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Reflecting on where I am and where I am going...

It is the end of one year and the beginning of another.   This is the time most people look back on the year in retrospect and create or renew vows for the coming year.   In doing so, you get a better perspective on life, remembering so many of the little blessings that get pushed back in your memory, which help you keep your chin up and smile easier, and also to look for them them in the new year so you can enjoy them at the time even better.   You will also remember some of the challenges you overcame which remind you that things are rarely as bad as they seem at the moment, giving you courage moving forward.

2012 is going out like a Lion this year in the Southeast USA.   (A coming storm your shooting corns presage,: And aches will throb, your hollow  If the weather is nice early, it comes in like a lamb and will go out like a lion.– I anticipate a beefy winter, even if this is related to March in the Farmer’s almanac) Only 10 days ago I was swimming in the lake with KC on a 70 degree day.    Now  there is a dusting of snow on the deck and the temperature is 24 degrees.   The river is raging at 9,000 cfs while the mercury has falled are both creating a conflicting mood in me.   I want to go paddle, but it is a perfect inside day.   My wood stock for the fireplace is nearly depleted, because we have enjoyed many great evenings by the fire; do I go outside and cut more wood today, or stay in and burn what is left?    Aren’t these the same internal conflicts that we had all year, and will have every year to come?   Aren’t the very answers and actions we take to each of the little conflicts, the thing we can blame or credit for where we are in the different areas of our lives right now?  Aren’t these the subjects of our New Year’s resolutions?    Eat another cookie or go for a run?   Small thing, really, and the right answer isn’t always the same.    It is a tactic to burn more calories than to eat in order to keep from getting fat.   That is pointless unless we have the underlying strategy in our lives that guides us and gives us the strength to succeed in the areas of our lives that are important.   My year end review is always related, referred to, and measured against  my overall strategy in my life and business.     This is a way to assure you don’t lose sight of your objectives, and don’t let the dog wag the tail.   Strategy or your logistical plans are what set your direction and the tactics you use to move yourself along that path are interchangeable as needed.   “The difference between the professional and amateur soldier?  The professional focuses on logistics, while the amateur on tactics.”  Winston Churchill.   That quote starts off the first section of my “Playboating” book written in 1998.  I got that quote from Bill Endicott, my slalom coach from 1983-1992.   It has provided much of the direction I have had in my life and allowed me to focus my energies more effectively.   My last example would have my strategy be- maintain weight at 165 pounds (same as past 30 years) keeping physical prowness at or greater than last year.    Eat a cookie and don’t work out?  Sure- I am only 164.4 pounds and already kayaked today, all is well.    Eat a cookie and don’t workout?   No chance- I haven’t kayaked in three days and have been eating like a starved person over those three days and weigh in at 167.   My strategy and logistical plan (interchangeable) guide me.    I can set my plan up in advance, when I am thinking straight, setting my priorities in life and goals, and then the tactics fall into place when the time comes.    The decisions come easier.      This background is just to help me remember what I am measuring my year against.   It doesn’t matter what anyone else’s goals for me might have been for 2012, only what my own plan for myself was and how I did against that plan.     This goes for everything in my life.   I am part of a complex team of people at Jackson Kayak, so while my personal goals for Jackson Kayak are important, of course, I must also consider the goals of everyone involved if I want to have the team be a team after all.

The Boys with Courtney- another Jackson family member..

Going into 2012 my New Year’s Resolutions were focused on spending quality time with Kristine and the kids, on paddling new places and learning new things, and assuring that Jackson Kayak was profitable and growing for self-sustainability.   Looking at where we are today (taking an inventory of the outward trimmings of success or failure that indicate what actually happened) is always a good way to start.

My review, in priority order-  Kristine, Kids, Paddling, Business

My Soulmate

My relationship with Kristine is very healthy and robust.   If her outward happiness was the indicator of how well things are going, I would say that 2012 was our best year yet.    I also know that I still get my head down and while it is my goal/plan to do things with her and for her that add to her quality of life, sometimes I choose poorly still and focus on other things instead.   I still don’t captilize on all of the small opportunities to make her feel special and I want to improve that this year by having that goal as my primary goal with her.    Her ability to feel good about me is directly related to how she feels about herself.   The better she feels about herself, the better she can feel about me and the happier we can be together.     No need for details here.

The kids- Emily, Dane, and KC, and also Nick (adopted son-in-law)…    Each of my kids are such different beasts, with different needs.  What I want from them is a fun, happy relationship, where they trust and care about me, and come to me when they need something, or want to have fun.   I want to be part of their daily world.

KC- lives a large life...

Starting with KC, as he is the easiest one at only 4 years old;   many good things happened this year with my relationship with him.   At the beginning of the year he only went to mommy when he needed something and was truly a momma’s boy.   Throughout the year, with lots of play time he has branched out and even I am good enough to help him out if he gets an “owie”.    We have consistent games we play together now, like “Get you” which makes WWF wrestling look tame, which is played on our couch and includes weapons like the 10 pound leather pillows, elbows, and feet.   We also play “Worms” on the computer together- usually 3 or 4 player with Nick and Dane included.     What KC lacks in his verbal skills, he blows us away with his computer and understanding skills.  His smile, and constant laugh are reminders that life is about being happy and easily amused.   Being serious is not something to look down on in others, but to be perfectly honest, being serious leaves much to be desired for the serious one and the ones around them.   Being happy and cheerful is something KC brings to the table and is teaching us every day.

Emily- always full of life

Emily- This is one simple, yet complex person.    Emily inherited my resolve and drive and obsessive personality and the complex thought process, and un-inhibited raw emotions that are out of anyone’s control (the woman side of her)  making understanding her completely impossible.      However, basically she is very easy and very consistent.   She wants everything to be perfect and everyone to be perfect.    She is very good at achieving that as well.    She certainly sets her own goals very high (an example is that she tries and succeeds at winning just about every event she competes in).    Emily is also very much an adult now, even though I mistakenly try to treat her like my child still sometimes.    She takes on and handles responsibility very well.   Handling team management and the Jackson Kayak website content, among other things, like somebody who has been in business for years.   She really enjoys it and that is something that I wanted for her and something I chalk up as a success for 2012 for my relationship with her.    Emily is growing stronger and more intense as part of a broader engagement into Jackson Kayak.  (if she was not part of Jackson Kayak, I would want for her to be broadening her focus to a bigger picture where she was involved).       I am not suggesting that everyone should want to go broader in their focus, but Emily’s personality is such that just doing the same activities well won’t keep her attention forever and learning to look around and engage areas that need help without being asked is a trait that the world needs more of.    That is much rarer than somebody who will do a good job in their area of responsibility but doesn’t venture beyond it.    Emily also had a miscarriage this year, something that does different things to different people.    It brings a level of reality to people’s thinking, like “Whoa, that can happen to me… I have to actually do what I am supposed to…” is where most women go with that.   That is NOT the thinking that I want her to adopt, as it is limiting, verses broadening.   It is based on fear, verses desire.     However, I think that Emily has the fortitude and balance to personally weigh the risks/rewards of any activity and choose wisely, based on her personal strategy in life.    I think that misfortune will benefit her in the long run.   What I hope for Emily in 2013 is that I can spend some fun times with her, and that she comes to me for council, and welcomes the same when I am in need of it.

Bright kid, bright future

Dane- my relationship with Dane is often challenged, but also never at risk.    Dane is like me, 100% loyal and trusting, and you can do no wrong.    This is both a blessing and an issue.   Because you can do no wrong, you don’t have to try sometimes.    Dane will both happily do anything you need him to do, and also do nothing you want him to do.   Getting him to “look around and see what needs done and do it without being asked” as Kristine would put it, is about as likely to happen as asking him in Chinese to go buy a pink elephant diamond ring at Tiffanys and expecting it to appear the next day.      Asking Dane,  “Hey Dane, can you pay for this as we don’t have any money” never sees any hesitation, he happily would give you his last dollar if you asked.     Dane also grew up in 2012.    He physically grew from 115 pounds to 130 and from 5′ to 5’6″ this year.    That 6″ growth put him from always being the smallest person his age, to being a normal sized adult.     In kayaking, Dane went from a Junior to a Senior this year.   No longer does Dane represent the Junior class.  He is in the Men’s Pro class and made the switch without missing a step.    He got 2nd in the World Cup this year, as well as just won the Whitewater Grand Prix for the second year in a row.   His skills and confidence are on the rise and that part of his life helps to take care of the rest.    I would officially say that Dane is past the “Danger Zone”.  That place in somebody’s life where their self-esteem and direction are not set enough to be a given for life.    A bad event, bad interpersonal relationship, etc.. can make that person lose the positive forces in their lives and they can get lost.    Dane, I believe, crossed the boundary of no-return in that regard.    He knows his own power, the power of doing the right thing, aways, that doing the right thing leads to positive results that taking short cuts, cheating, lying, etc.. never achieve.        That is the point in life where somebody can choose the right path no matter what the circumstances are.   Dane is there now.   He has seen his own personal results and growth come from being a good person, from helping others, and from actions, not words.     My relationship with him is a very good one.   I can see that he wants me to be happy and worries about me sometimes, like a son big enough to help his dad.   When we are out on a creek- he will always give me directions if I don’t know where to go.   He pays extra attention to me, a role reversal, and I accept that role as it is fun being lead down by my son.   The biggest difference with Dane now is that he is self-sufficient.   Financially and practically.    While he still lives at home (something I hope he’ll continue for some time!) he just purchased a new Sprinter Van RV that will allow him to travel his own way.   He was also picked up by Red Bull as an athlete this year.   We went to the headquarters in Austria and met the main guys there together.    He handles himself very well, very humble, and very effectively.    He almost appears borderline apathetic, but one knows that can’t be what it is.   He simply isn’t desperate, and isn’t cocky.  He wants the best for everyone and doesn’t oversell himself.      His approach to Red Bull was, “If you expect that I will do things differently because I am sponsored by you, I don’t want to sign on.   I want to go at my own pace.   If that works for you, I want to be on the team.”     That is exactly how I hoped he would be, his own person that can’t be influenced from the outside, by the lure of personal gain.      I still struggle with him in the little things, however.    I have a house rule- “No arguing and no complaining.”  I got that from my Dad.      Dane hasn’t adopted those rules himself yet.   Especially the arguing.   It is so common for him to argue that it is the house joke.   If you want to start an argument just make a statement of fact in front of Dane, he’ll gladly dispute that fact, starting with the word, “No” and then think for a second how he can dispute it.   I think my no arguing rule may have not been administered properly and it has backfired.     Perhaps if Kristine had allowed me to spank Dane when he argued…?   Too late now.    Looking into 2013 what I want to achieve with Dane is to be a part of his world as he embarks on his own journeys.   I want him to break into his own stride, but I want to be included where possible.    By all indicators, that mostly depends on me, I think.   As long as I can have Dane around, I’ll want him around.  I hope he doesn’t find the need to make a clean break from the family unit and make a go out on his own.    If he does, at least we’ll be running in the same circles for most of the year I imagine and I’ll get my Dane fix as needed.


Nick- Nick finished his growing up and becoming an adult while living with us for the most part.   What Dane went through last year and is going through now, Nick went through a few years ago, including getting married to Emily.    Now Nick being an adult and leaving the childhood behind seems to be part of his goal and desires.   You can see how he doesn’t like being treated as a kid and wants to be eye to eye with me or any other adult.   I have a hard time with that sometimes, as that is a role change for me.     Something occurred to me about turning 18 or 21 or whatever age you want to call somebody an adult the other day.     What we consider an adult to be is somebody responsible for his or her own actions.    By that definition, legally somebody is an adult in the USA at 21 because of the alcohol law;  18 otherwise.     However, kids don’t make the jump in a single step, they take on responsibilities at their own pace and that often depends upon need.   If you live at home, or spend time with your parents, you don’t bother to take on some responsibilities because you don’t want them.   Maybe you don’t wash the dishes, vacuum the floor or do other housework that you had to do as a child because you parents made you, and now, as an adult, you feel you shouldn’t have to, part of growing up, living on your own.    Nick and Emily are both like that right now.   They do help and are very willing to do whatever is necessary and want for Kristine and I to be happy with them and are always open be do anything.   They are also trying to show their independence and take the roles of equal adults, self-sufficient, with their own households and challenges.    It is that grey area that isn’t truly 100% adult, nor 100% child, where they pick and choose the role as it feels right at the time.   Everyone goes through this and Nick and Emily both are going through it now.     I struggle with it as I am a black or white guy, not a grey guy.    I want to treat somebody the same way all of the time.  My biggest challenge in 2012 and my goal for 2013 with Nick will be to learn to adjust to the role he is in.   This being my biggest challenge with my Son-in-law is something I am very grateful for.    The rest of my relationship with him is very good and easy to manage.   He is 100% loyal and hardworking, cares deeply for my daughter and makes a wonderful husband for her, and is a best friend to me.   We play together, work together, paddle together.   He knows that I have the need to play hard and work hard and accommodates me by being ready to play when I am ready, and ready to work when I am ready.    He thirst for knowledge and to keep growing personally and does a great job in keeping himself on a constant self-improvement plan.    You can tell that he both likes and also struggles with spending so much time with me in that I am very competitive and when we play, we try to win, and part of being self confident and wanting to win is that you assume you will win.    It is hard to win, it is almost impossible to win if you don’t think you are going to win.  Confidence is something that changes your outlook on life.   When you put two or more people into a game, day in and day out that all think they are, and should win, you have to think about it to keep from it becoming a problem.    The best way I find, is to take the mentor approach.     This only works when you start off as the stronger competitor, of course, but it is a role that I have always had with my kids, much of my team, and Nick.   There was a time when Nick was only 15 and didn’t have the same skills as now and was not good enough to beat me at very many games.   I was his mentor.   Now, he has beaten me in two world championships, and many other competitions as well, and he beats me in every game we play from time to time (except maybe ping pong).     He runs faster than I do in a sprint, but I am better longer distance… etc. etc..      So I take the approach of being the coach for anything I know enough about to be a coach, and try to help him become better, even if he might be (arguably, or according to him… got to stay in the game here!) better than me at that game.   This creates a cooperative environment, one that Team JK has thrived under for many years.   One that our competitors have a hard time believing is for real and often think is a face we put on, verses the real deal.    We honestly are trying to help each other do the best they can, even if we are competing directly against each other.   It has allowed us to rise above the masses and keeps us moving forward.    It is also hard to implement 100% of the time, when you really want to win and can’t understand why the other person thinks they are going to win.      Sometimes, I think I annoy Nick when I am being confident as if I have it  in the bag, when he is winning.     I really don’t know another way.   If I can learn a way to keep our training/competing pod of family and friends moving forward with even less friction, I would, but I don’t know of one.   I also think sometimes I let Nick down as a coach in that my focus gets pulled in certain directions away from competing for example (spending more time on Jackson Kayak) and he sees himself not getting as much training as he wants.     All of these things are so minor in the grand scheme of things and each one should shake itself out with our year end conversations and 2013 resolutions.    I am very lucky to have Nick as a friend and son-in-law.

We brought the world to Rock Island, cool!

My Paddling comes next-  Kayaking to me is more than an activity.   Growing up, in college, and for many years, right down to today, people fail to recognize what kayaking is to me and those around me.    For most people, on the surface, as far as they usually venture into the subject, kayaking is a game, a leisure activity, or at the most, a sport and a way of living for me.   After reading my review so far, I would hope that you can see that it is far greater than that for me, not in of itself, but as a tool and part of my logistical plan, my overall strategy for my life.     For me, kayaking provides the venue, the activities, the challenges, and the rewards for life’s lessons for myself, my family, and many of my friends.   In of itself, it is the most enjoyable activity for me, 90% of the time.     There is nothing I would rather do, certainly not on a daily basis.    Everyone learn’s how to live life in their own venue.   There are so many venue’s out there.   Military, business, school, unemployed and homeless, homemaker, government, athlete, etc. etc..    Most people identify themselves with what they spend the most time doing, and for most, that is their work.   “I am a kayaker, a carpenter, a businessman, a teacher, a soldier, a government worker” etc..   That becomes their game field for where much of their waking hours will be spent, it determines who they will spend it with, and what they will be doing.   It is, largely, their limiting factor or door opening facilitator in their lives.    For me, I was lucky enough to look around me and see that people weren’t happy based on their lot in life, their outward trimmings of success, but they were happy when what they thought about, how they felt, and what they did were one in the same.      What I thought about, what I felt was my calling, and what I wanted to do was to kayak.    I struggled in the earlier years with my purpose in life, as I wanted to be purposeful and wanted to make a difference in the world, but I wasn’t on track to be a doctor, a political leader that would change the world for the better, or anything that anyone would say was meaningful.  I was a kayaker, that paddled my little boat on whitewater around the world for my own enjoyment.    How selfish, how meaningless, how pointless, how despicable was I in the eyes of so many who only knew me on the surface.    Helen Keller said:  “The secret to Happiness is fidelity to a worthy purpose.” and Goethe said  “The secret to success is constancy to a worthy purpose.”     My struggle is that I wanted to be both happy and successful, but wasn’t convinced that kayaking was a worthy purpose.     That was until I became a professional kayak instructor and eventually owned Adventure Schools in Washington, DC.    It was there, that I  “Ruined many careers” and caused many individuals to meet their future spouses and create lasting friendships and change people’s lives, forever, for the better, all through kayaking.    I got people outside and gave them the tools to explore the world, running rivers around the USA and around the world and they caught the bug, choosing for a quality life, not just the grind of life.     I saw that my own kayaking expertise, and my thirst for the exploration for myself, of the world, and the lessons in life, culture, personal challenge and overcoming obstacles where all wrapped up into one neat little package and kayaking was the vehicle.      I was a positive force in people’s lives and for the first time, I was able to say that kayaking WAS a worthy purpose.    It took me years to realize that discovery, after it was in front of my face already.   From 1993 until 1997, four years to make that connection.   At that moment in 1997 anyone who told me or believed that my kayaking was not something to be considered worthy or something I should put in front of everything else (except my family), simply didn’t understand.     For me it took away the power other’s had over me due to a deeper experience level, or more money, or more power.   I no longer had anyone to answer to but myself, because  I am the only one who can decide to go paddling or not go paddling.      Once paddling became my worthy purpose, I owed it to me and to the world to paddle no matter what the circumstances.    Looking back on how many times I had a “Very good reason” to stop paddling and focus on other things, like my boss telling me that I am fired if I am not in the office on Monday, or not having a penny to my name and no groceries in the house, or having so much to do for Jackson Kayak that how can I possibly go kayaking..etc.. etc.. all are “good’ reasons to stop.    Had I allowed any of those obstacles to stop me from not only going paddling, but doing it at the level I wanted to, Emily, Dane, Nick, team members, and Jackson Kayak would have all been subject to a much different upbringing/situation.    The life’s lessons and the advantages Dane and Emily have today would have been hard to come by if I was on the sidelines.  To be clear, I am a kayaker by choice, but that doesn’t mean it is forever.  I could, if I wanted to, decide that something else is more important to me.   That is an important thing to remember, I think, that you are who you are, and what you do doesn’t define you, it only defines what you do.  But until further notice- I am me, and I am a kayaker too. 🙂

EJ and Jase, our first employee

Jackson Kayak would not have been created at all had I been complacent to give up my personal paddling and entering an office at the Confluence factory like the CEO wanted me to.     My paddling goes much deeper for me than most people realize.    The importance it has comes from my giving it that importance, of course, not due to the activity itself.   For me, I have put all of my eggs in that basket, not ever hedging that bet, and watching that basket like it was my life.      To this day the most selfish sounding, ridiculous sounding statement to most people that I make is “I would close the doors of Jackson Kayak before quitting kayaking.”  as in if  I was forced to make a decision between the two.     There would have been no Jackson Kayak without my paddling, of course.   The reality is, especially for those who depend on Jackson Kayak, about 140 people, you can rest assured that I am way beyond making that decision; I  will do both.    Nothing anyone can say or do would sway me from paddling as I deem necessary,  any more than I could convince you to stop breathing for a month or two.    Not happening.    Therefore, Jackson Kayak, next on my priority list, is in good shape as far as I can help it.   Because I would not let anything get in the way of Jackson Kayak, which, as an extension of my paddling, is part of my worthy purpose in life, that worthy purpose that I am constant to and have complete fidelity to, which assures my success and happiness (if you believe Helen Keller and Goethe).     The people of Jackson Kayak are part of my family, and our family struggles everyday to overcome obstacles that are massive.    We started when whitewater kayaking was in a glut with too many brands and too much product and a declining sales trend.     We then transitioned into our first recession in 2009 that is still not over yet.     We didn’t start our business in the hey days like Perception or Dagger.  We started when nobody would advise starting, when the very dealers I was calling on to see if they would buy my product would say, “EJ, don’t start a kayak company, the last thing I need is another whitewater kayak brand.”    This environment isn’t for the weak hearted.   My partner, Tony, has had to decide himself, and to convince others on a regular basis that Jackson Kayak can make it, that it is worth investing money into, even though many very educated, smart, and experienced people who make their living on investing money into business, suggested that we are not worth investing in.     He is a big part of where we are today.   We have grown every year since we began, adding new employees, and overhead, and investing in new molds, ovens, factories, machines, tools, etc.. yet we lost money year after year for 6 straight years.   This is our third year of not losing money.    Only now can do we have any bottom line evidence to say, “see, we can do this” we are a good place to place your trust, your money, your hard work and time.    We are here to stay, but we always have been, we are here because we believed we would be, and because we did what we needed to everyday to make it.    It hasn’t been easy for anyone, and we have some of the most dedicated, hard working, loyal and skilled people working on our challenges.     We will make twice as much money this year as last year, but 30% less than we projected we would make.   These are all part of owning and operating a business.   There is always some bad news that goes with the good news.  Nothing is simple, nothing is complete, it is like raising a child, there is no finish line, only a different set of challenges tomorrow, but also a different set of opportunities.       TV makes the word business or corporation to be bad, as in they are the new villains in society.     Certainly there are plenty of people who run corporations that are bad people who don’t do things for the better of those around them.   The worst ones are involved with the government, however, on government contracts, who earn their business by being corrupt, not by offering a better service or product.   The more government money we spend the worse it will be.. but I digress.

Profits is on of the most important words in the USA society.   Without them there is no sustainability.   Our country is based on them.    Make more than you spend and you can keep going.  Spend more than you make and eventually you will disappear and those who depend on you will lose their livelihood.     Anyone who thinks that government solves that, forgets that government only gets money from profiting companies and the money they pay to their employees, or selling off resources that come from the land.    Again I digress…    The point is that Jackson Kayak must be profitable to be self-sustaining and for my friend and partner, Tony, to have put his money/trust into something that rewards his risk, not punishes him for taking it.   Nobody should ever say, I wish I never did business with, or worked for, or invested in, or purchased a Jackson Kayak.      That is the Jackson Kayak way.    We work every day to make that a reality.  It is an extension of my paddling, of the philosophy of “live well for yourself, so you can give yourself away to others.”    2012 was a good year for JK.   We went from being the number 1 whitewater kayak company for our 7th year in a row, to the number 1 seller of fishing kayaks as well, no small feat, for our first year.    We have our belts super tight still, as we attempt to get profits up to self-sustaining levels, which is harder than it sounds.     We became cash positive, something that was 9 years in the making, but we are still the opposite of cash rich.    There is so much good happening, but now at age 9 years, Jackson Kayak is still as child in an adults clothing.    We are far from having much margin for error.     We got so much better this year, however, in so many ways.   New people coming on and existing people moving up, and everyone giving it their all.   In 2013 our goals are to increase profits another 50% and grow another 30% again, like this year.   We are keeping our belts tight, as we attempt to create some margin for error in our business.       We are on offense again, this year, not defense.   Offense to us, means, not attacking anyone else, but charging ahead on our own path, creating new products, fortifying our business model, and reaching out to a broader audience.     Our competitors might not like the successes we are having, but they know we are not playing dirty, they know we are open book and our plans and strategy is plain as day.     Like watching a marathon race and seeing a determined racer, who started at the back of the pack, long after others were already running, run fast and catch up and pass on racer after another, leaving plenty of room on the road, but making the pass never the less.    Will that racer tire and drop off or keep pace and continue making passes?     That is the fun of watching, that is why sports are spectator friendly, because, unlike a TV Show, nobody knows the outcome until it happens.   As I have stated before, I am confident and pressing forward as if it was our destiny to be successful.     I am not cocky and I certainly don’t wish harm for the other companies in the same arena as us.   I want us to all be successful in 2013 because our sport and our industry has plenty of room for growth overall.   It isn’t all about who has the biggest piece of the pie, but also about how big the pie is.     Our business plan has been the same since 2004- Market-share takeover, then grow the market for everyone.   We are doing our best to achieve that.      My personal plan related to Jackson Kayak for 2012 was to continue the market-share takeover of fishing and set up our first programs for growth of that market (Check and check), and looking into 2013 my personal plans/goals for JK are to grow the markets of whitewater and fishing, and begin our SUP market-share takeover, while focusing on the bottom line throughout the year to assure that 2014 can be even stronger for everyone.     You may not realize that Jackson Kayak  was originally going to be called “Independent Kayak Company” in order to be built and sold.     I changed the name to Jackson Kayak because I decided that I wanted to build a company that had my Kids names on the products.  They could then likely run it one day and Jackson Kayak could become a legacy instead of a means to an end.    That requires continuous improvement and achieving a certain level of profits year in and out to make that dream come true.    After 9 years, Jackson Kayak is still only in its childhood in many ways, so 2013 is getting close to 18 years old if you were to compare it to kids.      Like a kid getting near adulthood, paying close attention and assure that it doesn’t get lost and try to take shortcuts, becoming something it is not, out of rebellion or whatever, is a big part of what I am responsible for.   Priority 5… hmm… I haven’t one.  OK that is a wrap.   If you understand how I live my life, you would know why I don’t have a priority 5.    I believe you can only make the things you can create mutually beneficial situations out of  your priorities.     I can go 4 deep- Wife, Kids, Paddling, Business.  Beyond that, I would get lost as of today.  Perhaps as I get older and wiser, I can add a 5th, or 6th… we’ll see how old and wise I get.  For now, I am happy with 4.

That is my year in review and looking into 2013.     New Year’s Resolutions will be happening in the Jackson household.   We’ll write and compare and help each other with outside perspectives.     We can also help each other stay on track by knowing the other’s goals.

If there is one thing that we try to remember, that is the be-all-end-all for living life to the fullest, as we plan out our 2013, we think is:

It is the thoughts, actions, and feelings of each moment, and each day that determine your happiness and success.    It is not the completion of a task or the reaching of a goal that matters.    If you can direct your thoughts, feelings, and actions towards those things most important to you, you will be happy and successful and ultimately, by default, you will complete tasks and achieve goals.   Don’t put the cart before the horse….

I will have that thought in front of me when I am writing my New Year’s Resolutions, which for me, is an affirmation of what is important, and seeking council from those important to me to help me be successful in those areas of my life.

Here is a video I made of GoPro footage I collected from the year.


Happy New Year!