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With a son to feed and dreams to realize, one woman overcame all odds and harsh doubters to become a force of nature.

Lisa Nichols, celebrated motivational speaker, best-selling author, and CEO of Motivating the Teen Spirit, LLC, admits that there is one painful day from her past she will never forget.

“I still remember the day when that message popped up on the screen,’ she recalled in an interview with ‘Friday‘. “It said ‘Insufficient funds.'”

At 27 years of age, a single mother with $12 to her name, on government assistance and the father of her child in prison, Nichols was near the end of her rope.

With Only $12, Lisa Nichols Couldn’t Afford to Buy Diapers for Her Son

Nichols said that with no money, she had to improvise for her son’s diapers. “I had to use a towel to wrap Jelani in,” she said.

To make matters worse, she lived in a neighborhood between two warring gangs. When it came to the classroom, she was also under attack from her teachers.

My English teacher said I was the weakest writer she met in her entire career and my speech teacher told me to avoid speaking in public if I could.

Lisa Nichols

At Rock Bottom, Nichols Realized That She Had to Rescue Herself

Yet as painful as that day was, it also contained the fierce motivation she needed in order to make her comeback.

I felt rock bottom, and I realized, ‘I have to do something. I have to be my own rescue. No one’s going to rescue me.’

Lisa Nichols

Refocused, Nichols got a job running the Family Resource Center for the LA Unified School District. With each paycheck, she would tuck money aside for a dream that wasn’t clear to her, but was slowly, yet surely coming together.

However, Nichols had big ideas, and she knew with certainty that she was going to pursue them regardless of opinions from her teachers.

“Deep inside, I knew I wanted to be a speaker and a writer,” she said. “So their reaction or advice was not in alignment with who I knew I really was.”

And so, in the evenings, to improve her communication skills, she would prepare speeches and deliver them to her grandmother, who would give her feedback.

Little did she know, her audiences would soon explode in numbers.

Nichols Fulfilled her Dream of Being a Motivational Speaker and Author

Nichols’ own struggle and desire to reach others inspired her to create ‘Motivating the Teen Spirit,’ a program aimed to empower teens by helping them make choices based on integrity.

As it gained steam, she was increasingly called on to give talks about entrepreneurship and brand creation. They were a huge success, and soon enough she was being paid for her time.

With her dream to become a motivational speaker, Nichols packed her old truck with some belongings, buckled up Jelani, and made her 120-mile trek to San Diego to realize it.

She would go on to create ‘Motivating the Masses,’ a massive training resource for personal and professional development that has served over 30 million people. She has also written six best-selling books.

Not too shabby for someone who was told she was a “weak writer and speaker.”

Lisa Nichols Proved That We are The Authors of Our Dream

Looking back on her story, Nichols said it’s all about looking forward and blocking out the noise.

Often your future can’t be born because you keep reliving the past. [You need to be clear] who you want to become and [shut out] all the chatter that keeps dragging you back to the past. You should strive to create a future that you’d be happy to share the story with someone you love.

Lisa Nichols

When life has us against the ropes, it can feel like the entire world is telling you to give up. In reality, haters, setbacks, doubts, and defeats are all just a setup to success, a path to your true calling.

However in the end, only you can write your story.

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“Storms make people stronger and never last forever.” – Roy T. Bennett