THE INC. LIFE

What This Homeless Guy Can Teach You About Success

What three months on the road can do for you.

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BY Joel Comm - 11 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Dreams of success usually come with plenty of home comforts. In fact, they often come with plenty of comfortable homes: one in the Hamptons, another in the Caribbean, a yacht moored close to the condo in Florida. But when Croix Sather made it big, he didn't start buying luxury property across the country. He became homeless.

For three months, the author, motivational speaker and record-breaking endurance runner, drove across America, staying with friends and sleeping on sofas.

"I wanted to see what it felt like to not have a home," he said. "To be traveling full time, to not have to be anywhere in particular. Apart from a couple of work obligations, I could go anywhere I wanted to."

He drove from Connecticut to Florida, spent a week in the Bahamas and Costa Rica, headed across the country to California then made his way back to New York through Arizona, Denver and Austin. Sather was able to marvel at America's amazing geography, spending a day admiring the Florida beaches then a night sheltering from an icestorm in a Wyoming mountain pass. His possessions were all in storage, and his biggest bill for those three months was for gas.

The journey was easier than he expected. Sather has built a large network of supporters through his talks, his writing and his Kickstarter campaigns, so he knew people everywhere he went. As he approached a city, he could ask if anyone could put him up for a night. Some were friends he knew well but others were just people who had read his book or had heard him speak. They opened their sofas and spare bedrooms.

"It's expanded the way I see the world," he says. "I need more adventure like this."

A few years earlier Sather had set himself the challenge of running across America. A carpenter who had never run further than the distance between the sofa and the refrigerator, within a year Croix became an elite ultra-runner. For 100 consecutive days, he would give a talk to an audience facing a challenge--people recovering from addiction, veterans recovering from wounds, homeless people in shelters--then he would set off to run a marathon. In a little over three months, he ran 2,621 miles. He then broke the world record for running across Death Valley unaided. In 117-degree heat he pushed a cart with food, water and supplies for 72 hours and 55 minutes, shaving five hours off the previous record.

"We all have challenges," Sather says. "Relationships or time or parenting... or whatever. That's just life. We try to mask our challenges. The run across America and Death Valley were not about the run. They were about following your dreams and doing what makes you happy regardless of what it is."

Before Sather handed back the keys to his apartment and crammed all his possessions into a storage center, he had felt that he was becoming stale and in need of a change. He didn't plan to be homeless forever but he did feel that he was falling out of alignment with what he was doing. He needed a new challenge, and to enjoy the freedom that his success had brought him.

However much success you've achieved, and however much you're satisfied with the way things are going, a new challenge and a new perspective can help to realign you with your goals.

Listen to the entire interview with Croix Sather on The Fun Podcast.