Lisa Nichols – Shine Your Light

Don’t you dare dim your light. World-renowned motivational speaker and bestselling author Lisa Nichols delivers a powerful speech on how to keep shining and blinding those who cannot handle your light.


It’s a life of hustle and survival. I remember when my ninth grade teacher asked me, “Lisa, what do you want to be when you grow up?” See I have to fight the Harlem Crip 30’s everyday to get home from school so I looked at her and said, “Alive.” I took an English class, I got a fail in English. And my English teacher said in front of the entire class, “Lisa, you have to be the weakest writer I’ve ever met in my entire life.” Don’t worry, my story is good. Don’t feel sorry for me. I got seven under my belt. And then the same year my speech teacher said after giving me a D minus I knew I had an A in speech, like come on.

He obviously didn’t agree with me. He gave me a D minus and said, “Ms. Nichols, I recommend that you never speak in public. That you get a desk job.” So here’s the beauty of that story, other people’s perception of you ain’t none of your business. Don’t put a period where God put a comma. Everything you ever been through, set through, rose through, cried through, prayed through, everything is a setup for your next best season. Everything is a setup for your next best season.

The only way you can get the resiliency you have to have the life you’re about to have is to go on through that thing you went through. The only way you can celebrate and dance with the gratitude you going to dance with was to have to be humble the way you were. And I need you to move with urgency because somewhere there’s a young man, there’s a young woman who’s waiting to see you, not avoid getting knocked down, but they’re waiting to see how graceful you get back up. Because in that, in the way you forgive the foreseeable unforgivable, the way you love the perceivably unlovable, the way you accept what seems to be unacceptable, the way you embrace after you’ve been betrayed the way you do that is the way you will lead us. And your job is to give us you in the way that you’ve never given us you before.

Your job is to show us why you were born. Your job is to disrupt our lives so that we’re forever changed because we had the blessing of crossing your path. That’s your job. Your job is not let us off the hook by dimming your light, wondering if we can handle your light. Your job is not to ask permission on can you do you? Are we ready for you? Your job is to show up, and show out, and let us do what we got to do to get ready for you. Your light doesn’t belong to you. Your light belongs to everyone who’ll be illuminated because you were bold enough and obedient enough to let your light shine. Yes, yes. Yes, yes.

And every time you cross someone’s path and they can’t handle your light, you know those people. They try to give you reasons why you should tone it down a bit, that they will tell Sheryl not to sing so loud. Right, right, right. They would tell me to shut up in class. They tell you, “You kind of strange.” You know those people. Dream snatchers, vision busters, don’t be mad at them, they can only love you to the capacity to which they’re able to love themselves. Don’t be mad at them, don’t be mad at them, pray for them. Love them. Because they’re dealing with themselves like we’re dealing with us.

But I want you to remember that your 70 watts, your 70 watts has to be turned way up because you got way more to give us. It ain’t over yet. Don’t put a period where God put a comma. When you turn it up to 159 watts, you know you keep turning it up. You stop dimming your light. You say, “Today is the first day of the rest of my life,” and you turn it up. You’re going to find people that can’t handle your light. And before today you might have dimmed your light, you might have shrunk a little bit. You might have tempered it down a little bit, but after today I want you to see this. After today turn the lights up. After today you don’t dare dim your light. As your light gets brighter, as your light gets brighter you’re going to disrupt some people, and they’re going to tell you, “Your lights too bright. Your lights too bright. Your lights too bright. Your lights too bright.” Then you just look at them and say, “Well I’m not dimming my light, I’m just going to hand you some shades.” I’m just saying, why don’t you start carrying around an extra pair of shades.