The media calls him the marathon man. Because of his accomplishments and life story. Two years Croix Sathers went to a non-runner to a 2621 mile run across American in just one hundred day. Then he broke the world record running 146 miles through Death Valley California. That is the harshest and hottest environment. He is a celebrated author and inspirational speaker in personal and business transformation. And the psychology of success. He is a celebrity runner and speaker for Hope for the Warriors. Which you can find on www.hopeforthewarriors.org and as a panel expect for www.sunwarrior.com/running for superfood nutrition. He has authored 4 books several audio and video programs. He has appeared in 100’s of television ads. His books are Dream Big and Act Big and The Better Body, The Better Life. Croix it is so good to have you here.
C: Thanks for having me.
P: What a story you have. Can’t wait for the details. Whatever possessed you to set world records and run across the country?
C: There are a few things. The biggest ones are the more poignant ones. I had a crazy idea to do something extraordinary. I got tired of watching other people doing amazing things. I wanted to do something like that. Authors, millionaires, athletes and all these people I admire. One day I was at a baseball game with my friend, and he said, look at these guys, they are doing what they love. Their childhood dream. I said what about the coaches? The umpires? Even the bat boys love what they do. It was bothering me that I was doing something that I didn’t love. I thought, why not me? If they all can, why not me? I started asking myself, what would I do? The answer became to run across America.
P: How old were you when you were watching this baseball game?
C: I was in my late thirties. I started training at 39.
P: I wanted to bring that up because so many people feel like you can only achieve great success when were born knowing your purpose. Obviously, you weren’t born with this and you have this epiphany and discovery in your late thirties. No matter what age you are, it’s not too late to connect to your purpose.
C: I was not a runner either. Just one year prior to running across America. I decided to do this crazy thing and I did what was necessary to make it happen. It can be anything you choose to do. I happened to choose running.
P: What is the story of why it was running and not basketball or something else?
C: I had dabbled in some triathlons. I was a great swimmer as a kid. I ended up finishing last for the first one and then my second one I had 100% improvement and finished second to last. My weakness was massive weakness in running. That is why I chose it. I was not naturally gifted in doing it. It was part of the lesson. To prove you can do anything you chose to do.
P: That brings me to the word impossible. You almost think it was impossible to run across America.
C: To me, impossible is a big word that small minded people throw around. Its justification to stay where they are. We have gazillions of examples of the impossible becoming possible. Thomas Edison, 1000 songs in your pocket with the IPod. There are so many examples.
P: Everybody is consistently pushing to what’s impossible and then breaking through. I understand that you have your own personal story of impossible.
C: You are referring to when I was 14 years old. I was riding home on my bicycle and my friends and I just had ice cream. I was on the right side of the street. We came up to this tiny hill, a lady came barreling down the other side aiming for my friends. She is drunk. She sees my friends and swerves and barely misses them. She never looked back as she plowed right into me at full speed. My bike car crushed below her bumper. I hit the windshield and went up into the air. I flew fifty feet before I hit the ground. They rushed me to the local hospital. They couldn’t handle the injuries and sent me to NYC. They worked on me for hours. The neurosurgeon said I fractured my brain and told my parents that he is sorry but your son even survives, he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life. My mom collapsed and fell into my dad’s arms. They prayed for a miracle. Friday Saturday and Sunday they prayed. I woke up on Monday. The first person I see is my Mom. She was holding my hand. My dad was behind her and he said, that is my son, you never give up. Then it was weeks of being in the hospital. Rehabilitation and years of other issues that plagued me. Eventually I overcame all of them.
P: Amazing. Now I understand why you say the impossible is something that small minded people use to hold themselves back. Here you are and you are running across America and breaking all sorts of world records running and that was a year before that you were coming in last in the races. You did what it took. Amazing. I think about Olympian athletes and your type of athletics that you are doing, any expert in a field that requires extreme commitment. Did you ever think, what was I thinking? Did you want to stop?
C: After the honeymoon of running across America happened, I thought, oh no what did I get myself into? It was fun for a while. The pain started on day 3. I went out too fast and I knew better but it was so exciting. A week later I was in pain. It came to head on day 21 when I entered New Mexico. This is one of my favorite stories. I share with the military. They are amazing and understand never give up. On day 21, I had already run 25 miles that day and I still had 5 more to do. My body just said, enough. And I just collapsed to the ground. I sit for a few minutes. I try to move along and I walked a bit. I had to sit down again. My body was shutting down. I put my legs up in the air to flush the lactic acid. It was too little too late. I could have called my crew and told them to come pick me up and they would have but if I would have stopped with 5 miles left that day, what would have happened the next day and the next day? A few miles here, and a few miles there. Eventually I am not making my goal and only going half way. I pick myself up and keep moving forward. I remember the words my brother taught me, you never quit. You never quit I kept saying over and over. It took me what should have taken me about an hour, took me four hours. I eventually get back to the rv and I collapsed on the bed. To sleep for 5 hours to wake up and start it all over again. That was the worst day. What keeps me going? It was a combination of having a dream so big. I say to have a dream so big that inspires you and take action so big that it inspires the world. My dream of running across America was so big that everyday just kept me moving. What was more inspiring was every day I was also speaking to an audience. I talked to wounded warriors, homeless shelters, rural high schools, all sorts of amazing people who were in a tough time in their life. It was their stories that they would share with me what they were going through. They inspired me. They were counting on me every day. Day 54 I remember waking up and my body said, ok, I get it, we are going forward. It wasn’t easy but my body finally accepted what I was doing to it. Day 54!
P: That is incredible. That is where you just got into the flow.
C: It was still hard, but my body was saying, ok. I ‘m doing it. I’m in this with you now.
P: Your deepest belief is that you never quit. The way that you said that, you never quit, it sounds like it’s a really embedded part of who you are.
C: It is and it goes back to when I was a kid working out with by brother in my parent’s basement. I was scrawny and I got picked on. Everybody liked to pick on me. I had a big mouth so it was easy to pick on me. My brother started to train me. He introduced me to body building. He is a big guy. He was my hero at the time, and still is in many ways. After one wimpy work out, he takes me out of the front stoop and he says if you ever do that again, I will not train you. No matter what happens in your life, you never quit, you got that. You never quit. That stuck with me all of my life. That was after the accident. He trained with me for years until he moved out. He was five years older.
P: I imagine it saved your life.
C: In many ways, yes.
P: Getting that lesson, or that powerful belief at such a young age and then having that accident. It is the ground source of who you are today.
C: My dad taught us that too. My dad was carpenter who worked his butt off all day. He would come home dog tired. He would spend time with us and then fall asleep. He did that 6 times a week and then preached on Sundays. He had a small church. We grew up with that kind of work ethic. People say there is something special about you. You are out there living this life, there is something special about you. The only special thing about me is that I just don’t quit. You keep going no matter what. Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, so many people lived that. Those are the ones we admire so much. I am certainly not smarter than anybody else. There is nothing unique about me is that I just keep going until I get the result I want. I refuse to stop.
P: What is it about purpose that you believe creates that deep commitment?
C: I think we are here for our own unique purpose in life. It’s like you mentioned before. You are not born with this thing, but we discover it somewhere along the way. It’s through our journey and that’s how we find it. With me it was the accident, some failed businesses, some failed relationships, and through this process is how I figured out where I am supposed to be. We keep looking for and finding that unique purpose. It’s different for each of us. What I do on this planet lives beyond me and my time here.
P: We need to take a break. Stay tuned.
Welcome back. We are speaking about harnessing your purpose and getting to that point that you will never quit. Welcome Croix.
P: I ask every guest this question and I love the diversity of the answers. How do you define productivity and why?
C: It is when you are in flow. You are working on the most important things that you are supposed to be working on and you are losing track of time. Things are just getting done. When you are a writer, you are focused and not answering emails, or calls. You are making the best use of time. We get sidetracked in so many things like social media and email. WE don’t need to be involved with so many silly things. Then we are not being productive in what we are best at. The only thing I am doing is running my mouth, because that is what I am best at. I am not great at scheduling. So I am hiring people to do those things so I can do the one thing I do best and that is to speak from stage and inspire people.
P: Everybody has what they are good at and should focus on that. Allow ourselves to delegate to other people so we have time to do what brings us joy. What would you say are the factors or elements that you think have the greatest impact on productivity?
C: Being in alignment with who you are. When I went back to school after realizing that getting out of high school with just a GED wasn’t going to work. The only role model I had outside of construction was our accountant. He was the only guy I knew who wore a suit to work. My family was blue collar to the core. I was going to be an accountant. He has a better, life and schedule. He just sits and greets people and discuss strategy. I decided to go to school for accounting. It was the worst thing I could do because I am not a detailed oriented person like that. I flunked out of accounting in the first year. When I am in alignment with what you are great at, then things get done. You know this because you do things that nobody else can do as good and fast as you. Those are the kinds of things you should be doing. Then you can figure everything else out.
P: That is what people forget. They put a to do list together and they forget that it’s good to have a not to do list. Things to eliminate.
C: I call it a capture list. Not a to do list. I capture all of the things I need to do.
P: Do you think there is an x factor in productivity?
C: I have never thought of it but I do believe there is an x factor in all of us. We are all good at something or many things. In productivity, when you are aligned with doing those things you are good at. If I try to go back and do my books, I am horrible at it. I will finish it and get it done, but it’s not something that works well with me. So why should I do it and go against my X factor.
P: In my program, I talk about the x factor being energy management. What I mean by that is, it’s not really about what we do. But it’s about how we do it and how much of ourselves we bring to that time. You mentioned in the flow when we are doing the right thing. I wrap that in a package called energy management. That is what gets us in the flow and really bringing the most of ourself to the time that we are focused on. What is your concept or take on the idea of energy management?
C: Energy is critical to everything. Remember back to a time where you met someone and you just clicked with them like you have known each other. That is energy. Your energy is connecting with their energy. That is how people work. That is how plants, trees and everything else works through energy. So if you are aligned with what you are supposed to be doing, you will be more productive. People will be attracted to you. When you are out of energy or your flow, you will actually repel people away from you. We have all had times like that. Nothing is going your way. It’s because you are out of alignment. You have to figure out what is going on here.
P: I come back to an element called a championship psychology. You get in that flow when you have awareness and you combine certain elements that make up the championship psychology. So, let’s relate that back to your running. How did you use that energy management and that championship psychology to make those achievements possible for you?
C: there are a couple ways. One was because I was not a runner and needed some advice. I met Stu Middleman who ran across America. He didn’t beat the world’s record but it was after it and he came very close. He gives running clinics. He teaches this thing that is all about energy so that if you are pushing too hard, you disconnect from the environment and yourself. If you bring it back a bit you can connect with the environment. If you are in alignment with that and you are backed off enough, you can actually run almost forever when you are at the right pace. People ask me all the time, what kind of music do you listen to? Because it disconnects me from me and the environment. When I am disconnected I don’t pay attention to my physiology. When you care connected and pay attention you learn about your physiology. It becomes intuitive. 2600 miles across the country and not one significant injury because I was in alignment with my energy.
P: It’s almost like a spiritual presence while running. Having a heightened awareness of being in the moment.
C: In a way, yes. I imagine there are some people who get way more spiritual like a meditation. It was the way I vented stuff out. Through all of the stress of running a business. But it certainly goes in that direction. Inspire means inspirit. When you are inspired, I am running across country, I am actually in spirit. In spirit with my understanding of God. Just amazing things happen. How else can you explain it? Like my running journey. It was painful, but I endured because I was in spirit.
P: I like what you said about the idea of the environment. Being aware of your physiology. I remember hearing you talk about the calories you had to consume, how important was the nutrition in enabling your body to endure this type of stress.
C: I started as a vegetarian, but once I got into Arizona and Texas, their understanding of vegetarian is an iceberg salad. It didn’t’ work well for me. I needed so many calories that there wasn’t a way to get through my vegetable diet. I went back to meat and dairy. By the time I got a few weeks in, I was eating anything and everything. It wasn’t always healthy. I just needed calories…a lot of them.
P: What kept you from injury wasn’t really the food that you ate, it was really that what you mentioned earlier was just that pace and that being in alignment.
C: It wasn’t a factor against me. I would take Juice Plus. I love their product and also Sun Warrior. Those products were giving me the nutrients I need. It does play a role in not being injured.
P: Having both of those elements of nutrition and the aspects you need for physiology and the championship psychology to create the possibility to do something like that.
C: Another connection to productivity is that now that I am not training right now, but if I missed my work out for a few days and I miss it for a few days, I feel dramatically worse than when I am moving. If I am running, just a two or three mile run, I am so much more productive during the day. So much more awake and clear minded. I get so much more done. That 30 minutes in the morning pays for itself over and over.
P: Our rituals define us and reflect our commitment to our purpose. Because rituals are different from habits, they are a part of who we are. They are not negotiable like if we sleep late, what are your rituals? Is running a ritual?
C: I wish I could say every day I go out and run because that is what I want to do. But with my schedule, I can’t always do it. But most every day I do work out at some level. If worse case scenario and I can’t do anything, I will do a combination of pushups and crunches. So I am getting something in almost every day. Right now I am in the middle of streaking. It’s not running down the road naked.
P: If it is then please give us your location!
C: Streaking is what runners consider when they run nonstop every single day for a mile or more without missing a day ever. A lady with the longest streaks was for 33 years. She stopped because of an injury that had nothing to do with running. I am streaking. Its running or strength training every single day. My commitment is to do it for a year. I started three weeks ago. I miss one day and started over again 3 days ago. I will do it until I hit a year without missing
P: We know you will do it because you never quit.
C: I know that I may not get it on the first try. I may have to restart a few times as well.
P: It’s the journey of getting there. You don’t get the same level of satisfaction if you get there quickly as when you work hard to get there.
C: We don’t want those lessons but the biggest lessons comes when we fail. The only way you can fail in my definition is if you don’t keep going. That is the definition of failure. Keep doing it until you get the results you want. When I work with a client, they have stuff that is holding them back. Usually it comes through some sort of failure. And often it usually a relationship. Divorces. Or they lost someone close to them. Or they lost their job. They consider that a life altering, almost stopping event. I don’t look at that at all. My brother who taught me never to quit ended up dying when I was training for my run. He had a heart attack at age 45. Most people consider that this horrible experience and it is. But I don’t look at it that way. That is an experience and what lessons do I learn and value from that. I learned a lesson that my brother was very much challenged in his life, the one thing he always did no matter how much pain he was in, he always made sure someone else’s day was better because they had met him. We called him the mayor. He made people feel good. He gave a gift from everyone. He taught me to be like that and give people a gift from meeting me.
P: There is no doubt that role models play an important role in developing us into the best we can be. Do you agree?
C: Good and bad. There have been some people in my life, the same brother taught me things I didn’t want to do. They were great examples of what not to be like. When I was a teen, he was older and he smoked. He came home smelling like cigarettes. I never smoked because I didn’t like the way he smelled. He didn’t have good follow through. He had a big heart but wasn’t great at follow through on commitments. We have alcoholics in our family, drugs and all sorts of things and those are people I have learned what not to be like. I don’t use them as a crutch and say its because my family members were this or that, etc. Those are the reasons I do succeed.
P: The journey to find our purpose comes out of our challenges as well as our successes. It makes sense that the environment around us teaches us lessons about the positive and negative. It’s up to us to choose that empowering part of it to create the best of who we can be. We see what we want and we see what we don’t want. The key is to focus on what we want.
C: One of my clients who is a young woman, very tall, she has always felt like the awkward duck. She got teased about it because she was dramatically tall. All of her life, that was her thing. That was holding her back. I explained to her that most successful women in the world are most often the tallest. They are 5″8 and 5″9. Models and actors. Tall and successful. After that she decided that wow, I am going to step into this and she started wearing heels for the first time in her life after working with me. With heels on she is now taller than me.
P: That just shows that we are all about perspective. It’s time for another break.
Welcome back I am Penny Zenker and I am joined with Croix Sather.
P: Pushing your body to extremes as well as your psychology. You hear about management teams going out on team building exercises and going into extreme situations to experience a crisis and then see the team come together. What is your take on sports and these types of extreme situations in creating resilience and better teams?
C: These are always fantastic ways of building teams and learning about yourself. I have been through many of them. I think that is part of where I have built up the mental resilience to decide to follow through. It taught me about leadership and how people work together when you get into extraordinary experiences. The other part of that is that is every day you have to do something physical. Even if you are 100 pounds overweight or more, but you should do something. Your body is designed to move. We are built genetically to move. If you are not moving then you are only using a small part of your capabilities and potential. You need that movement because your mind and physiology and digestion and sleep better. Everything functions better with activity. Start walking. If you can only walk one block, then start that and increase. Keep moving. You never quit and keep going at it.
P: What’s next for marathon man?
C: Right now I am working on my final frontier. That is business. To bring my business up to a level I have always dreamed about. To impact the world in a positive way. That is my main focus. It’s something I have been challenged with. The physical things like building houses and other stuff has been easy for me compared to doing more intellectual stuff. I come from a blue collar family and I am the first one to graduate college in my family. That is what I am focused on now. In 2015 I plan on running across America again but this time to raise money for different organizations. It’s all in the planning stages. In 2015 I am going to do it again.
P: Great and we will keep in touch to support you through that process. Where can people learn more about you, your book, and your programs? Where should I send them?
C: youneverquit.com but if you want to learn more about me and contact me that is croixsather.com
P: Thank you so much for being here and sharing these amazing achievements and also really inspiring our listeners to dream big and also to take big action. You are a living example of that. Thank you so much.
C: thank you and here is one last message: Its always about following your dreams and going after it. I am nobody extraordinary, aside that I just keep going until I get what I want. I have had failures but I keep moving no matter what. Follow your big dreams, whatever they are.