Eric Jackson- 2017- A Year in Review- Kayaking, business, family, fishing.. by ericjackson | Dec 9, 2017 | 2016 Rock Star Competition, Coosa FD, EJ, EJ Thoughts, Fishing, Internationalisation, United States, Whitewater | 1 comment It is hard to believe 2017 is coming to a close already. Christmas is on its way and most of the things listed on my schedule are in 2018. It is that time where I reflect on the year gone by see what I have accomplished, or not accomplished in this year relative to the plans I set for myself. For me, everything important to me is a goal. What is important to me, you ask? If you really know me, you are somewhat familiar with my “Life Without Compromise” concept. It is basically a list of my priorities (what is important to me) and a decision making protocol that goes in order of the list. Kristine, my kids, my athletic/sporting life, and my business in that order. Where do my friends fall in that list? My friends are made up of people who are either in business with me or are part of my athletics (fishing/kayaking). You will notice, if you are close to me that I don’t have friends that I spend any time with are not kayakers or fishermen, or working with me in some capacity. Why? Because the things most important to me take up 100% of my time and I don’t have time to spend during any day on things that don’t fall in that list. Occasionally people question this concept, but for me it is simple. My list was self made and it includes only what I have time for, which is to spend time with my wife and kids and make sure they are happy and healthy, and then make sure I am accomplishing some kind of personal endeavor that I am proud of and feel is worthy of my time, and finally, to support myself, family, and friends through a business endeavor that I feel is worthy of my time and effort. Of course I have put all of my eggs in one basket with Jackson Kayak and made my sports (kayaking and fishing) the same as my business. By also having my wife and kids working in the business and doing the same sport that I do, I get to spend quality time with them when I am working on priority #4, business, and priority #3 kayaking, so priority #1 and #2 are much more easily taken care of during any day of the week. Whew… that is a lot of theory, but it will help better see how I make my decisions and it will be how I measure my year. 2017 Started off with some bad news, but it gets better. My youngest son, KC, the happiest, most excited, and loving little boy you’ll ever meet, at age 8, was still not talking in way people could understand. It took us 8 months to organize 4 child development specialists at Vanderbilt to meet him all on one day and attempt to evaluate what the issue was and how to fix it. There are three main ways that a child learns- auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Fairly often a child will struggle with one of those ways and you have to work around it by employing the other two. KC, struggles with all three, something rarely seen in any developmentally challenged kid. There is a special school in Memphis that has techniques for teaching kids who are challenged with different learning disabilities. This was the recommended solution for him. The problem? $2,000/week tuition and it is in Memphis, 5 hours away. We committed to him going there for 1 month to see what their teaching method could achieve and also see if Kristine could learn the method and take over the teaching herself. Kristine homeschooled both Emily and Dane and spends 24 hours/day with KC. When Kristine and KC left for this school and they spent a month at a hotel together, KC couldn’t recite the ABC’s. In fact, he couldn’t get through the first three letters, and this was after years of showing him the letters, trying to sing them, etc. etc.. You could show him the letter A for a hour, talk about it, and then pull out a flash card and say, “what letter is this?” He would look at you with a blank and shrug his shoulders; Frustrating to say the least. When he returned a month later, he could not only say the ABC’s, but also spell and sound out many three letter words. The process they used at this school was working but we were $8,000 plus a month in a hotel behind in cash. Worth it? Absolutely, but we couldn’t keep that up. Kristine and I found out what school the teachers went to, to learn how to teach this process and simply found teacher’s manuals and read about the process to become KC’s teachers. While Kristine had no experience with it, she managed to listen in to each of KC’s one on one classes by sitting by the door (parents were not allowed in the classroom) and she learned the delivery and KC’s reaction to each of the lessons. This past week, KC read his first book to Kristine. He can sound out most 3-5 letter words. He is also a math wiz, relatively speaking, and a good problem solver. 2017 was a hard year, especially in the beginning as KC was getting old enough that anyone who met him would know he is behind in speech and the way he talked makes him seem lower intelligence. Today his speech is still way behind, but his vocabulary is going up exponentially now, and his pronunciation is starting to improve. The letter L is still barely existing, as is V, TH, and others that make it seem that his hearing is an issue. That is a project for 2018 as he hearing is tested as normal or close to it, I don’t believe it. What we have done for KC, is to keep his self-esteem where it belongs. The people in his life care about him, love him, play with him, and he interacts like a normal person with them, and is the light of the room. A public school would destroy him immediately, most likely, as kids are brutal to someone who “talks like a retard” and is behind in reading comprehension. By homeschooling him he is proving to be one of the most kind, light-hearted, happy, confident kids we know. Once his reading and vocabulary gets a little better, he’ll be able to catch up. So, in 2017, KC was a big part of the year. Jackson Kayak Antix, FLW Tour- Spring 2017: Our newest kayak, the Antix, was launched and much of our kayaking time was spent paddling that boat. I paddled it here at Rock Island and surrounding rivers mostly, while Dane took it to Chile. We managed to get lots of good runs in and successfully launched this kayak to the general public and was able to show everyone just how fun it is. Part of the launch included a video I made with Steve Fisher for Dickies. In the video I molded my own Antix, assembled it, and then paddled it at high water Rock Island- Sieve City, the Falls, etc.. Check it out below: Getting rigged up for tournament day… I also fished my second FLW Tour season this year. Competing against the many of the best tournament bass fishermen in the world has been a dream of mine since I was 10 years old and living in Florida. Anyone who knew me in Florida, knew I was either going to be a professional bass fisherman or a professional R/C pilot. The FLW league has 40,000 people fishing in tournaments. 38,000 fishing the BFL or school leagues that are the feeder program for the “Costa Series” which is the minor league. 1,000 people fishing the Costa Series which is the feeder program for the Pro Tour, of which 165 people fish. It is kind of a big deal. The amount of talent on the tour is impressive and climbing to the top of the top tier takes a special talent that few possess. That is where I have my sights set, the top of the top tier. Where am I at? After this season, I am at right at the top of the bottom 1/3rd. I ranked 139th on tour this year out of the 165. For somebody who has spent decades finishing in the top 3 and winning a majority of events, in kayaking, this is a new place for me. This is a wonderful place for me to be. Starting at the bottom of this mountain and looking up at all of the obstacles that threaten to get in my way, is so incredibly motivating. Just typing those words puts an automatic smile on my face as the “work” I have to do is fishing, studying fishing, and living and breathing fishing. If you are not obsessed with fishing, like I am, I can understand your confusion. Just substitute your favorite thing with fishing and imagine doing that with the goal of being the best at it. Kayaking is always a good substitution! During the season I fished in 7 tournaments and my best finish was 99th, twice. I was in 42nd after day 1 of the first tournament, but ‘zeroed out” on my second day. Lots to learn about being consistent. Spring- Kayaking- my “comeback”- Whitewater kayaking is part of my DNA at this stage in my life. You can not talk about “EJ” and not think about kayaking. 2015 was my first year since 1989 where I had to sit on the sidelines all year long and not compete as a member of the USA Kayak Team in a World Championships. I trained hard for USA Team Trials, training in Africa and other places in the winter, but messed up the trials. I was good enough to make the team and medal in the World Championships, but it didn’t happen. 2017 USA Team Trials were in Colorado at Buena Vista. I trained at home and then got to Colorado early enough to learn the spot and be ready. While the competition was stiff, I managed to put myself back on the team and give myself another chance to compete on the world stage in Argentina in December. After USA Team Trials I had some other events in Colorado, but the biggest one was the “GoPro Games”. what was most important to me for these games was the “Steep Creek Championships” on Homestake Creek. This 2 minute “extreme race” takes place at 10,000 feet above sea level, making it one of the hardest physically due to the lack of air, ice cold water, and non stop rapids with the hardest drop being right before the finish line. This even happens every year, but this was the first year we designed a new kayak that was destined to dominate this race, the Nirvana. The FedEx truck literally dropped of 12 Nirvanas that were overnighted from the factory two days before the race. We had only paddled prototypes until then. I was fired up to be able to race our new speedy creek boat here myself. While it has been years since I was the dominant extreme racer (90s) and I have still never won this race (2nd and 3rd), I wanted to see if I could make finals and see if my team could win the event. I raced in the prelims well and was top 10 to make finals. In finals I placed 13th with several mistakes on the course. However, the results for the boat were stellar with 3 of the top 4, including the win for men (Dane), and 2 of the top 3, including the win (Nouria) in women’s. Here is an article I wrote the day I got my production Nirvana. http://www1.jacksonkayak.com/blog/2017/06/09/nirvana-gets-the-double-thumbs-up-and-a-double-win-at-gopro-games-steep-creek-race/ Dane and Emily win Freestyle Events at GoPro Events (Dane wins Creek race too) Leaving Colorado and back on fishing tour. Part of the fishing tour, if you follow my priority list, is business. Fishing out of a Ranger bass boat with a 250 hp Evinrude on the back and selling kayaks. How could they possibly be related? Jackson Kayak Coosa FD on the Racks… Ranger/Evinrude on the Trailer… Perhaps one of my strongest skill sets is finding ways to create my own realities out of things that didn’t exist before. Tournament bass fishing is its own beast, with its own media, pros, and infrastructure that doesn’t include kayaks. It dominates the media to be more specific and therefore if you are not a tournament bass fisherman (bass fishing makes up 80% of the fisherman in the USA) you don’t have a voice. Sure, there are kayak fishing mags, websites, etc.. and they are growing fast. However, the fishing pie is primarily controlled by all things related to tournament bass fishing. Just look up “how to” articles online, or videos, or pick up Bassmaster or BASS magazine and see who the people are that are doing the talking. How can I help kayak fishing become competitive in an industry where we have no voice? That was, and is, my challenge. I started three years ago as a “co-angler”, showing up at my first FLW Tournament in Florida and entered a room full of pro fisherman in their “NASCAR” jerseys and logo ball caps. I didn’t know a single person other than Charlie Ingram and I couldn’t find him. I was wearing Dickies coveralls and a Stetson hat, which was a premeditated as I wanted to stick out like a sore thumb as I knew there was no way I could compete in the mosh pit with my limited experience. I began the process of trying to give kayaking a voice among the top tier of pros. Jackson Kayak put a booth (my RV with me manning it along with team members) at each tournament. We began supporting the “FLW Foundation” with fishing kayaks and coolers that were raffled off at each tournament. Top pros began asking about getting kayaks for themselves to fish at home on their creeks, ponds, etc.. Finally the FLW organization started to see kayaks as another growth segment for them as well and started putting articles on their website (that I was writing). Kayaks are getting a voice in the middle of the biggest piece of the fishing pie for the first time. If kayaks become a “go to” watercraft for getting off the bank and on the water versus powerboats, john boats, etc.. this industry will skyrocket. To date fishing kayaks have primarily been sold by kayak shops and to kayakers. Fishermen who don’t already kayak, don’t shop at kayak shops. They shop at tackle shops. This is one of our industries biggest challenges. Getting kayak shops selling tackle or getting tackle shops selling kayaks. This is part of my tournament fishing process. I am organizing a prearranged marriage of the industries. Right now we are just dating. As a kayaker and manufacturer, I am getting as involved as I can with the key players of the fishing world. These players (manufacturers of fishing equipment and the FLW and Tournament fishermen in BASS and FLW and the Fishing Media) are all learning about kayaks and seeing how it is the fastest growing segment of the industry. I am helping them realize that they need to jump on this train before it passes them. Meanwhile- Jackson Kayak is positioning itself as a brand that can work with the key players and hopefully will get a big part of the market-share when the marriage happens and the dating period is over. More tournaments with more money for people who enjoy doing that out of kayaks, more media coverage of the top fishermen in kayaks, and the cycle begins. No longer is the entire industry built around fishermen in bass boats. This is going to be good for all kayak brands as well as bass boat companies. Kayak fishing will become a new feeder program for people who want a bass boat, too. It may seem weird to you, if you are a kayaker, that I own a bass boat. “Why”, you ask, are you a traitor running a motorized boat?” Hmm, I love riding a bike, but I must admit, I also love driving my Nissan Titan or my Mini-Cooper. Going 75mph on a lake, covering as much water as I want in a day is pretty sweet and exciting. Given a choice between a kayak or bass boat, however, if I had to choose one, I would stick with the kayak. But, with the option of both, I’ll keep both. In a year or two we’ll see lots of people who own bass boats, getting kayaks, and the 10’s of thousands of new fishing kayaks sold each year, a percentage of them will, like me, start buying bass boats. So, bass boat companies, you are welcome. 🙂 Back to my year- This summer was a high water year on the Ottawa, and like every year before for the past 25 years, I went to the Ottawa River. This year was different and one that will stick with me and many others for our entire lives as an unthinkable tragedy occurred. One of the kayakers in our group, Lynn, drowned surfing Buseater wave. It was one of those unexplained accidents, where you can’t find anything you could have done differently to change the outcome other than not being on the water. Lynn was one of my favorite people to paddle with as she earned her stripes through hard work and unfaltering determination and was a kind as anyone comes. We Miss You Lynn- We will never forget you. While statistically whitewater kayaking falls in between hiking and biking for mortality rates, that doesn’t change what happened to Lynn and it will be an open wound for everyone involved. I can only hope that we all remember to cherish the time we do have for ourselves and those around us, as we never know when our time, or their time will come. I try to remember to give my wife, kids, and friends a hug every time they walk out the door as you never know. Dickies Booth at Outdoor Retailer (Billy in molding is the star of booth pulling the Cuda FD) The rest of the summer was full of trade shows and industry events. Outdoor Retailer saw Dickies with a booth that had two of the three sides made up of photos that included Jackson Kayak. Billy from molding was oversized, dragging a Coosa HD up the bank, while I was on two big screens in the booth with the video about me playing. iCast and the Forest Wood Cup were two big fishing shows where our booth was hopping. At iCast I did my first ever “press conference” in the same spirit as you see on TV before a big fight or when a new Quarterback is signed on. This press conference was put on by Nissan announcing their partnership with me. Steve Parrett, from Nissan, got up to speak and I was shocked at his skill on the microphone. Later I found out that he was formerly a network anchor for a news station. Being picked up by Nissan as a Pro Bass Fisherman, Kayak Fisherman, and Whitewater kayaker was a big moment for me as I have always wanted to be sponsored by a car company and felt I could make a difference for them. The press conference and booth that Nissan put at iCast was a great way to start our relationship. In the next few weeks you’ll see a video clip that Steve Fisher and I made with the Nissan Titan that I think you’ll enjoy watching. It is about “life without compromise” in a 4 minute clip. I sometimes get people asking, “hey, EJ, shouldn’t you be spending more time working on Jackson Kayak stuff instead of making a Nissan clip?” This is very similar to my tournament fishing in that what comes around goes around. Jackson Kayak only has so much bandwidth and audience. If we are to grow our brand, we need more and different people to be exposed to it. This article, that I am writing on our website will reach you, and others who already know me, know our brand, etc.. The photos, videos, and social media posts, etc.. that Nissan puts up that includes me, includes Jackson Kayak and Orion Coolers, and it goes to their audience, which is not only much larger than ours (18,000,000 facebook fans, for example) but it is different than ours. I determined a long time ago that you should surround yourself with the best people if you want to succeed. That lead us to having such an amazing team at JK, but I have extended that to being surrounded by amazing brands as well such as Dickies, Nissan, RAM, PowerPole, Raymarine, Cashion, Ardent, GoPro, Ranger, Evinrude, Strike King Lures, Kokatat, Werner Paddles, Trokar/Eagle Claw, Tuf-Line, Plano, Navionics, and more. These brands invest time and money into growing the sport of kayaking or fishing and when working together with Jackson Kayak and/or me personally, we are able to reach more people and/or create better boats. Total Eclipse: Luckily for us, the total eclipse path was perfectly over Rock Island, TN, and my back deck was the best viewing spot for it. We made it home to see that, Kristine made sure of that. Kristine, KC, Lorraine (Kristine’s mom), and I hung out on the back deck with our special glasses and watched the most amazing phenomena. I now know that “total eclipse” and partial eclipse are not related. It stays light out, like day time, even with the smallest little sliver of sun exposed. The second the sun is 100% blotted out by the moon, it immediately becomes dark like nighttime and that is when the crickets chirp, birds fly away, and your emotions go crazy with delight. The effect it had on us was unexpected, and only the moment it went dark and for the 2 minutes after. Here is a time lapse I did of it that turned out pretty good. October: It was time to turn my attention to the World Championships. This entire year was plagued by my worst shoulder injury since 1991. My injury was a “speed disc golf” injury. What is that, you ask? One of my “training” methods is to play disc golf at my house. I have an 18 hole course here. I don’t play normal, however, but fast, really fast. My record is 12:24 for 18 holes at -3 on the course. In order to go that fast, you have to sprint full speed after each throw, and run immediately after you release the disc. You can’t watch it land and then go. You also have to throw it straight and find it without having to look for it. There are 7 times you have to jump over our fence on the course. If you want to have a good time, set a record, you have to clear the fence without your feet touching it and keep your momentum going towards the disc you just launched. One of those times, my feet did touch, catching both feet on the top of the fence I took a high speed header. I landed on my head and shoulder at the same time and crunched my neck, separated my AC joint, and tore rotator cuff tendons. In normal EJ form, I jumped up, grabbed my disc and tried to putt it in thinking I might be able to shake it off and didn’t want to lose time. The putt fell short and I collapsed on the ground almost passing out. It was clear that I was not going to finish this round and that my shoulder was messed up. I managed to walk back to the house and sit down. That injury is still with me and I have put off surgery on my shoulder, hoping I can lock my shoulder down with strengthening every still functioning tendon and muscle to hold it in place. Unfortunately, after 11 months, I still have trouble sleeping at night as it hurts all night long in any position and there is no way I can lay on it. When I started training for the World Championships, my primary challenge was to keep my shoulder working while I trained. I did a pretty good job keeping strong all year and keeping it working, but the amount of training I needed to do would be more than I have been able to do so far. Advil and “just dealing with it” was my primary way of handling the higher volume of paddling, but the reality was that I couldn’t paddle as much as I wanted. The best thing I was able to do to improve my shoulder was bench press, dips, and chin-ups. I did my normal circuit weights at home and learned how to hold my shoulder tight when doing the exercises and set myself up for being able to train in Argentina. One thing that seems crazy to me, but I can’t get around it is that fishing really hurts it. Using a “jerk bait” is like torture, which is good because it will force me to find a permanent solution to this injury eventually, which is most likely, surgery. Trying to stay in shape and ready for worlds with shoulder injury. One of the last things we did before going to Argentina was having our dealer summit here at Rock Island. This is an amazing event where we invite 100 of our top dealers to come spend a few days with us and learn more about our company, paddle, eat, drink, and be merry. This year Kristine and her brother, Bill, cooked two dinners in a row at my house for over 200 people. Live band, lots of food and drink, and amazing people make this a wonderful time. In the morning, of course, red cups in every conceivable hiding place, and lots of clean up, followed by getting ready for “round 2”. The week before Dealer Summit was filming of the Nissan clip with Steve Fisher and film crew. This was also a dawn to nighttime project for the week the included kayak fishing, whitewater kayaking, and fishing from my bass boat, as well as doing work around the house, disc golf, and a nice fire around our firepit. Here are a few screen shots from the video. Argentina- My 15th time competing in a World Championships as a member of the USA Team. Between my shoulder injury and spending more time fishing than training for whitewater, I had no delusions of being the “guy to beat” in 2017. However, my skills, experience, and ability to perform under pressure, I was good enough to make the top 5 finals if I put my rides down. That was what I was shooting for. Of course I was shooting for the win, and my routine, done perfectly, was 1810 points, and the winning ride was in the 1700’s. I got up early most mornings to avoid a crowd. 4:30am -7am was my prime training slot. Training in the dark isn’t ideal, but the street lamp on the hole was more than ample for making it work. The Southern Cross was perfectly positioned on the horizon line at 5am, right side up, and the most impressive constellation in the sky, IMO. I trained as hard and much as my shoulder would allow. I ended up taking one full day and 1 half day off due to my shoulder, but otherwise was able to do two training sessions each day. One early and one during the main day. Every day my paddling improved, but I struggled to be 100% consistent on a few key moves. My Lunar Orbit (a move I created and named in 2003) and my McNasty (another move I created in 2003) were both causing me troubles. They were in the front or middle of my routine so many of my training rides were cut short by flushing out of the hole or missing one of those moves. By the first day of the competition, however, I was at 80% on both of them. In prelims, I started off my routine by flushing on my first move, the Lunar orbit… by the time I got back into the hole I only managed a 500+ point ride and my world Championships was going to be really short if I didn’t step it up on my second ride. Luckily the pressure didn’t weigh on me and I was excited to have it. My second ride was about double the score, near 1000 and it put me from around 50th, to 19th with a combined score of 1490. In quarter finals- I figured I needed 2,000-2200 points to make the top 10. My first two rides were 600 and 300 as everything that could go wrong went wrong. I have been in this position before, but this time I needed my entire routine to go right and get a 1500 point ride if I were to make top 10. My final ride did go well, but was, again, just about 1,000 points and I only moved up from 19th to 15th with a 1600 point score. My son, Dane, however, won the first two rounds, in both kayak and C1 and went on to win the next two rounds in C1 and the next round in kayak and ended up second overall in kayak in the final ride. (gold and silver medal in two classes). Dane wins another gold. We all celebrated a great world championships, with Emily, Nick, Tucker, Parker, and Hayden all living together in a “cabana” near the competition site. A worthy view after a big hike up the mountain with the kids. Dane lived in a place downtown. Our last day, after the worlds, we climbed a mountain overlooking the lake and river. We were able to reflect on the trip, our lives, and where to go next. For me, my motivations are the same, my relationship with Kristine and the kids, my sports (which encompasses my health as well) kayaking and fishing, and my business, Jackson Kayak. How I structure my life around these changes slightly every year, but the concept is the same. My grown kids also have their lives to design. Emily and Nick with two kids, and the desire to be the best at the same time. While neither of them achieved their personal goals for this World Championships, they paddled well and both could have won and both have won before. Dane as a single guy, 24, who loves to travel the world in search of the best kayaking (sounds familiar). Everyone must choose their own path and run it the best they can. I can’t live for Emily or Dane or Nick or anyone else. They are doing awesome at this thing called life, so i am not worried about any of them. KC is still in our care and we are responsible for his upbringing. I think he will be amazing and happy. Now, it is nearing Christmas time. A fixed point where KC, and the family can rally around. We choose names from a hat to determine who buys a present for who. I have my brother-in-law, Scott. I don’t know who has me yet. Emily and Nick arrive in Atlanta today, Kristine is picking them up. We need to get a Christmas tree and haven’t decided to buy one or find one again this year around our property. Setting up the tree, turning on Christmas music, drinking Kristine’s homemade eggnog will get us all in the mood for what is our final big family gathering of 2017. On the 28th Nick and Emily fly to Canada. Dane goes to Uganda, and I drive to Florida for the first tournament of the year on January 4th, the Costa Series Tournament on Lake Okeechobee. New Year’s will be spent spread out around the world this year. New Year’s resolutions shared just with Kristine and I while we are in our RV, parked at the boat ramp on the North end of Okeechobee. They will be focused on things we can do to be healthier, take better care of each other and our extended family at Jackson Kayak, as well as personal goals that we want to achieve. I want to qualify for the Forest Wood Cup- the FLW Championships this August. Top 35 pros from tour make it. 165 pros competing for those spots. I need to flip my rankings from 139th to top 35. That is a big upgrade. I think I can do it, but then, again, I always do. I thought I could do it in 2017, but was nowhere near the goal. I do believe that the skills and knowledge I am gaining are like the giant bamboo trees that spend all of their time developing roots and there is no evidence the world that this little sprout is going to amount anything. Then, one day, when the roots are ready, it shoots up fast and strong and always amazes. Everyone talks about the fast rise, but it was the years of water, sun, and growing roots first, that made the fast growth above ground possible when the time was right. We use this analogy with Jackson Kayak as well as I do with my personal endeavors. I get to work with one of the smartest people I know in the world, Dave Olson, who challenges me but also compliments my style. He is on his way here now from DC and we’ll be playing “Dueling computers” all weekend. Dave Olson at his 60th birthday party- a perfect mix of an 18 year old, Henry Ford, and Albert Einstein in his prime. There is “succcess” and the outward trimmings of success. They are not the same thing. Success is doing what is important to you and sticking with it. Outward trimmings of success is just a way for others to see what you are doing and attribute value to it. Holding a $125,000 check above my head after winning an FLW Tournament is the outward trimmings of success. Showing up and competing is the true success. If you do that enough, and work hard, you may well hold that check up one day. If you never hold that check up, are you a failure? Not if you had fun training and competing and that was what you wanted to do. Failure is the person who gets rich in business doing things they don’t enjoy, putting their business ahead of their personal lives and losing the people they love, and then being miserable with their money and no longer knowing how to make decisions that make them happy, only knowing how to sacrifice the people around them and their happiness in order to turn a buck. I believe you can do both and that is how you make it for the long run. But yes, I do want to hold that check over my head as an FLW Champion, but it isn’t required for me to feel and be successful. Now we are talking about 2018… It is here that I leave you with my final thought: “Things are never as good or bad as they seem at the moment.” In every category of my life there are challenges that seem monumental. There are also so many things going for me that it really isn’t fair. Somewhere in the middle is where I find myself most of the time, regardless how it might seem at the moment. I have been able to wake up and work through every problem and every time I think things are perfect, something I overlooked reminds me that it isn’t quite a good as I thought and I have to work through that too. While I like to have my “highs” be as high as possible, and keep my lows from being too low, I don’t gloat in my highs too long, and don’t dwell in my lows too long, either. This keeps me in a zone that I can work in, stay motivated, and those around me can relate to. Jackson Kayak will have some critical meetings in the next week, starting today that will be hard but critical to our long term success. I am looking forward to them. 🙂 EJ ps. a few more images from the year… DCIM100MEDIADJI_0079.JPG DCIM102GOPROG0024803.JPG DCIM101GOPROG0351682.JPG DCIM109GOPROGOPR7779.JPG 1 Comment Robert Medina on February 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm Wow, Great article. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Jackson. I feel like I am reading about a living legend. Reply Submit a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.