When I first saw the resume of Chris Kostman of AdventureCORPS’, which took him from the Triple Ironman in France all the way to archaeological digs in Turkey and Egypt, I wasn’t quite sure how to process the information. After many seconds of silence, my Heart of Business co-host Andy Shore cut through the dead air with perhaps the most accurate statement I’ve ever heard in my life: “This guy is Indiana Jones.”
Indeed. Our latest podcast guest needs no introduction in the endurance sports world, as he hosts some of the most grueling races on the planet, including a 135-mile California footrace that starts below sea level in Death Valley and ends at Mt. Whitney’s portal at 8,400-ish feet. After organizing and managing numerous ultra-endurance races including the world-famous Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, Kostman has learned a few things about running a business. Here is some of the wisdom he passed on to us:
Don’t be afraid to be really, really choosy
Kostman gets hundreds of applications for the Badwater 135 alone, from Sumo wrestlers to hyper-fit marathon runners. For Kostman, keeping the race down to roughly 100 elite people not only protects the safety of the runners, but ensures that most of the participants finish the race. In business, you’ll want the very best talent on your most important projects. Keep things exclusive and you’ll reap the best results.
“Just do it” is not a slogan, it’s a way of life
When Kostman was in high school, he set world ultra-cycling records when he rode from San Francisco City Hall to Los Angeles City Hall. When he was 20, he became the youngest finisher of an 11-day bicycle race across America. Kostman always had the confidence for endurance racing, but getting on a bike and challenging himself was only one way to know if his body could match his will. If you aspire to own your own business, you may have a roadmap to success, but unless you go all in and execute your plan, you won’t know if you’ll succeed.
You’ll need something different to win an endurance race
What type of a person decides to hop on a bike for 48 hours and ride for more than 500 miles across long stretches of desert and winding mountain road? Someone who embraces the challenge and rewards of a grueling race. Kostman says that many endurance racers seek a completely calm, clear-minded mental state one can only get from pushing the body to the limit. Not every business you run or project you tackle will be mentally challenging like an ultra-endurance race, but embracing each step of the process and sending yourself into “the zone” will practically guarantee success.
Running a business and running down a long, windy, empty road at the dead of night in 120-degree heat are two entirely different concepts, but the parallels between endurance racing and business are startling. Tackle your work like you would tackle an endurance race, and you’ll only see great results with your business.