440. Worthy: How to Believe You Are Enough and Transform Your Life

Feb 19, 2024 | 0 comments

In this remarkable episode, we sit down with the extraordinary Jamie Kern Lima—self-made entrepreneur, champion of women, philanthropist, keynote speaker, and the co-founder of IT Cosmetics. Starting from her living room, Jamie built her company into a billion-dollar empire, eventually selling it to L’Oreal for an astonishing 1.2 billion dollars. Her success led her to become the first female CEO in L’Oreal’s history of over a century and secured her a spot on Forbes’ list of richest self-made women. Beyond her impressive business achievements, Jamie is an active investor in more than 15 companies and today, she shares her wisdom and insights from her journey.

During our conversation, Jamie delves deep into the themes of her book, “Worthy,” exploring the crucial distinction between self-worth and self-confidence—a differentiation many of us struggle to understand. Despite her long list of accomplishments, Jamie reveals how achievements alone did not fulfill her self-worth, shedding light on a common pitfall for many achievers. The insight that “In life, you don’t soar to the level of your hopes and dreams, you stay stuck at the level of your self-worth,” underscores the importance of internal work over external achievements for true fulfillment.

Don’t miss out on this incredible conversation. Tune in to gain insights that could change your perspective on success, self-worth, and the path to fulfilling your true potential.

Check out Jamie Kern Lima’s book, “Worthy,” today. It’s a resource not to be overlooked by anyone on a journey toward personal and professional growth.

To learn more, and for the complete show notes, visit: the1thing.com/pods.

We talk about:

  • The difference between self-worth and self-confidence
  • Three ways low self-worth shows up in our lives
  • Understanding how low self-worth holds you down
  • How to build up your self-worth

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Produced by NOVA Media


Nikki Miller:

Jay, what a conversation with Jamie Kern Lima, who is a self-made entrepreneur, champion of women, philanthropist, keynote speaker, co-founder of IT Cosmetics, a company she started in her living room and then sold to L'Oreal for $1.2 billion. That's billion with a B dollars, becoming the first female CEO in L'Oreal's hundred plus year history. She's on the Forbes richest self-made women's list and is an active investor in more than 15 companies. And she spent a little over an hour with us today in arguably the most incredible conversation you and I are going to have in quite a while.

Jay Papasan:

I agree. I think that her book is called Worthy. And the thing that really surprised me, I've heard about people chasing happiness and not finding fulfillment, but she really delineated between your self-worth and your self-confidence. She'd done an incredible thing, right? She built company. She is valedictorian. I mean, she's got a long list of accomplishments going way back. Yet that wasn't helping her self-worth. And so understanding that your self-confidence is not actually always line up with your self-worth. That was a big aha for me.

Nikki Miller:

Yeah, I mean, I don't think most people could articulate the delineation between the two. And yet when she describes the feeling that you get when you achieve that thing and still aren't happy or still don't feel fulfilled, I think every achiever has been there at some point. And she said, the quote that I'll take away from this is, in life, you don't soar to the level of your hopes and dreams. You stay stuck at the level of your self-worth. And by the way, that's across the board for relationships, business, you name it.

Jay Papasan:

Oh, yeah. I mean, your, your self-worth is your ceiling. And she talks about people being stuck and doing self-sabotage. And they can't explain why they can't get past a certain level. And it's because their internal thermostat is kind of set there and they have work to do, right, on the inside, not on the outside achievement. On the inside, you get that fixed.

The thing, and you'll have to wait till the very end of the podcast because so or skip to the end, right, I don't recommend it. She talks about all the nose on that journey. And I'm going to misquote her, but when you change your relationship with rejection, you change the trajectory of your life. And it was really significant and it's so true. Like what are we getting from the know? Is it just feedback or are we somehow using it to define our worth? So it was really, really like hard hitting stuff all the way to the end.

Nikki Miller:

This was such an incredible conversation. I can't wait for you all to have the treat of listening to Jamie Kern Lima. Her book comes out February 20th, linked in the show notes. Make sure you pick up a copy. Let's go listen to Jamie.

Welcome back everyone to The ONE Thing podcast. We have a very, very special guest today. And I'm joined by my cohost, Jay Papasan. And today, we have Jamie Kern Lima, who is a self-made entrepreneur, champion of women, very true, philanthropist, keynote speaker and co-founder of IT Cosmetics, a company she started in her living room and then sold to L'Oreal for $1.2 billion, becoming the first female CEO in L'Oreal's 100 plus year history. She's on the Forbes’ richest self-made women's list and is an active investor in more than 15 companies. Here today to chat with us about her newest book coming out in February called Worthy. Welcome, Jamie. We are so, so excited to have you.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Wow. Thank you so much for having me. I am excited. It's going to be a fire filled episode.

Nikki Miller:

Yes, it will. Of that, I have no doubt. And I was sharing a little bit before this, that I had the privilege of getting to listen to your story at a conference that we both attended. And I know everyone in that room was just so inspired. And I can tell you as a female founder and entrepreneur myself, your talk was just a rallying cry for me and for so many of the women in the room. And I know personally, it was just so transformative for me. So thank you for that. And I just want to acknowledge before we even get started, the incredible impact that you are having on this world, one person at a time. So thank you. We're just really excited talking to you today.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Nikki Miller:

Can you share -- well, I'll jump right into the book. Because I want to hear where this came from. You've been a long-time champion of believing in yourself, of believing in your knowing, your intuition. Where did Worthy come from?

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yeah. My entire life, Nikki and Jay, I thought if I just achieve enough, then I will finally feel enough. And I did a whole lot of achieving and I still do, and I'm really proud of it. And I never understood, and maybe this is for everyone listening as well, I never understood why when I finally got that huge goal or got the company to a certain level or had personal goals in relationships and in my personal life happened, I never understood why I finally got that thing but then always kind of deep down inside still felt like I wasn't enough or like something was missing.

And I always just thought, oh, I just have to work harder. I just have to go to the next level. Then I'll finally feel like I'm enough and it's enough. And that was my whole life. And it wasn't until after accomplishing and having the blessing of accomplishing some of my biggest hopes and dreams, I could have only, like I couldn't have even dreamed this big honestly, the days I was a Denny's waitress, like I knew inside I felt like I had great things to offer to the world, but I really doubted myself out of my own destiny for many years.

And it wasn't until really just reaching incredible heights in my business and in how I felt I was contributing to the world and everything else that I finally realized, oh, I actually have built a whole lot of self-confidence, I've been growing, I've been contributing all of those things, but I actually have low self-worth underneath all of it. And it was a huge epiphany for me. I discovered it through sabotaging a few things in my life, which we often do when we have low self-worth and don't know it.

And about three years ago, I became obsessed with studying like, how do you build self-worth? Because it's actually very different than self-confidence. And for so many people out there that maybe have felt like they've hit a ceiling in their business, or in the threshold of their own personal development, or in the depth of connection in their relationships, or in a ceiling and how they've decided or not decided to put their art or ideas or expression of who they are out in the world, our self-worth is our ceiling. Our self-worth is our ceiling in our business, in our goals, our ambitions, our relationships.

And I talk about this a lot in Worthy, and it's why I wrote the book is that we don't soar to the level of our hopes and dreams. We stay stuck at the level of our self-worth. And even when it comes to our businesses or our relationships, our ambitions, our hopes, our dreams, like we don't rise to what we believe is possible. We fall to what we believe we're worthy of. And it is the one thing, when you build your self-worth, whether you are a man, a woman, an entrepreneur, it doesn't matter, it changes every part of your life.

And the last thing I'll say about this is I, for a long time, I'm just so fired up about this because for a long time, I thought it was just me. I thought, oh, I'm so good at crushing it out in the world. And maybe there's just something inside of me I got to fix because I still feel like I'm not enough. And I still have so much self-doubt.

And what I've realized is, like literally right now as we're talking, 80 percent of women don't believe they're enough, 73 percent of men feel they're inadequate and not enough, 75 percent of female executives deal with imposter syndrome. It's a real thing. And I feel like A, no one's really talking about it or perhaps doesn't have awareness of it. And a lot of people confuse it and think, oh, I just need to build more self-confidence and get more skills and experience. And that's going to solve it. Not understanding, it's a whole other thing. And so when you change your self-worth, you change everything.

So that's why I wrote Worthy. It's a book that there's like over 20 tools in it on how to build self-worth. And I'm very excited and fired up. As you can tell.

Jay Papasan:

Can I ask just as the writer in me, what's the difference between self-confidence and self-worth? You made a very big distinction there. You had built up a lot of confidence, right? You did a lot of hard things. You did a thousand QVC appearances. You launched a company. You had the confidence in your ability to do things, but can you make that distinction? Maybe a little clearer for the listeners?

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yeah, absolutely. So self-confidence and self-worth so often, and for me, most of my life, I thought they were the same. I confused the two and sometimes use them interchangeably. So self-confidence, while it is an internal trait, it is based so much on what's happening in the external. It fluctuates. It's fragile. Our self-confidence rises and falls.

So our self-confidence is how we assess our own skills and abilities, and attributes. It's our willingness to try and go for it. Our self-confidence is how we feel we stack up and measure against other people. It's if we're winning or losing at any moment in time. And they do this studies that the boxer who wins the fight is automatically 30 percent more confident. So our self-confidence fluctuates and it's very much based on the external.

Our self-worth is the deep internal knowing that we are worthy of love and belonging exactly as we are, not as we achieve, not as our past mistakes or failures, not as if we're winning or losing, but like exactly as we are. And the situation almost all of us are in is that we are raised in a world where, through all the exciting advertisements and also through well intended family, we start to believe that if I finally get that thing, like then I'll be happy, then I'll be fulfilled. And for some of us, that thing is the dream car or my business hitting a certain level or getting married and having kids or six pack abs. And so we work so, so, so, so hard.

And like for everyone listening right now, if you can imagine one thing that you thought, oh my gosh, one day, whether it's weeks, months, or decades from now, if I finally get that thing, then I am going to be so fulfilled. I got it made in the shade, like then I'm happy. And what happens? We work so, so, so hard for that thing.

And in the journey and pursuit of it, there's three important things that happen. We build a lot of self-confidence, which is very important. We're often growing, which is really, really important. There's a whole chapter in Worthy about like the ultimate fulfillment equation and how important confidence is and growth is we're often contributing to something greater than our self. Those three things are really important, growth, contribution, building confidence. But all of those are multiplied by your level of self-worth for your fulfillment.

And so what happens is we get, we finally get that thing. And in the journey of it, we've built a lot of self-confidence but we haven't built any self-worth. And so we arrive at it, right? And there's that famous saying, wherever you go, you still take you with you. It's why people win the lotto and they lose it all. It's why if you haven't done the work inside, nothing on the outside can change it.

And so what I realized in my life is just I had done so much to build a lot of self-confidence, but not a lot of self-worth. And there's three, for anyone listening, by the way, there's three main ways that low self-worth shows up in our life. And before I even touch on those, I just want to say one thing, because I know whoever, I know that the people listening to this particular show are likely very ambitious and high achievers and very successful. And there is a lie that a lot of us believe like, well, if I just feel like I'm enough as I am, will I lose my ambition? Will I lose my edge? Will I, right? And so we get scared to believe we're actually enough.

And it's a lie. When you look at all -- I mean, so the more rock solid your self-worth is, you actually become more ambitious. You actually become fearless over putting yourself out there going for the thing because you know, even if you fail and fall flat on your face, it might shake your confidence for a minute, but it cannot touch your self-worth and you just become, and I know this now through living it, so much more fearless. The stronger your self-worth is, the more ambitious that you become.

But the two are very, very different. And we're in a world that just reinforces, you just need more confidence. And then we keep doing it and we keep building it and we still feel like we're not enough. So it is -- and the sad part about all this is that if we, most people will go their whole lives and continue to just thinking it needs to be more, it needs to be -- and then they actually never feel fulfillment in the pursuit of all the things. And so when you build really, really strong self-worth, you're actually able to enjoy and feel enough while you're achieving versus always feeling like something's missing perpetually.

Nikki Miller:

I think part of the challenge too, Jamie, and let me know if you see this is that for achievers, most of them will attach their self-worth to their net worth. And that's where we get in trouble. And net worth might not just be in their finances. It might be to your point in what they've achieved. But the challenge with achievement is I think as we grow, everything normalizes and therefore no longer feels like enough. Like it's like if your goal was to make a billion dollars, eventually you get there and making a billion dollars normalizes. And then you're like, well, now my goal is going to be to make two billion or three and it's never actually going to be enough.

So if you're attaching your self-worth and your self-confidence and your value to that achievement, you never actually arrive because you are an achiever. Your nature will be to go and achieve. So we try to put this outside world together in the hopes that it fixes what's happening inside. But confidence comes from evidence from my perspective. Like it just is evidence that we can do what we went out, set out to do at the beginning and yet self-worth we can't find outside.

So you started talking about the three ways and I'm waiting for it. I'm like, give me the three ways, Jamie, I want to know because we can't find self-worth outside. We have to find it inside.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yes. Yeah. And you'll see through evidence, and I will not name names, but you will see through evidence, politicians or particular people that have accomplished everything financially or in the business world. It doesn't even matter how much of that you achieve it, that cannot, even if you achieve all of it and you feel it's enough, it's still only build self-confidence. None of it actually builds self-worth. So you'll still always feel like something's missing, even if no matter what level that you get to if you don't build that internal self-worth that is completely separate and totally different from the outside.

So yeah, for anyone listening, if they're wondering, okay, wait, this is the first time I'm hearing about this. Do I really actually have any challenges with self-worth? I thought I'm really confident and I'm crushing it and I'm hitting numbers and okay. So self-worth usually shows up in three ways. And let me just be really clear. For me, the evidence of needing to build my self-worth, that showed up in the heights of my success, in the heights of my success.

And I can share a story in a second about this but they're very different, you guys. And so this really is such a big thing for everyone, especially again, anybody listening who might be crushing it in their business, in their lives, in their goals, in their dreams, and just feeling like something's missing. It's almost always this.

So self-worth, to even really realize, do I have an issue with this? Three of the most common ways it shows up. If you have low self-worth, and again, I'm going to say this over and over. You could be -- the world could think you're crushing it. You could be six pack abs, the bank account you want, the job type, all of it, but the way if you have underneath all the self-worth that shows up, most commonly when it's really low, it shows up in the form of sabotaging things or really staying stuck.

Okay, let me just go there. A lot of us feel stuck and we don't know why. And we think, oh, I just need to get more experience, then I'll get unstuck. Or I just need to work harder, then I'll get unstuck. A lot of people feel stuck, meaning they might be crushing it in all these areas of their life. But they feel like they have a book inside of them to write, and they don't know why they haven't started it. Or they have a huge business idea, and they don't know why they haven't registered the domain. Or they really like someone more than just friends and don't know why they haven't told them. Or they want a life partner, but haven't got back on the dating app.

I mean, this goes on and on and on. And we stay stuck, and we think it's because of all these other reasons. Oh, I just need to get in better shape. Oh, I need to get more experience. Oh, I need, but really, it's because we deep down inside don't believe we are worthy of the thing, right? Because in life, we don't become what we want, we become what we believe are worthy of. So we will stay stuck and not know why.

And there's probably, I'm going to guess that there'll be a lot of people that write into the two of you right now who know they have a book inside of them and have not written the first word. And they think, oh, I just need more free time, or I need this, or I need that. It's often because in that example, they have a deep down thing of, am I worthy of sharing my story with the world? Am I worthy of people wanting to hear what I have to say?

And low self-worth shows up in all kinds of forms tied to our identity that keep us stuck. If you have low to medium self-worth, it often looks like you sabotage stuff. So you'll actually go for it. You'll write the book, and you have half the manuscript done. And then you start scrolling Instagram for eight hours a day and you sabotage it. Or you meet that person who's incredible, whether it's a romantic relationship and you are like, this person's amazing. And then you just decide to put them in the friend zone, and you don't know why you're not attracted to them anymore. Or you meet someone who seems like they have great values and could be a potential new friend or new colleague and you don't even call them back.

Like when we have low to medium self-worth, we'll go for the things but will sabotage them. You'll hit a certain plateau in your business. You'll hit six figures. You really want seven figures. You don't know why you keep plateauing year after year. There's so many ways this shows up, but sabotaging things, even after we go for them is a big one.

And then if you have, you know, medium to high self-worth, what that looks like is you go for the thing. You actually accomplish it. You crush it. You do all those things, but you arrive at it still feeling like it's not enough, still feeling like something's missing, still feeling unfulfilled. So those are the three most --

Jay Papasan:

You hinted that that was your journey, that you arrived and realized that you still had -- something wasn't being fulfilled up by all the accomplishment.

Jamie Kern Lima:

There is a moment in time. So my whole life, I don't know if you guys ever watched Oprah growing up. So I was alone a lot as a kid and I would sit in my living room and watch Oprah every single day. And I had this feeling, right? I remember, and maybe I'd actually love to know if the two of you have ever had this feeling and anyone listening, but I remember I was eight years old and I saw an interview she did with Barbara Walters and she said to Barbara, I always knew I was destined for greatness, I was born for greatness. And I remember at the time being eight years old and thinking like, I have that feeling too.

Nikki Miller:

That's me. Me too.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Do you feel that too, Nikki?

Nikki Miller:


Jamie Kern Lima:

Jay, have you ever felt that inside?

Jay Papasan:

It came later. It came later. Towards the end of high school, I started to think maybe there was something bigger out there. Yeah.

Nikki Miller:

I was a kid just like you, Jamie.

Jay Papasan:

I was a late bloomer compared to you all. Yeah. There we go.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Okay. So I just remember someone putting a voice to that going, I have that feeling too. I bet a lot of people listening can relate to that. And I remember watching that. And when she said that, and then at the time, oh my gosh, the world was not ready for, especially a woman to declare that because she got so much backlash in the press for it. No one understood like declaring your greatness or no one understood speaking that kind of faith about your own potential out into the world. And so I remember at the time she got a lot of backlash, but I just connected with her.

And I remember growing up, I thought, and I was this girl in the suburbs of Washington State who no one in my family's ever gone to college, like no business thinking this way, but I felt like I was going to meet her one day. I just felt it. I just like knew it. And I dared to believe it was going to happen. Like I actually believed it was going to happen. And fast forward, 30 something years, and I had just sold the business I started in my living room for a billion dollars cash. All the things that you shared in the start of the show, is on the Forbes list for the first time, all of the things were happening and it's a long story.

But my assistant had written a letter. She didn't know what to get me that thought would change my life. And it is like a one in the odds or one in a billion any of this stuff happened and that the letter got to another person who got to another person and then got to Oprah's assistant. And then out of millions of things, she read it, and then shared it. And out of millions of things, Oprah read it, it's a whole thing. But I got surprised just before my 40th birthday at an event and was told I'm going to meet Oprah in the green room. I thought it was going to be for two seconds at a step and repeat wall. But I walked in, and it was just me and her in a green room. It was a whole thing. So I meet her. She afterwards invites me to lunch.

And I thought, I did not know the difference between self-confidence and self-worth at this time. And this was just a few years ago. I went to her house for lunch, it was a three-hour lunch, just me and her. Like better than I could -- it went better than I could have ever possibly dreamed of.

Nikki Miller:

I have to imagine it's every -- like, it's more than anyone could dream of, just being in her -- she has to be such a force. I can't, and the two of you together, I can't even imagine. I wish I could --

Jay Papasan:

Did you tell her about the Barbara Walters? Did you tell her about the Barbara Walters?

Jamie Kern Lima:

I don't know if I did. I may. I did. Actually, I did in my thank you letter. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I did.

Jay Papasan:


Jamie Kern Lima:

And at the very end of this lunch at her house, she writes down her cell phone number and she says, call me anytime.

Nikki Miller:

Oh, I’m going to cry.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yeah, yeah. So you can call me anytime. And I am freaking out but trying to be very cool. And I'm like, absolutely. Like, thank you so much. Like all the things. And you guys, I did not call her for four years. I know Jay knew this story. I did not call her for four years. And I thought, and by the way, now put it this in perspective for everyone listening, I was so confident, the world was telling me I'm crushing it. When L'Oreal bought my business, like I stayed on as CEO. I gave him my word I'd say for three years, I doubled the size of the business the first two years post-acquisition. Like we are crushing our sales force, everything. Like we're crushing it. And every one of our retail partners, like everything is so great.

And meanwhile, I'm not calling who I have looked up to my entire life. And four years goes by and in that time window, I'm telling myself stories like, oh, I just don't have the right thing to say yet. I think of the perfect thing to say, then I'm going to call her. Or I would think of, oh, everyone just wants something from her. Like, I'm going to prove to her I'm a real friend. I don't need any. Like all these stories, right? In my head. And then one day I realized the real reason I hadn't called her was because deep down inside, I did not believe I was worthy of being her friend.

And this is what having all the self-confidence in the world, all the achievements in the world, all the accomplishments in the world, but underneath it all, when you don't believe you are enough as you are, and you are worthy as who you are at the core, your identity level, you will sabotage things like I did with Oprah for four years. You'll stay stuck and not go after them, or you'll actually get them but still not feel fulfilled.

And so that was the moment that I literally realized because I think self-doubt lives in our mind and it's not the truth and our truth is in our soul and in our knowing. And I just remember that day. Like literally, I imagine myself like turning down the volume like a volume dial on my doubt in my mind and like turning up that volume of my soul that knows, oh, I'm a kick ass friend. Like she would be, or anybody was so lucky to be my friend. Like I am a great ride or die kind of -- like I am a great friend and I know that to be true.

And that was the moment where I was like, I have to stop listening to myself doubt, turn up the volume on my knowing. That was the day I called her. That was the day I called her. It took four years. And that's also when I became obsessed with understanding what is the difference between self-worth and self-confidence. And since then, she and I've taught a class together. All this stuff has happened that almost didn't happen. And she's a great friend. It almost didn't happen.

And I think about every single person listening, this is why I wrote Worthy. I'm donating 100 percent of the proceeds. Like I don't -- I think about the people listening who, what is almost not happening in their life and their business and their relationships, in their ideas and who they're born to be because if you don't have self-worth underneath at all, you will doubt yourself out of your own destiny.

Jay Papasan:

Yeah. One of our mantras in writing The ONE Thing was like, we wanted people to be able to say, I'm glad I did versus regretting. I wish I tried. And so just getting people out of that moment of self-doubt, it's so important. Like, if you had not had that epiphany, I mean, or you could have had that epiphany four months instead of four years, what could have happened right in between?

But I'll tell you this, Nikki. I learned this -- I heard the story from Jamie earlier. I was hoping that was the story she would tell for our audience. She gave me -- Jamie gave me her cell phone number and I called her within 24 hours. I was not -- I was going to learn right there.

Nikki Miller:

You did not wait four years.

Jay Papasan:

That's right.

Nikki Miller:

And it turns out, I bet Jamie, you didn't have to have the perfect thing to say. Where I think often, we're looking for the perfect plan or the perfect thing to say or the perfect path forward, not realizing that it just doesn't exist. That's also something that we make up in our mind as an excuse not to move forward on whatever that thing is.

I want to acknowledge your immense courage to have this conversation because I know that so many people are listening to this and this is something that's so hard to name and so hard to articulate, but we feel it and you are putting words to something that so many people feel and don't know why they get to that achievement or get to that goal and they look up and say, man, this is everything I ever wanted, and I am still not happy or not fulfilled, or I still feel like there's a puzzle piece missing. And what's wrong with me I bet would be the first thought that comes to mind to so many. And I think that this is the answer to that. It's not that anything's wrong. It's just that we haven't figured out the puzzle pieces that live inside and how to find our internal worthiness.

So I just want to acknowledge that as someone who has achieved what you've achieved, I have to imagine it's hard to raise your hand and say me too. And yet, I can tell you personally, I love you all the more for it.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Well, thank you. And I almost, it was funny, I was thinking about this the other day that, because every once in a while I'm like, yeah, I've worked really hard. I did a hundred-hour weeks for a decade. I did a thousand live shows, sold a billion dollars of product direct to camera. Like I worked really hard, but I also have a lot of family that has worked just as hard as me. My parents, my mom who recently passed away, worked just as hard. I know a lot of people work just as hard as me and haven't had this kind of an outcome with their business or anything else.

And I was just thinking the other day, you just reminded me of it, Nikki, that like, I actually think our steps are ordered in life. And I think part of why I've had the gift and the blessing of accomplishing so many things that the world celebrates is I think I was meant to learn this lesson that while that's great and fun and awesome, and I have more ambition now than ever, it's not the thing. Like there's never enough that will fill that void if you look for it on the outside. And I'm not a person that says, don't go looking on the outside. I'm like, oh yeah, keep putting everything out in the world.

Nikki Miller:

Keep driving.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Oh yeah. Like I believe in being the highest, fullest, as Oprah would say, the highest, fullest, truest expression of yourself. And to do that, building confidence, expressing your gifts and your talents, your ideas and your art, and growing and serving beyond yourself, those things are critical to that. But if that one piece is missing, it will never, ever feel fulfilling and feel enough.

And I think I wouldn't have known that because I would still -- had I not had all of these things that are externally celebrated, I think I would have never realized that's not the piece missing. A lot of us think, oh, the piece missing is the six pack abs or the goal weight or the cover of this magazine or that award inside my company or whatever that title. And those things are amazing. Again, I still work harder than ever. But they're only fulfilling when you have that puzzle piece inside at your own identity level. And that's really self-worth. It's who you are and who you believe you are at your core, irregardless of anything else going on around you.

And again, we see so many examples of this, whether it's in people that achieve great fame, and no one knows why they sabotage everything. Or people who are in privileged positions to impact our world but continue to let the ego drive everything or people that win gold medals or make it to the moon or anything and come back and that's not the thing. So it's everywhere.

And I think that this is very new. This is very new. And I think it's going to be, I hope such a gift to so many people. Because the other part of this is if we keep driving so hard and so hard and so hard and are never fulfilled, it's a never-ending cycle to nowhere. It's also why people get burnt out because none of it is fulfilling when deep down inside, by the way, it's why people, they think something's missing in their marriage, they think it's their job's fault why they're not fulfilled or it's their partner's fault, but they don't realize like, oh, wait, as I am who I am at my core, I don't believe I'm fully worthy and enough. That's the one thing, I’m doing the work there.

So becoming obsessed with this for the last three years has changed every part of my life. It's changed my marriage. It's changed how I parent. It's changed like the joy, putting this book which I'm so excited out there in the world, Worthy, the joy of that process. I watch people -- what I know is I'll speak faith when this book is a huge success, that will feel great. And God forbid it's not, that will really suck, but I will feel unshakably worthy right now, regardless.

And I couldn't have said that just a few years ago. I would have been tied to an outcome thinking that that would somehow impact my sense of fulfillment and joy. And listen, I know I said this before, but just it's people's biggest fear, especially ambitious people is like, oh, I don't want to lose my edge. If I feel enough, I'll lose my edge. I'm telling you, you just gained fearlessness and just an unshakability.

Nikki Miller:

Well, I don't think you've lost your edge, Jamie. That's for sure.

Jay Papasan:

Yeah. But if you were making the outside accomplishments, thinking that was going to fill the hole, then you're actually scared of failure. But when you know the hole has already been filled, it's a very different scenario. So I want to ask you the question like, so I'm sure thousands of people are saying, that's me, now what do I do? And I'm going to add a secondary question and I'll remind you if it's too much, but you're a parent, I'm a parent, Nikki's a parent. But my thought is, I don't want my child to have to learn this in their thirties, forties, or fifties. How could I start fostering a healthy sense of self-worth early in their life? Is that something that you examine in the book?

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yes. Yeah, we dive into tons of tools in there. It's interesting with parenting, right, because all the studies and data are changing by the day. And that's one of the most controversial areas that no one agrees on. But what I will say is when it comes to building self-worth, you have two schools. A lot of people are worried that right now this generation is doing nothing. They have no ambition, and they don't want to work hard.

And there's that whole kind of worry out there about that but there's still this underlying tone always of the first question people ask kids or even adults is, what do you do? And are you married yet? Are you dating anyone? Those are the questions. And we are raised to believe once I have great answers to those questions, that is the bar of then being enough.

And so we really just believe that lie. And I think that's how a lot of us fall into this trap of, well, wait a minute. I am all the things that everyone's has asked me about for decades. I have all of those now. Why do I not feel enough? And because those are all external. And so that's the big thing. And I think with kids, of course, we want to instill work ethic and ambition and hard work, and all of those things we want them to do well, we want them to be set up for success. But I think being so aware of just simply asking them how they are, how they feel, how hard they tried, those kind of things versus what the outcome was is important.

And also the most important thing we can do as a parent is build our own self-worth. That is the most important thing because when you look at all the studies, they show that often when it comes to things that hurt someone else's self-confidence, whether it is your partner, your spouse or your children, they'll share with you when somebody hurt their self-confidence or when something hurt their self-confidence, but they often will not share when something hurt their self-worth.

And so it's why, and in particular, a lot of men will stuff this identity stuff deep down inside when it has to do with self-worth, but if something happened that hurts their confidence, they'll share it and not even know the difference. And then also with kids, like when your kids have something that shapes their confidence in school or this or that, they'll share it. When it's something way deeper level, self-worth and identity stuff, they won't.

And so the most important thing is for us, as individuals, to do the work internally, A, so we understand it and then B, so we can set the example. When it comes to -- a lot of people are people pleasers. And they think if I can just make everyone else happy and just have a lot of friends and have a lot of great colleagues and make my partner happy and all these kinds of things but what's happening is our depth of love and connection with another person can only be as deep as our depth of love and connection with ourselves.

And most of us are walking around feeling lonelier than ever, even though we think we have a lot of great people in our lives, and we don't know why we feel lonely. And a lot of times, it's because we've been taught that self-love is selfish and all of these other things. And we just think if we give and serve and do everything for everyone else, then that's enough, and that's when we won't feel lonely.

But doing the work of understanding, like who are you and learning to build your own self-worth and love yourself, which for a lot of people listening, I'm imagining a lot of people listening right now, we're taught to think that something we don't even need, that's not important, that's soft, that's this, that's that. And don't even get it twisted. If you want to double your success, you double your self-worth. If you want to double your net worth, you double your self-worth. Like it's going to sound soft. It is not a soft thing. It is a strategy, probably the most strategic strategy I think you can do when it comes to your business, et cetera. But it all starts internally.

And there's been this -- and you guys will know, and I know that you are so familiar with so many of the great thought leaders, the great icons and personal development. And there's been an example around forever that you've heard many people share about your internal thermostat. And for anyone maybe listening who hasn't heard this, it's an age-old example that a lot of people have used that's really powerful, that when you imagine like an automatic thermostat in a room, right, that will kick in the AC or the heat, depending on the temperature of the room. When you imagine, like, let's say the room is set at 75, but all of a sudden, everything's cold and it cools down, that heater will kick on and get the room back up to 75. When things get really hot, the AC kicks on.

And the example that's really powerful, that's been around forever is that your own identity has a number, right? And you can even go more granular at this, and you can say your own self-worth has a number. And if deep down inside you believe you're worthy of right at 75 and things go really bad in your life, you'll fix them. You'll figure it out. You'll get it back together again. You'll solve the issue. You'll get back into the habits that are carved in your neural pathways, and you'll get right back to 75.

And similarly, like I started our conversation talking about how your self-worth is your ceiling, if stuff starts to go really, really well in your life and your business is doing eight figures and it's always done seven and all the things, but you still have that worthiness at a 75. Your self-worth is your ceiling. So your AC will kick on, you'll sabotage it. You'll do all the things to get back to that 75.

So doing the work internally on self-worth, on knowing, just even being aware, huh, what is my own number, right? For everyone listening right now, if you had to rate your own self-worth, which is very different than self-confidence, your own self-worth, your belief that you are enough and fully worthy of love and belonging exactly as you are. If you lost everything around you that the world celebrates and it's just you sitting there with you, what number would you give yourself? And raising that, raising that will be the one thing that really really changes everything.

So the first thing I'd say is being aware of this is a huge thing because I know just simply from the gift of some of the rooms that I've had the blessing of talking to even in the past few months, most people are like, oh, like, I won't say what word they say because, but it's a huge aha moment where they're like, oh, wow, this is the thing actually that's missing from my life, being aware of it, and making the decision to realize that you're worthy of building your own self-worth. You're worthy of asking yourself who am I? Like who truly am I and how do I learn to love myself and accept myself for who I am?

Because so many of us wake up in the morning, we put on the mask of the person we think we're supposed to be. We put on our uniform of who the world expects us to be in our job and in everything else. And we live our lives as only part of who we are, hiding all of who we are or not even remembering who we truly are. And every time we show up as a people pleaser or as someone else or as only part of who we are, we're telling ourselves deep down inside, we're unworthy of being who we really are. And it slowly chips away at our self-worth.

Jay Papasan:

I think we used to hit it earlier. Like you meet someone a stranger at a party, like, what do you do? Right. And or how like you're looking for those easy connections and we all do that. And if you ask someone who they are, most of the time they're going to give you their profession or a role in their life, I'm a mom, I'm a dad, right? We tend to define ourselves around what we do and the biggest or most important roles in our life.

Like if I, in the weird world, where we would actually ask this question and say meeting it -- like Jamie, who are you? How would you describe yourself as someone who has found their worth?

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yeah. I love -- we have -- I’m trying to think of some of our mutual friends, Jay, who do this. Jim Quick is coming. There's some people that will say, like, what's lighting you up right now? Or just like different questions that they have that kind of break the ice. And listen, I think it's always going to be normal and expected for people to ask those kinds of questions. I think the key is that we're not asking ourselves those kinds of questions internally. Meaning that we think when we have a really great answer to what we do, to ourselves, that that's the key. And it's really about just taking those steps of becoming aware of who you are and embracing who you are.

There's an entire chapter in Worthy called You're Not Crazy, You're Just First. And let me share this for a minute because, to go back to this, it chips away at our self-worth when we think we have to be a certain role, have a great answer, have all the things the world celebrates to be enough. And we start hiding who we are, doubting who we are, hiding the parts of ourselves we think are odd or quirky or whatever.

And you hear this idea of authenticity all the time. And it's a very common topic that's talked about. I think people don't realize though, how critical authenticity is to self-worth and to like, just a very easy tool to start building it. So a couple of things, right? So growing up, I would always, I'd have these big wild ideas and I'd always hear from members of my family, like you're crazy. Who do you – like things like that do not happen to people like us, all these things, right? And I always kind of --

Jay Papasan:

You almost said it. Who do you think you are? Right? That's the question. Right? Yeah. Who do you think you are anyway?

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yeah. Who do you think you are? And for anyone listening who's ever felt like they didn't belong, or they didn't fit in, or they had to change who they are to fit in, or you felt like people called you things like odd, different, crazy, quirky, out there, I always felt that way growing up, and eventually, I have five families, I was adopted, it's a whole story, but I eventually, in my late twenties was the first to ever go to therapy of anyone I know in any of the families.

And I remember this moment where I said to the therapist, I'm like, my family's like, they're always telling me I'm different, I'm odd, and who do I think I am? I'm crazy. And I asked her point blank. I'm like, am I crazy? Like, am I crazy? And she said to me, no, but I'm really glad you're here. And she said, when you are somebody who is brave enough, and I want everyone to hear this, like listening, when you are -- like, you're the first ever you that has ever been in existence. The first you that has your thoughts, your experiences, your emotions. All of us have unique fingerprints and tongue prints and heartbeats and irises of our eyes. There's no one else in the history of the universe that's you. You're the first ever you.

And when you are one of the very rare, brave ones willing to actually be who you are, like fully authentically, like don't be surprised if people don't get it right away, or if people don't understand your ideas, or if you don't always feel like you belong in a room because you're not crazy, you're just first. You're the first ever you. And when I had this conversation with this therapist, it was like literally like a light bulb moment for me. It was so bright that it burst. When I realized I'm not crazy, I'm just first.

And this understanding has helped me not take it personal when I walk into a room and don't feel like I belong necessarily. I don't take it at an identity level. I'm like, oh no, no, I'm not crazy, I'm just first, the first ever me. But then as I grew my business, right, when I launched IT Cosmetics in my living room, oh, my goodness, you all, it was years, years and years and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of nos.

By the way, there's a whole chapter in Worthy called When You Change Your Relationship with Rejection, You Change Your Entire Life. And it's like this masterclass with a framework on how to reframe rejection, reframe nos, revisit and reframe past rejections in your life, huge to become fearless in your business, especially not let rejections take root at an identity level where you start to think you're a rejection which we can do. And that's when it affects our self-worth.

But this idea back to the -- so much I want to share. Back to the idea of you're not crazy, you're just first. Over and over in my business and in growing it IT Cosmetics, oh my gosh, and the number of rejections and the number of retailers that had said, well, you should change this about your packaging or change the way you're positioning this or do things different. I just don't see how that's going to work. And I'd always filter these rejections and this feedback through my intuition and go, okay, is there a part of that that's valuable that I feel that, oh, that's true because feedback is a gift.

But when I felt like, no, no, no, I actually don't agree, I feel in my gut that's not quite right, I would just remember, I'm not crazy, I'm just first. And because I'm doing something authentically, it's first. And for everybody listening, who has told themselves, oh, there's a million people who have done my idea or there's a million people who like, I don't have anything special to offer, I just want to say like when I entered the beauty space, for example, I knew nothing about it. What I did know is there was hundreds of thousands of companies in that space, all doing similar products. But that doesn't matter when you are willing and brave enough to do it authentically.

By definition, it has never been done before. I don't care what it is, whether it is selling real estate, whether it is launching a business, whether it is putting a poetry out and so it doesn't matter what it is. If you are willing to do it as who you authentically are fully, it's never been done before. And so don't be surprised if not everyone gets it. Don't be surprised if even touted visionaries don't think it's going to work right away, your way. I've always learned that most people cheer you on after you make it. And so –

Nikki Miller:

So true.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Needs to hear that today. You're not crazy, you're just first.

Nikki Miller:

Jamie, when I heard you the first time at the event that we were both at, you talked about all of the nos that you received. And I have to wonder, if maybe you don't give yourself enough credit for the worthiness that you did find in yourself that you did have early on, because the more you speak, the more I wonder if people's nos is a reflection sometimes of their worthiness. It's hard for us to conceptualize something we haven't seen before. And if they haven't ever brought something like that to fruition or they don't believe they could do it, it seems to me it might be impossible for them to believe that you could do it.

And you said something that day, I wrote it down and I still will probably not get it as eloquently as you did. But you talked about all the nos that you received and just about your relentless perseverance and building IT Cosmetics. And you said that when someone gave you a no, you received it as they gave you a no, but God gave you a knowing. And effectively, you felt like God was protecting you from what wasn't for you.

And by the way, if I botched this, please correct me. And I just felt like it was so powerful. And I would love for you to share, expand a little bit on that perspective. It sounds like it's in the book, but I would love for you to share how you built that because I think every achiever, whether they're an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur or whatever they're doing receives these no's and sometimes takes them as you differentiated, rejection is not the same as you being rejected.

And I think it's often hard for us to find ourselves within that. So can you just give us a short version because I know we're coming up on our time, a short version of what we could expect reading the book.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yeah. That's such a great question. And so, so many times people think that the nos and the rejection and the failures are somehow an indication of their potential or the possibility of success. And they are almost always not. It's so funny. I remember a quote that Jay Z once said where he said about him and Beyonce. He said, the genius thing we did was we didn't give up and like, sometimes it's that simple. Every single person -- okay.

So let me back up a minute. On my journey to building IT Cosmetic. So one of the things I've talked a lot about, thank you for sharing that. That's so -- I'm so grateful to hear that that resonated with you as well because every single one of us faces nos, rejections, failures, setback. And one of the things that I learned in my journey was when I got still, and I think this is universal no matter someone has any particular faith, or believes in the universe or whatever you believe in.

For me, I'm Christian. I get really still. I pray and I ask God for a knowing. I pray for that, right? You can even call it your intuition. For me, that's how I hear God is through my intuition and my gut feeling. And every time building IT Cosmetics, and I mean hundreds of nos, and some of them were so painful, it was like, whoa, and they weren't like, come back later. It was like, uh-uh.

Nikki Miller:

Hard no.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Hard no, forever. And every time when I was tempted to quit, or I would be crying myself under my covers, I would get still, and I'd always feel this knowing that I was supposed to keep going. And there was one no in particular that was so painful that there was a potential, it was a private equity company. And the head investor, after we got through rounds and rounds of everything, including the diligence phase, and I thought an investment was going to happen, at the very end, he said no, we're going to pass on investing.

And after I'd asked him why for quite a while, he said, I just don't think women will buy makeup from someone who looks like you with your body and your weight. And when he said those words, first of all, I never actually felt angered toward him, but I felt like a lifetime of self-doubt and body doubt, like fled my body all at once when he had said that. But what happened in that moment when he said that no to me was I got this feeling like deep down inside in my gut that like, so I could feel like it was yesterday when I think about it, that said, he's wrong.

Like I felt that, like he's wrong, that feeling. Right. And every one of us has a gut feeling. Every one of us, every man, every woman, we all have that knowing, that intuition. I believe it's more powerful than anyone else's advice. And when I look back at that moment, what I know happened was that he had given me a no, but God gave me a knowing. And I believe in our life, our relationships, our business, our hopes, our dreams, it's so often comes down to which one we listen to. Do we listen to the nos or do we listen to the knowing?

And by the way, so often we're the ones giving ourselves the most painful nos in our head. We're the ones looking in the mirror in the morning going, I don't think I have what it takes, I'm going to sabotage this deal today, I'm worried I'm going to F up the whole presentation. Like we're the ones giving ourselves the most powerful nos. But those are in our head and when we learn to turn down the volume on that and turn up the volume on our knowing, like that's when we're in our soul, that's when we're in our power. And so being able to differentiate that is huge.

And then also, I go into Worthy really deep into this framework called the four Rs. And for anybody who is in a profession or simply an ambition where you put yourself out, you're one of the brave ones who puts yourself out there in the world. And whether it's in the past or your present, and you've dealt with a lot of rejections, failures, people, setbacks, people who have let you down, this is probably one of the most life changing tools.

So Jay, you'll appreciate this. I wrote a whole book called When You Change Your Relationship with Rejection, You Change Your Life. This is going to be my third book. But I'd have to wait two years for it to come out after Worthy. And I was so impatient that it's now chapter two inside Worthy.

Jay Papasan:

All right. You don't have to wait.

Jamie Kern Lima:

You don’t have to wait. But it talks about how, because I went through hundreds and hundreds of nos. And a lot of us, we let the rejection or the failures, including past failures, when we get rejected or failure or fail, it hurts our confidence. But a lot of us have had it happen so many times, we've let it convince us and take root at an identity level that somehow, we're a failure, or we're rejected. And I go through how to identify if that's happened in your life and then how to completely reframe it so that it doesn't hold you back and how to become fearless with rejection, with failure, with nos.

Because what I'll say is, and I had to do this early on long before I understood the difference between self-worth and self-confidence when I was building IT Cosmetics. I, probably out of sheer grace, learned how to identify rejection, identify what is my current definition of rejection and failure? What's the meaning I'm currently attaching to it? And is that meaning helping me or not? It was not.

And I reframed and assign new meaning to rejection failure. And I built a whole toolbox of definitions I believe to be true of what rejection and failure means to me when it happens. I revisited past rejections and failures in my life from family, from childhood stuff, from business stuff. And I literally redefined all of those and got to the point where they're all reframed and no longer feel like lead balloons attached to my wings when I'm trying to fly.

And I go through a framework in Worthy on how to do this because when you change your relationship with rejection and failure, you change your entire life. And there's so many issues I still am working on in my life, but one of them is not -- I am fearless when it comes to rejection and failure and being told no. And I'm telling you, it's one of the keys to how I built a billion-dollar business in my living room because every single person, every single retailer that said no, and some of them said no for years. Even after I had built the biggest luxury make company in the country, some of them were still saying no, even when I could prove I'd make them a lot of money eventually. Eventually, every single one of them turned into a yes, right? And it's how we built.

And so had I not learned how to change my relationship with rejection and failure, I would have taken it personally. I would have thought it's some indication I'm going to fail, and I can never build that company my living room into a billion-dollar business. So yeah, there's a whole masterclass really on. That was its own book, but it's now chapter two in Worthy, all about this. For anyone who deals with nos and rejections, this is going to be huge, huge in your life. So, and in your self-worth because we let it take root often in our self-worth.

Nikki Miller:

Well, thank you for that. Jamie, I can tell you the saddest part of my day is this interview coming to an end. I wish we could keep you for the next couple of hours. This has been incredible. Thank you. Thank you personally for me and I know Jay and I know all of our listeners are going to absolutely love this episode. If everyone wants to connect with you, where can they find you? We're going to drop the link to your book in the show notes. Worthy comes out February 20th, but if they want to connect with the amazing you, where should they find you?

Jamie Kern Lima:

Yeah. So website is worthybook.com or jamiekernlima.com. And then I am on Instagram at @JamieKernLima. And lots of really fun behind the scenes videos on my YouTube right now, all the stuff with the book launch, everything coming out and then lots of new. Everything I do is free out there. And I donate all the proceeds from the book as well. But I have lots of really cool content on business, on self-worth, all kinds of stuff on YouTube, which is at @JamieKernLimaOfficial. So thank you both for having me so much.

Nikki Miller:

Thank you for being here.

Jamie Kern Lima:

This has been -- I can't believe how fast this flew by and just grateful and honored to be here. So thank you.

Jay Papasan:

I'm grateful that after selling your $1 billion exit of a company, like that would have been the finish line for a lot of people. It was just the first chapter. Like you're on to something bigger and better. So what a gift. Thank you so much for sharing with us and our listeners.

Jamie Kern Lima:

Thank you.


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