Ep #242: Redefining Success and Embracing Anti-Hustle with Jadah Sellner

The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley | Redefining Success and Embracing Anti-Hustle with Jadah Sellner

The last several years changed things for many of us—especially if we were working and caregiving from home—and now we’re all trying to figure out what the new “normal” looks like, or if we even want to return to “normal.” If you’ve felt like this last year has been the hardest of all, then you’re definitely not alone (I have too). That’s why I’m so excited for this week’s guest on the podcast.

Jadah Sellner is a bestselling author, business coach, international keynote speaker, TEDx presenter, poet, and host of the Lead with Love® podcast. She’s the author of SHE BUILDS: The Anti-Hustle Guide to Grow Your Business and Nourish Your Life. As the founder of Jadah Sellner Media, Inc. and She Builds Collective, Jadah helps women build their businesses and their lives in a way that works for them—with love. She has been featured in Forbes, O, The Oprah Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.

Jadah and I always have amazing conversations, and this one is no exception, y’all. We talk about everything from how we’re responding to coming out of the pandemic and how our self-care has changed over time, to what it looks like to listen to our inner rebel and how our creativity shows up. Hear about how we’re changing the way we show up for ourselves and others and why redefining our success post-pandemic is so complex and important.

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • Jadah’s journey to Anti-Hustle.
  • Why mental burnout is a trauma response.
  • How the last several years have brought us to a place where we need to restart.
  • What your inner rebel might be asking for from you.
  • How self-care can help you reconnect with your body and why you should build a self-care menu.
  • Why you should be making decisions that keep you present.
  • How to participate in the reclamation of coping.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 242.

Welcome to The Design You Podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy, here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hey there friends. I today am bringing back a guest which doesn’t happen real often. But we’ve gotten where we have a few favorites around here at The Design You Podcast. And one of those is Jadah Sellner. So Jadah is a bestselling author, a business coach. She’s an international keynote speaker, a TEDx presenter, a poet. And one of the things that she does that I really love is her Lead with Love podcast and really her Lead with Love business. She has retreats and all kinds of amazing things.

But she is now the author of a brand new book called She Builds: The Anti-Hustle Guide to Grow your Business and Nourish Your Life, something we all need. So I’m not going to belabor this intro. Some of you have heard Jadah here before, you remember her as being the co-author of the bestselling book, Simple Green Smoothies. where they had over one million people embrace the idea of smoothies.
And she has done so many amazing things since then.

And this book I think is going to really be groundbreaking for so many of us who have gotten into the idea of anti-hustle but don’t quite know how to pull it off. So here is my incredible episode and interview, and conversation with the amazing Jadah Sellner.

Tobi: Hey, Jadah, welcome back to The Design You Podcast. You’ve been here before but it’s been a minute, so welcome, welcome.

Jadah: Yeah, I’m excited to be back here. And it’s interesting because when we talked last, actually a lot of the things that we talked about ended up being the framework for my book that I have been writing and creating during this season of a lot of introversion and stepping away from everything that’s going on in the world. And so it’s great to be back with just knowing that something that I was just kind of ruminating on turned into physical form, yeah.

Tobi: I love that so much. Isn’t it so fun? The looking forward, seeing a vision is fun but there’s something really satisfying about being able to look backwards and be like, what I was thinking actually – it probably didn’t unfold exactly like you were thinking. You’re going to tell us in a minute. But just to see, so that did happen and my intuition was spot on and I knew this was where we needed to go. So why don’t you remind people just for a minute who you are, your background a little bit in case they don’t remember or it’s been a while since the last time they listened to the other episode.

And then remind us a little bit, what were some of those key things that we were talking about in that last episode that you’re saying sort of now we’re on it at a different place on that kind of journey? Yeah.

Jadah: Yeah. So I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 14 years now. And I have a daughter who’s in high school as well and so it’s just so interesting to watch that because she was my main drive and reason for wanting to start a business in the first place. I studied theater in high school, I went to performing arts high school. So I always say that I’m an artist first and a business owner second. And really use my business as a vehicle for creative expression.

And being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean that you are successful the entire journey. There is the rollercoaster of running your own business and having that freedom and that flexibility. So I started my first brick and mortar business in Kauai that my husband and I ran, that was a play and learning center for kids. We shut that down, moved in with my in-laws which is #worstcasescenario. Then we tried to start a parenting blog with my friend who was in a mom’s meetup group with me, Jan Hansard.

And then we ended up starting Simple Green Smoothies which also turned into a traditionally published book. And in that journey we grew, we reached over a million people with kind of getting addicted to drinking kale and spinach. And then I just had that creative pull at my heartstrings that knew it was time to move in a different direction. And I had experienced some layers of burnout within even that business.

So kind of being that walking paradox of I’m running a health and wellness business and I’m making unhealthy choices behind the scenes because something wasn’t quite right. Something was a little bit off. And now I’ve been doing coaching, and consulting, and leading retreats for visionary entrepreneurs, creatives, and really mentoring and guiding them to lead with love in business without compromising their health and their relationships in the process.

So that’s kind of the journey of entrepreneurship, lots of highs, lots of lows, great successes and also some things that make you question, is this sustainable? Do I want to continue doing this? And so in our last conversation together we were talking about the cycle of fear, foreseeing exhaustion, avoidance and rigidity. And then building on love which is about leading, optimizing, visualizing and expanding. And so actually those four parts of love ended up being the framework for my book and how I guide people through that process of how do we build differently.

How do we really move away from toxic productivity, hustle culture, this constant chase for more, more, and feeling like nothing is ever enough? We just have this bottomless mimosa of to-do list and just feeling like we can’t just be still.

Tobi: Totally. And I think it’s really interesting as I hear you talk about that because since we spoke the last time on the podcast, a lot has happened in the world, a whole lot has happened in the world. But I was just saying to a friend of mine today, that it’s kind of surprising to me that in some ways, especially with my business, but also just with my own capacity, physical and mental capacity in some ways, maybe a lot of ways, this particular year has felt like the hardest to me coming out of this whole pandemic.

And I think about this a lot and I’m like, “Why is that?” And the only thing that I can really kind of maybe give credit to or explain it away with is at least during the pandemic, for those of us who were able to stay healthy and keep our businesses open, we had a little bit of a breather because we couldn’t do some things. And then a lot of people also just were like, I didn’t know how tired I was until things started getting [crosstalk]. And so I think I indulged in permission to rest for a couple of years.

And now it feels like, okay, it’s time to get back on the horse. And even though a lot of us don’t want to go back to doing it the old way, I think old habits die hard. And I think it’s been confusing for me probably, I’d love to hear what you think. I know it’s probably been confusing for a lot of our listeners because we can’t go back. We don’t even really want to necessarily in every way or pre pandemic and pre all the things that have happened in the last few years. But we don’t really know how to go forward.

And so when we are confused we just kind of do what we’ve always done even though that’s not what we want to be doing. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not working. So what do we do now? We have new baby giraffe legs under us, I’m wobbly, I don’t know what [crosstalk]?

Jadah: Yeah. And a word that I keep using is ‘atrophy’, that we’ve been out of practice in some way of just feeling like I don’t know how to do the thing that I used to do. And also there is a resistance of but I don’t want to do the things the way that I used to do them so what is the new way. And I do feel like mental burnout, so we can get exhaustion just from the things that are taking up kind of our psychic space, what are we thinking about. We can get burnt out just mentally. And that is a trauma response because we are looking to control things that we don’t have control of.

And so that is where we have to be in practice a lot more with surrender and building our self-trust again because we are still looking outside of ourselves for the answers, for the solutions, someone save me. Who knows how to get out of this but this is actually for us to go deeper inside of what do I really want. And many times, and you talked about, you were kind of mentioning this a little bit. But we have to look at ourselves especially if you’ve been a seasoned creator, a seasoned business owner that you feel like I should know how to do everything.

But we actually have to look at it as we are not a startup but it’s almost like a re-startup. So we have to go back to basics. And a lot of the things that I share in my book in She Builds: The Anti-Hustle Guide to Grow Your Business and Nourish Your Life. I had beta readers reading the book who were startup entrepreneurs, who were just trying to figure stuff out. And then half of them were seasoned business owners. And they both got fed from the book in the process. But what is happening is I’m sharing very back to basic stuff, to dream again, to reimagine, to vision.

And when we’re caught up in survival and needing to like, well, how do I eat? How do I pay the bills? So we get in that space and we don’t have the capacity to dream, or think, or imagine. And so we have to carve out that space just for thinking, not ruminating, which is different. That’s exhausting and that’s what causes the mental burnout. But actually thinking and asking yourself questions so that you can hear your own answers. But again, we’re seeking outside of ourselves and so we’re actually clouded and we’re overwhelmed with information overload.

And so we actually have to disconnect in a different way than we were during the pandemic, which was you were saying, let’s rest, let me permission to rest. Yes, I am worthy of rest, let me, just nothing on my calendar. But this is a different quality of unplugging to hear your own voice again, to hear your truth and what’s stirring in there. And also being willing to be a little bit of a rebel and to zig when everyone is zagging. We have to do the opposite and give ourselves permission to actually, there is no blueprint. And that, we’ve got to let go of that and find our own path.

Tobi: You’ve described beautifully, you always do, exactly what was in my brain. You can tell that you’ve talked to a person or two that’s also been thinking about this recently. And everything you’re saying is making so much sense to me because I agree. We’re not startups but we are restarting. And to your point, we’ve been used to being able to ask someone, even if it wasn’t exactly right for us because it was more one size fits all. We at least had somebody to go to. And we’re all in this together and we’re all restarting at the same time.

So the beauty of it is it does sort of leave us no choice but to trust ourselves at a higher level. But I think we have been so accustomed to not trusting ourselves and not listening to ourselves a lot of it, especially as women we’ve been socialized to not really know what’s right for ourselves. And so that is a whole other level of getting in touch with who you really are. And it feels hard. I was telling my friend and mentor, Trudi Lebron who does a lot of…

Jadah: I love Trudi.

Tobi: She’s so good.

Jadah: Yes, I saw her recently in Austin, yeah.

Tobi: She’s so good. And I work with her. We worked with her all the time for the last two or three years. And I’m going to a retreat next week right after, it won’t be next week after this comes out but next week after we’re recording this. And I was talking to her yesterday and I said, she asked me how I was. And I was like, “I mean I think I’m good but there’s something going in there.” And I said, “It’s almost like a grieving of the things we’re walking away from.” And then what I said to her was, “I don’t know how to explain it but it’s almost like having to adult at another level.”
And what she said, she said, “I think you’re talking about liberation and we don’t know how to be liberated.” And in a lot of ways we have been liberated or there’s an opportunity right in front of us to liberate ourselves like your book teaches, from hustle culture, and from trusting other gurus, and from looking outside ourselves. But we don’t know how to step into that level of really that word, ‘liberation’ or ‘freedom’ because we’re so conditioned to have other people tell us what to do.

Jadah: Yeah. And a question that you can ask yourself is if I did know, what would the answer be? Just saying that internally as you’re trying to make decisions, if I did know what would the answer be, or if I had to know? So kind of playing with that conversation. But I also think it’s really, when you mentioned the grief. So something I talk about in Chapter 4 of the book, Gather Your Support Squad. And it’s really having – this isn’t about your support as far as your team and people who are helping you kind of lift the logistical responsibilities and to-do’s.

But people who are holding you from an emotional, spiritual, intellectual way. And so I kind of divide this into three parts of our peers and our colleagues. Those are our people you’re in masterminds with, or as a creative even being in some type of creative circle, or writing group, or whatever that may look like of having that support to lean on. Those are your parallel playmates that you’re kind of on the same journey together. And then we have our mentors and advisors. So the people that we do trust, that we can basically have them point back to ourselves.

They don’t have the answer key, the answer key is within us. And so when we’re looking at mentors and advisors in this season of a re-startup, we have to look for people who are aligned with our values, within our companies and ourselves. Because oftentimes we outsource or we delegate decisions, or strategies with people where their values don’t align with who we are. And I think that the pandemic has invited us to what really matters to me, what do I really care about.

And so doing a strategy that’s not aligned is going to feel off anyways. You’re going to be like, “I don’t know why I can’t move forward with this?” And then the third piece is around the emotional support, so having your therapist, your life coach, your healers and that’s the piece, the grief. So we think that we need another business strategy, a step-by-step, something, something, something to kind of get us out of this. We’re moving through the economy, a recession, great resignation, quiet quitting, there’s so much going on.

But actually it’s an emotional release, what have we been holding? What have we been suppressing for these past two years that really need to be let go, that need to be expressed? And even I’m sure you have a teen as well, the teen mental health crisis is so different and unique than what we grew up with. And a lot of these emotions of what we’re carrying and holding inside, it’s this subconscious responsibility, this load that we are not even acknowledging, that we are carrying.

And so that’s why it’s so exhausting or why we are so exhausted, because we haven’t released and let go and named, what did I do to hold my family, and my business, and myself together so I didn’t fall apart, so my family doesn’t fall apart. So we have to name those pieces and many times if you’re stuck especially right now it’s most likely an emotional block and you’re like, “I’m lazy. I am procrastinating. I’m tired.” No, your inner rebel is I need to be seen, and heard, and witnessed. So I think that’s a piece that we’re kind of missing because we can’t see it.

And it’s not a step-by-step strategy. It’s truly we need to be surrounded by safe people so that we can be seen and heard for what we have just gone through.

Tobi: Totally. I mean it’s been a minute since I’ve been with you. But like I said last time, I feel like you’re peering into my soul when we’re on these calls. You’re so intuitive and you really understand this emotional piece. And I think so many of us have, as I’ve used terms like, voted our body off the island, lived from the neck up. All the things that our culture says we should do to be successful. Think your way to success, don’t feel your way to success. And also I think there’s such a belief system or socialization to be positive and be happy all the time.

And we’re not supposed to feel negative emotions. We’re not supposed to talk about them. And we’re certainly not going to be, if we’re sharing this like you just said, if we are talking to ourselves about oh my gosh, how did I even come through that [crosstalk] did. We don’t even want to talk about that because we’re not supposed to and this makes people uncomfortable. And people had it worse off than me. And I’m just privileged and all of this stuff.

And so I watch this in myself and in other people still kind of trying to aim for a life that’s 90% rose colored glasses, happy, wonderful all the time. Instead of like you said, holding space for and letting ourselves be fully human. I think we haven’t done that. We may not have ever learned how to hold space for being actual humans, right?

Jadah: Yeah. And I think it’s interesting that you said about the head, because of us being so connected online that we are kind of this information. We’re connected, we’re hyper connected but we’re disconnected from our bodies. So many times my daughter might be doing, where she’s like, “Can you get me some water?” She might be looking on her phone. I’m like, “That’s a sign that you need to step away from the screen, walk up, get some regulation.” And so oftentimes we talk about self-care.

It’s like it’s a massage, it’s a bubble bath and those things. And self-care is actually just reconnecting and tuning back into our body so that we can feel. And so I do some very simple practices to get me out of my head and back into my body. Dancing is one of the quickest ways for me to do that or I have a theater background. So it’s doing the shake with your body, counting one to ten for each of your limbs. But also even just I will lie down on the floor and put my legs up on the sofa or put them up against a wall and just lay there.

And sometimes my husband’s cooking in the kitchen and he’s like, “Wait, what are you doing?” And I’m just resting or I’m just breathing to slow ourselves down because our brains are moving so fast. We’ve got so many open tabs, we’ve got so many things on our to-do list. And so just finding these micro moments to connect to our bodies physically or even just stepping outside, no matter what the weather is, that state change. And a lot of these are also coping strategies for even if you are dealing with anxiety, or things, or having a panic attack.

How do we get back into our bodies? How do we sense whether it’s cold weather, or hot, or sun, or whatever it is to just let us feel our bodies again. For me I love sitting in a hot tub because it just, I can feel that sense of floating. But that’s one way. How can we do these small simple five minute practices to get us back into our bodies or just walking, moving? Even if it’s walking in your living room, just to kind of circulate.

So these practices that help kind of calm down our nervous system and reset is really, really important more than, I mean people talk about meditating. How do we just get back into our bodies, period?

Tobi: And I love this so much because I would say I’m very much in tune with the feeling rebellious inner rebel that you’ve been talking about today. And I’ve always had that piece of me and maybe it’s because I turned 50 this year, I don’t know, but I feel like I am more rebellious than ever. And it doesn’t feel like I’m being that way just as a response. It feels like she was always there and I’m letting her show up. But the thing I’m noticing in response to that rebel part of me is that I almost want to even rebel against anybody telling me what to do even if it’s good for me.

So like you’re saying where people are like, “You should meditate and you should do all these things.” And I think the reason that I’m rebelling against it is because at some level it feels like just one more person telling me one more to-do list item [crosstalk]. And what you’re saying is not you need to meditate 15 minutes every single day to be successful or wealthy. What you’re saying is when you notice you’re dysregulated it doesn’t matter what you choose, just get up. Get up, change your state, move to a different chair. Go outside, take a breath.

And I think that’s the part that I feel like I’m kind of getting my legs under me again too maybe for the first time because the self-help industry and my [crosstalk] for wanting to fix things all the time. Wanted to buy into everything including the green smoothies and including the meditation. And now the rebel part of me is like you can stick your meditation up your you know what.

Jadah: Yes, the 5:00am club.

Tobi: Yeah, don’t tell me what to do. That’s not really me. But what I’m noticing is it’s kind of like accidentally throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Jadah: Yes. And I think that’s really great that you’re bringing that up because that’s where we have to be in relationship with ourselves of really tuning into our intuition because if we rebel against all the things that are actually good and nourishing for ourselves because we’re like, “Eff the system, I’m not going to do a three hour morning routine to be a millionaire in two days.” And it’s not true either. So it’s the ‘experts’ that are saying, “This is the recipe for success.”

But what we need to do, especially if we have been socialized female or we were assigned female at birth, however you identify in this current season is that we have to really redefine what success means to us in this very specific season in our lives. Because as women, and again that can be very expansive depending on where you identify on the spectrum. But we are caregivers. We are helpers. But sometimes that can be at a disservice because we can over-give and be over-responsible for everybody and then our needs don’t get met or ourselves are on the bottom of our to-do list.

But we also have to honor that I choose to be a caregiver in this season of my life, whether that’s our own kids, our parents, elders or maybe even caregiving yourself through a chronic illness. There’s all kinds of things that people are struggling with, physical symptoms. And so with that we have to change our pace and our timeline because we’re not doing this in a vacuum or it’s like I’m the only thing that matters. I have so many hours in a day to do what I want. And it’s like, actually I’m not going to build at that pace.

We’re comparing how we’re building or rebuilding to people who have different levels of care and responsibility. If we’re choosing we want to grow a business, we want to grow a creative body of work and we want to be present for our loved ones and ourselves. Then we have to extend the timeline a bit. We have to know that things are going to take a little bit longer. And so I say, “Give yourself permission to be a slow cooker, not a pressure cooker.” You will get the same result. At the end of the process you are going to have a nourishing meal on the table, just the pressure cooker it’s quicker and everything is compressed.

And there’s a whole bunch of buttons and toggles and things, and letting the steam, all of that, there’s just a lot going on but you get something yummy. But with a slow cooker, you just turn it. Is it four hours, eight hours, and you just let things simmer and you let it rest. And that is still being productive. You are still going to have the result at the end but you are giving yourself more time and not letting it be so complicated. And I think that we have all overcomplicated our lives, as well as our businesses, as well as the way that we do or think that we should be creative. Even that has become very sit your butt in the chair every single day.

I struggled with that in writing my book, I tried to opt-in to that system, if I’m a real writer, if I’m an author, I need to wake-up at six in the morning and I need to write for an hour every day. And I did it and I made no progress, it wasn’t for me.

Tobi: I love hearing this. You have no idea how much I love hearing this because you’re like, “I know Steven Pressfield said, ‘If you’re going to write in The Art of War you have to do it every day whether you want to or not.’” But I love that you’re saying this because in theory that’s great but it’s not taking into account any of the differences and nuances of our personalities, and our lives, and our responsibilities and all the things. And I think that’s back to that old rigidity that we talked about on our last episode instead of saying, “It is okay for me to decide in the moment sometimes if I even feel like doing something.”

But we’re afraid of that because someone told us, “If you just do what you want to, you’ll procrastinate and you’ll be a loser and you won’t make any money.” But that’s not really true if you’re turning in and listening and saying, “What do I need right now”, right?

Jadah: Yes. And another book I might need to sit my butt in the seat every day. So we also have to be present and in tune to ourselves moment by moment because it was like, that’s not working anymore. I’m not making any progress. So I booked solo writing retreats to write my book and basically ignore my family for a few days. Because when I’m at home there’s these micro interruptions of what are we eating? How are you doing? What do you need? Just these little things that don’t seem a lot even if you block three hours, four hours in your day just being in that environment.

So I had to physically remove myself and Cheryl Strayed was a great example for me because she’s like, “I don’t write every day.”

Tobi: I love this, yeah.

Jadah: She’s like, “I went to a cabin and I wrote.” And then I was getting afraid because then Brené Brown’s like, “Well, you might go to the cabin and you might just procrastinate and not do anything.” So that might not work for everyone but for me immersing myself in my creative expression was the best thing that I could do for myself. And that’s where I was able to unlock. It wasn’t sitting every single day to being a legit writer. I had to do it and find a way that really worked for my creativity.

Tobi: I love this more than you can imagine. I’m just getting started. I’ve known for years I would write books, multiple at some point. And I’m just really clearing the space. I’ve kind of just been dabbling in, what are kind of maybe what’s it about. And just forming some paragraphs but I haven’t dug into the discipline of writing. And I can tell just from listening to you, that’s something similar to what you’re describing, even if not exact, it’s going to be so much more aligned with how I work and how I’m at my best for those things and how I create things.

Because even knowing just when I develop a new program or concept it usually comes in a burst. It’s not that I do it a little bit along the way. It’s like the seed’s there and I kind of marinate it for a little while. But when it’s time to come it’s a little bit more of an explosion of ideas. And you can’t while you’re at home just do that very successfully if there are other people living there and you’re like, “I don’t care if any of you all eat, breathe, sleep, get to school on time”, whatever. So I love this idea of creating space for it and creating specific times for it.

Jadah: Yeah, and they’re simmering because also all the times when you’re not writing your book, you’re thinking, I’m not writing my book right now but you are. Those little micro paragraphs or the ideas that you put in your phone notes.

Tobi: Jot it down.

Jadah: You’re doing that throughout the day so that’s almost like your butt in the seat is that, is those moments of capturing the ideas, putting them somewhere where you can find them later. And then you’re going to go beautiful mind somewhere and pull out all the notes, print them out, spread out the index cards and put all the puzzle pieces together. So oftentimes when it looks like we’re not being productive on the outside, there is a lot of simmering that’s happening in our brains behind the scenes.

And we have to acknowledge that thought work is work too, not the actual physical act of typing and getting the words on a page.

Tobi: Well, and what’s coming to me, a couple of things that I think are important really to kind of also maybe say out loud for people to connect some dots. Is first of all when you were describing the difference between the pressure cooker and the slow cooker. I was thinking, isn’t it fascinating that by nature of choosing the pressure cooker that there has to be a way to release steam at all because you’re working so hard. And you’re getting upset. And stressed in front. That has to come out.

But there’s not a place other than taking the lid off occasionally for some steam to come out of the slow cooker because you’re not getting in that same kind of frenzied [crosstalk].

Jadah: Yeah, there’s just this little hole, just a little it’s slowly, slowly releasing.

Tobi: Yeah, that’s perfect. And then the other thing I was thinking which I think speaks to a lot of what you’re talking about and I first noticed it when you said, “Caregiving.” And I was thinking, to me, language and words matter so much because the things that I’m currently rebelling against in my own life, rebelling against the word ‘goals’ altogether. But of course I want to do a lot of things in my life. Rebelling against people saying, “You must be consistent.” Which we think means the 15 minutes every day, not the sprinkled in around throughout the day.

And so just even that one example of you saying, “Well, we all know what self-care is but what if what we’re really doing is caregiving to ourselves?” Even just changing that language to me for something that’s sort of been clichéd, or co-opted, or made to mean something different maybe than it was fully intended to mean. And finding another way to say it changes everything for me because when I think you need to do self-care I’m like, “I’d better get in the bath, or I’d better [crosstalk], whatever, where is my pedicure?”

But when you say, “Maybe what you need to do is care-give for yourself.” And I envision how I care-give to a child, or a parent, or a friend, it is not adding a bunch of stuff to a do-list and checking it off because someone says self-care is important. It’s not the same thing.

Jadah: Yeah. And it’s like what you would say to a child or to someone that you love, what is it that you need the most right now? How can I support you? It’s not a long laundry list, you’re just trying to find one thing to self-soothe, to take care. And that’s what I like to think of instead of a morning routine is building out a self-care menu of what are the nourishing things that you can pull from so that you know that okay, for me actually calling a friend, or doing a walk and talk, or my daughter, she loves to bake.

My daughter’s top of mind right now because we’re building so many just self-soothing strategies and skills for her because as adults we haven’t learned that and it’s like, okay, what can I impart in that place? But she loves to bake. It’s like, what are those, and baking, it’s like, well, that’s not healthy, or something like that. But it’s like, oh my goodness, that decompresses me that. So it’s like building out this menu of options can also be very disarming for a rebel.

And I love that language matters for each individual person. So for someone who doesn’t, like I rebel against the word ‘discipline’.

Tobi: Me too.

Jadah: My husband loves that word so much.

Tobi: I hate it.

Jadah: And what if we switched that to devotion? I am devoted to this, with consistency it’s really, how can I create or Austin Kleon, show your work. So instead of consistency it’s, how can I just show what I’m up to in the world? How can I document or share what I care about or curation. There’s just, we can play with words, if that word isn’t working for you and it’s also keeping you away from the thing that you really want, then let’s find another word that feels more nourishing to kind of wake you up. And okay, let’s try something else, that feels a little too harsh in this moment, in this season.

And you said with goal setting, the same thing. I don’t use goals or smart goals, what is it, how specific, measurable?

Tobi: Actionable, I don’t know, yes, I don’t know.

Jadah: Something R, what is that? I can’t remember the R.

Tobi: And timely.

Jadah: And T, time, yeah, for me I rebel against all of that. That’s my love over metrics. But you have to have something to kind of move forward. So it’s like for me I’m like, “What’s my intention?” And then what is the project? For me what I call my quarterly planning process is VIPs. What’s your very important project? And it’s just shifting that language especially as creatives it’s like I love doing meaningful projects with people, collaborating with people on meaningful projects. And so when I’m looking at ‘goals’, instead of goals or an outcome, it’s, what’s the intention?

What am I trying to create or what do I want? And then what projects would bring me closer to that? So it’s just a little shift in language. And it doesn’t mean goals, and discipline or any of that is wrong. But if your rebel is resisting and then not making anything then we have to reframe it in a way that gets your inner rebel to really show up and do it in a different way.

Tobi: Yes. You were speaking to me and I’ll just add one last thing and then see if there’s anything else as we wrap up this beautiful conversation. But I also heard you use the word, I think you said, “Coping strategy.” Or something around the soothing, around that whole self-soothing idea. And I think we’ve also demonized coping because sometimes we do need to watch Netflix. Sometimes we do need to eat ice cream. And we’ve so demonized in the world of successful people don’t do these things.

And so sometimes I’ve learned that during the pandemic, if I put on 20 pounds, that was the way I kept myself alive because it was the one thing at that moment available to me to cope with a level of stress I had never seen. But we make that bad and wrong, and you’re failing. And I just want to reclaim [crosstalk] coping mechanisms in the world and just remind people that they’re not a bad human or person because they do things that the world is like, “Yeah, that’s wrong.”

Jadah: Even pre pandemic with my clients coaching, I’m like, “You go watch your shows. Your 10 episodes, Bridgerton”, I watched, that was a 9:00pm to 5:00am shift that I did. And I loved it, of something light and creative, and also it stimulates us to consume art. Watching shows is art. Someone created that, someone used their imagination, pulled these pieces together. So there is nothing wrong with watching.

Tobi: Yeah. And baking, baking and eating real sugar. There is more stress and things that can harm you from some of the people who never eat a bite of sugar but stay under stress and on the hustle bus all the time. Instead of the art of baking and then getting to taste and bake with, and break bread with.

Jadah: It’s mindfulness and love, and also slowing you down and my daughter she’s like, “I don’t bake from a box.” And there’s just something so beautiful that she uses the ingredients and goes shopping. There’s this mindfulness to that. And also I think with the kind of reclamation of coping, of those things aren’t bad is that we’re building that self-trust with ourselves. You are safe. You are okay. I am here for you. What do you need in this moment? And when we can rebuild that trust with ourselves again, when we’re not so dogmatic of this is good or this is bad.

Then when we are ready to make healthier choices and whatever that means to you, that now your body trusts you. You are here for me and if I need something, if I’m screaming for help, I know that you are going to tend to my needs versus this restriction, this rigidity, this taking away from you.

Tobi: Punishment and all of those things, yeah.

Jadah: Yeah. And we do that in our businesses and our creative work too. So it’s really redefining that way of how can we build trust with ourselves, that we can build that sense of safety within ourselves. Because what we’re doing is we’re looking for safety, security and finances and things outside. But it’s like, how do I make this feel safe for me with what I have control of in this moment in my life.

Tobi: That’s a good question. And for me it shows up in everything because the making exercise punitive, makes me want to rebel against exercise. But how do I make exercise safe again? How do I make it feel good? How do I make it okay? Not safe as in I’m not going to harm myself but it’s safe to lay here like you said, with your legs up the wall and count that as part of what your body needs right now. And another day you might want to walk five miles. And some other day you might want to work out or play tennis. But it’s not this just rigid system of consistency.

Like you said, what do I need right now, what does my body need, what do I need, checking in over and over again. That’s so beautiful. Well, you always speak my language in every way. And even though I always am looking forward to talking to you, it’s always so much better than I thought when we get together, so thank you. Anything that you would love to share with people? I know we’ve mentioned the book. I’d love for you to tell them exactly one more time about the book.

And then anything else that maybe where they can follow you or find you, or anything you’re doing around the book launch and all the things, yeah.

Jadah: Yeah, of course. If you go to, that will get you to the book. I have tons of free bonuses and things. I share about how me and my husband do an annual couples retreat. Kind of our schedule, and how we do that or how you can kind of do your own retreat for yourself to step away, to turn down the outside noise and tune into your own voice and what you’re wanting to create. And we need to revision. We’ve had a vision, we’ve accomplished that goal and now we’re in this scattered untethered place.

And so we need to create that time again to reconnect to our visions right now, who we are today. Not comparing ourselves to this two years ago version of ourselves, or even 10 years of well, the Jadah 10 years ago would do this, and this, and this. And that’s not who I am today so really reconnecting and tuning into your needs in this present moment. And anything else at I’m at Jadah Sellner on all the social media, mostly playing on Instagram and I have the Lead with Love podcast too which we definitely need to have a conversation with you on there too.

Tobi: I’d love to do that, thank you. And then just one thing to add on your beautiful website, I think you launched, was it last year you launched your new website? It wasn’t a long time ago.

Jadah: Yeah, I think, when did I do that? I think it was in, yeah, was it 2020? I don’t know anymore but yeah.

Tobi: I think it was in the last couple of years. Yeah, and you may be updating it again, I don’t know, but at least the last few times I’ve visited your website, not only is it just an embodiment of all the things you’re saying here, I love that it has your values and it has all the things that you said really helped guide you. They’re there. So if people want to see how does someone get to tap into love as much as Jadah, how can you make this actionable? I think even just them playing around and visiting your sites and seeing how you kind of live that embodiment outside for people to peek into it is really, really helpful.

Jadah: Yeah. And my intention around that was really reclaiming the artist within me versus trying to be a business expert. It’s like, how can I be more of who I am and kind of being in that creative cocoon was the pandemic and then the next season for me is emergent expression. So being able to emerge, not just like, alright, here I am. It’s like this soft re-emerging and being in the world.

So I just invite anyone to really name the season that you are in and then what are you moving into next? What are you inviting, what are you calling in next?

So for me it was in the creative cocoon and then moving into emergent expression. So maybe for you who is listening, name the season that you are in and then the one that you are stepping into next.

Tobi: So good. Well, you just did a lot of caregiving for me and I know everyone listening, so thank you. You’re always so generous with your love, and your knowledge, and just I mean I feel so much calmer just after spending an hour or close to it with you. So always such a gift, thank you so much, it was such a joy.

Jadah: Thank you, thank you.

Okay friends, so I hope you are really believing both Jadah and me that there is a way not to hustle in your business anymore. It can truly happen, it can truly work. And it is so lifegiving to redesign your business and your life in this way. So check out Jadah’s book, all the places books are sold. It is out now. You’re going to love it. And I’ll see you back next week with another great episode of The Design You Podcast. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to The Design You Podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So, join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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