In this inspiring speech at Talks at Google, Lisa Nichols shares her journey from scarcity to abundance, outlining steps everyone can take to create abundance in career, relationships, self, and finances — while creating a legacy for others to follow.
LISA NICHOLS – New York Times bestselling author & life coach
How are you guys doing?
My name is Lisa. Good afternoon.
God, I love intimate. I never get a chance to have intimate environments. So this is like fun. I know somebody would come up and go, where is everyone? I’m like, ooh.
Finally, I can see every face in the room. How are you guys doing?
So first, I have to say I’m from California. So it’s cold. Because if I get that out of the way, then I can be present with you guys. But I’m grateful that it’s sunny even though the sun is an illusion that it’s warm.
In California when the sun is out, it’s warm. And that’s the only place, obviously, that that exists. So I’m excited to be in front of you. I’m excited to be with you.
This book, “Abundance Now” is a culmination of about 25 years of work. In 1994, which isn’t quite 25 years ago. But in 1994, I was on government assistance. And I had to get on government assistance to have my son. And I was on WIC, Women, Infant, and Children, which is free cheese, free pasta, free milk. And I’m grateful.
I was embarrassed, but I was grateful. Because as a mom, you just want to take care of your child. And when my son was eight months old — I’m just kind of telling you how did this book come about without me knowing that the book was coming about.
When my son was eight months old, I needed Pampers. A change of Pampers. And I went to the cupboard to get Pampers and there was none. So I went to the ATM to get $20 out to buy Pampers and I had $11.42 to my name. Yeah, that’s exactly what I did when I saw insufficient funds.
And I remember going home wondering, what am I going to do? I wrapped my son in a towel. And for the next two days, I just changed his towel. That’s all I could do.
And so on the second day — I never say it without getting emotional. And people go, you still get emotional? Yeah, I was still the same mom. I’m just allowing myself to recall that experience so that I can share it so you understand the why. It’s never easy to recall the experience, because I think there’s only two things you want to do with your children. And that’s keep them safe and be able to feed them and raise them.
And I felt like I could only do one, which was keep them safe. But feeding him and raising him was challenging. And so on the second day of my son being wrapped in a towel, I put my hand on my son, Jelani’s stomach and I said, “Jelani, don’t worry. Mommy will never be this broke again. Ever.”
And that was the journey to now. Like, I just want to give you all the way back then. A lot of things happened since then. But I’ve been interviewed — in 2009 alone, I was interviewed 155 times. This was when my first single book came out. And I was interviewed 155 times. And probably 147 times they asked, how did you do it? How did you go from being broke and on government assistance to running a multimillion dollar company?
And lately, I hear, how did you go from being on public assistance to running a publicly-held company?
My company went public two years ago. I am the only company in the self-development industry to have a company on Wall Street. And I am one of two African American women founders to own a publicly-held company. So I get that question — thank you.
I get that question a lot. How did you go from public assistance to being public? And I always have to start with on that day in 1994 when I put my hand on my son’s belly and said, “Don’t worry, Jelani. Mommy will never be this broke again.” Something shifted.
I was willing to do what I had never done before. I was willing to say what I had never said before. But first, I had to learn what I didn’t even know. I knew that abundant thinkers — prosperous people, successful people — were doing something that I wasn’t doing.
Because my life was evidence. Your life is the evidence of what you’re up to. Good, bad, or indifferent, your life is evidence of what you’re up to. And so I wanted to be up to something different, but I didn’t know how to be up to something different. I needed to learn something different to be up to something different.
And so I start following successful people. And I wanted to know, what did they do in the morning? What did they do at night? What did they do when they failed? And I like those behind-the-black curtain questions.
Like, I don’t just want to know, what goals do you set? I want to know what happens when someone pisses you off and you’ve got to forgive them.
What happens when you fall down and you don’t know how to get back up? What happens? What happens when you start leaving the people you love based on your level of success? How do you stay connected to your community or your tribe and still go after your dreams?
How do you get out of a mindset that says, I’m only going to have this much success because I’m a woman? Because I’m a woman of color? Because I was born and raised in South Central, or wherever?
Whatever that story is that we make up, how do I unleash myself from that story and hook myself to my future? How do I do that? Anybody else curious about that?
I just want to make sure I’m in the right place. I don’t need a lot of people, I just need the right people. Because a lot of the wrong people are more distracting than a few of the right people, yes?
LISA NICHOLS: All right. So I was hungry.
Like, I was hungry. People often want to call me the exception. Like, oh my God, 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 every option that every other child would have regardless 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 believed 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. And so “Abundance Now” is — it’s the notes that I took. It’s the things that I did. It’s the lessons that I learned.
And then, some that I began to adopt that I hadn’t learned that when I hit my head against the wall enough, I realized, don’t do that.
Let me tell anyone who’s reading the book, don’t do that. That only looks sexy and so not right. And so it really is — this book is designed to be disruptive. It’s designed to disrupt a couple of myths. A few myths, three myths.
Myth number 1 is that we believe that abundance — this is the part you want to write down. We believe that abundance is for some people. Some people of a certain hue, a certain origin, a certain background. And we teach that. Society just teaches that, that you have to come from this place to have abundance. There’s them and then there’s us. Yes, you guys? OK.
By the way, I’m interactive. Like, I’m not here just to do you. Just for the record. Like, what I learned is that I am a major part of my own rescue. I’m a major part of my own breakthrough.
So whether you’re here because you want to get out of a place of being stuck or whether you’re here because you want to go to the next level of possibility, you are part of that next level.
So I’m going to ask questions. I love a dialogue, not a monologue. I am not a performer, though I can be entertaining at times. This is really about a dialogue. A juicy, delicious dialogue that I hope on this day, January 6, it created some kind of shift in you. Some kind of jolting where afterwards you’re like, I think I just need to do something just — I need to tweak this.
Not that anything’s wrong, but what does up-level look like? What does next level look like? And so the first myth is that — and when I say myth, these are the things you — 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 in television, that we want to learn, learn, learn.
But sometimes your biggest breakthrough is in what you unlearn. And then you re-learn. Sometimes you have to disrupt your soil. Pull your soil up. Take that dry dirt that’s been planted for years. I’ve just been knowing this for years. This is what my mother taught me. This is what we’ve always known.
You have to disrupt that soil in order to plant a new seed, to grow a new fruit. 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 on 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 a 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 than 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 align them up so that you can move forward in a powerful way. Yes, yes?
All right. When I say “yes, yes,” that’s your cue to say “yes, yes” back. That makes me feel really good inside. Thank you so much for your generosity. Next time we all get to say it louder.
LIVE LIKE YOU LEARNED A LESSON
So Myth Number 1 is that abundance is for some people, it’s not for everyone.
You’ve got to come from a certain origin or have a certain background, or whatever story we make up. And the truth is — and what I love about the truth is the truth doesn’t change whether you accept it or not. It’s still the truth.
And so once you’re made aware from your unconscious to your conscious of a truth, live like you know that truth. And watch things change. Just live like you know that truth.
A lot of times when you learn a lesson and you keep revisiting that same pain, it’s because you’re not living like you learned the lesson.
How many of us, by show of hands, have asked the question, how did I end up here again? Raise your hands up high. Just make sure I’m in the right room. OK, great.
It’s because we forgot we learned the lesson. So the universe, God, whatever you call it, had to give you the lesson again. And then you go, OK. I got it. I got it. I got it. I got it, right?
I’ve said that. I got it. I got it. I got it.
OK, live like you learned a lesson. And then it won’t ever come again.
Same thing with the truth. When you live like you know a new truth, or an old truth that you didn’t really recognize you knew, when you live like you know the truth, your life will show up to match that truth you know.
So first truth, abundance is available to everyone.
Everyone, irregardless of your culture, background, origin. No matter how you started.
Well, Lisa, what if I — you can do all the what-ifs. It’s still available to you.
Now, whether you go get it or not. And oftentimes, you don’t go get it because the story you’re telling yourself doesn’t agree with what’s available for you. And our stories are huge. Because your story is your perception. Your perception is your truth. And you will live into that perception as if it is your truth.
Myth number 2 is that abundance is singularly focused on possessions and money. 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. And 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 an area of importance when you get to the end of your life.
You will begin to look at the quality of your relationship. How are your children relating to you? How are your siblings relating 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 mine 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, wouldn’t leave. 4:00 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’s relationship broke.
Does that make sense? Abundance is a 360 experience. It’s about relationships. It’s about health. It’s about your spiritual groundedness. That doesn’t mean you have a religious origin. It’s about, can you 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.
And I talk about this in the book. And I’m a teacher, so I give you ways to enhance every area that I’m talking about. I don’t just introduce it to you. I go, listen.
If you want to strengthen this area, why don’t you do these things? So you’ll find page 58 is dynamic. Page 265, dynamic. Worth it.
And then the final area is finance. There are times where it is about the money. And people of service, people who are givers, people who are natural lovers of life, we sometimes don’t want to talk about the money.
Money is a dignified conversation to have. Matter of fact, you should do very, very well financially. Because when good people do well, good people simply do more good in the world. Like, we could end hunger. We could end homelessness. When enough good people do well, we’re now in power financially to make some major differences.
So money is a dignified conversation. Money is a tool. Money is a team member. Money buys you access to great memories. That’s a different way to look at it, huh?
Money is not the end game. Money simply buys me access to great memories. Money buys me freedom. I’m able to do more in life now because I have more money. That’s it.
I have access to better memories. My money bought me the memory of my son at age 10 — he’s now 21. At age 10, standing on top of one of the tallest mountains in Kenya with no front teeth saying, “Mommy, I’m on top of the tallest mountain in Africa.” I still have that memory burned in my head because it was the first time I took my son on a trip with me.
My money was able to buy my son and I surfing in Brisbane, Australia this last May. Yes, we surfed. Mama was on a surfboard for about 2.2 seconds. But I got it on video, so it doesn’t matter. I’m going to clip it. And just add it together to give myself about a good two minutes, right?
And so money allowed me to jump out of a plane with my son in Australia. It was on the Gold Coast of Australia, and fly over the Gold Coast of Australia.
So money is not the end game. It’s a tool. It’s a team member. It simply gives you access to greater memories.
When I invited my son here to New York — he’s been wanting to come to New York forever. Mom, New York, New York. I’m like, OK, great. I’m going in January for my book tour. He’s like, January? He’s like, oh, no. That’s when it’s cold there, right? I was like, dude. I’m going to New York. It’s time to come. He goes, oh, no. You’ll be back. It’s that kind of access he knows.
He goes, but Mom, when you go to London, I’m so with you no matter what time of the year. And that’s the same kid that I had to wrap in the towel. That’s the sweetest part of the memories is that the story I get to tell is transformational.
Because I was willing to invest the pennies in my pocket in my mind so that my pocket can overflow with something anew. And so I’m here to disrupt you a bit. I’m here to make you mildly, to moderately, to significantly uncomfortable and any form of mediocracy. That’s my agenda.
Because when someone loves us enough to shake us up a bit and make it uncomfortable to do business as usual, that’s a favor. That’s a favor.
And I was so uncomfortable in 1994, that the last thing I wanted was to do business as usual. And so the book is my — it’s my answering of the question I’ve been asked so many times, how did you do it? And I would be unfair if I just gave you one line. There were many things I did.
And when I look at my life, I traveled the world. I’m on the road over 310 days out of the year. And I don’t mind. Because 24 years ago, I had a prayer: “God, I want to travel the world, run my mouth, and autograph anything.” And now I’m like, update. Travel the world half the time.
And so I live my dreams. And perfect? Far from that.
But what I’ve learned how to do is perfectly manage my imperfection. And accept it and be at peace with it. And then, find out how we can bring out the best in each other.
And so I stopped by Google. Talk about the law of attraction. This is a full circle.
Five years ago, I opened my offices for the first time. I’ve been working out of my home for 15 years in my little home office. I started in a closet, a walk-in closet. Well, it wasn’t really a walk-all-the-way-in. They should call some closets step-in closet. So it was a step-in and turn around closet.
And I put on the wall — you know those little handheld mirrors you can get at the store, just a little handheld, about $4.99? I bought about 4 to 6 of those mirrors. And I put those mirrors on the wall in the walk-in closet. So when I sat down, it looked bigger.
And on the pant — I converted this walk-in closet to my office. And I used pant hangers with clips on them as my files. So I clipped manila folders on the pant hangers. And I’d just slide my little manila folders across. Put a little desk in there. And I worked out of that office — out of that closet — for four years building my company.
Then, I graduated to a little room off the side of my bedroom. Five years ago, I graduated to a 3,500 square-foot office. To you guys, that’s small. But to me, that was really, really, big. Because it was a walk-in closet at one time.
And when I opened my offices, I had about three employees. And now we’re up to about 20, 25, 26 or something. And still small in some people standard, but big for me on my own.
And when I started my offices, and this is my connection to Google. I said I would tell you this connection. I watched a documentary on Google. And I really loved the intention around making the employees feel at home, making them feel comfortable. I loved that essence.
I love the whole — and I’ll probably butcher this up, forgive me. It’s my first time with you guys. But the whole food area. Like, oh my God, chefs and food and cuisines. And I was like, this is amazing. Oh my God, they can go in and eat. This is amazing. How can I duplicate this on my little budget?
And so my duplication, if ever you should come to my office — I invite you all to visit my office. You walk in my office — and Carla can tell you, she’s on my team. You walk in my office and when you go into my kitchen, my version of Google is there’s a shopping list. And you can put anything you want to eat on the shopping list. And we’ve stocked the refrigerator every week with fresh food that you choose.
And I have a George Foreman, that’s my chef. That’s y’all’s chef. Our George Foreman is y’all’s chef. And everything for breakfast, everything for lunch, everything for dinner is in the cabinets and in the refrigerator. And if you want something, just put it on the list and I’ll buy it for you. And I model that.
And I tell everyone whenever I’m giving a tour — and I give tours a lot in my office — that I was inspired by Google to do that. So you got to start somewhere. You’ve got to start somewhere.
And so when I found out that during our tour I was coming to Google, I was like, finally. I get to actually see the real. So when I leave here, I’m so going over to your cafeteria. And I’m going to take pictures in the cafeteria. And I’m going to put that picture up in my office so you guys will be — your cafeteria will be in my cafeteria — the pictures. So that I could show the connection.
And I believe that when God — when the universe brings something within your realm, that’s showing you that something is available to you. More than where you are, or wherever you’re going. But you’ve got to be willing to dream big enough to scare yourself.
If your dreams don’t scare you, you ain’t dreaming big enough. If you already know the how, you’re not dreaming big enough. Your why should be so big, your what should be so big that you sit back and go, now how am I going do that? Good. It’s finally big enough.
So many of us stop dreaming big because we’ve had some failures in the past. Well, let me tell you about abundant thinkers.
Abundant thinkers, we give ourselves permission to fail all the time. We give ourselves permission to fail all the time. And let me tell you why. Because when you give yourself permission to fail, you actually just gave yourself permission to fly.
Because if you try to avoid failure all the time, you’ll never take a leap. And the moment you say, I’m OK with whatever happens, you’ll take a leap. I’d rather fall flying than live a life on the edge and never jumping off. Because then you get to 90 and go, what would have happened if I didn’t play at 70%?
And you got to watch out for yourself because you’re so brilliant — and just raise your hand if this is you — that your 70% looks like someone else’s 159%. Come on, you guys, bust yourself out. Don’t just kind of put it up a little bit. Put it all the way in the air. The truth is sexy. You’re brilliant. Raise your hand. You know you’re brilliant.
You can see the brilliance in the room. And you got to watch out, because you can literally play at 70% and be impressive. And yet, you know. And there’s no one to hold you accountable because in your family circle, you are the bomb dot com. Like, woo. They’re bragging on you. Works at Google. Got it. Made it out the neighborhood, or whatever. In my neighborhood, that’s what they say.
And so you have to constantly be holding yourself accountable to the version of you that you desire to become. You have to constantly keep yourself at an environment of other people who are willing to hold you accountable. If you came here with someone or there’s someone back in your office or someone back in your community that can hold you accountable, tell them the thing that you’re afraid to say out loud. And then follow it with, please, hold me accountable to the man, the woman that I’m becoming, not to who I am.
Please don’t be impressed with my bio because I already did that.
People look at my bio and go, woo. Don’t spend a lot time on that. That’s so ’08. I already did that. Like, hold me accountable to what is in my head that I want to do in the next 10 years. That’s what I need you to really know.
And so when you look at that and you play that big. And you’re willing to stretch. And you’re willing to think ginormous. Not big, not huge, but ginormous. And you’re willing to walk alone. See, so many of us are afraid of leaving someone behind, we’re afraid of walking alone.
Here’s what I know about a great vision. If someone else in your life doesn’t get your vision — and some of you came just for this. Everything else is bonus.
If someone in your life doesn’t get your vision, if no one in your life gets your vision, it could be because God didn’t give your vision to them. And whatever you call your faith. I’m not here to impose my belief system on you. But your vision was given to you. And only you.
So if you got to walk with it and hold it and nurture it for a while, be OK with that. That’s like being impregnated with something beautiful, but you want everyone else to see it and describe it before you let it out to the world. It’s impossible physically. Your job is to birth it.
Now, you can be here and still be creative. You can be here and have a passion. Inside the book, I talk about the four E’s. You all thought I was just going to talk about the book and read from the book? You all notice I didn’t even bring a book up here. Get the book, right? And then you’ve got both.
You all going to get the book. Don’t just come for a free conversation because this is just the outskirts. The book is the deep dive of the how-to. This could be called entertainment and a couple a-has. That’s where you have the breakthrough, where you do the work.
So many times, we don’t want to be inconvenienced by having — we don’t want to be inconvenienced with our convictions. 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 had 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 size, digestible, palatable pieces of what you can do. Does that sound good, 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. Your breakthrough will come in needlepoint moves. And you’ll look up in five years and not recognize your life.
And you need tools, because you’ve gotten yourself as far as you can get yourself. That was the best thing I learned, is that I’d taken myself as far as I could take myself. I keep a coach in my life. I keep a coach in every part of my life that matters. Right before we landed here, I was in the car texting back my spiritual mentor. And I have a business mentor. And I have a health mentor because those areas of my life really, really matter to me.
So get someone who’s 2 to 10 steps ahead of you, and then just say, give me some bread crumbs. Give me some bread crumbs. I’m good. And so that’s what I did in the book. I just said, here.
If you’re interested in financial growth. And I tell people, skip to finances if that’s important for you. Skip to relationships if that’s the thing you want to enhance, build, heal, move through. Skip to self-esteem, which is called self-enrichment if that’s the area. You want to work on your self-worth. You want to work on your value. You want to work on making your yeses more powerful and making your nos matter, then skip to self-enrichment.
Don’t read the book in order. Read the book based on how you need it. Yes?
In three minutes, I’m going to open up for questions. Your job is to have some really great questions. My job is to create an answer.
And here’s the guideline on questions. You can ask me anything. Say anything.
LISA NICHOLS: You guys ought to — say anything.
LISA NICHOLS: Say anything.
LISA NICHOLS: I know you guys have a corporate policy of corporate correct of what you can ask. I’m the author. And I said what?
LISA NICHOLS: Anything. I’m committed to your breakthrough. Even if it’s one person, that’s perfect for me. That’s an hour spent well, if only one person has a breakthrough. And sometimes, the question you need to ask is not the normal question or the politically correct question. So there’s no question you could ask of me that I feel is inappropriate. There’s none. Can we agree with that? We all got that?
Now, you choose the question. And my job is to answer you transparently. Now, your job is to be able to handle the answer. Because I already had to get used to it.
So in about two minutes, we’ll go into Q&A. I just appeared on the “Steve Harvey Show” yesterday. And it’s about my — probably seventh time. Probably my seventh time on the “Steve Harvey Show.” I’m a resident coach on the “Steve Harvey Show.” A resident coach on “The Today Show.”
And more on the “Steve Harvey Show.” He and I have a relationship that’s pretty cool. He hired me two years ago. A year and a half ago, two years ago, he hired me to coach him. And I coached him for a year and a half on how to become an inspirational speaker and actually have a division in his company that’s a self-development division.
He said, I want to use my name. I want to use my brand to inspire people now, not just make them laugh. I feel like I owe it to my fans to inspire them. And so I don’t know if you kind of saw about a year and a half ago, he started moving more — sort of, kind of. He’s kind of hard to corral. But the intention was that he would move more toward inspirational speaking.
So I was on his show yesterday, and I wasn’t physically there. We recorded a couple weeks ago because I was here yesterday launching my book. And one of the key things was, how do I shift my relationships? And you’ll realize that when you look at the quality of your life, you’re going to look at relationships and you’re going to look at money. Those are the two things that absorb so much of our energy, is money and relationships.
And one of the things I said that in relationships, we make the mistake of thinking we can change someone. And thinking if they just change like this, they’ll be OK with me. And the reality is, can you love them where they are? I see the giggles. Can you love them where they are? If they never change, can you love them? And if you say yes to that, then you become more of an inspiration for change versus a push for change.
Does that make sense, you guys? If you agree to love them as is, then you inspire change versus push change.
And the second thing is — and these are the two key things that I said on his show yesterday, is relationships begin to shift and go downhill when you’re more committed to being right than you are to being in harmony. You forget that harmony is more important than being right. That at the end of a debate, discussion, argument, most of the time all you want to know is, am I right? Was I right, though? And yet, you’ve killed off the relationship in that moment.
Now there’s silent dinners and silent hours in the house when in fact you just want to be reconnected. So if you commit to harmony over being right.
And then in finances — and I always like to leave people with this. I was just at “Essence.” I did an 8-station, 11-city radio interview this morning. Then I left there and went to “Essence.” Then I left there and came to you guys. I’m just getting started. It’s a day, right? Wake up ready.
And over at “Essence,” they ask, can you talk about money? Because money has such an energy attached to it. And I’m going to rattle off some blueprints. You may want to write this down because this was a big shift for me around my mindset around money.
Number one, you won’t ever attract more money to you until you become an 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 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 risk of the 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. And when I began to mind — because my mother used to say money burns her 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 a sudden I began 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. I don’t want to say wealth because prosperity comes in many different forms.
But there are several blueprints that you have. And I’m going to rattle through these fast so that I can go into Q&A.
You have blueprints around money. And a blueprint is an unconscious awareness you don’t even know you’re listening to. This is going to be really interesting. And I talk about this and unpack this in the book. Unpack this in the book.
I actually have you take a financial assessment in the book so you just can kind of see where you are financially. You rate yourself, and then you focus on the areas that you didn’t rate where you wanted to rate at. It’s a very personal, powerful tool, the assessments in the book.
So your money blueprint. There are several money blueprints that you want to look at.
One, you have a cultural money blueprint. The way your culture relates to money has a lot to do with how you relate to money unconsciously right now. Not even consciously. But the way your culture — my culture, my grandmother could make a dime go in 20 different directions. And I called it a gift. So it was my honor to make a dime go in 20 different directions.
So when I found myself having 21 dimes, it was actually more of a problem to me. Does that make sense, you guys? Because I was so used to culturally making my dime stretch. And all of a sudden, my dime didn’t have to stretch.
When my company got to $975,000, we were in October. And I talk about money openly because it only means what you make it mean. It doesn’t mean a lot. It’s just a measure of work. That’s it.
When I got to $975,000, it was in October. I stopped working the rest of the year. I said I was tired.
Then, the next year I got to $982,000 by August. I wanted to stop working again for the rest of the year. It didn’t make sense, that was like six months. So I was forced to look at, why was I slowing down right before a million dollars every year? Because I was afraid that if I made a million dollars, it would change who I am as a woman, as a woman of color, as a black woman. My cousins were all talking about robbing Peter to pay Paul. I wanted to stay in the conversation.
As much as you want to have success, you want community more than you want success, right? And unconsciously, you can start what I call moon walking. You look like you’re moving, but you’re not going anywhere because you’re afraid you might be so different. I don’t know, I’m just sharing with you. These can be unconscious conversations. I’m not implying this is you. I’m just telling you, these are some things that happened. It happened to me. It’s happened to many people.
So culturally. Gender-wise. You have a conversation around money as it comes to gender. Men, your masculinity is attached to how much money you make, how successful you are, and your ability to provide for your family. Unfortunately, your masculinity is attached to that. Right or wrong. I’m not saying any of this is right or wrong. It’s just how society has put it out there to us. And you take it on or you don’t.
A woman, either you grow up and get a good job or what?
AUDIENCE: Marry a rich man.
LISA NICHOLS: Or you marry a rich man that has a good job. Either you get a good job or you get a good man with a good job. We’re raised that way. So I just want to show you some society unconscious influences that influence us. And so even now, a woman could be equally as qualified in the same role as a man and she’s still making less than a man because we take that on. Society’s taking that on.
Your next blueprint. So there’s culture blueprint. There’s your gender blueprint.
The next is your geographical blueprint. How money was related to in your community. Was it a struggle? Was it get or get got? Was it keep up with the Joneses? Was it fluid and flowing? Whatever that is, it’s had an impression on you around money. I’m speaking to all of your unconscious influences, you guys.
And then, there’s your economic. Your economical blueprint. How was money in your house? Was it divisive? Was it inclusive? Did it buy the lifestyle you wanted as a child? Vacations with the family and all that good stuff. Or, did it keep your parents away because they were always working to provide money for you. Whatever your economical blueprint was is what you’ll have.
And then last is your spiritual blueprint. However your spiritual background or your religious background. No matter, even if you move from religious to spiritual, whatever your religious blueprint was, there are some unconscious influence. Baptists — ours, mine– was you don’t need money. So that’s why I stopped working every time I got to that point because I felt like, oh, I don’t need money. I don’t need that much money.
And so my spiritual blueprint was really influencing me until I said, thank you so much, but I’ve outgrown you.
So I just want to bring from your unconscious to your conscious, so you can say, I still choose it. Or thank you so much, I’ve outgrown you. Who has a question? And if you can go to the mic, that way you get your pretty face on the camera. Tell me your name first.
QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION
AUDIENCE: Hi, I’m Katie.
LISA NICHOLS: Hi, Katie. How are you?
AUDIENCE: I am just great.
First of all, you were on my vision board for 2016. So this year is off to a fantastic start.
LISA NICHOLS: Come on, girl. Check it off the list. So can we take a picture and replace my name with our photo?
AUDIENCE: Oh, I was really hoping you would say that.
LISA NICHOLS: Absolutely. You attracted that answer. And then cam you put it next to what the word “done?”
AUDIENCE: Oh, yeah.
LISA NICHOLS: Because we’re result-driven. And every time we write “done,” you excite yourself. And then you go after the next thing to write “done.” You’ll get so excited with the word “done.”
AUDIENCE: I’m such a fan girl, I can’t even tell you.
LISA NICHOLS: Amen.
AUDIENCE: So thank you so much for coming.
LISA NICHOLS: You’re welcome.
AUDIENCE: And sharing your wisdom and your love. It’s amazing.
One thing I’ve been working on is letting go of people, beliefs, things that aren’t serving me anymore. But I’m getting kind of rigid with it. So I wanted to know if you had, either any tips of what you do in your life to let go of those things that just don’t serve you anymore?
LISA NICHOLS: Right. Do you meditate?
LISA NICHOLS: OK. So spend more time in that. And spend time inside your still time reciting the words, it’s all OK. It’s all in flow to hold onto and to let go.
AUDIENCE: That’s good.
LISA NICHOLS: It’s all OK. It’s all in flow to hold onto and to let go.
So you hold as long as you can hold. And then when it’s time to let go, you’ll let go. So don’t try to make yourself let go, because now you’re focusing on it. And energy grows where energy goes. So I need to let go. No, just flow with it. I’ll let go when it’s time to let go. It’s all in flow. So spend time in your meditation focusing on that.
And then every time you let go of something, celebrate it. What gets celebrated gets repeated. We’re all three-year-olds. We’re all three-year-olds. What gets celebrated gets repeated. And so every time you let something go, celebrate that you let it go. Have your own little cupcake. Invite a friend over. When you let go of a habit, when you let go of a behavior, when you let go of a person. Any time you let go of something, celebrate it because then you’ll get excited. As excited as the word “done.”
AUDIENCE: That’s awesome. Yes, yes. Thank you.
LISA NICHOLS: I love it. Thank you. Thank you. I’m excited for our picture.
AUDIENCE: Hi, Lisa.
LISA NICHOLS: Hi, beautiful.
AUDIENCE: So for those of you who didn’t know, when I walked in here, I bought the book. And Lisa came up to me and said, great book. I said, really?
LISA NICHOLS: You should read that book. She didn’t know it was me because I look a little different, right? She looked at me like, really? I said, it is. It’s good. And I could tell she didn’t know it was me. I was like, but I’m so bad. I shouldn’t do that. But it’s so much fun.
AUDIENCE: And then I got a selfie with her.
LISA NICHOLS: I figured I owed her a selfie because I totally tricked her.
AUDIENCE: So my question to you is I love all of this wisdom. I’m a lifelong learner. And it’s so nice to see that you’re out there coaching because so many of us need it. How do you make that transformation stick? I love coming to these lectures, and listening and saying, I’m going to do it. And then you realize you get back to your old original habits. How do you suggest we actually take that transformation in our lives?
LISA NICHOLS: So Joan Baez says that action is the antidote for despair. And Lisa Nichols adds, action is the prescription for success. So in between these wonderful lectures, get in radical action. Which is why I say get an accountability partner. You will be 80% more likely to achieve your goal if you have an accountability partner because you will not be the weakest link. Right?
So you don’t have anyone holding you accountable. Who holds giants accountable? Like, who holds us accountable? That’s why I spent that whole time on that. Have someone hold you accountable. Share the thing you don’t want to share with them that you’re up to that you really want to achieve.
And then the last thing is to make bite-size, digestible, palatable moments of achievement. Abundant thinkers don’t look at the macro win. We focus on the micro win. So have nine micro wins to get you to one macro win.
See, everyone’s making New Year resolutions now, and that’s a macro win with no micro win set up. So by March, you don’t even want to talk about it. Like, you’re mad if I bring up your goal that you set on January 1 by March. That’s because you didn’t have anything for the second week of January, the third week of January. Every goal I have, I go detail. And I’m a creator.
So I’m not linear detail line, but I’ve become that way as a CEO. And so Carla can tell you, every time we set a goal. I go, OK, back me into that goal. How will it be attained? Show me every single step that will get us there. Every single micro-step that will get us there.
And then, every fourth step, let’s celebrate. That’s our milestone. Every fourth step, that’s our milestone. Every fourth step. And we celebrate. Woo-hoo, we’re a quarter of the way there. Because we’ll celebrate, it gets repeated. So you probably don’t have enough milestones or action steps, micro wins inside of a macro win. And you don’t have enough action in between. And you probably don’t have an accountability buddy.
And all of that — and that great book I told you was great. I mean, I told you. All of that’s in there. And you deep dive in that. Don’t learn any more, just do something. Don’t learn. If you say I’m not going to learn any more, I’m going to go back and apply the things I learned for 2016. Let 2016 be a deep dive of what you’ve already learned. Just learn one more thing, that book. That’s it. And then, do it. And then do it.
My pastor told me once when I was 21 years old, she said people want to quote scriptures all the time. She said, do yourself a favor. Live one. Don’t start quoting a lot. Live one. And I figured it’s the same way for a passage in a book. Don’t just learn a passage in a book. Live it. And then learn it and live it again.
And how will your life be different if you just learn 12 different things? You’re now living 12 different things in your life. So that’s the answer.
And thank you for letting me play with you. And we got a selfie.
AUDIENCE: Hi. How are you? My name is Stephanie.
LISA NICHOLS: Hi, Stephanie.
AUDIENCE: So many things that you have said have resonated with me, that it’s like scary. Like, you are talking about my life. Like, particularly my 60 is other people’s 150. And so when I talk about specific goals to certain people in my life — family, friends — it’s kind of like, you already made it. You got a good job, husband, kids, the whole thing. Like, you’re set. Like, what more do you want? You’re living this golden life, basically.
But always inside I’m just like, eh. It’s all right.
LISA NICHOLS: Right.
AUDIENCE: And so for months now — more than months, years, I have this deep-rooted need to travel. And so I try to make it possible as much as I can. And I have two kids, another on the way. And I’m like, how do I make it work with the kids? I’ll put them on my back. They can come with me. Me and my husband can work this out together. And so I started doing the research of reading about blogs on families who travel. Travel the world for years at a time. And so I’m like, ugh. That’s a lot.
I read the blogs, and then I put it down. And literally, within the last 48 hours, I read another one. And I sat down with my husband just this morning and I spoke it into existence to him. I was like, 2020 is our year. Our kids will be four, eight, and 10 at that time. And we have four years to come up with a plan of how we’re going to school them, come up with a plan of what we’ll do on the road to continue to make money. I’ll be at Google for six years. Google’s taught, like all of this stuff. I was scared. I was scared to find out what his reaction was, if he’d be down for it. And I was scared of speaking it, like 2020 is so far. Things can happen. I was doubting myself.
And on the train, I felt it. And I called him and we were talking about it. And I was like, I can’t be scared. You just have to plan. Because what if in four years nothing bad happened, and then I wasted four years not planning this amazing experience? And so my husband and I, we agreed on it. We declared it this morning. And I come to you —
LISA NICHOLS: And I’m just here to affirm it all, right?
LISA NICHOLS: And to give you some tools and some skill sets to make it happen.
AUDIENCE: And so that’s my question. Like OK, I’m ready to make the commitment. But what’s the next step for tomorrow?
LISA NICHOLS: Sure. So first, tell me your name again.
LISA NICHOLS: Stephanie. So first, Stephanie. I want to celebrate you.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
LISA NICHOLS: Celebrate you for doing it with your knees knocking and your teeth chattering. Because we often wait for the fear to go away to take action. And when you realize that fear is actually your friend, fear is not an enemy. I love disrupting things like this.
Fear is only your enemy when you allow it to paralyze your movement. But fear will get you up early. Fear will make you do your research. Fear will humble you out. Fear will have you ask for help. Fear is your friend when you use it to inform you of what you need.
Whenever I’m afraid — and I stay afraid because I’m always playing so frigging big. I’m like, ah. How are we going to do that? Haven’t I been playing big ever since I signed with Harper on his book. Like, we’re going to do this and we’re going to do that. And then I go home and go, how are we going to do all that? So fear feeds you. So one, I want to celebrate you for moving afraid and sharing with your husband.
Secondly, I want to remind you — and I say this respectfully, don’t share your million dollar dreams with dollar thinkers. She’s like, mm. I’m going to write that down. Like, be selective who you share your million dollar dreams with. Share them, but share them with people who are going to put helium in your balloon. Don’t share them with people who are going to try to throw a pin at it.
Like, why would I expose my dream balloon to someone with a bunch of darts? It doesn’t say we don’t love them any less. But based on where they’re dreaming and thinking, they have to see the evidence before it becomes real.
My company was named Motivating the Masses in 1992, you guys. I didn’t even touch the masses until 2008. That’s how long it was my dream. No one even knew I had the company name in my family because they only knew I had motivating the team spirit. Because they could see me working with teams. But I had Motivating the Masses over there in the cut.
And I would tell the people who can hold that dream. And they would constantly put helium in that dream. And when I was on Oprah — I kid you not, I was on Oprah talking about “The Secret” in 2007. And when I went home, my family said, we’re angry at you. I said, why are you angry at me? Because you’re keeping some kind of secret. That’s what they knew about “The Secret.” I said no, that’s a book. That’s a video. They’re like, what?
I was like, I gave you the book, like two years ago. They were like, oh. Girl, I ain’t opened that. I could tell.
So I selectively choose who you share that million dollar dream with, first of all, so that you don’t feel deflated. Have you ever shared a dream with someone and the dream buster just came, swooped in, and started busting the dream, and you were afraid? And it made you kind of doubt the dream a little more. No, no, no. Don’t make me doubt my dream.
So your job is to share with the right people. And not people who can’t dream that be responsible for celebrating your dream. That’s unfair for you to do. That’s number one.
And number two, I love where you are. Make a clear, concrete plan. Don’t do some day. I want the next time I see you, talk to you. Come on, follow me on Facebook. Talk to me in my email. I want to know the day you start traveling.
AUDIENCE: I already started planning it. I would have New Year’s at my home in 2019, so it will be a send off.
LISA NICHOLS: So January 1. OK.
So then I want to know — watch this. Level of clarity. So ambiguous goals bring about ambiguous results. But when you get to a new level of crystal clarity, watch this. Tell me the day you start traveling. Tell me the airline you’re going to choose. Tell me the flight number. I don’t care if the flight number changes, but pick a flight to the location. And choose that flight number. Take a picture of the luggage that you’re going to use. Take a picture of the way you’re going to make money, even if someone else is making that kind of money now, of how they’re making it. Put all that inside your reality book. Not your dream book, in your reality book.
Get so crystal clear. Share it with your husband. Share it with their children. Start talking about things. Where are you going to travel? Get a postcard from the first place you’re going to go to? Like, order it. Go somewhere and find them. And bring them into your existence. Start eating it, breathe it, walk it, talk it. When you sweat, it comes from your pores. So that’s all you’re doing.
You’ll start drawing it to you faster. You’ll start building up momentum toward it when you do that. And then, get an action. And then one of the first things. It’s going to take you four years to do this. Find out, how much does it cost to buy your freedom? I found out how much it cost to buy my freedom. I was working for LA Unified School District. And my first check I wrote to myself was $110. It’s in the book. Just follow what I did in the book about buying your freedom. I wrote a check to myself for $110. I put in the memo line “funding my dream.”
I wasn’t even clear what the dream was. And I wrote a check to myself every two weeks for 3 and 1/2 years, almost four years. And on the 3 and 1/2 years, I walked into Wells Fargo. And I said, my name is Lisa Nichols. They said, oh. Because I used to mail the check in. And I wouldn’t open the statements because I was afraid I’d spend the money if I opened the statement. Because my mother said money burned her pocket, so I don’t want it to burn my pocket.
So if I didn’t know — you got to trick yourself sometimes, right? So I said, if I don’t know, I’m not going to spend it. So I went into Wells Fargo. I said, my name is Lisa Nichols. I came to check my balance. They said, you’re the funding my dream lady. Because I wrote that every time, every two weeks in the memo line for 3 and 1/2 years. And they all ran around the teller.
And I said, yes, I am. They said, we’ve got a question. Managers came around. They said, what’s the dream, right?
And I said, my son was 5 and 1/2 then. I started when he was two. I said, I’m not sure. Oh my god, I’m going to make myself cry. I said, I’m not sure, but it has something to do with inspiring people. Excuse me, inspiring people all around the world. And I said, I just came to check my balance. They wrote the balance down, turned it around. And it said $62,500. I turned it back around, gave it back to her. I said, my social security is 549-67 — I don’t even want that money. It’s not my money. Y’all going to ask for it back. I know that’s not for me.
My family has never had $5,000 in the bank. I know I don’t have $62,000. And they teared up. I teared up. And they said, Ms. Nichols, you have $62,500. What are you going to do with it?
And I said, I don’t know, but my dream gets funded today. And that’s how I started. So you’re on the right path, sweetie.
AUDIENCE: Awesome. Thank you so much.
LISA NICHOLS: You’re welcome. Give her a hand.
So my goal was to come and just do a little or a lot of disruption. My goal was to stir something in your soul, to make you stretch a little further into the magnificent future that belongs to you. It belongs to you by birthright.
“Abundance Now” is not abundance later, abundance when you get it all right, abundance when you — it’s abundance now. Like, what better time than now?
And so I just stopped by to inspire you. I’m going to hang around. I’m going to sign books. I’m going to take some pictures. And hopefully, create just a little needlepoint move in the trajectory of your life. And in the future, you don’t have to remember my name. You don’t have to remember anything, just remember the moment you made the decision for you. Because that’s what matters.
Your life is more valuable to the people that it inspires than it will actually ever be to you. Like, your job is to inspire someone beyond belief. That lives forever. Your legacy will live much longer than your life span. And our job is to write a great life to have a great legacy to inspire many people. And anyone can do it. I’m just a woman from South Central LA, between the Harlem Crip 30’s and the Rollin 60’s, who got a C plus in school. In 12 years, that was my highest grade.
The last time I took English, I got a fail. And my English teacher told me I was the weakest writer she ever met in her entire life.
And the last time — right, I should send her a book, right?
LISA NICHOLS: With my face on it. Right, autographed. Some of your best motivation does not come wrapped in a red bow. It comes wrapped in sandpaper. You get to use everything as fuel. The last time I took a speech class, I got a D minus. And my speech teacher said, quote unquote, “Ms. Nichols, I recommend you never speak in public.”
Some of your best motivation might come wrapped in sandpaper. I just stopped by to disrupt you a bit, to inspire you a bit, and to hold on and love you a bit. I hope it’s been good for you guys, because it’s definitely been good for me.
For Further Reading: