I’d like to debut a new feature to our weekly BLArticle™ conversations. From time to time, I would like to introduce you to others who are remarkable. I would like to tell you their story, and not mine. Meet Brian Jolles.

Yes, I am related to Brian Jolles; He is one of my 35 first cousins. But I don’t bring you this story because Brian and I are related; I bring you this story because of his remarkable accomplishment, and what we can all learn from it. I have mentioned that it’s okay to dream now and then. Brian dreams everyday. My daughter and I joined him in one of his dreams this past Saturday, and we got to live one of our own at the same time.

Brian and his wife Lisa run a world-class independent insurance company, and they have made it very important to bring health and nutrition into the workplace. They have made it so important that they have won awards championing it. This past Saturday, they took it to a whole ‘nother level.

Brian decided he wanted to try and set a world record. Pretty funny, huh? I’ll bet you have had the same crazy thought too once or twice, but Brian called the Guinness World Record people in England. I’ll bet you haven’t done that! Forget the fact that Guinness gets about 50,000 calls a year from people who want to try and set world records. Brian not only placed the call, but he also convinced the people at Guinness to allow him to set a record… that had never been established before. Wait, it gets better.

The record that Brian wanted to try and set didn’t just involve Brian. It involved the health and welfare of many others, as it centered around the “Largest Circle Training.” So Brian had to draw a crowd – a crowd of at least 250 people. Try that some day. We mortal amateurs can draw twenty-five people, but 250 people? That takes a pro. Brian drew 323 people.

I won’t bore you with the details that Brian had to deal with, like the 16’ high scaffolding he had to provide to Guinness for filming the event, or the tags he had to provide to every participant, or the water stations, or the countless volunteers, or the cameras, or the trainers, or the vendors, or the witnesses that he had to provide. But the story goes well beyond just these details.

This story involves a man who stuck his neck out so far that he would make a giraffe jealous. When my daughter and I showed up, registered, received our official numbers, and were herded into a pen, it became apparent that Brian was either going to be part of a colossal failure, or colossal success. He chose the latter. The event went on without a hitch, and each station functioned beautifully.

Brian’s long neck inspired me. Brian’s long neck made me proud to be a part of his dream, and it was Brian’s long neck that made me proud to have a last name that is the same of his. It’s also Brian’s long neck that provides us all with a wonderful lesson. That lesson involves not just taking risks, but sneering in the face of failure. Think about it for a minute: Why don’t we all act on our dreams? Is it because the thought of success is too much to comprehend? Of course not! It’s because the thought of failure is too much to comprehend, and it overwhelms us.

Brian Jolles was not afraid of possible failure, and was willing to stick out that long neck of his. He chose to risk failure and possibly humiliation at a level most of us could not even comprehend, and for what reason? So OTHERS could dream. So OTHERS could be part of setting a world record. So OTHERS could be inspired to exercise and potentially save their lives by making healthier choices. So OTHERS could find fellowship and friendship in a park early on a Saturday morning.

The events of last Saturday made me remember something Robert F. Kennedy once said: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Brian dared to fail greatly, and in doing so, he not only allowed 323 of us to achieve greatly, he inspired us all to stick our necks out and pursue our own dreams.

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