Today we’d like to introduce you to Akai Jackson.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’m originally from Annapolis Maryland and was raised by my grandmother and aunt respectively. I attended private school my entire life because my grandmother saw the value. She did everything she could to provide me with the best opportunity to be successful. That’s right you guessed it, a spoiled rotten mama’s boy who wanted for nothing and never heard the word no. My father knew the world was not going to treat me as such, so that was the reality check I needed to form the perfect sphere of hard work, structure, faith, and understanding what my purpose on planet earth was. Growing up I excelled in music as well as sports and earned an athletic scholarship to college. The dream of playing college basketball was cut short due to a devasting knee injury that I was not mentally tough enough or prepared enough to endure and come back from. I drummed up enough courage to move to Orlando, FL sight unseen to pursue a career in music as a DJ and producer. I enrolled in the prestigious Full Sail University and obtained two degrees before my 21st birthday (Recording Arts & Entertainment Business). This all felt natural to me because this is all I’d ever known, however; I felt unfulfilled and I knew I was not doing anything that was changing lives or making a significant impact in people’s lives. I began to reflect back to when I felt the best about what I was doing with my life, which brought me back to working at a gym in high school and on the college campus and helped people lose weight and get in shape and most importantly feel better about themselves. It was then I realized I had it all wrong and began to pursue what I thought was going to just be a cool 9-5 job, little did I know I would find my calling and purpose in life. I spent seven years as a manager of the fastest-growing private health club in the industry at the time, three years as the Director of Personal Training Development and Education for Youfit and Retro Fitness respectively, as well as Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Central Florida for five years, all along knowing I was psychologically unemployable then entire time. I went out on my own full time in 2016 and have been in business for myself ever since. I’ve worked with high profile high school, college, and professional athletes across multiple sports, become a published author, voted America’s Favorite Mindfulness Coach, a professional speaker, and touched the lives of many through second to none approach to helping people become the best version of themselves.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There’s no smooth road to the future. It will come with bumps, dips, curvy roads, and sometimes even a little headache. Some of the most recent struggles I think everyone reading will be able to identify with losses during the Covid Pandemic. Some of the other real-life struggles are when you are your own boss, there’s a lot of flexibility and freedom with no one to keep you accountable. I’m very structured when it comes to business and life; however, I do struggle with discipline.
We’ve been impressed with IXL, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
IXL is a personal & professional development agency that curates mindset shift programs that takes clients from existing to excelling in physical, mental, and financial health. As a brand personally one of the proudest moments was being names America’s Favorite Mindfulness Coach, during a time where I felt like globally everyone was paying attention to their emotions and the impact emotional awareness and intelligence were at an all-time high. It meant we were helping people, it meant the message of making people feel better about themselves and helping them become the way version of themselves was successful. Everything we set out to since inception is working! One thing I want anyone reading this to know is, you absolutely have 100% permission to feel how you feel. It’s OK to feel emotions and you are not alone. Whatever you are wrestling with, struggling with is normal and the best part is; a development expert like myself can help you get to the other side with a second to none approach to mindset shifts and taking action. We now offer online courses that can be found at https://akaijjackson.podia.com/become-fearless We also have an online private community where you have access to exclusive content on how to go from existing to excelling in your personal and professional life.
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Stress has always been here, anxiety has always existed, depression has been a constant in many lives. The current global health crisis also reminds us that what affects one family has to be addressed by all of us. The constant is, people need help, they need the right thought process, the mind tools, and principles to connect and cope with whatever they are experiencing. The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us how interdependent we are: what happens to one person can soon affect many others, neighbors, co-workers, cross the country, or even across the planet. We are CONNECTED and through this connection we can heal, we can come together for the greater good of our society, we can truly go from simply existing into excelling.
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