The investment team behind the Rockaway Capital’s successful investments in start-ups like Productboard, Brand Embassy, Gjirafa, or Storyous is launching a new venture capital fund, the Rockaway Ventures Fund, with…
One of Rockaway’s investment partners describes how he became a passionate participant in extreme sports, and how this helps him in his life.
I love sports, but I’m incapable of doing them recreationally – I set the bar pretty high and try to exceed my limits, and even take things to extremes. I like ultramarathons, triathlons, winter sports, I do mountain climbing, rock climbing, and ice climbing, I’ve got a coach, I have a healthy lifestyle, I train every day, and in the summer will be running a 145 km ultramarathon in the Alps. But I’m not a pro. My work involves investment deals in Rockway Capital, so to do both sport and work 100 %, I had to learn to combine both worlds. I’ll tell you how to do it and how such an addiction to sport, one that a layman would probably call extreme, can help in business.
Go running for 30 minutes or go skiing once or twice a winter? Sure, why not, but from my point of view this is just a way to spend your spare time. You won’t make any progress, and will continue to run and ski the same way. And not that long ago, around the age of thirty-eight, that was me. I did various sports, I had a decent golf handicap, but none of it had any deeper meaning. I’d go golfing with friends, I’d beat them, but there were no endorphins. I’d go skiing, but for me it was a way to spend my spare time, no different than going to see a movie. Now it’s different. For almost five years now, my aim is to improve myself and make progress, to step out of my comfort zone. Simply put, to set a goal and try to achieve it.
To not have one at work, in life, or in sports is like working at a supermarket checkout. You make money, but that kind of job is just for getting by. When I’ve got a goal, I know what I want and what I’m aiming for – and that applies to both sports and business. Physically activity really energizes me and above all, I get something in return. In business, and often in private life, you’re constantly expending energy – you work for someone, you take care of those around you, your family. Sports are one of the few activities that gives me 100 % and energizes me. I do it for myself, not for others. And today, for example, sports gave me much more than my job took from me.
When sport is a duty
Thanks to sports, I feel much happier, more confident, and proud of myself. It takes me higher and the bad things at work can be overcome, for example, by doing some training or running a race. Then, when a rough patch at work comes around, I find it much easier to say: So what? Today lots of people are depressed, they have no source of positive energy, but that’s not my case. Thanks to sports, I’ve got a daily dose of endorphins.
Sports as fun? Yes, I like doing them, but I seethe completely differently than I did a couple of years ago. Now they’re work, a duty and part of my routine. I do them 300 days a year, and performance improvements are also accompanied by good quality food, regeneration, and sleep, in short a complete lifestyle. And it’s only like this – along with the support that I have, which is also incredibly important – am I capable, on an almost daily basis, to prepare for three running races and two Ironman competitions this year.
Just a couple of days ago I received a confirmed invite to Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, which we’ll run in August of this year. It’s an ultramarathon in the Alps that is among the toughest running races in Europe. This edition of the TDS has 145 km, over 9100 m in vertical, and a 44-hour time limit. That’s a race you won’t finish without lots of demanding preparation. You run non-stop, so it’s not something you can do without properly setting your mind for reaching a sought-after goal. For me, it means training at least once day, sometimes twice. An hour of running early in the morning, and then in the evening another hour on my bike. I also bought a treadmill and a stationary bike, which I have at home and which save me an unbelievable amount of time. Before I get into the office in the morning, I’ve already got a good bit of my training done, and can fully devote myself to work.
Willingness to go where it hurts
It’s not for free: you have to invest a tonne of time and energy, and often have to go outside your comfort zone, which is something that people aren’t willing to do. And yet stepping outside of it is what will take you to the next level, even if it hurts. In order to be able to do it, you have to have the support of your family, friends, and colleagues, and also have to have the means and the money, because if you don’t have it, you’ll be stressed and you won’t be able to allow yourself to go past the edge.
People who go into business without any sort of goal remain in a comfortable bubble, one that as time goes by is harder and harder to get up and out of. That’s exactly what sports taught me. If we’re going to be working together on a deal, I don’t care if we never meet up in Switzerland skiing. But when you’ve got business in your DNA – along with single-mindedness in any area of life and a desire to better oneself – we’ll probably find some common ground. Everyone has their source of positive energy somewhere else, and that’s fine. For me, its getting up every day and achieving my training target.