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Single Mom Left with Last $11 Can't Even Afford Diapers, Becomes a Millionaire Years Later

Ayesha Muhammad
Jun 12, 2022
10:00 A.M.

After being fired from five different jobs, a woman hit rock bottom and discovered she was pregnant with her son. While she didn't have money to afford his diapers at the time, she vowed to transform his life. Years later, her heartfelt dream came true.


Have you ever wondered what the one ingredient that makes people successful is? The truth is, there's no definite formula to success. Success doesn't mean you won't ever fail or fall; instead, the courage to get back up after every failure determines how far you'll go.

Life has its fair share of struggles, and it's only when our faith, strength, and hope are tested that we begin to realize what we're capable of. The story we're sharing today is about a woman who journeyed through life's endless trials and tribulations and eventually experienced a metamorphosis.



Lisa Nichols was an African American girl who said she never considered herself less than anybody until she went to school. As a young girl, Nichols said she was teased daily and subjected to rude and mean comments. She often heard people say:

"God left you in the oven too long."

One day, she decided to participate in the tryouts for school adaptations of "Charlie's Angels" and "The Bionic Woman." Despite winning the challenging audition round, the jury members told Nichols they couldn't select her. Consequently, the girl who had never doubted her worth began blaming herself.



For a long time, Nichols said she struggled to belong. She was forced to drop out of college because her family couldn't afford it. Her self-esteem suffered at the hands of her teachers, who told her she wasn't a good writer or speaker. Nichols recounted:

"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."

But despite the criticism, Nichols continued to work on herself and hone her speaking and writing skills. She started writing poems and short speeches and delivered them before her grandmother, her only audience at the time and her pillar of encouragement and comfort.



With her grandma's support, Nichols mustered up the courage to deliver a poem in front of a large audience in a church. After her performance, she was baffled when the crowd gave her a standing ovation. She had still not recovered from the shock when a familiar voice greeted her.

Moreover, she was also featured in the famous movie "The Secret," based on Rhonda Byrnes's book of the same name.

Nichols said it was Lindsay Wagner from "The Bionic Woman." A teary-eyed Nichols told her favorite star how she had been told she couldn't be her because she was black and looked nothing like a blonde. What Wagner then told Nichols stayed with her forever. She said:


"You were amazing. You, with your journey, you are the true Bionic Woman."


Wagner's words stayed with Nichols, and she experienced something shift within her that day. However, life continued to test her patience and strength. At 27 years of age, she had been fired from five different jobs and became a mother to a little boy, Jelani. Nichols said:

"I had hit my version of rock bottom."


Moreover, she had to fend for herself and her 8-month-old son because his father was in prison. The Los Angeles, California-based woman went to a nearby ATM to draw money, and the message that popped up on her screen said, "Insufficient funds."


All she had in her account was $11.42, which wasn't enough to buy a packet of diapers. The distraught mother wrapped her son in a towel and kept changing it for two days. For days, the mother-son duo also struggled for food and ate beanies and sausages. Nichols remembered:


"I used to cut the weanies into such small pieces, you could not tell what was weanie and what was beanie (sic)."


With a quivering voice, Nichols described how her African American son, with his dad in prison, had a 66% chance of going to jail himself. But the woman told herself it wouldn't happen on her watch. She recollected:

"I had my hand on Jelani’s stomach, and I said, 'Don't worry baby. Mommy will never be this broke or broken again.' I was willing to completely die to any form of me that I'd ever been, so I could birth the woman I was becoming."


Throughout her journey, the one person who believed in Nichols was her grandmother. The LA woman said her grandma motivated her to keep going and evolve into the best possible version of herself.


Nichols recalled her grandma's golden words that helped her navigate the dark times:

"My grandmother always said that conviction and comfort don’t live in the same block."

Following her grandma's advice, Nichols began finding her unique place, but the road ahead was still bumpy. She remembered a time in her life when a potential recruiter turned her down, leaving her at a crossroads. During that time, Nichols said she received a call from a student.



According to Nichols, the student was broken and lost and had sought her help because she was clueless about her life. Utterly confused, Nichols said she didn't know how she could bring value to someone when she was struggling with her own worth.

Fortunately, Nichols talked to the young student; surprisingly, her words of comfort and support worked wonders. It was then that she realized she could re-write her story and create a future she wished to have. Nichols expressed:


"It was a door closing and a window opening at the exact same time."


Gradually, Nichols realized her power to re-dream and rediscover and ended up rescuing herself, her son, and countless others. The same little girl mocked at school, subjected to racist comments, and told she couldn't speak or write evolved into a successful person.

At 31, she landed a job in a school and started saving money from her regular paycheck. Eventually, she was stunned to find that she had saved $62,500. Her grandma's words resounded in her ears, and one day, Nichols decided to take the leap of faith and turn a new leaf over.


She quit her job, packed her old truck with some belongings, strapped her son into the kid's seat, and set off on the 120-mile journey from LA to San Diego to make her dream come true. She rented an office space and started working on what would later become a million-dollar business.


Today, she is a highly sought-after motivational speaker and runs her own company, Motivating the Masses, which provides personal and professional training and has served more than 30 million people. Nichols has also authored six best-selling books and appeared on Steve Harvey and Oprah Winfrey's shows.


Moreover, she was also featured in the famous movie "The Secret," based on Rhonda Byrnes's book of the same name. Despite the challenging times, Nichols didn't let other people dictate her future and carved her life the way she wished. She mentioned:

"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."


Undoubtedly, Nichols's story teaches us that perseverance can take people from rags to riches, and rejection is, indeed, a redirection. If someone is willing to keep trying and not give up in the face of adversity, they will soon be rewarded for their patience and strength.

What are your thoughts on this phenomenal story? Do you think Nichols was right in not listening to her teachers and the people who told her she couldn't do anything? What would you do if you were in her shoes?

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