Podcast: EP 49 Domestic Violence, Saving Yourself, and Using Fear and Failure as Fuel with Lisa Nichols

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Wellness visionary & inspirational speaker, author of Let Your Fears Make You Fierce, & Founder of The Get Loved Up Community. My core mission is to promote daily self-care, oneness & eco-friendly living.

Hi, I'm Koya

Hello, love. Welcome back to the Get Loved Up podcast.

Our guest today is one of my most inspiring and influential mentors — Lisa Nichols. She is one of the most requested motivational speakers with a global reach of almost 80 million. That’s right — 80 million people. 

From humble origins, Lisa came from being a struggling single mom living on public assistance to becoming a multi-millionaire entrepreneur, CEO, and a highly-respected multimedia personality. Her touching story of courage and determination has become an inspiration to worldwide fans, helping countless people discover their own untapped talent and infinite potential.

Maybe today, you feel like your circumstances determine your reality. You don’t feel like you can ever achieve your dreams because of the situation you’re in. If that’s you, then I truly believe that this interview will change your life. Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Who Is Lisa Nichols?

Lisa Nichols is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of the popular business Motivating the Masses, Inc. She is also a New York Times best-selling author of six powerful books. Her seventh book is one of my favorites, Abundance Now, which is a follow-up to her best-selling book, No Matter What: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love

Lisa has appeared on several prestigious shows, such as Oprah, The Steve Harvey Show, The Dr. Phil Show, The Today Show, CNN, and Larry King LIVE, among others. She was featured in the book The Secret, a global phenomenon that has transformed millions of lives and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Her dedication to humanitarian and philanthropy work has earned her several distinguished awards, such as the LEGO Foundation’s Heart of Learning Award and the Ambassador Award. In fact, Houston, Texas, has declared every 9th of May as “Lisa Nichols Day” for her philanthropy work, healing spirit, and dedication to service. 

Her organization Motivating the Teen Spirit is also one of her many legacies. This non-profit organization has saved close to 270,000 teens, supported more than 2,700 student dropouts to return back to school, prevented about 3,700 teen suicides, and helped thousands more to reunite with their respective families. 

Today, I’m honored to have her on our show to talk about domestic violence and how to use fear and failure as fuel to overcome discrimination. Read on as she guides us through the transformation of making challenges into opportunities for personal growth.

You Cannot Give from an Empty Cup

I would like to start this episode with a quote that inspired my podcast, Get Loved Up: “You cannot give from an empty cup.” I was interested to hear Lisa’s perspective, so I asked Lisa to share her thoughts about the quote.

“We are individuals who love to serve. … We have a long line of people that are looking to be served, loved, supported, honored, celebrated for … by us. There’s a long line! … My cup is available to anyone else. And, I serve from my overflow because when you serve from your overflow, all of a sudden, your service has more gratitude, and you are excited about it.”- Lisa Nichols

Wow — I absolutely love that. When you serve, you will experience gratitude, and this will fill you up with joy. So, when you lay down to rest at night, there’s no resentment because you served someone during the day coming from your own cup and overflow. Serving others not only helps them, but it also makes you a better person. It’s a win-win situation and one that we need to invest in every single day.

But, before that overflow happens, you have to serve yourself first. What are your needs? How do you need to be empowered to serve others? You can’t serve others from an empty cup.

To serve others effectively, you’ll need to fill yourself up and accept a mindset of abundance. You’ll need to shift to a new way of thinking that you have no lack in life so that you can give other people everything they need. You must allow abundance to flow first so you can let people sip from your cup. It’s as simple as that, love.

Becoming a Servant Leader

Since Lisa is such a servant leader, I asked her to share with us what servant leadership means to her.

“[Servant leadership means that] God would use me to do the work that I’ve done in the world. And I’m just getting started. … I’m a servant leader. I am here to be of service. … I’m obedient to the calling on my life.”- Lisa Nichols

Lisa connects with her spirituality and calls out to God to use her as an instrument for the good of all. She surrenders to God and asks that he would empower her to be a capable CEO, a change agent, and a transformational leader to provide the highest service to humanity. 

What’s more, Lisa is obedient to her calling. She wants to serve God by serving other people so that when she gets to the end of her days, she can look back and say that she has lived a full life for being obedient to her calling.

“I want to look back at my life, and I want to say … [that] I played full out for the spirit of being obedient to the calling of my life. That’s servant leadership.”- Lisa Nichols

As Lisa said,  a servant leader is obedient to one’s calling in life. Her legacies, achievements, philanthropy work, and the numerous lives she helped and saved all show that Lisa has already done so much in her career and has followed her calling. She’s a servant leader, indeed, so I asked her what else could she possibly have to do? Her answer was inspirational: 

“I’m not driving to a destination. I’m just excited to be on the journey. I’m excited to be amused. I’m excited that I woke up this morning with a sound mind so [that] God can use me to be a creator of artistry — of artistry inside social behavior and relationship management.”- Lisa Nichols

There’s no end destination for Lisa when it comes to her calling.  She just keeps on doing what she loves to do best —helping others and providing service to those in need. She’s more than happy to wake up to another day of service. 

Do you feel the same about your calling? Or are you looking at it as a destination instead of a journey? When you view your passion as a journey, it’s something that will carry you throughout all of life and let you be a light for other people. Lisa is such a beautiful example of this. Despite her massive success, Lisa doesn’t care about how many books she has sold. It was not her intention to write best-selling books. Instead, she started to write, hoping that one person might pick it up. 

And they did. In fact, not just one person but millions of people picked up her books and shared them with others. As a result, she’s impacted millions of lives and is continuing to do so. 

Navigating Out of Domestic Violence

While Lisa was sharing about transforming people’s lives, I was reminded of the experiences many people are facing right now, especially during these seemingly endless staycations at home. The truth is, many people are silently going through domestic violence. 

Lisa has experienced domestic violence in the past, and she shares her story in some of her books. For all the people who are enduring domestic violence right now,  I asked Lisa for some insights on how to navigate out of that space. 

“I got there because I lowered my bar. … In these conversations, too much energy has been put on the abuser, …but I was [also] a co-creator, and I was willing to own that I was a co-creator in that chaos. … That doesn’t mean that it was all my fault. What it means is, if I can own how I got in it, then I get to own how I get out of it.”- Lisa Nichols

Lisa shared her harrowing near-death experience with a bipolar ex-fiancee and how she managed to get out of the situation. When their relationship was over, she thought everything would be back to normal. But she was wrong. Shortly after the breakup,  Lisa battled a series of mental breakdowns, and her doctor diagnosed her condition as depression, secondary to post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, she did not bow down to the pain and remain a victim. Instead, she created a routine to navigate out of a traumatic domestic violence experience. Every morning, she would go in front of a mirror and say three powerful transformational sentences to affirm, forgive, and commit to herself.

“Every morning, I got [myself into] the mirror, and I said, Lisa, I’m proud that you… [I found seven things to be proud of myself about] …The second sentence; Lisa, I forgive you… The third, Lisa, today I commit to you…” – Lisa Nichols

Getting out of domestic violence takes courage and self-love. It takes courage to leave the relationship, and it takes self-love to move forward with confidence. Every domestic abuse case is different, but whatever your involvement or responsibility, understand that you are not a failure. You cannot move on if you don’t forgive yourself. 

Lastly, you have to commit to support yourself in every endeavor in your life and be proud of every achievement and victory — no matter how small. 

I was so thankful that Lisa shared her story. It is hard to come out of the shadows and share such experiences of physical and emotional abuse, but her battle is also worth-sharing to inspire others to rise up against abuse. 

Remember, there is always a way out. There is a better life out there that you can choose to live, instead of being overwhelmed by the shadows of the past and depression. Lisa’s story is an exemplary example of victory.

“So, who am I to keep a past victory to myself when someone else is looking for their oxygen in that same experience right now? … One of the things that I’m committed to is to surrender my ego. … I surrender all of that for the sake of what good I can be to someone else.”- Lisa Nichols

When you surrender your ego to help others, amazing things happen. No one should tolerate any abuse, be it physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional. Lisa Nichols is willing to revisit the dark corners of her life to help a sister or a brother in need out of misery.

Fear and Failure are Fuel

As you go through the personal struggles in life, there is always fear. Most of the time, fear is the main barrier that prevents you from coming out of the dark and makes you stay within your comfort zone. Fear of failure keeps you from fighting back and getting out of difficult situations like domestic violence. Likewise, fear is a major hindrance to success. So, I asked Lisa how she handled fear in her life.

“I tell people my business is as big as it is because I kept falling forward. I failed a lot. I will continue. But what I always do is fail forward. … Most wildly successful people … have failed ten to 20 times more than people who are living an average, ordinary life. We [have] failed more. It’s just what we do with failure — we fail forward. And so, … I am who I am because I embrace fear, and I embrace failure. And I use them both as my fuel. Fear and failure are fuel.”- Lisa Nichols

I love how she put that. Failing forward means you have the courage to face failure again and again until you succeed. With every failure you experience, there’s a lesson to learn. It is that lesson that allows you to move forward and give it another try. As you fail more, you learn more, which gives you a better position to succeed.

The fear factor will always be there, no matter how experienced you are in your field. Lisa explained that she hasn’t learned how to make the fear go away completely. What she mastered, instead, is bringing fear along the journey. She allows fear to occupy a space in her mental mansion. But, most importantly, she doesn’t let the fear devour her. By learning how to play with fear as part of the journey, she is able to move forward with fear better until that fear dissipates into the mist.

“So I have a relationship with fear. Most people are just trying to overcome it. I just embrace it and have a relationship with it.”- Lisa Nichols

Love, use fear and failure as fuel for moving through the hard parts of life. While you may experience fear and failure at first, just keep on doing what you need to do to get out of the situation and move to what your heart desires.

Always keep in mind her secret formula — affirm, forgive, and commit. Acknowledge the existence of fear and the possibility of failure. Forgive yourself for every failure, and commit to supporting yourself to fail forward until you are successful.

Get Loved Up with Lisa Nichols

Lisa Nichols has so much more wisdom to share. She is full of love, and she is willing to help you in any way she can. To hear more from Lisa, check out her upcoming live events over at her official website. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter for daily inspirations. Subscribe to her YouTube channel for some free resources and updates on events and training. 

Trust me — when you enroll in one of her powerful programs, you will get the transformation you need to prepare yourself for a better life.

There is so much value in this episode of Get Loved Up, so make sure to share this with someone you know who needs to hear it. And if you enjoyed the episode, tag Lisa, @lisa2motivate, and me, @koyawebb, on Instagram, and let us know what your greatest takeaways were. 

I decided to end this episode with one last question for Lisa — ”What does love mean to you?”

“Love for me is the willingness! The willingness to expand on-demand. The willingness to forgive on-demand … the willingness to explore the unexplored. The willingness to dream. The willingness to not make my future pay for my past … the willingness to be loved. The willingness to allow someone to forgive me … the willingness to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. The willingness! Love is the willingness.”- Lisa Nichols

Indeed, love is willingness. Go love yourself today, the people around you, and the planet. Thank you for spending your time with us. Until next time.

Peace and love,


  • Why you can’t give from an empty cup (5:10)
  • What it means to be a servant leader (10:01)
  • What Lisa wants to still do with her life (14:45)
  • How to navigate out of the experience of domestic violence (20:33)
  • What Lisa learned from trying to fit in when she was being discriminated against as a young girl (37:35)
  • What IAMOR stands for (49:20)
  • How to take challenges as an opportunity for growth (57:20)
  • What love means to Lisa (1:06:10)

Links mentioned in this episode

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