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Telling The Story Of Your Life | Inspiring Life-Changing Powerful Words

I’m gonna tell you a few stories. I come from a very strong family of storytellers. In Africa, before they could read, they used stories to tell history. They used stories to inspire and used stories to motivate. They used stories to hold you accountable. Everything was rooted in a story.

I think we all, at the end of the day, like a good story. Now, I’m also a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” co-author, so I know a little something about stories. When I co-authored “Chicken Soup for the African American Soul” I had to read 3,200 stories to find 189 phenomenal stories.

And then when I co-authored the second book, by the time I finished that, I had read over 5,500 stories to find the best 189. So, I found the power in stories because I was liberated through someone else’s story. I was empowered and inspired and was healed through someone else’s story so today I’m gonna share a few stories with you.

The story starts with there was a time my grandmother and I was sitting and my grandmother said, “Baby,” she starts every conversation with the baby.

She said, “Baby,” she said, “When you get my age, you’re supposed to sit in your favorite rocking chair and you’re supposed to tell the stories of your life. But you gotta tell the story to your grandchildren, and your grandchildren’s children, and your neighbors, and just tell the story to anyone listening. Tell the story of your life, baby.”She said, “But when you’re your age, honey, you’re supposed to go out and make sure the story is really good to tell.

Now, when I’m in church, we say, “Amen,” but we’re not in church. And when I’m with my girlfriends they say, “You go, girl,” when I say something like… but don’t worry. I’m not going to do it to you, Chip. I’m not going to… you don’t have to say, “You go, girl.” So, here when I say something that you like…and my friends from Calgary, you guys know, from Canada. When I say something that you like that resonates with you, don’t worry about your neighbor, if your neighbor gets it as well.

You know, Vishen talked about this conference is gonna have several things. It’s gonna have education information. And, while I teach wealth-building programs, I’m on my way to China to teach wisdom and wealth and teach wealth-building to 3,300 Taiwanese people. While I teach entrepreneur development, I teach speakers how to build a platform as a speaker, bootstrap to big-time, building themselves up from what some would say is nothing to absolutely something. While I teach all those curriculums, and I’m very excited about them. Having built two multimillion-dollar companies and created a multimillion-dollar brand, I know a little about something making a dream and turning my passion into profit.

I know a little something about that. However, today I came just to inspire and touch your heart. You’ve got some of the best content on the planet in the last couple of days, would you agree? Some of the best content on the planet. Some of the best content on the planet. And, you know, I’m a content queen. I sit around a lot of content providers and I can say this is some of the best content on the planet. And so, I just came to talk to your heart. We can have other experiences where I teach you techniques but you’ve learned a lot of really great techniques, I thought I’d just talk to your heart. Is that okay with you, guys? Is that all right?

Just make sure that everything that’s been given is settled and rooted and it’s just some good substance in some good soil. Is that okay, you guys? Otherwise, it was just a great experience that comes and goes, and we don’t want this to go anywhere so let’s root it. As David said, let’s anchor it. And so that’s what my assignment is going to be with you guys. And so, when I say something that resonates with you, I want you to say, “Yes, yes.”But I want you to say the second yes louder than the first yes. Turn the volume up on that one. I want you to say, “Yes, yes.” The volume on the second yes has to take you right outside your comfort zone. Try that. That’s pretty good. Not quite worth my trip to Costa Rica.

I want that second yes to be a yes that clearly is not a yes you would do on an ordinary day. I want it to be something that just feels different the minute you do it. Try it again. That’s getting better. Now, I think on the third time we do this, it’s gonna make that chandelier shake. I just believe it and want that second yes to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. I want it to make that little bit in your stomach kinda jump a little bit. You have to absolutely jump way out of your comfort zone. Try it again.

Every time I say something that speaks to your soul, I want you to say, “That’s absolutely me,” I want you to say… Every time I say something that part of you that’s coming alive, even the part that you haven’t acknowledged yet, I want you to say… Even with knees knocking and teeth chattering sometimes you have to say… When you leave here and someone gives you an opportunity that feels good, you may not know the how but it just feels right, I want you to say…

When someone says something to you and they may not even know about the “Yes, yes,” and they say, “Baby, do you want to do something different today,” even if you don’t want to but you know you gotta get out of the covers and say… Now, because they weren’t here they might think you’re a little strange. But that’s okay because I realized when you’re birthing a dream, you might have to be willing to be perceived as a little strange. That’s your cue. That was one of those moments.

If I say something that resonates, you just say it. Don’t ask for permission. I’d rather you live a life of asking for forgiveness versus asking for permission. So, anytime I say something that speaks to you, again, just say those words. And so, I realized that sometimes you may have to seem a little strange and why would I have you say, “Yes, yes”? Because in 2009, you may have only said yes one time. And if we wanna get something different, we might have to do something different.

Even if it starts with just one extra yes.Yes, yes? So many times people don’t wanna step up for the fear of being perceived as strange. Well, let me tell you freedom is strange. See, there was a gentleman who said, “Let’s take a long walk for freedom. Let’s walk miles, over 36 miles,” and I think someone walked in their states and their church shoes, and I know somebody said, “Martin, you have to be crazy.”And Martin Luther King said, “Let’s walk anyway.” And we all are the benefactors of that walk. Yes, yes?

I know that Mahatma Gandhi said, “Let’s just be the change we wanna see in the world,” and some control freak said, “Mahatma, you gotta be crazy” and he said, “Why, that’s all right.” And I know, Mother Teresa, when she said, “Let’s end hunger by feeding one child at a time,” someone that won a massive buffet said, “Look, Mama T, you got to be crazy.” And that gentleman who spent 27 years in prison and said, “I will leave prison and lead the largest forgiveness movement in history.” Someone that looked just like him with the same skin color in the jail cell next to him said, “Nelson, you gotta be crazy.” And so if someone calls you crazy because of your dream, just look at him and say, “Well, you know, I’m in some damn good company.”

Well, my grandma told me to live a life, play big, make the story good, make the story great, baby, and make the story juicy. See, I’m that little girl from South Central Los Angeles who grew up between the Harlem Crip 30s and the Rollin’ 60s and those are not cheerleading squads, y’all. I’m that little girl whose best grade in school was a C. And, I mean, when other people got Cs, they got frustrated. When I got a C, I did the happy dance, “Go, Lisa, it’s your birthday. Go, Lisa, it’s your birthday.” That’s a really good grade for me. Anybody else got a C as a great grade?

Lisa’s Story Of Becoming A Great Speaker

So, you know, I was that kind of kid where I needed to hear it several times. I tell people I’m not a fast learner, I’m a thorough learner. But in school that didn’t quite work and so I struggled all 12 years. I look at my life now, my grandmother says, “Baby, make sure the story is good to tell. Make sure it’s juicy to tell. And don’t allow anyone to take your dream away no matter what.”And I’m off at 18. I’m like, “Okay.”So, I go off and I start writing.”Grandma, I wanna be a speaker.”She’s like, “Okay, baby, well, start writing.

Start speaking.”I’d write a speech for her… I’d take it to her and say, “Grandma, here’s a speech.” She’d read it and I said, “No, no. Let me recite it to you.” I’d recite my speech to my grandmother and she’d go, “Mmh.” And then I’d circle the part that she said “Mmh” on because that was a good part. At the end of a speech, I’d say, “Here, put it in the folder, grandma.” She’d put it in the little black folder. I still have the picture of the folder, the black folder with Lisa’s speeches on it. She’d put it away in the folder. I’d come back in two weeks and I read another speech to her and she’d go, “Mmh,” and I’d circle. And I say, “Here, grandma, put it in the folder.”I did this for like a year.

I put like 12 speeches in that folder. I’m like, “Grandma, I got some great speeches.” She said, “Yes, you do, baby.” She said, “But, baby, do you wanna inspire millions?” I said, “Yes.” Hundreds of millions, baby?” I said, “Yes.”She said, ” Well, don’t you think you need to tell somebody other than grandmama about these things?” Yes, yes? and you gotta share your dream and can’t be afraid to…Shawn talked about it.

You gotta share your dream and gotta be willing to look a little strange and you gotta be willing to sometimes walk alone. I tell you when you’re walking alone with your dream it’s because no one else gave…God didn’t give the dream to anybody else but you. Yes, yes? You are impregnated with something that’s greater than you.

So, if it feels uncomfortable, it amazes me how when it gets hard, you wanna quit. You’re impregnated with a dream bigger than you. What part of labor did you think would be comfortable? Well, you’re birthing something. You’re birthing something. You go in when a woman goes into labor, she’s not thinking about the labor, she’s thinking about the other side of labor. That’s the only reason why we sign up for this. Yes, yes? That whole time when we’re in labor, we’re thinking about, ” It’s worth it. It’s going to be worth it when I hold my baby.” And when our husbands, our children’s fathers besides, they’re saying, ” Come on, please, please keep going. Please let it come out,” because something’s beautiful is coming. Let’s just hold our dreams the same way. Precious and delicate. No matter what.

Sometimes we say, “I want it to come out sooner, quicker, faster. I’m in a rush & looking at Jon, Shawn, and Vishen. I’m looking at David. I need it to come out faster. And, just like any doctor would say, “Baby, you gotta go full term. Because if it doesn’t come full term, it’s gonna be in danger of not being fully developed.” Your vision needs lungs to breathe life into the world. I had to go through a journey to get in front of you today.

It wasn’t a helicopter that landed here, and “The Secret” didn’t get me here, nor was I an overnight success because if I was, that was the longest night of my life. Yes, yes? Because long before the lights came, long before Chicken Soup called me, people say, “How did you get the Chicken Soup deal, Lisa? How did you get The Secret deal, Lisa? and how did you get on Oprah, Lisa? How did you get on Larry King? & how did you get on Extra? How did you get there?” I said, “I just answered the phone but the question you should ask me is how did I get the phone to ring?” Yes, yes?

See, it’s what you’re willing to do when the lights are off. It’s what you’re willing to do in the dark of the night and what you’re willing to do when no one’s looking. It’s what you’re willing to do for the person that cannot give an endorsement because no one will listen to theirs. They’re not quite important enough. It’s what you would do for them. Right. It’s what you would do just because it’s the right thing to do & it’s harder for you not to do it.

It’s what you would do that, sure, you will do an energy exchange of finances but if they don’t have it you’ll find a way to make it work just because it’s the right thing to do. That’s how you make the phone ring. That’s how you make secrets come. There’s no secret in who I’ve been. That was just a project that I attached myself to leverage my name and contribute to the world. And, by the way, people say, “Oh my God, you must be a millionaire after ‘The Secret’.”I did that for free.

Do What Feels Right


So, all of you guys thought I was bathing in hundred-dollar bills. I might be but it’s not from “The Secret.” I said yes because Rhonda Byrne asked me one thing. She said, “Can you help me create a piece of work that would change humanity?” That was the question she asked, you guys. It just felt like the right thing to do. I had no idea it would explode the way it did. It just felt right. Do it because it feels right. Do your dream because it’s keeping you up at night. See, you think your dream is too hard to do, it gets difficult to do. Well, I’m telling you something. It’s more difficult not to do it. You ain’t gon’ never get any sleep because it’s in your being. It’s in your fiber.

The scariest thing to do was to say yes to my champion because then I had to put my story aside. Then I had to be the little girl from South Central L.A. who had three fights a week to get home from school, who barely got over a C, and who was 100% under the poverty line. I had to be her in my past. She could not fit in my present. She simply got me to where I am today. I don’t hold on to her. I embrace or love her but she doesn’t hold me back. She doesn’t impede me.

I don’t use that story. People say, “How can you be an African American woman on stage, main stage, with predominantly white men and you’re just like, you’re as powerful as they are? How did you get there?”I say, “I didn’t know I couldn’t be there.”Yes, yes? I didn’t get the memo. Like, what are you willing to give yourself permission to do? I’m gonna ask you some key questions throughout this process and I didn’t come here to so much give you a lot of information, I came here to ask you some questions that might stir your soul.

I came here to share some stories with you that might open your heart and allow you to give yourself permission to play bigger just because it’s the right thing to do because it’s your assignment. Because until you say yes to your big picture assignment, you won’t be at peace with the current day. You know that. Yes, yes? And that the world is waiting on you, that your gift is not given to you for you. Your gift is given to you to help save our lives, to help change our lives.

You keep thinking it’s about you.”I’m scared. I’m afraid. I’m tired.”It ain’t about you. It’s about us. That because you said yes to your champion, I get to breathe deep. I get to learn how to love my child & I get to reach out to someone through internet marketing when that’s not my gift. I get to have a Lifebook for my baby. I’m signed up. Adding all the financial stuff was great but when David said to have a book for my son and my grandchildren, done…Yes, yes?

Your dream, your vision, your goal, your business, and your champion are to save our lives. So, if you don’t do it for yourself, please do it for me. Whatever that takes, be willing. See, my job is to go through the world and just love on people, help to transform, heal, and inspire them. And I’m just gonna show you some pictures. I’ve gone all around the world. And my job is just to…That’s Kim the comedian “In Living Color,” I don’t know if you guys remember that long time ago, “Living Single.”And my job is just to go around the world and inspire. This is a group of teens. And, one of the things I love about being well off in business is that it allows me to give more away.

So, I get to say yes more to people’s requests. Yes, yes? Everyone in this room should be wealthy, extremely wealthy. Because when people do good and people do well, they simply get to do more good. You’re the best people to be wealthy because you’re gonna be responsible for that. You can find a cure for something. I believe that if we all put our hands together, and our finances together, our resources together, there shouldn’t be a homeless child this holiday season. There shouldn’t be a hungry mother this holiday season. I just believe that. I’m crazy enough to believe. See, I’m okay with being crazy. I’m absolutely okay with being crazy.

I’m crazy enough to believe that if we all and when we all get it right and make it phenomenal, make tons of money, we can come back here and say, “Okay, now, let’s all put a million in, and let’s target here first. And let’s put another million in and let’s target here first.”And we can handle it. So, you should be wealthy. You gotta be wealthy. It’s your responsibility to be wealthy. This woman, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman walked up to me with an African American baby or a black baby.

I looked at her, and I said, “Hmm.”She said, “I just got him a week ago from Nigeria. I adopted him and I brought him straight to you so you can bless my baby.”And so that’s what when you decide to step into your passion, step into your greatness, you decide to play full out no matter what so you can keep going.

And it’s just a matter…This woman here stood up and said, “You talked about preventing suicide with teens but I want you to know that my husband and I are $340,000 in debt, and my husband was contemplating suicide, and he listened to your DVD “You Deserve It” and decided to live.”And so, that was the hug when she said, “Thank you for saving my husband’s life.”And, just traveling around the world, and just enjoying and celebrating people, and stepping into my greatness, and saying yes to my gift. When are you gonna say yes, play full out? and when are you gonna say no matter what?

When does it become not an option for you? See, for many of you, your success is still an option. That’s one of my investors. My investor invested tons of money in my business. She then turned around and brought all of her children to the workshop, then she turned around and began to train with me for the last three years. So, when you can step into relationships, she was happy, grateful to give me the money, then grateful to bring her family, and then grateful to come to learn.

When you’re contributing like Josiah, when you’re contributing high, it all seems to roll out. And then there’s the opportunity to simply package yourself and call it a business. That’s it. You’re just packaging yourself and calling it a business. I just wanted to share a little bit of the journey with you because many of you came here saying, “I see ‘The Secret’ lady,” right? How many of y’all call me “The Secret” lady? Really, it’s so true. It’s all right. Before “The Secret” lady, I was the “The Chicken Soup” lady, and then I became “The Secret”lady. That’s okay. I’m okay with that because when there’s no ego or, ladies, no She goes.

We get to have our own. You can write that down. I don’t need you to know my name. Just be inspired by something I said or did and my day is complete. I’ll just let you fly through some of these. This was the first time when I had my company. I was able to take my entire company on…our strategic planning session was on a yacht around San Diego and we talked about transforming lives while we watched dolphins, you know, swim. And so, just about…some of you guys might know that gentleman.

He swore we have dressed alike because we should be a couple. I was able to convince him not. That’s Les Brown, one of my mentors and this was key because I grew up reading the magazine”Essence”.”Essence” is the epitome of beauty for the African American community. It’s a big magazine. Every single person’s in it, Obama, Michelle, you know, all the presidents are interviewed through it. And I’ve always just…it was the book that I had to look at to see the beauty that looked like me and then they invited me to speak.

That’s Dr. Ian. You guys might recognize Dr. Ian and Leila Ali, Mohamed Ali’s daughter. And that was at Essence just last month. They asked me to be their opening speaker. You know, there are parts of my life now that happen where I see the fruits of my service, the harvest is coming up. I was in the van with John Assaraf about five years ago and I was on “The Chicken Soup for the Soul” tour and I was tired so I started crying. I was like, “John, when does it get easier? I’ve been working so hard.”

Always Ask The “Why?”

We’re on our way to John Gray’s house and John looked at me all calm and goes, “Lisa, you’re planting seeds this season.

Sweetheart, you cannot plant the seeds and reap the harvest in the same season.”Ain’t that delicious? Yes, yes? Three years later, we’re sitting in a limo in Canada, I think, on a tour, and business was phenomenal and he looks over at me in the limo and he says, “So, how does the harvest taste.” And so, are you in the season where you’re planting your seeds or reaping your harvest? This was in China. I was on my way to China and what was really amazing was the level of energy. You see, my interpreter had to do everything I did. Can you imagine? I’m like doing this and I look at him and he goes like this. The promoter said he was so exhausted that night.

And they expected to have me come back once a year and the reaction that we got from China in July warranted him asking me will I come back in five months, so when we leave here we’re on our way back. And, you know, talking about family, keeping family present, my daddy’s birthday happened while I was in China so I took that picture at The Ritz-Carlton. If you can’t read, it says, “Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you” and I got a birthday cake for my daddy making sure balance happens, making sure balance occurs. I wanna tell you a story. We can stop it right there.

I wanna tell you a story. Oh, well, let me tell you that first. That’s a hottie. So, on my birthday, General Motors took me out to a birthday lunch and asked if would I consider being the spokesperson for General Motors. We’re talking about that and I told them we can discuss it. We can talk about it.

So, it was just a season for me because see, I’m that girl who got a D in speech. My speech teacher said that I should never speak in…he said, “Miss Nichols, you should never speak in public.” But that was right after my English teacher gave me to fail and said, “Miss Nichols, you’re the weakest writer I ever met in my entire life.” And I asked her, “Does a trophy come with that?” I’m the best at the worst. Yes, yes?

I tell people, don’t worry, the story ends really well. Don’t get caught up in that part. The point is that some motivation comes wrapped in sandpaper. Some motivation will come wrapped in sandpaper. Some motivation comes wrapped in a sticky, ugly, situation that you didn’t ask for. And that’s still your why, it’s not your why not. It’s you why. It’s always been your way. It will always be yours why. I wanna share a story with you. In my former life, I was an athlete and I ran track and I swam competition. I’m telling you this story really first.

I wanna tell you this other really great…I wanna have you go through this experience. And I swam the 50-yard dash freestyle but I had one small problem. I would always, say, always. I would always come in dead last. Say, dead last. No, say dead last like if I weren’t around. Say, dead last. That’s how you say it like, “She came in…” Right. That’s how you say it. That’s okay. Say it to my face. And so, I would always come in dead last. If they had six lanes, I’d come in 6th & If they had eight lanes, I’d come in eighth. If they had 10 lanes, I’d come in 10th.

So, this particular day I was tired. I was tired. I’d had 13 swim meets over the summer and I’d come in dead last on every single one so I’d always get this honorable mention. You know, the athletes in here know about the honorable mention, right? It’s that ribbon that says, “Thank you for showing up.”You know that one, right? It’s the one that says, “You didn’t do diddly-squat but we don’t want you to leave here empty-handed.” Here you go. You all come back now, you hear?”So, I had a bunch of honorable mentions.

The day before the swim meet, I go to my grandmother’s house, the safest place on the planet and I say, “Grandma, I’m tired.” And some of you may be there. You know, we’re here being inspired but, let’s be honest. Let’s be authentic inside the whole journey. The part that I love about my journey is that I get to tell you the truth. I’m not gonna straddle because I’m “The Secret” lady. I’m not going to allow anybody to put me in a box and not be real. Yes, yes?

It’s freedom and authenticity. And that day was a bad day. So, I said, “Grandma, I’m tired. I’m tired.”And, if this is you just raise your hand silently. If you hear anything I’m saying you can resonate with it. I said, “Grandma, I’m tired of putting my all in and feeling like I’m not getting anything back out.”Thank you.Thank you.Thank you. I said, “Grandma, I’m tired of showing up and no one seems to even acknowledge that I’m here. They just have expectations of me.

There’s no acknowledgment for just showing up.”I said, “Grandma, I’m tired of not hearing thank you. I might come in last but I gave it my best. That was the best I had.”I said, “Grandma, I quit.”She said, “Quit?”I said, “Quit, ma’am? How am I supposed to say it?”She said, “Come sit here.”She said, “Grandma wants to tell you a story.”I said, “Oh, she gonna grandmanize me. She gonna make me think I can fly.”She sat down and said, “Baby, you might not notice because you’re only 15.”She said, “But,” and I’m saying this to you because whether you’re in this space now, or you may have been in this space, or you may be on your way to this space, just hold this is…I love what Maleck said.

He said…is it Maleck? I wanna pronounce it correctly. Maleck said, “You know, you right things and it’s speaking to your future.”I just love that, you know. So, just store this in your pocket if it’s not for you now. It might be for you in the future. She said, “Baby,” because that’s what she say. She said, “Baby,” she said, “I don’t know if you know but you were built from the best.”She said, “So, I need to remind you that quitters never win and winners never quit.”She said, “Your grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents’, see, they had a hard life.

Many times they wanted to stop but they didn’t because quitters never win and winners never quit.”She said, “Your grandparents, baby, they didn’t have laptops and cell phones. They didn’t have cars. They worked sometimes in the field until their fingers burst with blisters and their feet burst with blisters and they wanted to stop but they didn’t because quitters never win and winners never quit.”

She said, “So, honey, I don’t know if you thought you had the option of quitting.” And she said, “But grandma needs to tell you, you need to take that option off the table because that’s not who you are. That’s not what you’re built of.”So, I got up and I walked out and I was like, “I’m never coming over here to quit again.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Lose

The next day, I walked in and I saw the worst sight ever, the worst sight ever in the gym. My entire family is in the bleachers. Now, there’s only one thing worse than coming in dead last, it’s having your entire family witness that are you coming in what? I go over to the judge and I said, “Judge, could I just get my honorable mention and leave? I know how this gonna end.”He said, “No.”I said.”I’m here for the 15, 16 freestyle.”He says, “Oh, you missed your heat already.

They swam.”I said, “Oh, cool.”He said, “Wait, coach, do you want her to swim with the 17, and 18-year-olds?”I was like, “Oh, no, no, no, they have me as appetizers.”My coach said, “Yes.”He said, “There’s one lane open right in the center of the pool. You want her to swim?”My coach said, “Lisa, go ahead.”I was like, “Coach, I don’t need to swim.”She goes, “Yeah, you need to practice.”I said, “I know how to lose. I have mastered losing.I have a loser’s shrine at home, thank you very much.”

Go ahead, Lisa.”I get on deck and I gotta tell you there’s a big difference between a 15-year-old girl and an 18-year-old girl. At 15, I had cornrows going back with matching blue barrettes, at 18, Speedo cap, at 15, I had a lace bathing suit lace going down, at 18, Speedo. At 15, “Hi, how are you guys doing? Hi, my name is Lisa. Could you wait for me when you come? Let’s go to the bathroom together.”At 18…I got on deck and some of you might be here right now. Someone says, “Your mark.”I said, “I don’t know how I’m gonna get through this time.

I’ve done everything I know how to do. This is scary.”Some of you might be there. Some of your families might be there.”Set.”You said just have faith. Just believe in the unseen. Ask, believe, and receive. And I know like I know, like I know but I deserve to win. I don’t quite know how all the time but I know I deserve it.”Pow.”The gun went off, I hit the water. Quitters never win.

Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Y’all help me. Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. I drew my right arm back, there was one girl even with me. I said, “Oh, today she comes in what…dead last.”Quitters never win. Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. I did the flip turn because back then I knew how. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Winners never quit. Quitters never win. Winners never quit.

I hit the wall & looked to my left, but there was no one there. I looked to my right, but there was no one there. But you know that negative chatter in our head, right? I said, “Dang, I’m so slow, they got out of the pool already?What?I’m getting slower by the day. Like, there are no ripples in the water or anything.”I look at my coach and she’s going crazy, “Lisa, Lisa, look, look.”I’m like, “What, what, what?”Look, look.”I look behind me, the first person to hit the halfway mark. But you know our negative chatter, right? I said, “Coach, was I supposed to swim three laps?”Yes, yes? My coach runs over to me, and she goes, “Lisa, what did you do differently?

What did you…I’ve been training with you all summer long. I’ve coached you. What have you done differently?”I was like, “What are you talk…”I put the barrettes in my hair.”But, oh, I went to my grandma’s house yesterday and she taught me something. She taught me, that quitters never win and winners never quit, so I just like chanted that the whole time I was swimming.”She was like, “What have you been chanting?”I was like, “I don’t wanna lose. I don’t wanna lose. I don’t wanna lose.”I said, “What happened coach?

What happened?”She said, “You just broke the 17, 18 national records.”Yes, yes?Yes, yes? The only variable that changed was the conversation going on in my head. The only variable that changed was what I could believe I could do. Nothing else changed. I wanna take you on a journey right quick. I’m gonna ask the…Aaron, is it? I’m gonna ask Aaron to play a little music in a minute. I wanna take you on a journey before we part ways and I wanna gift you with a little something. Before you do that, just in one moment.

10 years ago, a gentleman walked me through visualization and I was in a room with 800people. And, he had us sit and close our eyes. And every time he would do this exercise, I’d sat with him and did this exercise like8, 10 times. Every time he did it, it made a knot in my stomach. I was so uncomfortable and it was so weird because he had us sit with our eyes closed and listen to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But when I would listen to it, it would just make me so uncomfortable. I didn’t understand it.

I realized that the dream that I had, I was afraid if it came true. Like, some of you are not afraid of it not working, and you’re getting nervous about if it does work. Like, I’m that little girl who’s ordinary, who simply chose every day to make extraordinary decisions. I’m that girl who said, “I’ll say yes to my greatness with knees knocking and teeth chattering, I’ll still say yes. I’ll say yes not knowing the how or the when but just the fact that it has to be.”And so, I just stopped by Costa Rica with you to stir your soul a bit, to make it uncomfortable for you to stay where you are. Wherever that is, I don’t care about your bio. I’m not impressed with bios.

Bios don’t impress me. I wanna know who are you becoming. I’m invested in your tomorrow far more than your yesterday. You like your resume. I’m invested in your future. And so, I wanna take you on this journey in our last few minutes together, the way I was taken on this journey. And if it makes you mildly, moderately, to significantly uncomfortable the way it made me, then welcome to my world. Yes, yes?

Sometimes your champion can’t fit in your body. And when it’s uncomfortable and you’re turning upside down, that’s your champion saying, “I will not rest until you let me out. I didn’t come here, I wasn’t given to you to just sit here, to take up real estate in your dreams. Well, I’m gonna ask you to get up, strap me to your back, and let the world see me.”So, if my journey, if my conversation causes you to jolt a little bit, cause you to squirm a little bit, then welcome to my world. I want you to take a deep breath.Sit up straight.

Empty everything out of your hands. Take a deep breath. I wanna play a little music now. This gentleman talked about Dr. King. Dr. King had a vision that each one of us will have the opportunity to live our lives in our own righteousness. And that any one of us, Black, White, Asian, Latino, that any other color, any other culture, we get to play together. That man and woman are seen for their heart, their spirit, and their contribution. That’s what Dr. King said. And he said something so he is important. He said, “I might not be there.

I might not be there when you’re able to do these things.”Like, imagine a dream so big that he said, “I might not be there when you get to do it. I’m still holding the dream and creating it.”That, “I’m willing to live, speak, and die for this dream. I might not get there with you but we’ll get there.”Like, imagine a dream so deep, so visceral, so real, that he’s willing to lay his life on the line for you and me, for us to have this moment so that a little black girl from South Central L.A. can come to Costa Rica with all of you and have this experience.

I ask you, “Where do you see yourself in five years? What’s your dream now?”I want you to visualize your dream. I want you, for a moment, to see yourself five years out and you didn’t hit all your goals, you surpassed all your goals. Everything you wanted you got it and then some. There is your dream to the third power came true.

Live In Your Dreams

Just imagine that. Take a deep breath. Imagine yourself driving up to your home and this is the very same exercise that he gave me. Yours driving up to your home in whatever that car is, that fabulosity thing that’s important to you, that makes you feel good when you’re rolling down the highway. And you pull up and the gates open and you drive another half a mile up to your house. I told you the dream was better than you thought. I said to the third power you have to drive half a mile to the house. And you drive to your home and I love this because David was talking about this yesterday with Jon’s home and it was just such a great setup.

Now, we’re going into your home. We’re not in Jon’s home, David’s home, Warren Buffet’s home. We’re in your home.Yes.You open the double doors. You smell lavender, and hear music. You go into your dining room and there’s a table that sits about 15 to 20 people and every chair’s full with your most fabulous favorite people on the planet, your family. And the person that you’ve had problems with within your family, they’re sitting right next to you because you worked those out. I told you everything is better than you imagined. Everything is better than you imagined. And they’re laughing and talking, thanking you for five years ago coming to Costa Rica to Awesome Fest, having the visualization that got you busy. They’re thanking you.

Everyone’s celebrating, lifting their glass, seeing your vision. See them lifting their glass to you saying, “Thank you for showing us how to dream again. Thank you.”And you’re just standing there so humble.”Thank you for going to Awesome Fest the first year, the second year, the third year, the fourth year because something in us has changed because you changed.”Can you see it, you guys? And you sit there and you break bread. The person who cooks the best, they cooked today. I told you it was a good day.

And you’re breaking bread and all of a sudden you get a phone call and you’re reminded that you need to go to this event. You apologize. You tell them let’s keep playing, keep having fun. There are 15 rooms in the house so everyone has a place to sleep. You get into your car and you drive up the highway. And as you get close to the stadium event, you run into a traffic jam and you start getting nervous.”Oh my God, I’m gonna be late.

Oh my God, I’m gonna be…”Picture a traffic jam, you guys. Feel yourself getting nervous.”I’m gonna be late. I’m gonna be late. Oh my God.”And all of a sudden you’re forgetting for a moment that all these people were coming to see you, that this is your traffic jam. You arrive at the event 10 minutes late and everyone’s just excited that you came. They don’t care and you stand on stage just like this and you look out at 10,000 people all showing up just for you. And you open your speech with, “Thank you.”And before you can get another word out, someone from the back, number 9,997th person yells, “No, thank you.”Then another person from the far left yells, “Thank you.”

Then someone from the far-right yells, “Thank you.”And one by one, all 10,000 people, “Thank you. Thank you.”You hear some tears. You hear some older people. You hear young people, “Yo, thank you.”And for 20 minutes you just stand there, just listening to thank you. And then you get it. You didn’t show up to talk, you showed up so that they can acknowledge your contribution. And you decide to close every door in the stadium and you stand at one door and you hug every single person. And they’re happy to wait six hours to be hugged by you.

You inspired them to live again, to breathe again, to play big, to be strange. You inspired them by your life, not by what you said, but by who you chose to be. And you hug them. And that 40-year-old woman says, “Thank you for letting me know that I can live my dreams. I can be a mother, and a wife, and be me.”And that 70-year-old-man says, “Thank you for letting me know that it’s not too late.”

And that 16-year-old-girl says, “Thank you for letting me know I can make mistakes, do it all wrong, and then still get it all right.”And that 15-year-old-boy says, “Thank you for letting me know I ain’t gotta do it anybody else’s way but mine.”Everyone just thanks you. Take a deep breath. Open your eyes as your comfortable. Can you see your future? On January 19th, 2008, I was driving down the 405 freeway on my way to the San Diego stadium with my girlfriend.

The top was down on my convertible. I was playing some India Arie and we ran into a traffic jam. My girlfriend just in fun and jest said, “Lisa, what if this is your traffic jam?”And I just started bawling just at the thought. It wasn’t mine but the thought was good. And then we started getting nervous because we weren’t moving at all and I only had 20minutes to go and I needed to get there. And so she pulled up, she was driving, she pulled up next to this white track, and she said, “Can we get in?”And he said, “Sure.”Casually waved us in. We got in front of him. He leaned out his window. He said, “Because I’m going to see you anyway.”Oh, I really started bawling.

Oh, I am bawling now. I’m bawling. Wait, it gets crazier. So, we’re driving down the highway and this woman pulls up in this Escalade, beautiful escapade. It looks like it was a 2013 Escalade. The window goes down and she goes, “What time are you going on?”I was like, “I think as soon as I get there.”She said, “Then I’m going to stay behind you because I only came to see you.”We get to the off-ramp and there’s nowhere to go. You know an off-ramp, there’s nowhere to go. And it’s five minutes until I’m supposed to be on stage.

Tony Robbins is on before me. I’m hoping he’s a little long-winded today, you know because I need some time, but he’s on time and I need to be there. And I’m sitting in the car and one by one the other cars start pointing, pointing at me, look in their rearview mirror and they began to pull up on the side ramps of the highway and open up like the red sea. And as I drove through, all they yelled was, “Thank you.”See, 10 years ago, I had that dream. I was asked to do the very same thing I just asked you to do.

So, if no one has told you yet, I’ll tell you. What you just did was place an order in the universe. When I got to the stadium, there weren’t 10,000 people there waiting on me, there were 10,500. And so, I’ll close with, your life is waiting. You may have played big but there’s bigger. There are more people to be served.

I wanna thank you for allowing me to spend this time in front of you. Thank you for allowing me to bring my stories to you.Thank you for allowing me to share my grandmother with you and my journey with you. I say again, I’m not extraordinary. I’m simply an ordinary woman who chooses every day to make extraordinary decisions and what that does is that doesn’t let you off the hook. I love you & honor you.

I celebrate you. I’m your sister in prosperity and in possibility. And on the days when your faith about who you can be waivers, I’ll hold my faith in you because it ain’t wavering. I love you.


Lisa Nichols is the CEO of Motivating the Masses, one of the top training and development companies in the world. She is a best-selling author and TV personality who has made appearances on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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