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Lisa Nichols is one of the world’s most-requested motivational speakers, as well as media personality and corporate CEO whose global platform has reached and served nearly 30 million people. From a struggling single mom on public assistance to a millionaire entrepreneur, Lisa’s courage and determination has inspired fans worldwide and helped countless audiences break through to discover their own untapped talents and infinite potential.
Lisa is the Founder and CEO of Motivating the Masses, Inc. – one of the country’s only publicly traded personal and business development training companies – and a best-selling author of seven books including New York Times bestseller, NO MATTER WHAT, and her most recent book, ABUNDANCE NOW, published by HarperCollins. She has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, the Steve Harvey Show, and Extra, just to name a few, and has received numerous awards and honors for her extensive dedication to service, philanthropy and healing.
Lisa’s extraordinary story of transforming her own life is the inspiration behind her bold mission to teach others that it is possible to do the same. Today, fans worldwide revere Lisa for her mastery of teaching people how to accomplishing unfathomable goals and tap their limitless potential.
Enjoy her exclusive Business Heroine interview…
Anne: You transformed your life from public assistance for your family to leading a multi-million dollar enterprise. Give us a glimpse of the past and the journey to where you are now.
Lisa: It was bumpy.
You know, what I love about the journey is that it’s so incredibly normal, it’s just the “normal” we don’t know about. I’m that kid who never got a higher grade than C+ in school – for twelve years. And in my freshman year of college, my English professor said I was “the weakest writer she’d ever met in her life,” and that same year my speech teacher recommended that I NEVER speak in public, just work a desk job.
To add to that, my freshman year became my senior year, because I was kicked out of college due to lack of funds. My parents couldn’t afford to keep me in school.
So, it started bumpy, but I didn’t even know it was bumpy, because I was always in financial struggle.
And when I had my son at age 28, I hit a place that I didn’t know was rock-bottom. In order to have my son, I had to get on government’s assistance. Being raised in South Central Los Angeles and living between the Harlem Crip 30 gangs and the Rolling 60 gangs, people being on government assistance was natural and normal to me but I knew early on that I did not want to be one of them.
And so when I found myself at age 28 standing in the government assistance line on Century Boulevard near LAX airport, I was traumatized. I was traumatized by my own circumstance. I was ashamed, I was embarrassed, I was angry at me.
There I was, pregnant, not married, and about to get on government’s assistance. I kept saying, “I am more than the sum total of my life experiences!”
Then I had to get on WIC – Women, Infant and Children, and get free cheese and free pasta and milk to feed my child. While I was embarrassed, I was grateful that they had such programs available.
I found myself broke and broken.
If I have to be broke or broken, I prefer broke all day long, because you just have to figure out how to make money. But if you’re broken, you have to figure out how to get the will to get UP. Well, I was broke AND broken, and I just kind of stopped.
I will always come from the same place, and I tell people no matter where I end up, I’m always from that place, and I wear it with a badge of honor. The further and further I get from there, the more drastically I transform my life. That makes the story sweeter to hear and tell.
Anne: Did you have a turning point moment, when you decided enough is enough?
Lisa: The turning point for me was when I realized one day that I didn’t have Pampers for my son. It was the day I felt every level of my choices in a painful way.
I was stuck, but got sick and tired of being stuck. I was done with the suffering, I was done with the suffering conversation.
That day when I ran out of Pampers, I went to the ATM to get money for them, and it said “Insufficient Funds.” And it said my balance was $11.42.
I went home and had to wrap my 8-month old son in a towel. I did that for two days, and on the second day, I looked at him with tears streaming down my face and I told him, “Don’t worry, Mommy will never be this broke again.”
And when I said it, I MEANT it. I was done. I didn’t know the how, I didn’t know the when, I didn’t know the who, I didn’t know the GPS – I just started walking due North.
If nothing else, when I walk due North, I won’t be South. That was sort of how I did it.
I am an ordinary woman who chose to make daily extraordinary decisions.
Anne: So there was a moment that became your internal turning point from “suffering.” When you reflect back on all your successes, can you pinpoint the moment when you felt like you were “making it?”
Lisa: I had a few moments like that!
They came in monumental moments – Sitting across from Oprah and seeing the joy in her eyes as she says MY name! Sitting across from Larry King as he acknowledges my spiritual growth and awareness, and I could tell that he was talking to me as a woman, not just as a host.
I’ve had thousands of those moments!
They heal and hold me through the moments when I had to eat beanies and weenies for six days straight and when I was bankrupt and praying for a family member to invite us over so we could have a decent meal and not just rice and butter.
Anne: For the Business Heroines who find themselves somewhere along the journey between having to wrap their baby in a towel and sitting across from Oprah, what are your insights around creating new possibilities?
Lisa: I’d like to share a few key points that I found that were critical to me and my life.
Number 1: I began to celebrate my micro-wins and not just wait for my macro-wins. I had to celebrate Lisa sooner, quicker, faster and more often. If you don’t celebrate you, who’s going to celebrate you?? If you’re not your biggest cheerleader, who’s going to be your biggest cheerleader?
Number 2: Make decisions based on your knowledge, not your longing. This is something we really need to be mindful of, as women especially. This means making decisions based on good, foundational information and not based on emotion. You can wrap some emotion around the logic, but the logic is where your decisions have to live and grow out of. So make plans based on knowledge, not longing, based on information, not emotion.
And number 3: Don’t only take responsibility for your thoughts and actions but, more importantly, take responsibility for your reactions.
One thing I said on Oprah that she resonated with is, “We teach people how to treat us.” And it’s our job to give them the best example possible.
Another point is around your comfort zone, or as I like to call it, your “limit line.” Instead of stepping OUT of your limit line (by doing something courageous and then stepping back in), PUSH your limit line. That’s how to expand your life. You push your limit line by making decisions and taking action while looking at an expanded and forward-moving life.
Anne: What is your wake-up call for the world? If there is something that most of the world isn’t aware of that you know acutely, what is that knowing or message that you wish upon humanity?
Lisa: What I would want the world to know is “Live like you know.” From the very moment you were born, success was your birthright. Joy was your birthright. Healthy relationship is your birthright. The body is your birthright.
Regardless of any circumstance or experience, success, love, joy and peace of mind are your birthrights.
You might have to claw a little more, run a little faster, stand a little longer, cry a little more, scream a little louder – but those rights are still yours.
The other thing that I would want every single person to know is that under no uncertain circumstances does your past equal your future. Your past is not a set back for your future, it’s a set up! You can use your chapter 4 as a stair-step to write a really delicious chapter 24.
Anne: It’s beautiful, and you’re the perfect example of all of this. Your life could have gone a completely different way, had you chosen to let your circumstances be a sentence and your past be a projection. Can you give us a glimpse into a day in the life of Lisa Nichols?
Lisa: My commitment and my assignment as a servant-leader and CEO is to spread possibility and to teach people to actually get there – not just to make you happy and hyped. While that’s necessary to get you up, what will keep you up are the skill-sets and tools that you can actually use.
In my latest book, Abundance Now, what I’m teaching is that abundance isn’t for SOME people, it’s for everyone. I’m a myth-exploder, I’m a rebel, I want to challenge the norm, I want to challenge the status-quo and the belief systems.
I’m an abundant-thinker and, if you think like that, then your behaviors will begin to move towards your thoughts. So I’m all for creating that disruption in people’s minds. Abundance isn’t something I chase, abundance is something I expand.
The book comes out on January 5th and, just to give you a day in my world, I will be delivering a new conversation around abundance to about 26 million people.
After 30 days and 80 million people engage in this conversation, I invite people to have a deep-dive, maybe online or TV. And then I invite people to go deeper [at a live event] – something happens when you’re heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul, belly-to-belly.
And I do that cycle over and over again.
I tell people, “Your best isn’t for you, your best is designed to rescue me.”
I don’t want to leave this planet with my brilliance still in me.
Anne: I love that you say you’re “disrupting” – disrupting the patterns, disrupting the limiting.
Lisa: Well, no one is sentencing you to your life. The hardest part about recognizing your autobiography is that the pen is in YOUR hand. And the good news is, there’s another chapter to write, sis, so how are you going to write your next one?
So I say to you Heroines, I am talking to you. I came for you, I came to acknowledge the brilliance that you have, to honor you, to celebrate you and to appreciate you. The world is so busy capturing its own oxygen that we forget to celebrate each other, because we forget to celebrate ourselves.
And I can’t do for you, Heroines, what I’m not doing for myself. As we learn to fill ourselves and fill our own cup up, we learn to love everyone else from our overflow.
Anne: So for the Heroines you are talking to, how they enter the world of Lisa Nichols? What’s the best doorway?
Lisa: The number one way is to go to AbundanceNowOnline.com. And when you go there and share your email, I will give you my list of 10 things that really can move your needlepoint.
I’m also going to invite you to get the book to pour into yourself and learn and, if you’re an audio person, then get the audio book because there’s a lot of extras!
The gift that I have for you, when you get the book, is that I will allow you to bring that book to one of my live events as your ticket in, and then we spend a day together, deep-diving. The events will come up early this year, January to March, so keep an eye out online.
I want to make sure you know, when you decide to go to one of these events, it’s first come first serve, so when you register, tell me that you’re a HEROINE, so that we can have a hug, a special moment. We can find the other Heroines in the room, and take a Heroine picture!
Here’s what I know: What accelerated my life was that I got someone who was 2-10 steps ahead of me, and I hooked my caboose to her train. There’s enough for all of us, and I don’t want to be in this space with this level of joy and peace by myself.
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