New York Times bestselling author and motivational speaker Lisa Nichols wants you to know your past does not equal your future.
“Your past is a setup for a resounding, breathtaking future,” insists Nichols who released her book Abundance Now earlier this year. “I want people to know that the human spirit isn’t any stronger in someone born in a wealthy family than someone born in despair. I want my life to represent that when you give yourself permission—keyword: permission—you create your own Michaelangelo.”
Nichols speaks from personal experience. After she had her son, Jelani, she found herself on public assistance and promised her baby that she would take care of him. Fast-forward 20 years: Nichols now serves as founder and chief executive officer of Motivating the Masses, one of the country’s only publicly traded personal and business development training companies.
“People wanted to know what did I do to go from public assistance to a multimillion-dollar business,” she said of why she decided to write Abundance Now. “I owed them more than just one-liners.”
Abundance Now outlines steps everyone can take to create abundance in career, relationships, self, and finances—while creating a legacy for others to follow.
“I tell my clients I have to kill them first before I can help them write their legacy,” Nichols said.
She believes people should put in hard work to create the life of their dreams and doesn’t let them make excuses, especially when it comes to their children.
“Do not make your children the excuse to why you’re not playing big. Don’t put the burden to why you’re not pursuing your dreams on your kids. Abundant thinkers don’t think either/or.”
Nichols has put in the hard work with her son, and she has seen it pay off in amazing ways.
“When Jelani was eight, I asked my son to rate our relationship on a scale from one to ten. He rated it a seven. I couldn’t react, even though it hurt. I had to spend the next six months focusing on what it would take to make it a ten.”
In addition to spending time with him, she also has been able to give him once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
“My son said he wanted to become a chef. I said when he was eight months old, I was on WIC. When he was 18, he was on a 70-day externship, traveling all over Italy and British Virgin Islands, working with some of the top chefs. It was a proud mommy moment that we had changed our lives,” she said.
She realized her hard work had paid off when her son turned to her during an interview once and said, “Mom, you did a good job.”
Her life has had a large impact on others as well.
“In 2003, I was asked to coauthor Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul five times before I accepted it because I got a fail in English. From there I was seen by the people of The Secret. From there I saw myself sitting across from Larry King and Oprah. I was one of the standout teachers of The Secret. Since 2007, the wave just got bigger, and it never stopped.
“My biggest surprise is that people in Croatia, and Ireland, and the UK and all over Canada, that they not only like me, but they choose me repeatedly. In Slovenia, they cry when I speak. I require six or seven bodyguards,” she said. “I never thought as a little girl growing up in South Central LA who made a promise to her son that she would change their lives that his would happen.”
She is determined to live every moment to the fullest, and she wants to see others do the same.
“Make your freaking dash dance,” she said of life. “I want my dance to be disruptive and unapologetic.”