Believe in YOURSELF & remember you are a badass with a purpose. I think this is one of the most important need to knows. Everyone won’t see your vision and just because they see it doesn’t mean they will help you, and that’s OK. You need a strong support system around you, but you also have to believe in you and stay on the path. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I am a badass and this isn’t the hardest thing that I’ve gone through. It’s always gonna be haters and you have never done something before the first time you did it, SO BET ON YOU.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing LaNika Nichelle “The Bounceback Queen”.
LaNika Nichelle is a Motivational Speaker/Coach/Life Cheerleader/Author and Philanthropist, who is also the creator of “Positive Inspirations”, a Coaching/Mentorship Program, that specializes in women and children learning, “The Art of Bouncing Back”. Life Survivor, LaNika Nichelle helps people build resilience, find solutions and shift negative or limiting thoughts. She’s the author of upcoming book, “Playing The Hand One’s Dealt”, as well as upcoming projects, “The Bounceback Queen” Podcast Show and YouTube Channel, and has been featured in Morning Lazziness and P.O.W.E.R. Magazine, along with being a guest on “The Round Table Talk Show”, “Permission To Heal”, “Face To Face Talk Show” and “Bigger Than Me -with Traci Harrell”.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Sure, it’s a lot of layers to me and my childhood has definitely played a huge part in the woman I am today. First off, I’ve been affectionately called, “Shelly” my entire life. My childhood was very rough and unique. *TRIGGER WARNING… I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD, I’m definitely a city girl. I had very humble beginnings, and by the time I was 15, I was already abused and taken away from my mom, sexually assaulted by my then boyfriend, got pregnant, became a teen mom, was blind for a month from a freak incident but had my sight given back by “My Angel”. I know it sounds like a dramatic made up movie but it’s all true. However, my childhood wasn’t all bad I was always a naturally caring and nurturing person who loved helping people. I was exposed to the arts very early and even have been working since I was 12 years old with The Baltimore Urban League. They had a program that allowed me to do public speaking to motivate and inspire people. I always wanted to save the animals, kids, elderly, disabled and anyone who needed me. In the end, I didn’t miss a beat, graduated on time with honors, worked, went to prom, drove, went to college, and everything my peers did and maybe more because I have been doing volunteer work since 13 and I had a kid at 14.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite “Life Lesson Quotes” is something I came up with and I wish I figured it out sooner… “There are 3 things that every single person has and they are, Challenges, Gifts/Talents, and A Purpose” -LaNika Nichelle
Now no one can tell you what they are, and you may need help figuring them out, but the lesson comes from you recognizing each one and playing your hand accordingly. Most of my life has been full of challenges but I’ve overcome each one and I never let them define me. I was blessed with a natural gift of the arts, being able to sing, dance, and draw. Those are the things that I relied on and was very therapeutic on my darkest days. And, putting it all together, I learned to turn my pain into my purpose. I realize that everything that happened, had to happen to make me who I am now. I’m here to teach people that you can go through hell and make it out on the other side, I’m living proof.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
The Book, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne is one of my favorite books. My cousin Tiesha put me on with the book and I couldn’t get enough of it. It really reassures what I’ve been thinking, and that is that you can do anything you want to do in life. While some people face more challenges, you can still overcome them no matter what. Your paths don’t have to be the same. This book has helped to reinforce even more of what I teach people about mindset. The mind is a very powerful thing and your energy is just as important. If you always focus on the negativity, then negative energy will plague you and the same goes with positive energy. If you tell yourself you can’t do something then chances are, you won’t. Two years ago, I had brain surgery and Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson have always been my favorites. Sadly, I never got a chance to see Michael before he passed but I found out that Janet was going to be two hours away in Charlotte almost three weeks post-surgery. I hope by now, you figured out that no one or nothing can stop me from doing what I set my mind to, and if not yet, you will. My only birth daughter and I drove there and had one of the best nights of my life. I got to see my favorite girl with my favorite girl. I danced, sung and held up signs saying, “Brain Surgery Couldn’t Stop Me From Seeing Janet”.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Before the pandemic, I was working at a telecommunications company in sales and doing well at it too. One of my childhood friends Tinesha, moved to South Carolina coincidentally in the same town and our kids went to the same school. She was there already and helped me get the job. It was cool and I made decent money but I was advised by my doctor due to my immune system and surgery I had earlier this year, it wasn’t a good idea for me to be in contact with at least 50 untested, unscreened customers a day. There weren’t any other positions available, so I had to resign. I already had a mentorship program, “Positive Inspirations”, working primarily with children. I also did some life cheerleading/motivating work on the side and at first, I didn’t even charge people for my help.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
Being as though I had to resign, it gave me more time with the kids, but the bills were still due. So, I decided that with all we have going on in the world right now, it’s as good as time as any to turn my side hustle into a full-time lucrative business. The world has lots of uncertainties, and we need to rebuild and learn “The Art of Bouncing Back”. That’s where I come in, I’m an expert in motivation and “The Art of Bouncing Back” and can offer people tools to pick up the pieces. I decided to bet on me!
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
So, my “aha moment”, was actually a blessing in disguise. I mentioned that I already had a mentorship program. I mentored over 100 kids by myself, who I call my bonus babies. I even housed 10 of those kids (not all at one time) to keep them from going into child services. I’m not a foster mom, I just relate to them. Out of the 10 live in bonus babies, 3 are permanently staying with me and I’m in the process of adopting them. I actually petitioned the court in January and in February, my lease at my house was up. I declined to renew it for a year but opted to do month to month because I’m moving to North Carolina and had no idea that the pandemic would hit us the way it did. I’m literally only here til the judge signs the papers. The week after I resigned, I got exposed to Covid but didn’t show symptoms, so I couldn’t get a test. The following week, I started to show symptoms and notified my doctor who placed me on quarantine and called in some medicine. I let my rental company know and I applied for unemployment. I was told by the rental company, that I was ok and to update them on everything. However, that was a huge deception and a few weeks later I was served with a 24 hour to vacate notice. It was so confusing and shocking, we ended up being evicted. My 6 kids (3 amazing birth kids & 3 wonderful live in bonus babies), dog and myself was thrown out like trash while I was still on quarantine, for 1 month of rent. With me being in SC, and my family being back in Baltimore, everyone was worried. I didn’t let it get me down and through all the calls and texts everyone was saying different variations of them knowing that I would be ok because I could bounce back from anything. At that moment, “The Bounceback Queen” was born and ready for full-time business.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Things are actually going great; I have used my story to inspire people. I have been booked for and featured in or on multiple podcasts and magazines. I have been networking and continuing to push forward. “The Bounceback Queen” is just getting started and ready to sprinkle my “Shelly Dust” on the world. I was told my whole life that I couldn’t save or change the world and that is false. I can and I will!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The person that hands down comes to mind, is my Grampsee (grandmother). She took me in at 12 and raised almost all of her grandchildren. I watched her help so many people, work hard and set the bar for what I’m trying to achieve. It was a lot of us in the house and we were taught to love people, help people, and a big ol’ melting pot of people is often a good thing because we can learn from each other. No one helped her, she was always the helper. We even had friends come stay with us so they wouldn’t go to child services. A lot of who I am today is because of her. I will always be grateful for her compassion and the example she set.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Well actually, this interview is one of those things and I appreciate you for having me. All of the podcasts and interviews have been fun and exciting too. I also attended, “Be On TV Bootcamp” with Chris Winfield and Jen Gotlieb, that was super bomb and I learned so much, they are awesome. Also, all the clients and people who have requested my help is so humbling.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Have a financial plan and back-up plan. More than likely, you won’t make any real money for a while. I started with all my own personal money and didn’t understand business credit and the steps to build it. Business credit and money is there for a reason, use it and spare your personal credit.
- The Power of Networking. You will have to find clients and other like-minded people. The more you get it out there, people will begin to come to you. If people don’t know about your business, then you don’t have a business. I feel that nobody will take you serious til you have something to show. I used my social media to build and do a lot of networking.
- Everything will happen when it’s supposed to. Sometimes you fail and fail again but you can’t give up or forget why you are doing what you are doing. Work hard and it will pay off. I had to go through a lot of trial and error before I figured it out and I always say that I’m still learning and will continue to do so.
- Sometimes, you won’t get sleep and will have to work insane hours. You will feel burned out and overwhelmed, after all you are running a business. However, you must remember to take a break and listen to your body so you can stay productive. It’s days that I stayed up so long that my head was pounding, and my body eventually gave out. The next day, I spent it trying to catch up and wasn’t as productive. I also had to learn to delegate things to people if possible.
- Believe in YOURSELF & remember you are a badass with a purpose. I think this is one of the most important need to knows. Everyone won’t see your vision and just because they see it doesn’t mean they will help you, and that’s OK. You need a strong support system around you, but you also have to believe in you and stay on the path. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I am a badass and this isn’t the hardest thing that I’ve gone through. It’s always gonna be haters and you have never done something before the first time you did it, SO BET ON YOU.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I am a big walk the walk, talk the talk person, so I use a lot of what I teach my clients… I take at least 5 deep breaths before I respond when I’m upset, Shift my mind to positive thoughts when I noticed it’s going negative, Take time for me and listen to my body when it’s telling me to rest, meditate often and incorporate acknowledgement of my accomplishments for that day, learn to let people help me, and do something nice for someone who needs it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I like to think that I already started my movement with, “Positive Inspirations” and #PositiveVibeandLoveChallenge I teach my bonus babies that service is just as much for you, then the person you are serving. I also started the #PositiveVibeandLoveChallenge and encourage people to accept the challenge. In both entities, we do good for people and spread love while doing service work and helping others. It can be anything from helping an elderly person in the store to feeding the homeless. My movement is designed to help kids, veterans, the homeless, people in poverty, animals, the elderly, and really whoever needs help, and it has done just that. I believe in divine intervention and know that everything happens for a reason. The objective is H.O.P.E., Help One Person Everyday, and Hope is Dope.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
My mind instantly went to Michael B. Jordan, have you seen him… but you said lunch and not dinner or breakfast. So, after carefully thinking, it’s a tie between Jada Pinkett Smith and Taraji P. Henson, I admire both of these absolutely amazing women. Jada and I both are from Baltimore, share a love of the arts & animals, have the same birthday, adore our grandmothers, both went through struggles with our moms but chose to forgive, we have tight bonds with our kids especially our daughters and she is just so bomb. And Taraji, because she is such a badass, it’s funny because she is from D.C. which is less than an hour from where Jada and I are from, her birthday is only a few days before ours as well, she loves the arts & animals, a strong mom, and is a huge advocate for mental health and spreading awareness. I could learn so much from this Powerhouse as well. Those women are truly beyond super dope!
How can our readers follow you online?
My website is www.thebouncebackqueen.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you so much for having me, you as well!