Joey Evans, a keen sportsman and Biker had a dream to participate in an infamous global spectacle, the Dakar Rally. He was on track, but in 2007 this dream that only 200 riders globally at any given time have the privilege of participating in, came crashing down.
Evans was at the starting line of the Heidelberg Harescramble with about 20 other riders. He had a bad start there the year before which saw him sitting in the dust for ages, unable to pass. This time he wanted a good start. But that’s where it ended for him. The next moment he woke up to several faces staring down at him. Evans realised something went wrong, but in true Joey fashion broke the ice with a joke: “Did I win?” He says: “They all laughed and were clearly relieved … but then my buddy Tristam’s wife, Tiffany, who had been standing next to me with my bent knees resting on her, moved back. My legs just dropped to the floor like two big pieces of dead meat.”
As he understandably said: “Nothing could prepare me for what lay ahead”. And so the journey began. Many lonely nights and brave face moments as endless friends and family visits gave him strength to move forward.
Of course he was also motivated by that dream of participating in the Dakar Rally. He wondered to himself what a magnificent achievement it would be to come from being paralyzed to completing this prestigious race, but deep down thought it was a pipe dream. The seed had been planted though.
I’m ecstatic to announce that I interviewed Joey Evans and his wife Meredith recently (listen here: Part 1 and Part 2). Miraculously he was the only South African on a bike to complete the recent 2017 Dakar race – the others unfortunately fell by the way side. His overall inspirational story of achieving a passionate vision is filled with several miraculous stories – from the recovery, to the fund raising of 1.1 million in a few months to the completion of the toughest endurance race on the planet, including life threatening situations. He had a vision, inspired others to follow and he did it – whatever it took!
Joey’s race was over when one of the vehicle participants drove over him and his bike and pretty much destroyed it. He called his wife on a satellite phone to tell her. They cried and he said goodbye. But there after he couldn’t get himself to press that button that signals the end, and for the helicopter to pick him up, so he decided to follow one of his and Meredith’s beliefs of moving one step at a time. He amazingly found a way to continue the remaining 600 km’s that specific day and the rest of the race, which was a couple days more. And, when you see him walk he still does not have the full use of his legs. Despite what seemed like physical and financial drawbacks and impossibilities he managed to complete the race.
I promise you that this man will inspire your employees to no end, especially in a year that promises to deliver its own challenges. Everything about his story gives one goose bumps AND A DESIRE TO TACKLE ONES OWN DAKAR TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE, amplified by his friendly and humble demeanour. I want to bring him to your leaders and teams, let him inspire them and then field questions to make it more relevant to the audience.
To book Joey for an inspirational talk email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you recognize some areas in yourself or your team that need improvement? Email Adriaan on email@example.com for more on creating “Leadership Fit” leaders that generate successful movement (performance) inside your organisation.