“And all that thing about potential, I was tired of having potential. I wanted to have my now.”
“I’m an average ordinary mom who said I want to drastically transform my son’s future.”
“The power of I am, the power of I am can pull you through the darkest moment.”
– Lisa Nichols
Lisa Nichols’s Top 10 Rules For Business and Success
She’s an author, life coach, and motivational speaker. She’s the founder and CEO of Motivating the Masses. She’s also a best-selling author of six books. She’s Lisa Nichols, and here are her top 10 rules for success.
Rule #1: You Are Your Rescue
I struggled all through school. The last time I took English class, I got a fail, and my English teacher said I was the weakest writer she ever met in her entire life. The last time I took a speech class, same year, I got a D minus in speech and my speech teacher said, “Lisa, I recommend you never speak in public, “that you get a desk job.”
So that was the beginning of my life. That was my 19-year-old experience. And then I go on, and I’m trying to figure it out, trying to figure it out. I was obedient. I went and got a job in accounting. I was in the collection department for seven years. You all don’t know, I’m dangerous to accounting.
I’m just dangerous, and I’m in collections, and you know you should never put a broke person in collections, never, because everybody’s reason sound good to me. I know it sound funny, but it was real. Not only did I say “Girl, don’t you worry about paying that. “Imma take your name off the list.”
Somebody went to jail because I was in collections. I got fired from five different jobs. And then I got pregnant with my son unexpectedly. And then at eight months, my son’s father went to prison. I have to get on government’s assistance to have my baby.
I was on WIC, Women, Infant and Children to feed my child. And when my son was eight months old, I went to the ATM to get $20 out the bank because I didn’t have any Pampers for him. And in order to get $20 out, you got to have $20 in. I had $11.42. And I still can’t tell the story without getting emotional because it’s my story.
For two days, I had to wrap my son in a towel. But something happened, Steve, in those two days. I was at rock bottom. I was broke, and I was broken. Inglewood, California, my son laying on his back at eight months, I have a towel over him, and I have my hand on his stomach, saying, “Don’t you worry, J Lonny, “Mommy will never be this broke again.”
And I had made a decision I was bankrupt. And every stinking thinking I had, I was bankrupt and trying to protect my pride. I was bankrupt and trying to be all that and a bag of chips and a bowl of grits falsified. I was bankrupt and trying to not ask anyone for help.
I was bankrupt in everything that was holding me and keeping me where I was. I’ve always talked a good game, but I wasn’t doing anything with my gift. And all that thing about potential, I was tired of having potential, I wanted to have my now.
And I looked at that baby at eight months, and I said, “I want to transform your life. “Because you didn’t ask to come into this chaos.” As an African-American male child in South-Central Los Angelos, with a single mother whose father’s in prison, he had a 66% chance of going to prison himself. Not on my watch. Not on my watch. So
if I have to be willing to drastically transform myself so that I can become the woman that I know I can be. And that’s what I began to do. I was radical.
Interviewer: What did you do, Lisa? What did you do to change your life?
First, I realized I couldn’t grow with people who were struggling like me. That whole I don’t want to leave nobody behind? No, I don’t want to stay with ya’ll. You don’t even want to be here. I don’t want to be the queen of this block.
And I became okay with the fact that it doesn’t make me any less committed to my community, committed to my coacher, committed to my family. The best thing I can do for you is not stay here with you.
When I’ve got that, I went to places I’d never seen before. I went to conferences where people were talking about money, talking about prosperity, talking about it was like no hablo espanol, whacha all talking about? ROIs, and PPMs, and term aggrements, and capital fundraising and bottom lines, and what is? Imma stay until I learn what you’re talking about.
I went to the same conference 42 times. And there I raised $532,000 in capital for my company to start my dream. And my dream was to transform teen lives. I want to teach teens how to fall madly in love with themselves and how to make integrity based decisions. And I got it funded, and I started working.
And that was the beginning of me rescuing myself. I realized that I am my rescue. No one else is my rescue, I am my rescue.
Rule #2: #Believe In The Unseen
So I was hungry. Like, I was hungry. People often want to call me the exception, like, “Oh my gosh, you’re the exception.” No, I’m not the exception. I’m an average ordinary woman who chose every day to make one more extraordinary decision.
I’m an average ordinary mom, who said I want to drastically transform my son’s future. That he deserves to have ever option that every other child would have, irregardless of what he was born into. I just was crazy enough to believe that.
That it doesn’t matter the color of my skin, doesn’t matter my religious background, doesn’t matter my origin, it doesn’t matter my mom’s bank account and my dad’s bank account when I was born. None of that means my future. That’s just the circumstance that I came from.
That’s not what defines my future, I just believe that. Not a lot validated it, but faith is believing in the unseen anyway. So I had enough faith to go, “I know like I know like I know like I know.” I don’t necessarily have to see it yet.
Rule #3: Use Affirmations
Christy talked about affirmations. Abundant thinkers understand the power of I am. Anything after the word I am is true to your unconscious mine, Michael, anything. Anything after I am, anything, anything after I am, even if you’re just you know it’s not true, your conscious mind will believe it. Anything after I am. So the use of affirmations is very intentional and very consistent.
I was diagnosed as clinically depressed in 2001, 1998, I’m sorry. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed. Me, it didn’t make sense. I had been in a relationship, I was engaged to get married and my fiance who I didn’t not know at the time was bi-polar, and he’d stopped taking his medicines and under the belief system that love can cure anything.
And so I ended up being picked up and thrown three feet across the room, and I ended up being choked until I passed out. And once I got out of that relationship, I just was different, was different. So my mom insisted that I go to the doctor.
I went to the doctor and I sat on the table, and she checked me and talked to me and came back in with a prescription and she said, “Lisa, you’re clinically depressed.” And I felt like I heard Charlie Brown’s parents talking, like whaa whaa, whaa whaa, whaa.
Because clinically depressed and Lisa, they don’t make sense in that same sentence. And she handed me a prescription and I read the prescription, it had my name on it and it said Prozac. And I thought, “That don’t make sense. “Lisa Nichols, Prozac, that don’t make sense.” And I said, “Do you mean I’m sad?” She said, “Very, very sad.”
I said, “Can I try something?” And I’m not recommending you guys, if you’re on medication, you stop taking your meds, please don’t do that. I asked my doctor, she agreed. I said, “Do you mind if I try something before I take this?” She goes, “Yes, but I need to see you back in 30 days. “If you’re in the same condition, ”
I need us to try this medicine.” I said, “Okay, I can do that.” So I went home. And every day, I got in the mirror, and I drilled I am. Every day. Because I realized I have forgotten who I was. I just forgot. And it was okay to forget, I just forgot. So every day, every day for 25 minutes I just went over the I ams.
Every day I am, I am, I am, and then I paralleled that with I forgive you for, than I paralleled that with I committ to you, Lisa. Every single day. I went back in 30 days, and I’m talking to her, and I’m on fire, she’s just looking at me.
And I’m just talking, talking, she twisted her head again, and I’m just talking, talking, she says, “Wait, I got to stop you.” I said, “What?” She goes, “What are you taking? And can I have some?” I was like, “I’m taking some of me.” And so the power of I am, the power of I am can pull you through the darkest moment. The power of I am.
Rule #4: Create Holistic Success
Success is personally defined by everyone. And as you’re creating success, create holistic success. My biggest successes are the things that people don’t even see. It’s the fact that my 14 year old son calls me his best friend to his friends. That’s bigger than any book deal that you can give me, that’s bigger than sitting across from Larry King or beside Oprah, that my 14 year old son calls me his best friend. Creating holistic success is really important.
Rule #5: Do Something Different
Let me tell you, in order to have something different, you are going to have to do something different. In order to have something more, you have to do something you haven’t done yet. I have to say the things I didn’t want to say, do the things I didn’t feel like doing to have the life I knew I wanted. Period. Period.
And all I did was give instructions for here, do this bite size, do this bite size, do this bite size. Bite sized, digestible, palatable pieces of what you can do. Does that sound good to you guys? And when you look up, and you don’t have to have a magnificent change over 12 months.
Have a small change over 30 days, and then a small change over 30 days. You breakthrough will come in needlepoint moves. And you’ll look up in five years, and not recognize your life.
Rule #6: Stop Asking For Permission
Interviewer: What’s been your biggest accomplishment, you think?
Bouncing back, number one, is refusing to listen to the negative chatter in my own head, refusing to listen to other people’s perception of me, creating something from absolutely nothing. There’s the books, there’s the TV, there’s all that stuff, but my biggest accomplishment is being willing to give myself a thousand second chances, and every time I got to 999, I press reset.
I didn’t ask permission, I gave notice. At some point, I have to stop asking, “Can I be great? “Can I be brilliant? “Can I be okay and still be accepted?” I just stopped asking permission and just gave notice unapologetically. And not in a braggadocios way.
Not in a way that’s shrunk anyone else, in a way that’s said, “I only got one life, “and Imma ride this one til the wheels fall off.” And then all the other stuff came as a result of a decision I made.
Interviewer: Right. But it was a decision you made.
It was a decision, and it didn’t come from a motivational experience. It didn’t come from an inspiring teacher, it came from hitting rock bottom.
Rule #7: Disrupt Your Soil
There’s so much value in what you unlearn. Sometimes the best thing you can do is unlearn some things. We’re always going after learning something new because we’re information junkies, because we have all these forms of information coming at us on the internet, coming at us in books, coming at us on the radio, coming at us on television, that we want to learn, learn learn.
But sometimes your biggest breakthrough is in what you unlearn, and then you relearn. Sometimes you have to disrupt your soil, pull your soil up, take that dry dirt that’s been planted for years. I know, I just been knowing this for years.
This is what my mother taught me, this is what we’ve always done. You have to disrupt that soil in order to plant a new seed to grow a new fruit. Yeah, yeah? You guys got that? And so I came very comfortably to disrupt your soil. That’s what I came for, to disrupt your soil.
Not to necessarily keep you comfortable in what you know, stay comfortable in that. I want to disrupt you in some things that are new awareness, to go “Oh, wait. Hold on.” Or new awareness about what you’ve been doing based on what you’ve known forever that doesn’t fit your future anymore.
Because I can guarantee you every single one of us who wants something different then what we’re getting, we’re doing something unconsciously from old patterns that doesn’t even serve our future. That’s when the tongue in your mouth and the tongue in your shoe are going in two totally different directions. And your job is to line them up so that you can move forward in a powerful way.
Rule #8: Unpack Your Story
Every single thing you touch is impacted by your story. As an attorney, as a teacher, as an architect, there’s not one line of business that you can be in that a story and a great story won’t elevate your outcome. Every single line of business, every single line of service that you’re connected to will be impacted and ideally elevated by the level in which you’re willing to tell and share your story.
So let me give you some guidelines, some parameters, what I like to call the bumper rails, as if you were going bowling. When I go bowling, I ask them to put the little bumper rails down so my ball can get down the lane. So let me set up some bumper rails for you so that you understand what makes a great story.
So one is the willingness to take risk. Most people, Vishen, when they’re telling a story, they don’t want to take a risk, so the story has it’s limits on how high it’ll go or how deep it’ll go. And when you have that, then you’re really not at that part that’s going to touch my soul.
So being willing to take a risk. Being clear and concise with your stories. A great story is a show me story, not a tell me story. Now this is the distinction that’s the game changer for most. Most people are telling a story. They say, “So let me just share with you “a little bit of my story.” And I’ll tell you and then I’ll show you.
So as I was building my life, there was a time in my life that was very difficult, it was very, true story, very difficult, very challenging, very uncomfortable. I didn’t have a lot of money, I didn’t have a lot of hope, and things just looked dismal. At some point, I had to turn my life around.
At some point, I made the decision that life had to get better. I’m telling you that. It was decent, you learn about me. Then if I were to show you that story, I would say six days a week, I had to eat beanies and weenies. I had to find money in the crevices, in the corners of my couch so that I can get my son milk.
There were times when my heart would beat fast just at what am I going to have tomorrow? At some point, I got sick and tired of my own story. Is this going to be my future? No, I can’t handle it. Notice a difference in that second story.
Interviewer: Wow, I completely see that.
I just painted a picture. Same story. Now the second one where you show a story, it’s going to require more of you. It’s going to require you to find the colors. What were you thinking? What were you experiencing? What was going on in your head? Instead of telling me you looked for money, turn and point. Now this is anywhere. This is anywhere you are doing anything.
I promise you, you become a great story teller and you will captivate your audience no matter what you’re doing. I have captivated investors, I have captivated students, I’ve captivated educators because I was willing to show the story. I call it unpacking the story, Vishen.
Being willing to tell me what were you thinking, what were you feeling, what were you seeing. Think about a story as an oral movie. And so in an oral movie, think, when you’re looking at a movie, the first thing they do is they identify what state of time is it. Is it futuristic? Is it in the now? Was it back in the day? You notice that based on what people are wearing, how they’re talking.
So paint that picture for me. Take me to that environment. Set the backdrop up for me. Show me what you’re going through. Instead of saying, “I was angry.” You can tell me you were angry, but when you say, “The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. “I felt the fumes exiting my nose. “I thought that my chest was going to pop “and I was going to say something that I’d regret forever.” Ooh, you just showed me you were angry. Take that extra time to unpack it. Why will most people not do that? Because it requires a level of vulnerability that we’re not willing to share.
Rule #9: Find True Abundance
Myth number two is that abundance is singularly focused on possessions and money. Right? It’s all about what you drive, what you live in, how much money you make. When in fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Wealth is possessions and money. Abundance is a 360 experience. Abundance is a 360 experience. True abundance, true abundance is your health, because if you don’t have great health, life does not feel good.
Abundance is relationship, at the end of your life, literally, you will measure the quality of your life by the quality of the relationships you had. All the other stuff will fall away.
That promotion you’re thinking about, you’re wondering about that raise, it will fall away in the area of importance. When you get to the end of your life, you will begin to look at the quality of your relationships. How your children related to you, how your siblings related to you, do you have love in your life.
You literally will start looking at relationships at a higher level as you get older. So when you mind them now, you take care of them. And I know that for a fact. I have a friend who’s worth $14 billion. Billion, with a B. He was just partying at my house all night long with Lee.
Four in the morning, go home. And he flew in from Canada to go to my New Year’s party because he loves my family connection. And he doesn’t have one. He is financially wealthy, he is relationship broke. Does that make sense? Abundance is a 360 experience. It’s about relationships, it’s about health, it’s about your spiritual groundness.
That doesn’t mean you have a religious origin, it’s about can your release. Can you forgive, can you let go, can you be still, do you meditate, do you have time with yourself, that has a lot to do with the quality of your life. That ability.
Rule #10: Dream Big
And I have a message for you. A very important message. We live in a world where limiting beliefs and limited thinking is accepted. And in some environments, it’s actually encouraged. Not to put anyone down or any institution down, but look at our educational system.
It’s bound by who you can be, who you can’t be. We’re taught that as an academic excellence student, you are expected to achieve more. Pressures. But yet, even inside that more, that higher achievement, there’s still a limiting belief there.
You know, I look at my life today, and it’s barely recognizable. I’m grateful to say I have six best sellers. I sat with Oprah, with Larry King, on CNN, Good Day LA. I’ve traveled all over the world, worked in Taipei and Africa and Kazakhstan, but that wasn’t where I started.
I started struggling for 12 years in the educational system. Not thinking I was good enough. The word fail or not pass was threaded through every year in school in some area or another. And so I graduated, or got out. I mean, I graduated, but what did I graduate to? I graduated to more of who I think I might be able to be, or who I couldn’t be, but not my possibility.
I look up and for the first 10, 15 years of my adulthood, I struggled. I struggled because I didn’t dream big enough at that time. I didn’t know. I felt like my dreams were covered and smothered with the cultural limitations. We’re defined by who our parents were, what our culture can do, what our community can do.
So you look at all the areas of our lives, financially, mentally, emotionally, family, geographically, and all of those things kind of put us in a box. And some of our boxes are this big, so we think they’re amazing. Some of them are this big, and we know they’re choking the life out of us.
The reality is we’re trained to be realistic. To be logical, to stay practical. And there’s nothing realistic and logical about Steve Jobs and his journey. There’s nothing realistic and logical about Dr. Martin Luther King and his willingness to be radical for a change that none of us saw coming.
There’s nothing realistic about Nelson Mandela leaving prison after 27 years and leading the largest forgiveness movement ever. There’s nothing realistic and logical about even my journey. Born and raised in South-Central Los Angeles.
Having three fights a week just to get home from school. Being told that I was the weakest writer my teacher had ever met, and that I should never speak in public by my speech teacher, to looking at my life today and going on and having a child before I got married, and getting on government’s assistance just to feed my baby.
Not having money to buy him Pampers, and wrapping my son in a towel for three days until I can afford to get money to buy him Pampers. I look at my life, and I wasn’t supposed to be who I am today. Something turned, but it didn’t come from outside, it didn’t come from my culture or my community, it came from within.
Who I was committed to transforming my life into just didn’t fit. It didn’t fit realistic, it didn’t fit practical, and it didn’t fit logical. I didn’t know how I was going to get there. There were no examples of how I would get there. There was no instructions, there was no GPS, and there wasn’t even anyone around me that had an idea of how to help me.
All there was was my intuition. My internal GPS. My internal guide placement system, and the will, and the desire, and the big dream inside my belly. And I was willing to keep at it until I burst something greater than myself. In order to live the life you love, and love the life you live, you have to be willing to step on the other side of normal, on the other side of where people give you permission to step.
You have to be willing to step on the other side of realistic. You have to be willing to dream big, and give yourself a radical chance for a radical future, and the breathtaking possibility. It starts with you, I promise.
Thank you guys so much. I made this because Charmaine Robinson asked me to. So if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it in the comment below and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know which of Lisa’s top ten rules hit you the hardest, had the biggest impact on you, leave it in the comments and I’ll join in the discussion. Thank you so much, continue to believe, and I’ll see you soon.
Mind The Money You’re Making
You won’t ever attract more money to you until you become a even greater steward of the money that you have. That when you mind your pennies, dollars will flow. But if you are currently not the best steward of the money that you have, meaning that you spend it fast, you give it away, you don’t know how much you have, then it’s difficult for the universe to give you more of what you’re not taking total and the highest level of responsibility around.
That’s an ouch, but it’s the truth. I kept wanting to make more money, but I wasn’t minding the money I was making right. Because my mother used to say money burns our pockets. So I thought money was hot and I had to spend it fast.
And once I learned how to mind my existing money, all of the sudden, I begin to have space to attract more money in my space. So being a good steward of your existing dollars are very very important because that will bring about more prosperity.
You have to recognize, and this is the part where people resist, they come to me for help all the time. Okay great, let’s find out what’s in break down. I’m cool, I just need to get back, no something’s in break down.
A breakdown doesn’t mean you need a wide jack and you on the floor, it means something in my life isn’t the exact way I want it. We always have breakdown, it’s just how we manage our breakdown. So the number one thing is to be authentic and transparent about what’s not working.
Even in your grandeur, something ain’t working. The reality is somebody lost 40 pounds and I found it. And I’m trying to return it to it’s rightful owner. I’m just saying. So that’s what I’m working on right now. The best thing I can do is be honest out loud about it.
We try to protect and hide too much. We try to defend and protect too much. We live in proving, so first thing I get them to do is what are you hiding, protecting, proving, or defending? Let’s identify that. Now what’s the distance between that and where you want to be, and then the rest is are you willing to do something you’ve never done before? Most people don’t.
They want to have a grander life, a more exciting life, doing exactly what they were doing. See my grandmother said that conviction and comfort don’t live in the same block. If you going to be convicted about something, you might have to go through some discomfort.
But if you want to stay comfortable, why don’t you just relax where you are, because that’s where you’re going to stay. And so are you willing to reinvent who you are? Are you willing to kill away the procrastination? Are you willing to kill away the excuses, the blame game? I never let people call me a single mom by my title.
I’m Lisa Nichols who happens to be a single mother. Don’t define me by my circumstances, define me by my intention. So it’s just really being willing. Most change will happen here first. And if you don’t change there, you can win the lotto and still end up broke, because you’re going to slingshot back to your mental comfort zone.
Steve: Most people do.
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