For Mel Robbins, the wake-up call to change her life came in an unexpected form: a video of a rocket ship.
Before Mel was a world-renowned entrepreneur, bestselling author, one of the most highly paid and booked female speakers in the world and now host of the upcoming daytime talkshow, The Mel Robbins Show (premiering September 16) she found herself at rock bottom. At 41-years-old, she was unemployed, and had gone broke from a failed business venture that left her and her husband with an $800,000 loss, she shared on Impact Theory.
Stymied by shame, Mel recalled a morning she was lying in bed thinking about the liens on her home, the bankruptcy, the fight she had with her partner and being jobless, and just hit the snooze button. “Who would want to get up when your life is like that?” she added. But it was also that moment that proved to be a breakthrough for her. One morning, after watching a NASA launch on the news, she got inspired: she resolved to catapult herself out of bed within 5 seconds of waking up.
What Mel was really doing was tapping into the psychology of what she’d coin “the 5 second rule,” meaning that we only have a few seconds to execute an idea once we have it and before our minds interfere and sabotage our efforts to remain in our comfort zone. She began applying it to every part of her life, and over time, radically turned everything around.
Here, her five best takeaways from that transformation.
Do it anyway.
Mel advises that you learn to differentiate wanting to do something with being able to do something.
Even if you are scared, exhausted, defeated or unsure, you must act in spite of your feelings. “If you’re feeling insecure about having that conversation, do it anyway. If you don’t feel like making those sales calls, do it anyway. If you are too tired, too hungover, too self-conscious to go to that exercise class, do it anyway.” she said. “If you want to fire the client that wastes your time and treats you like garbage and you feel the ‘but, but, but’ train rolling in, do it anyway and fire them. It will reset your mind from sluggish, scared, and tired to motivated, empowered and energized.”
Find the message in the mess.
Mel says that ruminating doesn’t change the past, nor does it make you a better person going forward.
“My past was full of shitty behavior,” she said. “I used to be a real competitive, insecure asshole. I hurt people I loved and I made my life a mess. I cheated. I lied. I was petty and self centered. And I regret it.”
She went onto say that beating yourself up keeps you in a shame spiral, where you’ll get stuck in the unresolved pain. “Just because you did bad things doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Learn from your mistakes because when you know better, you do better. And doing better, and becoming a better person is the most powerful apology anyone can ever make.”
Always be a fan.
One of Mel’s best pieces of business advice? Support others, because another person’s success does not limit your ability to achieve your own.
“When you cheer for people, you trigger the Law of Reciprocity: if you do nice by me, I will do nice by you. Positivity is reciprocal,” she said. “Starting today, if you see somebody doing a good job, tell them. If you can call out the good on social media even better, and make sure to tag them so they see and hear you cheering. You’ll be surprised by how fast this impacts your life, your business and how much better you will feel.”
Though it’s hard to imagine now, Mel admits that at one point, she was sidelined by negativity. By implementing the “5 second rule,” she was able to redirect those thoughts and says it took about five days to fundamentally change her mindset.
“If you complain, if you see life as half empty, if you are pessimistic — your mindset is broken. You’ll never be successful and happy if you are addicted to seeing what’s wrong. You can choose what you think about. You can,” she said. “Choosing to stop complaining and start looking for ways to change is the fastest way to change your life. You don’t have to see unicorns and rainbows, just do what I do. I am a realistic optimist, which means I don’t complain and I choose to believe that I can create a positive outcome in any situation if I put in the effort. And so can you.”
Get a gang of five.
You need a support system, and Mel says you need it in the form of five main people in your life who are heading in the same direction as you.
“What I learned from [my own gang of 5] took me from a nobody with a TedX talk to the most booked female speaker in the world in three years flat. I also went from charging $10,000 a speech to $75,000 a speech in that time,” she began. “I cannot stress enough the massive influence this group had on me and the growth of my speaking business.”
Whether it’s authors, influencers or entrepreneurs, the point is to share collective wisdom. “You’ll probably be surprised to find that most of the folks you reach out to are feeling just as isolated and interested in connection and growth as you are,” she concluded.