Barely Recognizable: Lisa Nichols at TEDxCalicoCanyon (Full Transcript)

And I said, “So do I come back tomorrow?” Like I’m 24, I got bills –

She’s telling me, “No, you’re not coming back tomorrow. You’re going to spend the day at home finding your dream.”

And that was the first of me being fired five times.

So I tell you I discovered what I was good at by checking off the box of what I really sucked at.

I remember the last time I was unemployed, I was frustrated because I had been unemployed for three months. I’d been fired from my fifth job and I was frustrated because my car had just got repo’d, rent was due, my roommates were pissed at me. And I had cramps — PMS — was not a good day. Do not cross my path, right?

The head does spin around and I’m lying in bed and I have the newspapers. Oh, you know because there was a time we found jobs in the newspapers and the newspapers were all laid across my bed. And in them were circled all of these accounting jobs because that’s where I had been trained. But it wasn’t where my heart was.

Every time I circled a job: accounts receivable, accounts payable, you know whatever it was, I got sick to my stomach. Energy — it was just — it would drop. But I knew I needed a job.

And so I was laying in bed with a attitude flicking — turning the remote control with a attitude. And this man came across the screen and I thought wow, man — a black man on stage with a suit on, handsome. I’m going to look a little while. It was Les Brown.

And Les was telling a story. He told a story that changed my life. He said there was this man walking past a house and a little old lady was rocking, a little man was rocking in the rocking chair and the dog was giving an agonizing moan. He said what’s wrong with that dog.

He walked past the house the second day on his way to work and the little lady is rocking, little man’s rocking and the dog was giving the same agonizing moan.

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He said if I pass that house again tomorrow and that dog’s doing that same moan, I’ll ask the lady what’s wrong with her dog?

Third day, he passes the house, lady is rocking in her rocking chair sipping on some lemonade, the man’s rocking in his rocking chair reading the paper and the dog’s giving the same excruciating moan.

So he did as he promised himself. He said, “Excuse me ma’am! Why is your dog moaning?”

She said, “Well, honey, he’s lying on the nail.”

And he said, “Well, if he’s lying on nail and it hurts, why doesn’t he move?”

She said, “Come baby, it hurts just enough for him to moan about it, not enough for him to move yet,”

And right at that moment, I realized lying in my bed unemployed — you know my car repo’d, rent’s due, I’m pissed off, I was lying on a bed of nails, not just one. And so I just stopped by Vegas.

Yesterday I woke up in Temecula. I spent the morning in Garden Grove speaking. I spent the evening in Coronado Island speaking. I woke up this morning… today and had lunch in Vegas and before the end of the week I’ll be in another country. And so I just stopped by.

I stopped by to tap on your heart a bit and to ask you what are you willing to do this year that you haven’t done yet. What are you willing to do this year that will make your knees knock and your teeth chatter?

Are you willing to redefine yourself into your life is barely recognizable? Are you willing to boldly go where you have never gone before, say what you’ve never said before, and do what you’ve never done before so you can be the man or the woman you know yourself to be?

Are you willing? Are you willing to surprise the hell out of yourself? Are you willing to scare the people around you where they say something happened to him that day, they went to some TED event and nothing was the same; are you willing?

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Are you willing to allow the dream in you to be birthed? Are you willing to find that thing that you were born to do, that if you don’t do it you know your life is incomplete, because what I know is that you’re not afraid to die, you’re afraid to die without doing that thing? You  don’t want to die before they see your vision, your voice, your essence. That’s what you’re really afraid of. Don is just resting in peace. You don’t have to do anything there. It’s living that makes your knees knock; are you willing?

Are you willing to love yourself like you’ve never done before? Are you willing to be unapologetic about your greatness? Are you willing to stop keeping score on the things you didn’t do so well, back then? I still don’t do accounting well, but my CPA does.

Are you willing — are you willing to stand in your greatness and stand on your story — all those things, all those reasons, that failed relationship, the weight, the family, all the molestation, all the stuff that comes up whenever you’re about to do great you say but I can’t, because are you willing to stop making that your fortress and make it your fuel?

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