In Chinese, there are characters 加(jia) and 油(you). Individually they have their own meaning. Jia is the Chinese character for “to add”. Commonly it is used in school arithmetic. “You” is the chinese character for Fuel. Commonly used to talk about going and filling up a tank of gas. Combined together, they form the phrase “Jia You” meaning “to add fuel”.
When I started to travel in China, I became exposed to this phrase at sporting events or competitions. A crowd would be yelling, Jia You!, Jia You! to their favorite player. I learned that to yell “jia you!” was similar to wishing someone to “break a leg”, or “ do their best”. But to me it seemed more. The idea of “adding fuel” intrigued me. Sort of like telling someone to take the best they can do… and then add a little bit more. It was better than do your best… in my perception.
It also had a deeper inspirational meaning. I heard people in china using jia you as a encouragement to someone that was trying something new, or going out of their comfort zone.
“Im thinking of quitting my job and doing something I love instead”
“jia you!” could be a good reply signifying… “go for it” or “you can do it”.
Now, I have been in china for 5 years, and Jia You is part of my growing lexicon. But it has not faded away. In fact, the more time that goes by, the more Jia You has become a mantra for my life and the perfect encouragement for all people around me that go outside their comfort zone to do the amazing.
In a way, I can think of no better phrase to describe my journey around the world than Jia You. Of course, I have one problem. I bet you were pronouncing Jia You wrong this whole time. The actual written word I have been showing you for Jia You is something called Pinyin. It is the English translation for the Chinese Characters. Unfortunately, they do not really produce the correct English sounds necessary to make the sounds for 加油. When screamed out as a battle cry, often times sounds get distorted. The “Jia” sound actually produces a “ja” sound… and the “You” sound actually produces a “yoe” sound.
That is why I rewrote the English translations to the phrase 加油as JaYoe.
Haha… ok ok.. it is not the only reason. For certain legal reasons, it was much easier to trademark JaYoe and JiaYou. And the domain JaYoe.com is pretty snazzy as well. Marketing, pronunciation and brand management… in the perfect combination.
Also throw in the mix that I have a population of 3 billion Chinese natives and mandarin speakers that already use JaYoe on a regular basis to cheer, inspire, encourage or otherwise motivate people in their lives. The only thing I need to do is get the rest of the people in the world to adopt the JaYoe spirit…
…and join the JaYoe nation.