We all need ways to unwind after a long day at work, and depending on your definition of relaxation, this could mean anything from going for a run to curling up on the couch with bae to watch a movie. Yet for those in more demanding, high-stress work environments, this often equates to an equally high-octane stress reliever.
It’s like the old saying goes, “after a long day of running a massive multinational business, all I want to do is get towed by a blimp while riding water skis.”
Okay, I’m pretty sure no one has ever said that, but if someone has, odds are it was one of these executives whose ideas of relaxation involve cheating death in some bizarre ways.
Sir Richard Branson, CEO, Virgin Group
There was no way Virgin’s CEO Richard Branson wasn’t going to top this list. Branson has long made a name for himself as the daredevil head of this venture capital conglomerate, starting in 1986 when he set a record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic ever on his boat. In the years since then, Branson has set multiple records, including the first to fly across the Atlantic in a hot air balloon and the first person to cross the English channel in a hot air balloon. He has made a couple (failed) attempts at circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon, and one time he wrote a goodbye letter to his family as his hot air balloon went careening into the North Sea.
Alan Eustace, Senior VP of Knowledge, Google
If you didn’t hear about Google’s 57-year old Senior VP of Knowledge Alan Eustace jumping from space last year, you’re not alone. Although he broke the previous space diving record that had been set by Felix Baumgartner only a couple of years earlier, diving from an altitude of more than 135,000 feet, Eustace pursued his private project in secret. Jumping from space is always extreme, but when one considers that Eustace was 10 years Baumgartner’s senior when he broke his record, it only adds to the jaw-drop factor of this executive’s stunt.
Jeff Taylor, CEO, Monster.com
Jeff Taylor is the guy mentioned earlier who water-skis behind a blimp. I’m not even kidding, this has happened. Several times. In fact, he’s the five-time world record holder for the longest distance ever water skied behind a blimp, which suggests there are other people water skiing behind blimps whom he had to beat to get these records. How has no one told us about this?
Nick Woodman, CEO, GoPro
GoPro has made a name for itself by bringing the extreme to the rest of us. This obviously wasn’t enough for its founder and CEO Nick Woodman, who can be found driving formula-1 race cars when he isn’t busy managing his huge, successful company. C’mon Nick, can’t you do something that’s not awesome for once?
William Barron Hilton, Retired President & CEO, Hilton Hotels
William Barron Hilton has led one of the most recognized hotel chains in the world, served in the military, and proven himself to be an adept pilot. On his ranch in Nevada, he flies all sorts of aircraft, from balloons to gliders to whatever very-questionable-looking aircraft is featured above. Good for you, Willie.
Sandy Lerner, Co-founder, Cisco Systems
Sandy Lerner co-founded Cisco Systems with her husband Len Bosack in 1984, and since then, it has become the leader in internet traffic, with 85 percent of internet activity using Cisco systems. As if that wasn’t a big enough deal, Lerner also got really into jousting. Yup, that thing with horses of medieval fame. Don’t believe me? Head to her massive farm in Virginia where she breeds horses for that express purpose.