Excerpt from Lisa Nichols Interview
In last week’s newsletter, I wrote about imagining 2015 being the year for you to get published and, in the process, transform your life in ways you could never imagine. For a lot of you, you know what message you want to bring to the world. It’s inside you screaming to get out right now. But, for others, that message may be silent. The silence could be from fear; fear of failure, fear of response from others, fear of rejection….we all have some sort of fear in speaking our true, authentic voice.
For today’s article, I decided that I would let one of my dear friends and colleagues, Lisa Nichols, inspire you with her powerful message on how to find that inner voice…in her very own words. This is an excerpt of an interview I held with Lisa for my Transformational Author Experience. I know you will find her words just what you need to put you on your path to your inner voice and saying no to those fears holding you back.
CK: When you, on your own journey, hear that voice of fear saying “What if, what if, what if…” how did you actually calm those voices, and transform those fears to step into your truth? I’d love to hear a little bit about that process and journey for you.
LN: Like any other person, I have my own fears. I remember the first time in 1994 when I first said, “I want to go speak,” and as the excitement leaped into my heart, the fear jumped into my head. I mean, one was chasing the other. I remember my first fears for the first five years, “Who would want to listen to me? I’m an African-American woman from South Central Los Angeles. What can I contribute to the planet?” The second fear was, “Who would want to be inspired by me? I come from very simple means. You have to come from wealth to inspire people.” And then, the third fear was, “Who would listen to me while I’m still struggling with my weight?” They were very real. I couldn’t change my background, I’m always going to be an African-American woman, and I dealt with my weight for a long time. Those fears drove me.
They literally drove me, so let me tell you what I did, and let me recommend something for you to do if you find that your fears are driving you. You want to start a company, but you’re afraid it’s going to fail. You want to get into the relationship, but you’re afraid you will get hurt. What I begin to do is, instead of trying to outrun or ignore the fear, because that doesn’t work (you can’t outrun your fears; everywhere you go, there they are) I turn around and I confront my fear. I say, “Ok, wait a minute. Let me unpack this.” I want you to write down that “unpack my fears.” The way you unpack your fears is you keep diving into the fear with another question.
I learned this from my wonderful friend, Reverend Michael Beckwith. He said, “Keep questioning your fear until it dissipates into the nothingness that it is.” So, when I said, “People won’t listen to me, because I’m an African-American woman,” I said, “How do I know?” and the answer was, “I don’t know.” Then, I said, “Well, what if they don’t listen to me?” The answer was, “Well there are some who will.” The answer was, “What if there’s some who will, then what?” The answer was, “I’ll speak to them.”
Then, I had the question about, “If I start a business, I don’t want to fail.” “Well, what if you fail in your business?” “Oh, you’ll lose money.” “If you lose money, then what happens?” “I recoup.” “Ok, so once you recoup, then what happens?” “Either I’ll try it again with more insights, or I’ll try something else.” If your business fails, you’re afraid … Another fear is that you’ll be embarrassed, that people will look down on you. “Well, what if your business fails, and you’re embarrassed, then what happens?” “Then, I get over it.” “Then, what happens?” “Then, the people around me will love me anyway.” Well, just in case you don’t know ask the people around before you ever start your business. “Hey, if I start a business, and it fails, will you still love me?” Yeah, I think you might get a yes.
I just start doing this little game with myself, Christine, where I keep asking questions for the worst case scenario. Like, you’re afraid to fall. But because you are afraid to fall, you never take a leap. If you never take a leap, you never can fly. Literally, you’re preventing yourself from flying because you’re afraid of falling, and so, “What if you fell?” “Oh, my leg will hurt.” “Ok, what if your leg will hurt?” “Well, then I’ll suffer after a while.” “Then, when you suffer, what do you do?” “I’ll get back up.” “When you get back up, what will you do?” “Oh! Readily begin!” The worst case scenario is I’m going to get up. The worst case scenario is that someone will want to listen to me. The worst case scenario then is what if I never lost a pound?
Then I ask, what if I love myself, and I spoke while I was releasing the weight? What if I allow people who were dealing with the same challenge to see the real me? I’m a woman on stage working every day to love herself, and today, I love who I am. Can I inspire the world while I’m doing that? Can I inspire you while I’m in my own journey? The way that I work with my fears is I literally unpack them and keep diving into them with one more question of “what if” until they dissipate, until the true nothingness they’ve always been.
CK: I’m going to take a moment to just put an exclamation mark on that amazing quote. This is one of those that we need to get out there… “Question your fear until it dissipates into the true nothingness that it is”.
LN: Exactly. What if every single thing you could be afraid about, you can question until it dissipates into the nothingness that it always has been and always will be.
CK: That’s so powerful Lisa. I’m going to remind all of you authors and messengers to bring this question to your writing. So when the voice comes up that says, “I can’t do this. What are people going to think of me?” – you can work through those fears by questioning them until they dissipate. Then, you are free to move forward you’re your dream!