Jayne Nakata joined me on Messenger this month to talk about her unique approach to coaching. She believes that putting your oxygen mask on first is essential to living your best life. Read on to find out how visualisation can get you to places you dream of going and the importance of letting go of perfection.
Where do you come from?
I'm from New Zealand and I've lived all over the place. Mostly in extremely beautiful places such as Wanaka, Mt Ruapehu and Te Anau. All breath taking, beautiful natural places. My parents worked in the hotels at these places so I grew up in the hospitality industry, going to work in the hotel on weekends to help my Dad if it was busy and they were short staffed. I got my first job at the age of 10, making toast and coffee in the kitchen for the waitresses so they could clear more tables! I left New Zealand 16 years ago and moved to Iwaki City, Fukushima.
What brought you to Japan?
I started studying Japanese when I was 13 at high school. I studied for 6 years, failing my 3rd year at University in Japanese. I decided that I would finally go to Japan for the first time ever and learn to speak Japanese properly. I'd never heard of the JET programme, so I managed to get a job working in Eikaiwa (English language school) and was hired from NZ. I arrived in 2002, in Iwaki and I still live there 16 years later!
Did you always have an interest in Japan or did you just want to travel in general?
I came to be very interested in Japan through my study of Japanese language at high school. But given that it was the early 90s and the internet didn't exist, I really didn't know much about Japan when I arrived! I have to credit my first Japanese teacher for his kindness and patience which made the Japanese language part of my life, I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be "learning Japanese" 25 years on I'm still learning. After arriving in Japan I realised there was a whole culture and country that I didn't know about as I'd been so focused on the "language" so much. That was definitely one of the benefits of actually going to Japan and not just trying to learn from a text book.
And the story of your first Japanese teacher was just covered in a TV show in Japan right?
Yes, if readers would like to view the show, it's here with English subtitles: https://photos.app.goo.gl/PdS6Pp1ZTbmd2hra2
I'd always wondered what had happened to him after he left our school 20+ years ago. I'd tried to find him on google and what not but hadn't had any luck. When the TV show picked up our request to find him, I was so excited as he is was a lovely person and a great teacher. It was very surreal to meet him as an adult and hear about his experience first hand.
If you could go back in time ...what would you like to tell (or warn) your 20 year old self about (for times ahead). (From Johanna MacGregor The Tokyo Chapter)
I'd warn her about not following her own dreams/passions. For me, teaching English was not my dream job. It was the means to get me to Japan and it worked. I am what I would say a 'good' or 'popular' teacher. But it's not my passion and I know I spent too many years doing that because it was easy. I'd say to my 20 year old self to go for the job that you are "not completely qualified for". Playing super safe when you are 20 really is a waste of time as there are soo many chances for iteration for trying other things.
Was there a moment in your life that changed how you live today?
Hmm. I guess it was about 3 years ago when I was desperate to leave Japan. I had a 1 year old, a 4 year old, a great house, a husband with a good job... but I lived in semi-rural Japan and was feeling unfulfilled and lonely. I felt certain that leaving Japan would be The Answer! Surely it was living in Japan that was making me unhappy.
I was trying to convince my husband to quit his job, we'd sell our house and all our stuff and move to New Zealand where surely life would be perfect and I'd finally be able to get a job that would fulfill me. Luckily for me my husband flat out refused. He wasn't ready to toss in his job and try to make a new life for himself in a new country. So that left me with the problem of trying to change my life, even though I couldn't change my circumstances.
I'd been following Natalie Sisson, The Suitcase Entrepreneur for a while (fellow NZer) and I'd joined some online groups on Facebook to try and grow my network. I met Helen Iwata who invited me to join a blog challenge Natalie was running. We set up a small accountability group and the first exercise was to write out our 'Perfect Day'. From doing that exercise, I realised what it was I really wanted. I wanted time in NZ, I didn't really need to LIVE in NZ. I wanted more time in nature. All the things that I'm doing today came out of that exercise. It still blows me away how that one 30 minute journaling session changed the tragectory of my life and I'm slowly ticking off the things that were on there!
Tell us what makes your coaching style unique compared to other coaches out there? What’s your special angle?
I work specifically with Japanese women. I realised that as I was going through my own transformation, I was getting so many questions from the women in my immediate vicinity about how I was doing these wild things! They wanted to know how I could go away for a weekend, travel to NZ twice a year, go out for a run. So I decided that instead of looking out into the internet for potential clients I would serve the women who were right in front of me who needed my help.
The main premise of my coaching is that I lead by example. I want to show the women in my community what is possible even if you life in rural Japan. Even if you have kids. Even if your husband is Japanese. You can live your best life in your own way even though you are Japanese. Of course I coach in Japanese which is very tricky but it means that I can reach anyone in my community regardless of English level and it shows I'm committed to 'imperfect action'.
I started out planning and presenting retreats about 2 years ago. I found that women in Japan really wanted a fun way to spend that 'me time' that wasn't being completely alone either. As I've gotten busier with this, I've decided to focus on helping entrepreneurs to put on their own retreats here in Japan, specifically in Iwaki City, Fukushima. There is a big barrier for people who want to do this, but don't have the language skills or the connections to do it themselves. I love meeting entrepreneurs from different markets and countries and showing them how great my part of Japan is (that hospitality blood runs strong in me that's for sure!).
Shall we talk a little bit about visualisation? I was so amazed at the story from your podcast about one of your idols. Can you tell us what happened?
Ah yes, that was a huge coup for me to prove to myself that actually, anything IS possible. I'd been a fan of James Wedmore and his podcast called "Mind your Business". Last January I was out walking and listening to his podcast and the idea popped into my head that one day "I" would be on this podcast. At the time it seemed so far fetched and bizarre I didn't give it too much thought! I didn't even have my own podcast at that point. Over the last 6 months, I'd thought about how one day I would be speaking on that podcast. I didn't get caught up on the HOW, that was just beyond fathoming how it could possibly come to fruition. But in the mean time I would amuse myself with visualising what my conversation with James would be like when I did go on his podcast.
A few months ago I decided to make the leap and take James' online course called Business By Design. I also decided to jump right in with his Next Level coaching program. It was a big investment for me but it felt like just what I needed at that moment. As part of joining the programme, I actually got a chance to talk one-to-one with James himself. That was mind blowing for me as I'd gone from not being on his radar to being a student and being able to talk to him. At the end of our call, he asked me if I had anything else I'd like to ask or say. So I said to him: "James, I just have to tell you this and if I don't I'll kick myself forever. Yesterday when I got into the car, your podcast started playing on the car stereo. My daughter said to me "Mummy, are you going to talk on this podcast?" and I replied "Well, Yes I am!!"..... James laughed and said "That's awesome! What should we talk about?" Soon I had an email from his assistant booking me for an interview! So I'm grateful for the universe for giving me that tap on the shoulder to speak up and tell him that I was going to be on his show!
So visualisation for me a powerful technique! I'm currently visualising some other things, you might see them come to fruition soon! I'll let you know when they do!
If a woman walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
I'd say to them to make time to put themselves first. Practice the art of putting on their own oxygen mask first. I think it's a muscle you can build and the more you do it the easier it gets, the more natural it feels, the more everyone else around you gets used to it too and it all just becomes the norm! When you are taking care of yourself first, your whole life becomes easier because you now actually have more to give the others in your life who need you.
How did you get to be so awesome? (from Lindsay Sawada from Setagaya Yoga Studio)
Ha ha!!Thanks Lindsay! Gee that's really lovely to hear! Um....
Let's say, I'm a work in progress and that's OK. I always look back and see who I used to be and how much negativity I used to carry around with me. I guess it's the one thing I can always lean on to help me be more "awesome" is to be positive. Even if I'm actually having a crap day, I can usually turn it around just by finding that teeny tiny piece of positivity in something.
I don't expect perfection from myself either, far from it. I'm kind of a 80% is good enough gal and I think that helps too. But the one rule I have that I try to stick to 100% of the time is to only put out positivity into the internet. I think that it's so important that people can come to my part of the internet and know that it's safe there and it's going to be a pleasant experience.
Want to find out more and connect with Jayne?
Website and newsletter sign-up: https://www.jaynenakata.com/
Victoria Close from Bikudesigns talks kimono, business, Japanese design, life in Tokyo and all the things she loves.