Lisa Nichols

Woman writing in a diary. Image is overlayed by Lisa Nichols quote about destiny.

Looking for an inspirational story? Here’s the story of someone who fell hard but transformed their life to become a magnet of success and a great mentor to thousands. Someone who proved that failure is not an option.

Born in the 60s in South Central LA, Lisa Nichols grew up in a rough neighbourhood where gang brutality and violence were frequent. Lisa’s greatest mentor is her grandmother. She often uses stories and quotes of her conversations with her grandmother in her talks to drive important points.

Her Lowest point

Lisa worked as an accountant in a debt collections department – an area of work she was not great at. She also got fired a few times from different jobs. She earned money through various jobs, however was not great at saving money. She married a man she eventually became pregnant and gave birth to Jillani, her son. While Jillani was still a baby, her husband went to prison and Lisa was left to fend for herself and her son. She also found herself in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship when her son was 3 years old.

Her Turning point

Lisa needed to buy diapers for her son. She went to the ATM to withdraw $20 but soon realised that she was broke. She only had only $12 to her name. That day she went home desperate and wrapped her baby in cloth instead of diapers, kept her hand on her baby’s tummy and promised him that they would never be broke again. She turned to the government for assistance and eventually found work. 

“Self-enrichment is that act of creating a thousand micro wins, so you can have one macro win.”

― Lisa Nichols, Abundance Now: Amplify Your Life & Achieve Prosperity Today

Lisa’s Success Plan

Lisa didn’t know what her final goal to success was. However, being a mother and to keep the promise she made to her son, she intuitively knew the importance of setting goals for success, no matter what the end goal was. She also prepared to embrace the inconvenience it would take to get to where she needed to be.

This included making some big sacrifices and investments into her life. She sold her car and bought an old Ford Explorer, she moved out of her house and lived in a shared house with a smoker. She rolled up some clothes and covered the gaps under the door of her room, so the smoke would not get into her son’s and her room. While she worked, she knew that she could not rely on her full-time job because her work valued qualification over experience. Lisa was not qualified and she knew that they could get rid of her at any point. So she made the plan to invest in herself. When she worked her 9 hour day job, she dropped her son at daycare. She would then take a half hour break to pick him up, then go back to the office with her son, and work on herself till midnight.

For 3 straight years, she put every paycheck from her job, towards an account she created called the ‘Funding my dream’ account. She sacrificed her social life and all luxuries for the 3 years and committed to investing those 3 years into her future. 

She also made it a goal to invest an extra 5% in the bank from every paycheck. Her commitment to this goal meant that she needed to take on an extra job so she could keep up her commitment to herself and to the unknown goal she was funding. She committed to this goal until she finally decided to check on that bank account after 3 years.

Her road to Success

Lisa finally decided to check on her account and was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a little over $62000 to her name. From there, she went on to create ‘Motivating the Teen Spirit’ – an organization that helps teens  understand themselves and how to reach their full potential. Today her son Jelani Nichols leads this movement.

She was chosen to co-author Chicken Soup for the African American Soul by Jack Canfield and his team. She declined the request 5 times before she was convinced to take the project on. It took Lisa 3.5 years to write and compile. Once launched, the Chicken Soup for the African American Soul went on to become an instant best seller. She was later chosen to be part of The Secret, which launched her into the next level of popularity. Lisa was featured on Oprah, Steve Harvey Show, Larry King Live and The Today show.  

Today Lisa continues to influence the masses through her organization “Motivating the Masses”. She is a world renowned speaker. She has authored and co-authored 7 books.


Lisa is a great example of failing forward. Someone who was willing to get to the edge, and to overcome our brain’s natural instinct to bubble wrap us from failure. A great example of someone who is not afraid to take the leap and risk falling. 

Her biggest message is to take the leap. And no matter what the outcome is as human beings we have this incredible ability to get back up and find our way out.

“ All our success is in the other side of service.”

She temporarily inconvenienced her life to birth her dreams into reality, through big life sacrifices because she believes that we, as human spirits are not wired to birth someone else’s dreams. That  we need to give life to our dreams by giving it a fighting chance for it to become real and to help others with it. Because ultimately, this is all in service of others. So we can pay it forward towards other human beings through our success.