A story of Growing Through the Pain
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in a small town in Haiti, deep in the mountains and away from the city. Comparing the city of Grand Bois to the current infrastructure of most cities, one can say its decades behind, its the countryside with very little infrastructure. I was blessed to move to port-au-prince at the age of three where death was almost my gift of arrival, my mother woke up to see a puddle of blood in front of our home. The witchcraft of the city almost took my life and it was the beginning of a slow start to my life. Considering I was mute till about the age of four or five, my family didn’t know what to expect out of my academics or life in general. I started life behind and I had a lot of catch up to do. At the age of nine, I traveled to the United States where I had to fill the gap between the Haitian culture and the U.S. values. I was determined to make the best of my opportunity here, so I knew I had to outwork my peers in everything; academics was the first start.
Within three years of being in the U.S., I thrived in my E.S.O.L. classes to become the top of the “regular” student body and by the end of 6th grade, I was voted most likely to succeed; winning the top awards for English, math, and science. I was the only one to receive those awards within 3 years of being in the U.S. At the age of 12, I started to find my love for sports through basketball and I wanted to be like Michael Jordan. One of my motivations at the time was the fact that Michael and I shared the same birthday but most importantly because everyone else thought I was not good enough. So, I wanted to prove them wrong, at the same court where I built by academics, I built my physique and skills in basketball. I showed up to the court every weekday that I could and I played whoever who would play with me and stayed afterward to practice. I worked really hard until I had the chance to be part of a traveling basketball league where I got to experience my first taste of being an athlete. Fast forward, I am in high school, now the Most Valuable Player in track, summa cum laude standing, and participant of over seven sports at North Miami Senior School. These seven sports were Basketball, Track, Cross Country, Bowling, Wrestling, Swimming, and Tennis. My love for sports was in direct correlation with my ambition to launch and run my own business. I started as an entrepreneur in middle school, where I sold chips and candy to my peers alongside two of my best friends which were in the same business.
I later joined the Business Academy in high school and I had my first legit business idea which was named “Priceless Capture”, the mission of this company was to capture priceless memories of people’s events by editing their event to resemble their favorite movie or TV show. I sold Haitian patties in school to buy my first camera in order to record the events of my clients. I also formulated a business plan to participate in the NFTE business plan competition where I won at the district and regional level. Using my experience as an entrepreneur in middle and high school, I went to college with hopes of pursuing my current dream and building others along the way. In college, I stopped focusing on videography and started to buy textbooks door to door and selling them on Amazon, eBay and to other college students. Although I was making money, I felt like something was missing, I wasn’t too passionate about it.
After returning home from my freshman year in college, I was in desperation, I depleted most of the money and lost some of my scholarships. I needed to find a way to make money and enjoy it, I said to my self what I’ve always done? The answer was sports and business, it made sense to me that I should become a personal trainer so that’s what I did. I did some online research and stumbled upon NASM and I learned the ins and outs of building a personal training business. As I settled as a young adult in my own apartment as I returned back to school, I didn’t have enough money to train people in the gym so I thought why not train them outdoors? As I started training people in parks, beaches, outside my apartment, I stumbled on a new opportunity, the opportunity to launch a mobile personal training company. I always tell people that I started with four cones, an Instagram account, and a dream. I found a partner for the business and we decided to call it Flex Fitness and performance, we wanted to make fitness both innovative and fun for the participants.
As I continue to run the business, I endured financial storms which led to eviction, mental instability, and scholastic drawbacks. These drawbacks led me to personal development, I wanted to become better so I started to read a lot more than usual, listening to tapes and growing my mind. I continued to run my mobile personal training business after my partner went off to California and even though I was sleeping in my car for over a year. I ended up doing poorly in school, having to take off three or semesters after losing financial aid and being on academic suspension ( I am still in school). As a result of all of these happenings, I came up with a mission which is to “Inspire, motivate and uplift individuals to live a whole mind, body, and nutrition.” This became my motto and mission which is to inspire individuals to take a holistic approach to life by doing so my self. Now, I have become a personal development speaker, talk show host, fitness and wellness coach, meditation instructor and entrepreneur. I relaunched Flex Fitness and Performance as Flexholistic, a platform for holistic health practitioners to reach those in need of their services. Every day, I am constantly putting out content and stories to help people personally develop because ultimately, that’s what saved my life and gave me a sense of purpose.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has been far from smooth, the rockiness of my journey has shaped my character and rerouted my direction towards helping others suffer less through media, my voice, and my life’s story. I slept in my car for over a year after losing my apartment, messing up my credit and enduring a tremendous amount of stress that I never dealt with before. Minor issues slowly aggregated into problems, not being able to pay a ticket would lead to my license getting canceled, my license getting canceled would lead to anxiety because driving was risky and I had to drive to make money. I woke up every day from a hot car seat and roaches around, it was really bad. Thinking about it brings me a sense of shame but it’s shame that I now use to empower other people. I slowly lost everything I owned and I didn’t always present my self well in front of my clients or peers because I carried a suitcase of clothes to wear and most of my clothes were stored in storage. I had to motivate myself every day to get up, go to class, train clients and Instagram was a great outlet. I sent out motivational messages every day not just for those who tune in but for my self, I needed to be as positive as possible to endure this character-building circumstance of homelessness. I slowly lost most of my friends and ended up spending the majority of my time alone in the library, parks and mostly on my college campus.
There, I was empowering my clients, helping them get in better shape even though it seems like I couldn’t get my own life in better shape. I kept doing it, I didn’t give up on the dream. In fact, the most inspiring moment in my life derived from the time spent in my car, it pushed me and gave me the motivation to keep going. Every day I rose from the driver seat, I felt like I was steering my life and I didn’t need a job, parents or friends to help me. I was deeply mistaken and I sought out for help at the end, one of my loyal client, Amish, gave me a helping hand and somewhere to stay and I decided from that point on that I had to do better and start to take the proper steps to overcome homelessness and stepping into my greatness. I begin to learn the modalities of meditation, personal development and financial education to help me do that and in doing so I am not creating my future every day through my purpose.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I have a wealth of experience from circumstances that were building my character and steered my life towards helping others. One of the major things I do is facilitate important conversations, these conversations can be in the form of a talk show episode or a speech that cause one to converse with their selves. I’ve interviewed people from all different walks of life; from holistic doctors to serial entrepreneurs and their stories have been my way of contributing to the world. The second way I contribute is through coaching, as a certified personal trainer, life coach, and meditation instructor, I combine various tools of wellness to help individuals see past their mental fog and step into clarity through holistic health. My goal is to have people look at more than just one part of their life but have a holistic paradigm working on all components; the mind, body, spirit. I help people do that as a wellness coach and I can provide for anyone who is looking to jumpstart their best self that resides within them. Lastly, I contribute to the world through media and public relations, I’ve created a company to help people like me reach more people through video content on the internet and through influencers who have an original show, podcast or blog. Out of all of these forms of contribution, my biggest specialization is education and inspiration. I want to inspire whoever is reading this to recognize the unlimited power that they have within them to achieve their goals and dreams by reinforcing the inner belief that it is possible for them because it is. It is possible if you let your light shine and don’t hide it.
What were you like growing up?
From the first time I saw the light of the world until about four years old, I was a mute. I couldn’t speak and I was behind in school, my mother said she would find me wetting or staining my pants in class while other kids could talk and go to the restrooms. I often call myself the underdog because I’ve let that push me to learn more and choose to achieve more. In wanting to achieve more, I became an overachiever; I wanted to be the best version of me. I still had a quiet, reserved personality and you wouldn’t know what I am all about until you talk to me. Having a quiet personality allowed me to focus on class and other extra-curricular activities. I started playing basketball in elementary and went on to play in middle school and high school. Sports, academics, and business where my top three passions, I believe I did well in school even though I had to start with a new language and culture, people at school often came to me for help in math, writing, and technology. I was a poet as well, I use to write all types of poetry and post them up on a website that contained the works of many writers; it was called helium.com. I used that passion to start my own blog called “Proud Young Christians”, a Christian blog written by a 12-year-old. As I got older, I became passionate about pushing my physical body so I tried as many sports as possible and excelled in a few. I played a total of seven sports during my high school career, those sports where: Basketball, Bowling, Track and Field, Cross-Country, Swimming, Tennis, Wrestling. If you wanted to picture me as a young boy, I would be the quiet boy whose gifts had a lot to say.
This Article is extracted from Voyage Miami Article that you can find here: http://voyagemia.com/interview/meet-edouard-gilles-flexholistic-miami-shores/