We had the good fortune of connecting with Myles Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Myles, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Many times, throughout my career and my life I have made decisions that led to me gaining new insight, growing, learning, evolving. In fact, while many people assume my success is due to a mixture of good timing and luck, it is more an accumulation of the experiences gained and the lessons learned from taking risk after risk. For example, I did not know when I started my business if I would succeed or not – but I did not let fear stop me from trying. I knew by starting my business I had two options: fail or succeed. I understood by not trying I risked not knowing if I could ever succeed. I risked not following my dreams and at the very least I risked the opportunity to experience new things if I did happen to fail. Sure, following my dreams was not what some wanted me to do at first, it was not the safe option to them. There were times when I allowed their expectations of me to supersede my expectations of myself. There were times when living the dreams others had for me was more important than pursuing the dreams I had for myself. Knowing that succumbing to these tendencies I risked losing myself in the process, I still choose to do so. However, as I grew to better understand myself and what I gave up by continuing these patterns, I realized that by deferring my dreams and putting others first, I was putting myself last and robbing myself of the opportunity to live the life of my dreams. It was Sarah Parish who once said, “living with fear stops us taking risk, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit,” and this fact is true. When you choose to follow your dreams; you risk venturing out into the unknown, you risk facing adversity and you risk failing. However, by not following your dreams; you lose the opportunity to experience new things in life, the opportunity to grow through and overcome obstacles and the opportunity to possibly succeed beyond your wildest dreams. So now when I think about risk, I understand that in everything you do in life, from walking to driving to flying comes with an inherent risk. However, it is what you gain from taking those risks that makes life more meaningful and more enjoyable.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I first started my business I had 4 goals: to reinvent the way people view fitness, to inspire people to live a more wellness driven lifestyle, to advocate for better health and healthcare practices and to evolve. Not only do these goals set us apart but I also owe much of our success today to our ability to stay true to these core values. To the idea that working out can be enjoyable. The idea that you can help individuals build the emotional and behavioral habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle. A goal to promote better health and support, through charitable donations and resources, organizations working to do the same. And a goal to consistently evolve to fit the needs of the community. While we have faced many challenges over the years, from low funding to lack of facilities, what we have faced this year has by far been our biggest obstacle yet. The pandemic, or as we refer to it, “The Plan-demic” has been one of our biggest blessings in disguise. Coming into 2020 we had already begun expanding into supplements and testing out our proprietary blends to produce what we plan to be a clean, filler free, straight to the point, vegan supplement line. What we learned was it wouldn’t be that simple. From funding to blending formulas, what we bit off in 2019 with hopes to accomplish in 2020 seemed to have been more than we could chew. Furthermore, we had plans to grow our client base, introduce new group fitness programs and roll out interactive community events. When the SARS-Cov-II outbreak began, we were hit with an initial wave of panic as we planned and assumed for the worst. When the second wave hit we faced city shutdowns, national guidelines and gym closures we struggled to understand and adapt to. The third wave came when those same city quarantines, national mandates and gym bans were reversed, and life was free to continue as the “new norm”. In each wave we faced rush after rush of new challenges, never seen obstacles and questions that we honestly were too overwhelmed to handle. We knew that by staying the course, staying connected to our core values and to who we are as a company we would succeed. In the face of chaos and panic we choose to stay calm and patient. We took the opportunity to grow and to learn during the second wave, going back to our supplement formulas, conducting further research, perfecting blends. It also gave us time to explore other avenues of funding to secure the necessary infrastructure to begin full scale production. We held true to evolving to the needs of the community and transitioned to virtual training and group fitness solutions, began developing new at home workout programs and started working with manufacturers to produce our own line of affordable home exercise equipment. During the third wave, we listened to the needs of our community and the suggestions of our clients and have adjusted our in-person training practices while leaving the option for virtual fitness solutions open. Time and time again we have been faced with extreme obstacles and adversity, yet staying strong, focusing on our mission, allowing ourselves to think past the problem and outside the box, and stay true to our values has served us well as a business and served me well personally in life. It’s not easy, it takes a lot of willpower, hard work and determination, but every problem can be solved. My advice is to attack the situation head on and fast, because procrastinating only makes matters worse.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Only in Atlanta can you find places that attract the interest of all from The Georgia Aquarium, The Center for Puppetry Arts, The Atlanta History Center, Ponce City Market, “The Dump”, The Atlanta Ballet, Fellaship, Red Phone Booth, Fernbank and a plethora of outdoor experiences. On the family side you have places like The Georgia Aquarium which offers an amazing Night Under the Sea experience for families, Ponce City Market which host a wide variety of dining options and Skyline Park – a rooftop carnival like experience, “The Dump” which gives you an inside look at where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With the Wind, The Atlanta History Center home to The Swan House and a large collection of Civil War memorabilia. The Center for Puppetry Arts which puts on shows for families and offers inside looks at the history behind different characters, during the holiday season The Atlanta Ballet performs The Nutcracker, and Fernbank Science Center, Planetarium and Observatory which offers an entire day of fun for the kids. On the adult side you have Fellaship which offers a sporty vibe complimented by good food and cigars, and you have Red Phone Booth a flapper era speakeasy inspired cigar lounge with upscale drinks. New Realm Brewery on The Beltline and Orpheus Brewing at Parkside Piedmont. Himitsu a reservation only lounge with drinks and sushi, and Polaris which gives you a rotating view of the city accompanied by good drinks and upscale dining. An even though it is not in Atlanta, Chateau Elan Winery in Braselton gets a nod. More to the outdoors in the city you have the Botanical Gardens and Piedmont Park but if you are willing to take a slight drive outside the city in any direction you can stumble upon gems like Sweetwater Creek and hike to see The New Manchester Mill Ruins, Providence Canyon State Park home to “The Little Grand Canyon of Georgia”, Tallulah Gorge State Park and Tallulah Falls, The State Botanical Gardens, Shoot the Hooch, and Brasstown Bald a tiring but much worth the reward hike in northeast Georgia.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could not say that there is one specific person or book that I could attribute my success to. So many people and things have played instrumental roles at various times in my life that have made me who I am and helped me get to where I am today. From my grandfathers who taught me things like working hard and the value of sweat equity, to the importance of saving and not doing things for the sole benefit of monetary gain. Teachers like Marlowe Bsheart, Dawn Mulcahy and James Corcoran who encouraged me to venture into the academic unknowns and pushed me to evolve my way of thinking. A mentor like LaMont Evans, who taught me that I had to be willing to lose friends, followers, family and things in pursuit of my dreams. Books like Think and Grow Rich, Cashflow Quadrant, The Business of Fitness, How to See Yourself As You Really Are and more, that expanded my understanding of business, success, and spirituality. A hype man like my cousin Elizabeth. The Illustrious Clark Atlanta University for challenging me to find a way or make one as a young African American man. Without the mentorship, love and efforts of these individuals and more, the support I get from my clients, friends and those I don’t even know, I could not say I would be as successful as I am today. By pushing me to understand the value of hard work and delayed gratitude, to never stop learning, to bet on myself, and open my mind to new thoughts and processes, these individuals have motivated me to relentlessly and confidently chase my dreams and become the success I am today.
Katrina B., Lisa L., Daniel “Loony” L., Leonard T., Liam J., Ian A., Tiffany F., Chanekqua “Mo” P., Carmen S., Kawana M.