As we grow up, the number of responsibilities we have increase — creating more stress for some. A busy life often leads us to forget to care for ourselves and may cause us to lose faith in our passions. However, Jai Stone is on a mission to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. She is the founder of ENL, better known as the “Emotional Nudity Lifestyle”. Through her work, Stone reminds women that they can create their own destinies and encourages them to be extremely introspective in finding that path to joy (hence, the term ‘nude’). Stone has also worked as a brand strategist and an entrepreneur for more than 15 years and is skilled in utilizing words and images to communicate these uplifting ideals to her audience. As our Bauce of the Month, Stone shares why each woman should be willing to “strip naked” in order to reveal her true potential.
Bauce: What inspired you to create ENL?
Jai Stone: Honestly it was because of the demand from my fans. I was content with blogging about my experiences and ideals, but my followers wanted more. They wanted complete explanations and experiences on how to accomplish authentic living.
Bauce: What exactly is “emotional nudity”?
Stone: Each of us is designed to have a uniquely authentic existence. But there are things that hold us back from our Authentic Joy. Emotional Nudity is the process of finding those obstacles, taking an honest look at them, then doing to work to get over them.
You believe in living life without fear and apologies. What does this type of lifestyle look like? Most of us harbor a lot of fear around failure and rejection. We don’t trust that God has given us what we need to navigate through our challenges. So most people will never have the courage to create the life they desire. Then there are those of us misfits who make apologies for who we are and how we operate, that can also be a hindrance.
Bauce: How have you implemented this ideal in your own life? What are the top three things that you believe prevent women from finding their authentic joy?
Stone: I stopped apologizing for my brokenness and looked for places where I was accepted “as-is”. The key is to seek to improve yourself in a nurturing, non-judgmental environment. I don’t mind being held accountable, but I won’t be beaten up.
Bauce: You have also worked as a brand expert for many years in Atlanta and have owned your own business for a long time. When and why did you decide to become an entrepreneur? How have you kept your business sustainable for so long?
Stone: I would love to say that I took the entrepreneurial leap, but I was pushed. I was laid off my job, but they needed me to finish the work. So they hired me back as a contractor. I old employer in effect became my first client. My longevity was largely due to building a nearly unbreakable reputation. It took me years to do that, but I’m still enjoying the fruits of that labor.
Bauce: Do you find it challenging to stay focused, motivated or positive all the time?
Stone: Some people may believe this type of lifestyle is mentally exhausting. In fact I find that living out loud is the most liberating existence I’ve ever had. I was actually exhausted from trying to live in a bubble that was not of my own making.
Bauce: You also discuss the topic of black love a lot. What are black women’s biggest challenges when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships?
Stone: Well, these days my writing about relationships is not so ethnic specific as it used to be. Although my perspective is still from that of a Black woman. I think our challenges as women are our inability to say what we need and create healthy boundaries. We swallow our voices too often and leave it to men to hear our silence. That never works.
What everyday things do you believe women can do to empower each other?
Stone: Emotional Support is going to always be first on my list. I think that is the building block of empowerment. But also love, laughter and accountability…those are powerful tools as well.
Bauce: If a young women is contemplating entrepreneurship or starting a small business, are there certain industries you would recommend she taps into?
Stone: Trends change very quickly in this shifting economy. I would say 1. Research the trends. 2. Choose something you could love and 3. Choose what works for the lifestyle you want to achieve long term.
Bauce: What is your advice for young women who find themselves emotionally unable to commit to goals that could change their lives?
Stone: Bah, there is no such thing when you want it bad enough. If you’re not willing to dig deep into your emotional storehouse, then you will have to settle for “whatever”. Remember, most people will NEVER live their ideal lives.
Bauce: How can they get out of a mental “rut” and begin their journey towards finding authentic joy?
Stone: One of the greatest sources of inspiration is to find women who have accomplished what you want for yourself. Also surround yourself with women who are headed in the same direction at the same pace. Operate in spaces with like minded folks. Adopt a winning mentality. And lastly drop or distance yourself from everyone that doesn’t perpetuate your focus.
My last words of advice:
1.Users eventually get used up.
2. The need for external validation can cripple your internal healing.
3. Define your goals and do at least one thing every day to reach them, and eventually you will.