 65th Edition of the book or find out more at GuinnessWorldRecords.com. There’s also a Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2020 as well.
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Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.