Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Parks.
Jackie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
This will be my fifth year teaching Pilates, which feels a little crazy to say. I think of entering the fitness industry as sort of my “mid-twenties crisis.” After College I was working as a graphic designer in Seattle when I met my Husband, Jason, who lived in Brooklyn.
I saw an opportunity to restart when I decided to move across the country to live with him. I started off with a Yoga Teacher Training at a wonderful studio in Williamsburg called Greenhouse Holistic and didn’t even know about Pilates at the time. When we moved to Scottsdale, I discovered Pilates and I haven’t really looked back since.
Has it been a smooth road?
I have been so fortunate to stumble into a genuine gift that I feel I possess, but it has definitely not been a smooth ride. It’s hard to know what part of my journey has been maturing and knowing my worth, and what part of it has been from gaining experience.
This industry can chew people up and spit them out – there is an overall lack of guidance and support. It is a female-dominated industry that often, unfortunately, chooses to compete with each other instead of lifting each other up. I have encountered it time and time again and although that is slowly shifting, it is still a huge issue.
I think my major struggles early on had to do with a lack of direction. Because we are contracted employees, we are on our own as far as our schedule and effort. I felt myself pull off the gas many times and get away with it because no one was keeping me in check – it was easy to just bail when I felt discouraged or unsupported. It took me a few years to learn how to self-motivate and understand what I wanted out of my own work.
I turned 30 this year, and it’s been somewhat of an evolution for me. I feel more confident than ever, and I have just stepped right into who I am as a teacher. I have wonderful friends and peers and an amazing business partner, Ariel, who keeps me motivated to push myself and I am so thankful for that. At the end of the day, I am in the service industry and I can’t pour from an empty cup.
When I feel aimless or unsupported – I have learned to do inward and take care of myself. Clients can tell me all day long how great they think I am but I had to find it in myself, and that has been the beauty of the bumpy ride.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
The majority of my work is based on private appointments. Generally, I work with clients who are in between a rehab or physical therapy program but are not quite ready for group classes. I love being a witness to progress and holding a space for my clients to explore movement in their bodies; I am so proud of each and every one of them.
Although I love teaching group classes, I am most passionate about working with the individual and I think the thing that most sets me apart is my approach. Depending on which of my clients you ask – they might say I am their alignment guru and another might say I give them the freedom to move freely and naturally. I am adaptable and curious, and those qualities have made me successful.
Is there a quality or characteristic that has played an outsized role in your success?
The ability to focus on my work and not get distracted has been the number one contributor to my success. When I was younger, I felt like I had to be a master of everything when actually I just need to be really, really good at ONE thing.
I try to take steps towards mastering my craft every day. That means I have to continue to learn and grow and invest in the service that I am offering. What is wonderful about the movement is that there is no right or wrong – there is nobody that is like the last, and I get to constantly learn.
Becoming a mom has also had a huge effect on my focus. There is something funny that happens when I am teaching a group class – clients will stand up straight when I walk by their machine without me even mentioning their posture because they just know I’m watching. That is the way I feel about having a daughter – everything has come into laser focus since the day she was born. When I know she is watching me I tend to stand taller and feel more confident about growing into the woman I am supposed to be.
The best advice I can give is to stay focused. It is so easy to get distracted or to compare yourselves to others. The more confident you are in what you uniquely have to offer, the easier it will be to stay on your path.
- Intro Private Appointment $50
- Website: www.jackieparkspilates.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/jackieparkspilates
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jackie-Parks-Pilates-2045411248807331/?modal=suggested_action¬if_id=1552159248146119¬if_t=page_user_activity
McKenzie Steuber (Instagram: @bloom.cinema)