How to stop the cycle of JADE-ing yourself

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Who came up with the acronym JADE? Whoever you are, thank you for being brilliant. I first heard the term JADE from my business coach as we were discussing fears I had about explaining what it is I do to my family and inlaws. 

If you’re not aware, JADE stands for:

  • Justify
  • Argue
  • Defend
  • Explain

If that just hit a little spot in your heart, read on, because we’re going to break the cycle of JADE-ing ourselves about our businesses.

Also, it’s going to feel a little weird to keep writing JADE, so bear with me on it.

Understand JADE and Your Business

As I said, I first learned about JADE because I was discussing the discomfort I felt with my business coach when it came to trying to explain to more traditional sects of my family what it is I do. For the most part, my family is incredibly supportive of all my schemes and plans and rarely have they raised an eyebrow when I said my ambitious plans. “I’m going to be self-employed and make soap!” “I’m not going to make soap anymore, even though I’ve done it for nearly 10 years. And I’m going to go blog instead!” “I’m going to sell vintage decor and jewelry because I can!” “I’m not going to sell vintage decor and jewelry anymore.” And so on, and so on. Mostly my family has just rolled with it and trusted my judgment.

However, there is a more sinister side of my family: the successful, well-intentioned faction. The ones who have made a very good living off of traditional 8-6pm (let’s be real, there’s no 9-5 anymore) jobs and have only known that way of life. They don’t understand the gig economy and it sounds very tumultuous to them (which, hey, fair enough!) and a poor way to spend your earning years. So when I have to talk about what it is I do and how I make money, there’s usually a silence between us that hangs heavy and makes me fidget. That’s when I JADE when what I should really do is shut up. 

Does that at all sound familiar to you?

Maybe you feel you need to make excuses for wanting to pursue your passion of creating punk rock embroidery as a full-time career, or you really love showing off your makeup skills and want to do it professionally, but somewhere there’s a little nitpicking piece of your brain that says “not enough.” Whether it’s internal insecurity, or a real-life, flesh and blood insecurity staring at you across the dinner table, JADE can be devastating to your confidence and ultimately, to your drive to follow through. 

How to Stop Yourself from Using JADE

Look, here’s the simplified answer: in the end, you answer to no one but yourself and your American Express bill. Granted, if you have an unsupportive spouse with whom you have shared expenses, that muddies the waters here and I’d recommend professional counseling to move past it if you feel there’s no budging on either side. 

Remember that, while time is a construct of our minds, it is still finite. A life of missed opportunities because of fear is not a fulfilled life, so give yourself a little self-love and lean into the idea that you are capable of accomplishing what you set out to create.

JADE is a construct of fear and insecurity. It’s a judgment of your choices that is self-realized and not entirely based on reality. Do I get stares from the less-than-supportive types? Yep. Do I get to go home and not deal with them, except when obligation warrants? Yep. Why should I build my life around a week a year? Why should you feel you have to keep your dreams pushed down inside you when you live in a world of endless opportunity (all hail the Internet). 

Try this for a month:

Create simple, short sentences about conversations you anticipate will give you anxiety about your choices. “I’m a blogger, and I write about home decor and DIY home improvement.” “I run an Etsy shop where I sell my crocheted dog sweaters.” “I curate vintage clothing and flip it online via my Instagram account.” 

Those sentences are short but very explanatory. Practice using them with an authoritative voice. This is a topic for another post someday, but essentially: I learned when I was an environmental phone canvasser that I wouldn’t earn any money if my tone was crap. So I learned how to have a more authoritative (not in a dictator kind of way, but in an “I am an authority and am confident I know what I’m saying” way) tone to convey confidence. Come down at the end of your sentences instead of up. Think like…stereotypical valley girls or fluff chicks (as I used to call them). You know how everything is, like, a question to them? Even if it’s a statement? Don’t do that. Talk in statements, not questions.

If you’re probed further, be polite but short.

You answer to no one but yourself (and American Express). You’re the one who has to face your day every time you wake up, not them. What do you want to feel? Excited or obligated? Happy or miserable? I’ve been on both sides. I know the changes each one can be to your mental and physical health. It’s just not worth it to live someone else’s expected life. 

Let’s commit to each other that we’ll stop being intimidated and stop trying to justify what we do, argue why it’s worthwhile, defend your choices, or explain further why you’ve done what you’re doing now. We create and are creatives, and that is effing awesome.

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