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Chris and Nik Nikic On How To Be 1% Better

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In this edition of our Corporate Competitor Podcast, entrepreneur Nik Nikic and his son Chris reveal how Nik’s system of gradual improvement enabled Chris to become the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon.

This episode features an extraordinary father-son duo, Chris and Nik Nikic. On November 7th, 2019, Chris captured the hearts of the triathlon community—and eventually the world—by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon.

During the grueling marathon segment, Chris, who had already swam 2.4 miles and biked 112 miles, found his reserves fading. It was then that his father, coach and inspiration offered one question: “I simply hugged Chris and asked him who was going to win: Him or his pain? He chose to win.”

Chris’s achievement etched his name in the Guinness Book of World Records and earned him a trip to the 2021 ESPYS, where Tim Tebow presented him with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. “I love to compete,” Chris shared, “I just don’t let the other person beat me. It’s perseverance to be better every day.” The process that got Chris over the finish line was a self-improvement model they developed called 1% Better. Today, they share this model with organizations teaching that while you may never be “the best,” you can be 1% better when you stop imposing self-limitations and begin the journey to reach your goals.

“The influence of Chris is starting to change events where the organizers are creating an intellectual disability (ID) category to include more of Chris’s Special Olympics friends,” said Nik. For example, on April 18, Chris will become the first to compete in the Boston Marathon in the ID category. He’ll be wearing #321 on his bib. “The idea is for Boston to influence other marathons around the world to do the same,” Nik added. One event that has already created its own intellectual disabilities category is Ironman. In October, Chris will compete in the ID category at the 2022 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

I encourage you to learn firsthand how they accomplished so much in so little time—and had a blast doing it.


4:30   The difference between a goal and a dream—and how you can achieve both.

12:00  How to avoid burnout through goal boards.

15:00  How to learn from your mistakes.

21:00  How to overcome setbacks.

25:00  How to make self-improvement a celebration of life rather than a grind.

Check out the full Corporate Competitor Podcast interview archive and subscribe to new episodes.


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