Jack Kautz

Jack Kautz

Choose Your Friends Wisely — April 11, 2021

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Leadership expert Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”.

In a recent conversation with Jack Kautz of Lodi, California he reflected on this topic and gave his perspective. Jack said that throughout the different areas of life, from family to career and from fitness to personal development, he has looked for people to surround himself with that do three things.

One: Look for people who you can trust

This by far the most important and challenging when it comes to the people who are close to you. Without trust, there’s not a solid foundation for the relationship. You may have a lot of things in common but if you can’t trust someone, the relationship will fall short of being beneficial for you.

You need people in your life you can be brutally honest with and know they aren’t going to hold anything else against you. These are people who support you through thick and thin.

You can trust them with your good, bad, and ugly and they still stand by your side. You can share your struggles and know they won’t hold them against you AND they won’t talk with anyone else about you and your struggles.

When you find someone you can trust do everything you can to protect that relationship. Do whatever it takes to strengthen and maintain it because it will be a lifeline when you need it most.

Two: Look for people who challenge you

These are the people that draw out the best in you. They don’t let you sit back and rest on your past successes.

If you’re a husband or father they push you to provide and care for your family ahead of anything else. They call you out when you’re not giving your best to your family.

In business, these are the people that are challenging you to become the best at what you do. If you’re a salesperson they are there to ask if you’ve closed all the deals you should have. If you’re a manager they want to know if you’re doing all you can to build the best team that can be built.

Don’t surround yourself with ‘yes’ people. Look for people who say ‘no’ and ask ‘why’. This is the only way you’ll become the best at who you and what you do.

Three: Look for people you can coach

You absolutely need others that are making deposits into your life. But, if you’re always on the receiving end you won’t grow. Look for others you can coach and mentor.

Throughout life, you’ve learned a lot of lessons. You’ve learned what it means to win and lose. You’ve gained a lot of wisdom that you need to transfer to others that will help them. There’s a universal principle that when you ‘give’ you ‘receive.’

Make sure you have at least a couple of people in your life that you can ‘give’ to.

Take it from Jack Kautz, it doesn’t matter if your friends are in Lodi, California, or Pamplona, Spain they’re important so choose them wisely.

5 Reasons Your Life Needs Adventure — March 22, 2021

5 Reasons Your Life Needs Adventure

When Jack Kautz isn’t helping with the operations at Ironstone Vineyards or part of a real estate deal around Lodi, California he’s probably on his next adventure. And Jack is no stranger to adventures of all types. From running with bulls in Pamplona to summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro or competing in a triathlon to hunting around the world, he loves to push himself. 

You can check out scenes from some of Jack’s greatest adventures here.

So, what do Jack’s adventures and physical challenges have to do with everyday life? And what can you take away from them and apply to your own life? 

Before you let your imagination run wild, let’s get something out of the way. Adventure doesn’t always equal danger or risk of life and limb, as a matter of fact, it usually doesn’t. Adventure can be as simple as trying and experiencing something you’ve never done before. It can be exploring a new part of your state or even as simple as trying a new restaurant. 

Ok, so why should you be intentional about adventure in your life? 

Getting Comfortable With the Uncomfortable

When you put yourself in uncomfortable situations it prepares you for the unexpected. You learn how to adjust your mindset to take on life’s ‘surprises’. Because, throughout life, you’ll be faced with decisions and circumstances that require you to press beyond your comfort zone. So, putting yourself in uncomfortable spots when it’s not the ‘heat of the moment’ prepares you for real life.

Facing Failure

The risk of failure is always present when you’re trying something new. And the truth is you’re going to fail. But you have a choice in how you respond. You can walk away feeling the agony of defeat or you can learn from the experience, pick yourself up, and try again. The biggest lesson is embracing the fear of failure and not letting it hold you back from trying something new.

Becoming Courageous

You don’t need to be a superhero or an extreme sports athlete to be courageous. The fact that you are willing to try new things, to be adventurous, will cause courage to rise. The more you put yourself in situations that require you to face your fears the more courageous you become. And the more courageous you become the more prepared you are for whatever comes your way.

You may even find yourself crushing the self-limiting beliefs you’ve held on to for too long and discover you’re a lot more courageous than you ever thought.

Connecting With Humans in Real Life

We all need each other. It doesn’t matter if you are introverted or love being on the stage in front of a crowd, we have been wired for human connection. As you look for ways to experience and try new things make sure you are including others. You’ll not only have the support of others but you’ll be an encouragement to them. Don’t live your life through the screen on your phone, the satisfaction you experience from adventuring with others in real life is always better.

Discovering New Things About Yourself

When you remove your daily routines and responsibilities you start to discover new things about yourself. When life just isn’t about a 9-5 job, paying bills, and checking off the next things on your to-do list you’ll start to realize you’re meant to experience much more.

Are you Ready? 

Have some things come to mind as you’ve read this? Maybe some things from childhood that you wish you had tried? It’s not too late.

You don’t need to start skydiving or rock climbing unless of course, you’re ready to dive in head first. The important thing is that you just need to start. Set a deadline for your next adventure and go for it.

The great thing is that if you don’t care for the experience at least you have a good story to tell. 

And, if you love what you try, you have an even better story and something new that gives you a lot of joy.

Let’s go!!

Lessons From The English Channel — March 1, 2021

Lessons From The English Channel

Taking on challenges is built into the DNA of Jack Kautz and 13 years ago he took on one of his greatest physical challenges: swimming the English Channel. As Jack relayed the story of completing this incredible feat we walked away with some great lessons. Each of these can be applied to any area of your life – family, career, relationships, or health and fitness.

Set Audacious Goals

We hear a lot about setting goals that are achievable. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that, we all should be doing it. And while it’s beneficial to have those types of goals it’s also important to put some goals out there that will challenge you in a significant way. 

Setting a goal that is beyond your reach, an audacious goal, you could easily fail at should be on everyone’s list. For Jack, swimming the English Channel and joining an elite group of fewer than 2000 people who have done it, was one of his audacious goals.

Once you have yours set it’s time to dig in and know what you’re up against and what you’ll need to do to achieve it.

Preparing For Your Audcious Goal

Achieving any goal begins and ends with your mindset. Having a clear vision of what you’re going after and then having the resolve to see it through is critical to success. 

You’ll need this mindset throughout the journey towards your goal because the conditions and situations you encounter along the way will never be perfect. 

Jack needed this mindset as he set out to swim the English Channel. Even though he dropped into the water at 3:45 AM to begin his swim, the real work started months earlier with his training. For several months leading up to the attempt, Jack was swimming 4000-8000 yards per day including long open water swims. And he was doing all of this with two shoulders that weren’t in the best shape. The conditions weren’t perfect. 

Not only was it pitch black when Jack started his swim but the English Channel was a chilly 61 degrees, choppy, rough, and pulled him in every direction as he swam. The busy shipping waterway with its wind and waves was relentless in challenging Jack’s resolve. The conditions weren’t perfect.

The English Channel is 21 miles across but it took a total of 33 miles for Jack to complete the swim due to tide changes. Keep in mind, most swimmers could cross the Channel within two tide changes, but with extreme conditions, rough water, and not being a very fast swimmer it took Jack three tide changes. Luckily, Jack was already in cardio shape leading up to his swim. During the twelve months leading up to the swim, he had completed two Ironman Triathlons and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Staying Focused When You Feel Like Panicking 

As part of Jack’s training regiment, he would do open water swims, including the San Francisco Bay. And it was during these times he had some close encounters with sea life. On one occasion as he was swimming near the Golden Gate Bridge something kept coming up and bumping in. As Jack says, “this is the point that panic set in but there’s no way to out swim anything, so you just have to stay calm and hope for the best!”

This is a great picture of life as well. There are plenty of things that will “bump” into us and instead of giving into fear and panic, we have to remain calm and keep moving forward. 

Have a Strong Support System

Obviously, swimming is a one-person sport but throughout Jack’s journey across the English Channel, he had a team following him in a boat. They were there to provide moral support and help him stay hydrated and fueled with food. 

The boat followed him and every half hour would throw him a rope that a bottle attached to it. Within 10-15 seconds, he would drink the liquid that gave him about 600 calories. They provided him with emotional and physical “fuel” that kept him going.

On the road to achieving your goal make sure you have others around you that are encouraging you, pushing you, and when needed “throwing you a rope” with needed fuel.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Jack knew that not only would the swim require intense physical and mental preparation along with a great team to support him but he knew he would need to be accountable. So, in the year leading up to his swim, he made it public to friends and family about his attempt to swim the English Channel. 

The thought of not succeeding and letting down the people he had told kept his mind on track and focused on the task at hand.

Focus on the Finish Line

It was twelve hours later and Jack was within a few miles of completing his trek. With no wetsuit and waves that continued to pound him, he dug deep. His crew loaded him up with peanut butter and chocolate and he pressed on.

After 15 hours and 11 minutes of pushing his body to the limit, consuming over 30,000 calories during and still losing 10 pounds, Jack completed his swim across the English Channel. 

The major achievement of what Jack had just accomplished is magnified even more when understanding that five boats, three relay teams, and one other solo swimmer had all attempted to cross the English Channel at the same time as Jack. But, Jack was the only one that crossed the finish line successfully.

Today there aren’t many weeks that go by without Jack thinking about achieving that audacious goal. And while Lodi, California is thousands of miles away from Dover, England the lessons learned are never far away. 

Set an audacious goal today and go for it!

Fail or succeed you’ll live with no regrets.

Understanding Hard Work — January 18, 2021

Understanding Hard Work

Jack Kautz grew up the son of a true entrepreneur. At a very young age, Jack’s father inherited 13 acres of land in Lodi, California. After years of growing crops like beans, peppers, tomatoes, and corn the market shifted drastically. This forced Jack’s father to shift the focus of their farm.

His father began buying land on the Cosummes River which was traditionally an area where hops were grown. From there they started growing merlot and chardonnay and expanded from there. This eventually led to the creation of Ironstone Vineyards.

So, growing up the son of an entrepreneur taught Jack learned what it meant to have a true work ethic. There wasn’t a lot of playtime. When other kids were watching cartoons on Saturday morning Jack and his siblings were working in the family business. Whether it was hoeing in the vineyards or raking the lawn there was work to be done.

Jack says one of the best life lessons he ever learned was that anything he got he had to work for it. There were no handouts around the Kautz family. He recalls one of his first jobs for the farms was a truck driver, hauling peppers and grapes to the wineries and plant. He was paid $4 an hour with no overtime.

He quickly saw the handwriting on the wall and realized that working 80-90 hours a week and making $300-$360 a week wasn’t what he wanted his life to look like. So, at the age of 22, Jack saved and came up with enough money to buy his first piece of real estate, an apartment complex in Murphys, California. The complex had 10 units that were fully furnished.

As a young landlord slash owner, Jack was learning business lessons in real-time. From renters who paid with small vials of gold and $5 bills to stereo equipment, things were rough. The apartments went from furnished to unfurnished and he had a huge awakening of how to deal with tenants and what it took to run a business. Jack turned the apartments into a successful strip mall which opened the door to a new avenue of purchasing and refurbishing commercial and residential units. Jack now owns over a hundred units.

The takeaway is that when you run up against tough situations you don’t quit. You need to take the good, the bad, and the ugly and learn from each. Sometimes, the negative experiences teach you much more than the positive ones.

If you’re facing obstacles and staring down huge challenges take it from Jack and don’t quit, keep pushing, keep learning and you’ll find success.

A Christmas Miracle — December 27, 2020

A Christmas Miracle

We want to thank everyone for the awesome support of my tenants in need. On December 10th my apartments caught fire and this family lost everything!We were able to raise over $5000 and also bought many gifts, gift cards, etc. Huge thanks to Jeff Brown and Sara Doughman for their generosity and support. My daughter gave Shelby $22.79 she had saved along with many stuffed animals. Sara and Anna put together the Go Fund Me also. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Connect on Social Media — December 22, 2020
Welcome! —


If you feel like you’re living life on a hamster wheel but you’re ready to get off and start really living, you’ve landed in the right place. Jack-Kautz.com is where you’ll find motivation, a few laughs, and some insight into enjoying your life, not just surviving it.

Now, let me be clear I’m no guru. I’m not standing on stages under bright lights to try and “pump you up.” I don’t have some “success” course to sell you and I’m not trying to get you to buy some best-selling book. 

But, I am the kind of guy you’d probably enjoy hanging out with and sharing stories with. I’ve had my share of success and plenty of failures along the way. And I’m sure there’s a lot you can relate to. I’ve seen a lot and learned even more.

My hope is that you’ll take the lessons I’ve learned along the way in business, family, health, and this adventure we call life and use them to benefit yourself. Use them to avoid some mistakes, maybe not experience as many failures, and more than anything use them to thrive in every area of life.

I’m excited to share the journey with you!

And if you’d like to read the official, buttoned-up version bio of Jack Kautz, you can take a look at my About page.