I ask most people this but this phenomenal woman’s ‘Star Wars’-inspired answer took me “there”:
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and did it impact your general outlook on life from then on?
Answer: “You’re going to laugh but I have had many, many great people sow wonderful seeds of wisdom in me. I keep some near and dear, but some will make you laugh… like ‘Star Wars’ – I’m a huge fan and there’s so much I’ve drawn out of it. Yoda in ‘Star Wars’ says, ‘Do or do not, but do not try’. I can’t explain why that line has stuck with me, but I have lived by it since I watched my first Star Wars movie when I was about eight years old.”
The point is to not try to do anything. “You have to make up your mind and then just do it.”
I contemplated suicide!
Here’s health coach, Jade Gold of Jade Gold Fitness.
I didn’t know anything about her before connecting with her on a Facebook page called the Success Stalkers, which is run by creator and host of the Success Stalkers radio show and my friend, Ioana Garret. So I asked questions, and here’s what I found …
Yoda in ‘Star Wars’ says, ‘Do or do not, but do not try!’
With a very diverse upbringing, this phenomenal lady describes herself as very passionate, driven, creative and highly competitive. No wonder she’s built herself the life she was destined to have from birth, you could say.
My dad tried his best to get me to play tennis, but that was an epic fail
“My father was 30 years older than my mother and had me when he was 64,” Jade begins via an email correspondence. “He was Jewish and Caucasian while my mother was from southern Georgia. My dad was the ultimate entrepreneur while my mom, the traditional college graduate. The pair taught me to be goal-orientated from the start. They nurtured my love for sports, which saw me becoming highly involved as a gymnast, track runner, basket-baller and swimmer. I could do so many different sports except tennis. My dad tried his best to get me to play tennis, but that was an epic fail.”
First before anything, I’m a mother
A real people lover who sees the best in every single person she encounters, “Sometimes I’m pretty tough on myself. Not many people get to see it; but I can be very emotional and sensitive.”
Spread thin over event design, fitness coaching, talk show hosting, ministering, authorship and single motherhood – one wonders how each career began and how Jade manages to do all them successfully without losing a piece of herself with each aspect of what all these roles represent.
“Whoa, good point. First before anything, I’m a mother. Both my children have been my best cheerleaders and support system through so many phases of my life and are my main reason for working so hard. They have made many sacrifices in the process of my journey as well, for which I’m eternally grateful.
“My event design business was born while I going through a nasty divorce. It was meant to be merely a pastime, even though it stemmed from my love and passion for creativity. Living in Vegas at the time, I’d walk into the big nearby hotels and think, ‘What if I could change the lighting, furniture and décor here and there? This place would look better!’ It was the possibility of transforming any room into a whole new place that drove me to launch my event design career,” says the Chicago native.
My event design business was born while I going through a nasty divorce
She adds: “I honestly knew nothing about the events industry or that one could make a living as an event planner. It eventually dawned on me, while doing my research that I didn’t want to merely plan the events, I wanted to create and own the décor. With a $5,000+ investment, I made my first collection and the nine-year run was history.”
“Writing and authorship was my second creative outlet. I’ve often said I write better than I speak, because when I write, I get the chance to take my mind places,” she explains, adding that she writes self-help content and “currently write a weekly column for the Forward Times called ‘The Truth Rocks’.
“My cooking books are in the making,” she volunteers before adding a shocker I didn’t see coming; “I even write erotic stories (shhhh… don’t tell anyone).”
Inasmuch as writing is Jade’s true love, it takes a back seat oftentimes as it is very time consuming, “and I have several unfinished projects.”
…when I write, I get the chance to take my mind places, on paper
Speaking of projects, her radio show with her ‘partner in crime’ Tim Thorn came out of a radio interview they did together on the ‘Tony Gill Show’. “We had great chemistry and him being the fashion authority that he is and myself the fitness guru, we had plenty to talk about. Before long, someone suggested that we host our own show. We said, ‘Cool, let’s think of a concept and do this!’ And just like that; we called it the ‘Chatter Box, Where Fitness Meets Fashion’.”
I looked old and constantly felt horrible. I knew I wanted to change but I thought of all the quick fixes – liposuction, botox…
I was called to minister at my church, which I honored for over nine years
I was called to minister at my church, which I honored for over nine years
“I was married to a pastor when I was called to minister at my church, which I honored for over nine years. I worked mostly with women and youth between ages 12 and 21. It was a full-time job I loved. Then the time came for me to step aside due to my inability to juggle the full-time roles with all my side projects. Funny how things have worked out since, because as we speak, what I do is ministry. God has given me the platform to serve others as a health coach. This is my ministry now.”
I found myself on top of the world on the outside but had depression and health issues
“How do I do it? Let’s just say that I’d reached a point in time when I would invest very long hours into my work, spreading myself very thin, especially during my divorce. There I was nurturing an events company that was growing so fast while I sank on the inside. I found myself on top of the world on the outside but had depression and health issues. I was overweight, living on a horrible diet. My hair was thinning by the day, due to stress. I looked old and constantly felt horrible. I knew I wanted to change but I thought of all the quick fixes – liposuction, botox, you name it. I hadn’t had a mindset change to ready myself for the journey of my best life ahead.
In today’s society, we are pressured to ‘keep up with the Kardashians
I was overweight, living on a horrible diet, my hair was thinning. Something had to give!
“Long story short, since I already had a great social media following, I said one day, ‘This is it. I’m posting it on Facebook (you know if you put it out there, it’s true – not just for you but for the whole world) – all my weight loss goals including a bodybuilding competition’. This was in October 2013 and I had no idea what life I had just chosen the moment I typed that post. I had no idea what I had just put out to the universe. From then on, there was no quitting. I couldn’t afford to, because I had just challenged the Universe to work with me and there were people looking up to me. I had to stay the course. I eventually became a health coach while building the Jade Gold Fitness brand. That’s the really short version of the story.”
I had no idea what life I had just chosen the moment I typed that post
Short version in deed, since we’re not even talking about her living out of a hotel and losing her car. But when was her ‘aha moment’ – from battling depression to becoming the success story she is today, I ask?
“I had a few but the one that stands out was when I thought about ending my life. I never thought I could sink that low but a small voice inside said, ‘Are you going to die in it or live through it?’ I knew I didn’t want to die, even though I contemplated it. So I made God a promise that with His help, I’d pursue and live my best life from that day forward.”
The moment I learnt to be really honest with myself, I ultimately found the confidence to be a role model
Self-image, fitness and love for fashion mean so much to Jade, but how have they contributed to her success, I wonder? For people to come to a level of sincerity about who they are, she says, they must first see their worth. They must love themselves first – much of that has to do with self-image.
“In today’s society, we are pressured to have better bodies, longer hair, wear high-fashion clothing to ‘keep up with the Kardashians’, so to speak. But it doesn’t take all of that. The moment I learnt to be really honest with myself as regards my imperfection and my perfections in finding my own voice in my style, I ultimately found the confidence to be a role model for others. That said, much of self-image, fitness (health being our wealth) and fashion blend in well in a way that shapes who we are and who the world sees in us.
We are pressured to have better bodies, longer hair, wear high-fashion clothing…
With a seemingly full plate, one wonders what a week in the life of Jade Gold. “Do you have another two hours for this?” she jokes, then adds; “I’m up most mornings at 4:30am to train with my first clients until 5am.
“Let me give you a picture of what my typical day or week can look like: I get my son ready for school, out the door for his morning tutoring class at 6:40am, then I take time for meditation and prayer, before breakfast. I train more clients after breakfast, write and then prepare meals during the day. I get back to training more clients as the day progresses, or attend meetings and planning sessions, or make videos. I eventually pick up my son from school and then do homework together. I sometimes have clients to travel to in Dallas, Texas, which means I can have day flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and some weekends.
Loving oneself from the inside out means knowing who you are without concern or connecting to negative opinions of others
“I have date night with my daughter once a week to catch up. I train one to two hours, six days a week by myself and reply to emails at night before bed – usually after I write for the paper. If I’m lucky, I can be ready to sleep by 12. And start it all over again the following day/week.”
Loving oneself from the inside out means knowing who you are without concern or connecting to negative opinions of others, Jade says. “You take the good and the bad; you love your essence without modifications. It means enjoying your own company without the need to be validated by anyone else. It has to be you and you alone able to identify with your own truth without any questions or hiding under a veil of delusion.
I don’t post a lifestyle I don’t live and thus honor my truth through a level of transparency many are not willing to share
“As a single mother, sister, friend and daughter and in all my work, I can be very hard on myself. However, I have learnt to love myself enough to keep stress at bay, because it creates physical reactions while the negative thoughts that accompany it create a physical reality. The good news is, real love is universal. So while it may sound like a simple cliché, I add love into my everyday life – with my clients, friends, children and even brand.
“I live what I post on my social pages. I don’t post a lifestyle I don’t live and thus honor my truth through a level of transparency many are not willing to share.”
Turns out this humility personified has more than one inspiration. Some of her biggest inspirations stem from some famous and soon-to-be be famous people, as well as family. “My father was my hero for his love for work ethic, his history and his drive. I love and look up to Will Smith even though he’s male. While some see him as an unconventional father, I see him as a great brand. I spot diversity in his craft, which was birthed out of nothing but a silly rap song. In him I see someone who did his way with a wealth of knowledge.”
One of Jade’s mentors and good friend, Deon Johnson, is one of her biggest motivators: “He constantly challenges my thoughts and ideas and pushes me to achieve greatness. Oh, and lest I forget First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Isn’t she the best? Her wealth of knowledge, her ability to always remain a loving wife and mother first, her drive and passion for helping American youth and living an admirable lifestyle is something worth looking up to. She has amazing fashion sense, very down to earth and highly educated.
“I have had a vision that she and I will meet soon. I’ve seen it over and over again.”
One of Jade’s memorable moments was having the honor of meeting President Obama when he ran for his first term. “I will never forget the blessing of meeting and talking with him one-on one, as history was being made,” she enthuses.
I had to first learn how to be whole before living it in a way (they) could emulate
With all this passion she exudes, does Jade teach her children to love themselves from the inside out while seeking independence, you may ask? Yes, she says! “Inasmuch as my daughter is very different from my son, I’ve taught both of them how to give and receive love. I had to first learn how to be whole before living it in a way they could emulate. Through my actions, they’ve learnt not to need people or things to fill the voids within. They witnessed my process, and they now live it.”
I believe we all need good books to keep us on our toes on all aspects of life and Jade currently reads ‘The China Study’, “because Dr. T Colin Campbell has done major research on the effects of animal protein in the human body. As a vegan always looking to increase my knowledge, this has been an excellent read, food for life. Make no mistake, I always have my Bible on hand, not to mention my soon to be published vegan/veg cookbook called ‘Coaching in the Kitchen’.”
There is a direct correlation between a fitness journey that transforms the body and the spiritual expedition that must co-exist with it
Since she mentions her Bible and vegan lifestyle in the breath, I ask her about her ‘Faith and Fitness’ project – what inspired it? “There is a direct correlation between a fitness journey that transforms the body and the spiritual expedition that must co-exist with it. There is no way I could have achieved all I have without God’s help. I allowed Him to work in me from the inside out. Now I share with others how they too can approach the journey of physical and spiritual transformation.”
The ‘however’ is; race or any other form of prejudice will and can never be your excuse
“Yes ma’am!” she prompts when ask if it has been a challenge making her journey to greatness as a woman of color. She adds: “But the ‘however’ is; it will and can never be your excuse. My journey to greatness, as you call it, is never-ending – always evolving. The day you stop learning because you think you know it all, you have already died. As black women, we face many unfair realities in life – challenges, setbacks, less-than-fair treatment. However, part of that journey we have been handed to makes us stronger, better leaders, great role models and more.
“I personally thrive off people who say I can’t do something or won’t achieve something. I love being the underdog or the one everyone thinks would fail. Black women have their own style and I wish more of us would come together to make a greater impact that would help us all rather than tearing each other down. It all draws back to learning to love yourself from the inside out – knowing who you are and where you’re going.”
Jade Gold also of Faith and Fitness is the first of many international awesome women Phenomenal Magazine has and will feature in future.