The Cost of Living in a State of Optional

As a tribe of unicorns, gladiators and change agents, we like to have options. But OPTIONS are different than living in an OPTIONAL state.

So, what does that mean in terms of your goals? When you live in a state of optional, it means you have a goal that you really, really want to achieve–unless it takes you past your comfort zone or causes you discomfort.

For example, you may really want to succeed in business, unless growing it costs too much money to invest in the skills you need. Or you really want to make a relationship work, until the person is getting on your last nerve and you don’t want to choose your words carefully. Or you really want to lose weight, but you don’t want to level up or push harder in the gym or say no to the things you love to eat in the refrigerator. Or maybe you really want to get out of debt and save money, but that vacation is just too tempting.

Now, living in a state of optional DOES NOT mean that you don’t care about your goals or have a really strong desire to achieve them. You may have wanted them for years. It DOES NOT mean you have not made them important or prioritized them.

What it DOES mean is that you have not yet made the distinction between optional and non-negotiable.  You haven’t….

…Moved every other option off the table

…Declared it as a NO MATTER WHAT

…Gotten into radical action

…Committed to get off the stop/start train

Whether it’s related to your finances, relationships, health, family or business, living in a state of optional always comes with a cost.

So, take a moment and think about something you’ve put in the category of optional.

For me, looking back, it was my health and wellness that was optional. I mean I went on diet after diet, hired trainer after trainer, had conversations about it all the time, but I hadn’t made it a non-negotiable in my life. I was not willing to be radical about it. I wasn’t willing to be inconvenienced for my dreams about it. I wanted to change, but I wasn’t willing to do everything all of the time—full court press—consistently enough or long enough to make a difference.  For 19 years I was over 200 pounds and had multiple medical challenges. Finally, when I made my health a non-negotiable and became radical about it, I shifted from asking, “What do I have to do?” to “I’ll do whatever it takes.” That was the difference for me between optional and non-negotiable.

So, what does optional look like to you and what would shifting it to non-negotiable look like for you?


Think about the shift in terms of a relationship (sibling, parent, child, lover, partner, business associate) or your business. For me in a relationship, a non-negotiable is making sure every time I speak, I leave my partner’s dignity intact and find out what they need from the conversation. Even if it is a tense conversation. I will look past the words to what their need is and do everything I can to fulfill that need.


In my business, I will become a student in the areas I need to learn and further develop skills in. I’m going to invest in me and be the first investor in my dream. It meant taking the money I earned from my job and applying that money to my business. It meant hooking my caboose to someone else’s train. It meant giving myself patience and grace and not getting frustrated or quitting, whether it took a year or 10 years. I was going to succeed no matter what once my business became a non-negotiable.


Non-negotiables in your finances might look like saving money and saying no to the things you really love so that you can recognize that money saved is money earned. It might be learning about investing so you can get high ROI. It might mean investing in something even if there is risk involved. It might mean having uncomfortable conversations about money.


In your family, a non-negotiable might be setting new habits and rituals around dinner time Or, apologizing without defending or justifying your behavior. It might be setting healthy boundaries so that you are present with your family during family time—no matter how important a business call might be.

When you touch your non-negotiable, you no longer wonder IF you’ll do it. You simply shift to looking for WHEN it will get done. So, I want to invite you to be specific about what you’ve treated as optional because awareness is the first level of growth.

Remember, this show is not a monologue. It’s a dialogue of delicious, dynamic conversations. I’d love to hear from you. What was your biggest takeaway or #AHA from this particular episode?  Did you have a #BOL (breakthrough out loud)? What did you stop and go, “Wow, I’ve been in a state of optional about that?” Did you need to hear this message today? Please share your comments with me below because I want to hear your feedback.

This is your home. We are your tribe, and I am your sister–that’s non-negotiable for sure. And when I say that I believe in you, and I love you, it’s because I truly do.

Your Sister in Prosperity and Possibility,

28 replies
  1. Polly Liontis
    Polly Liontis says:

    Thank you so much, Lisa, for your light and wisdom. I so needed to hear this today. I have been living in a state of optional for far too long, in regards to my dream, my finances, my goal of becoming an entrepreneur. I am currently in a state of Parallel-preneur, but only optionally. I am non-negotiable with my health, but when it comes to my dream I have been living optionally, and now is the moment to change and become non-negotiable with my dream and the very best ways to use my God-given gifts. My goals are to become truly financially independent, to have true autonomy in my life, and to bring my gifts forward so as to fulfill my dharma. In the next 90 days, my non-negotiable action is to download recording software onto my computer, buy a microphone, and begin recording the many meditations I create. Thank you again. Your light is so bright.

  2. Nanette Buchanan
    Nanette Buchanan says:

    Hey Lisa,
    Thank you so much for this!! Yes, I’ve had a discussion with myself about optional and non-negotiable over and over again. For the most part, I don’t accept the optional. You see, the options give detours that prolong achieving my needs. But weight loss… everything comes before working consistently on my weight. I work hard at my business, but an exercise…only when I pay attention to having to buy another size. So my next 90 days I’m going to change habits, and be non-negotiable with working on my weight loss… being 200+ is not an option but it’s the result if I don’t do this exercise.

  3. Gail Mitchell Hall
    Gail Mitchell Hall says:

    Lisa: Before I was looking in your eyes, BEFORE you mentioned looking into mine, I thought to myself, “GOD she is so authentic”. I’m not sure how you knew that I am/was working on “Optional” mode, which I never knew until now. But I believe you are divinely sent for such a time as now. It makes me holler out loud and praise my GOD. I had been praying for this type of support for years, and here it is right in front of me. The ball is definitely in my ball court.

    TEACHER/SISTER LISA: In the next 90 Days, my non-negotiable is to work and implement practices taught and suggested by and through my weekly “Speak for Ultimate Impact…” training program starting today Oct 25, 2020.

    GOD HELP ME GIVE ME COURAGE…My dream is sooooo ripe!

    GAIL the “Student is ready, LISA the Teacher HAS appeared”. Thank you GOD, Thank you LISA!

  4. Kaye P. Brooks
    Kaye P. Brooks says:

    Lisa, I so look forward to your episodes but this one got me. Wow. Everytime I attempt to go non stop with my non negotiables, I find myself still being optional. It stings so bad because I know I’m creative, brilliant with tons of greatness in me yet, I’m still obviously not in non negotiable yet though I thought so. So today Lisa, withon 90 days I will have created my brand and sharing it with my website. I will also create a private fb page for like-minded women over 50. This was my gift for today from you. Thank you for being Lisa and sharing some of you with me.

  5. Jacqueline Jackson
    Jacqueline Jackson says:

    I really needed this. This is awake up call, too much time waisted. The one thing you can get back, but my God said that He will renew the time.
    Thank You

  6. Teresa
    Teresa says:

    Such an amazing message! You know what has been the biggest optional in my life? ME. I’ve allowed people to make me optional, I’ve sacrificed myself and my health to help others. Thankfully I have been changing this over the last year, but the consequences of me being optional for so long have had lasting effects, not living where I want to, not having the friendships that I want to, etc. My next 90 is rebuilding myself, investing in myself, investing in my relationship with God my father above all else.

  7. Aurora
    Aurora says:

    Hey there! What an eye opening video! I have made my finances and education an option. For so many years I’ve found excuse after excuse for not saving money and spending every last penny. Due to that, my education goals and lots of other things have suffered the consequences. I need to value myself and money. I need to re-evaluate and maybe re-arrange my life because I want to make finances and education non-negotiable.

  8. Maddy
    Maddy says:

    Dear Lisa – you’ve helped me realise that my relationship has become a little optional recently. We’ve been snipping at each other when we never used to, and I’d forgotten my pledge to be the first to apologise. So my relationship is part of my #Mynext90.
    I have an option on a novel that I intend to make into a film. It’s cost me 18 months and another $1000 plus by allowing it to be optional. Limestone is part of #Mynext90.
    I have also told people I will be finishing my part time job to focus on filmmaking. My countdown to giving notice is at 16 days, and I still don’t have the certainty that I’m in the position to do it … Yes I do. I know where the funds are and it is now non-negotiable!! #Mynext90 Thank you Lisa!!!!

  9. Shera
    Shera says:

    Wow. This episode really hit home. I thought I was doing what needed to be done to achieve my goals. Not only have I been making my goals optional, I have been making myself an option as well. I didn’t even realize that compromising on my dreams and goals was making them optional in the first place. In the next 90 days I will re-evaluate what I want and need, re-evaluate my goals and put my business and myself om the non negotiable path. Thank you for this eye opening talk.

  10. Rosemary
    Rosemary says:

    Hey Lisa,
    Today Lisa you are amazing. I needed to hear your words today. I have two children books that have been optional for a very long time.,I start I stop. Saying I cannot afford to publish a book. I need a Graffic artist. Optional or excuses ?
    Listening to you today I am happy to say it is a non negotiable!!!!!!!!! I have found my Graffic artist. Not sure where the money will be coming from YET!
    However my Grandmother would tell us or really throw this comment to all of us to hear “just you be ready”.
    Many many years-have gone by and she has gone on to glory.
    I still hear her saying “just you be ready” What ever you want in life “just you be ready for it! Get up early and be ready for the opportunity. And as soon as I was ready the opportunities showed up. Like amazing and almost spooky. Lol
    My children’s books has just moved to the non negotiable state!
    Thank you for always making me smile.And making me think.
    As soon as I listen to what ever your topic, I smile all day. You give hope!❤️

  11. Rich
    Rich says:

    Powerful ! Just in Time! I realize the vast majority of my life has been optional! My birthday is in November and every year come B-day I’m supposed to look this way LBS. Lost, and have been there and done that and the Beat goes on! Yup, Like less Brown says if your casual about your Dreams you will end up a Casualty! Thanks Sister !

  12. Eric
    Eric says:

    Thank you so much, I was optional to step out to do New things just like I’m doing right now, I wanted to write a book.but I
    Was optional now I’m having the courage to take a chance no matter what thanks Lisa..we love you

  13. Indira Anggraini
    Indira Anggraini says:

    Lisa, I feel almost every area in my life is optional. Except my relationship with my kids. My #90daysnonnegotiable is my coaching career. I’d launch my program and have people buy it from me in these 3 months. Thank you for this video and believing in our possibility!

    JOHN CRUZAT says:

    A clear and sobering reminder that decisive radical action toward our goals is the Only Way! The power of being NonNegotiable is undeniable. I’m finding that to sustain the effort takes quite a bit more skill and focus than I actually had until I incorporated some foundational practices that are turning my Start-Stop into a NonNegotiable! Thanks so much Lisa!

  15. Ollie Garza
    Ollie Garza says:

    Good Afternoon Lisa. I’m sign up for several of your courses. The first one was Motivating the Masses there are 14 videos to watch along with the home work. The 2nd one was I’m am the Change Challenge Summit i purchase the recordings of all 5 days. I just wrote my first book #Why Not Me# 8 Keys Turning Tragedy into Triumph. I recently publish it in Jan of this year. I fracture my neck when i was 14 years of age in a routing High School football game Oct 19 was 42 years ago. Lisa #My next 90 non-negotiables is working on personal develop and working on serving others

  16. Eva
    Eva says:

    Thanks for this conversation, Sister!! It has certainly been a wake-up call for me. I have been living in a state of optional for several years now. I have big, hairy, audacious (LOL) goals that I would really like to achieve, but I have not yet made them non-negotiable!! Building our retirement home, starting my own business, improving my health, having a number of critical conversations with loved one…the list goes on and on!! It is actually quite scary the number of things that I really want, but have not gone after as hard as I could. Well, here’s to really waking up and moving many of these dreams from the optional into the non-negotiable column. Thanks again for always calling me out on my “stuff!!” You are on my board of directors even if you don’t really know it… <3

  17. Jose Velez
    Jose Velez says:

    Thanks a lot for your words Lisa!

    Most of what I do in life I perceive as optional. The last 5 years of my life, I have taken so many things for granted and have not valued or appreciated the way I should. I have not been forced to fully dedicate myself and truly treat important things as non negotiables.
    I have been treating my business as a hobby for the last 5 years. I have been comfortable with the decent income I make at my 8-5 and have not felt the urgency to step up and fully commit to my business.
    I have been a great student, but have failed to apply and share most of what I have been learning over the years.

    Lisa #MyNext90 non negotiable is focusing on my business and reaching and impacting as many people as I possibly can!

  18. Justine Anku
    Justine Anku says:

    Hi Lisa, Please point of correction:
    This concern the contribution I made yesterday.
    Yes, I have chosen ‘ relationship ‘ as my next 90 days non negotiable because I wanted to know much in this area too.
    1- You already knew I have studied about health and wellness organised by you sometime this year. Right now, I’m undergoing health and wellness studies organised by your company, motivatingthemasses the second batch.
    2- My business; I already had a one month of 30 days challenge with the company I’m working with as a distributor. I have also registered for the 3rd batch which is starting soon. They’re teaching us business strategies especially online Marketing. In this era of covid 19, these are what I needed to study to break my financial lack.
    Please Lisa, I don’t think I ‘m wrong when I chose a ‘relationship’. because I want to be all round and it will help me in my future. I thought about it.
    Please Lisa, I’m not that lazy, explain to them.
    I had lots of classes with you. You have brought me this far. Just recently, you saw me in my organic farm until I stopped, came back to continue with my Edmark health and wellness vitality business.

    Please speak form me. Thank you.

  19. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Thank you Lisa for this episode. Man was it powerful. I now realize I have been living in a state of optional in just about every area of my life. I have been optional with every business venture I have tried. And in my family life. Thank you for waking me up to this very sad fact, it is much appreciated. #mynext90 will be to have a non negotiable attitude about my home life, with my kids and my husband. This will be the first step to a new, positive “ME”. Thank you so much for your conversations!!

  20. Carla
    Carla says:

    My non-negotiable is becoming a writer. I will no longer treat it as something that some day when I have time will be achieved. It is non-negotiable and I will commit to it.
    Thanks Lisa!

  21. Kate Duplessis
    Kate Duplessis says:

    My 90 Challenge is to hop back on writing my book.
    Because it’s been put off for so long, I’ll just have to live with the uncomfortable learning curve of habit again.
    I’ve been playing with the idea for the last couple of weeks now, asking myself if it’s something still important to me. Asking myself how it feels to not complete something and what excuse will I give it this time to push my story off to the side. Thanks for the timely nudge my Lisa.
    Gods’ timing is impeccable. 🙂 xoxoxo

  22. Barbra Mwajuma
    Barbra Mwajuma says:

    Hello Lisa, thank you so much for this,its very encouraging and challenging. For the next 90 days my gym training is non-negotiable

  23. Diana
    Diana says:

    Thank you Lisa. I really needed this. I’ve been too optional with my goals for the perfect weight and my dreamjob. You’ve inspired me. Thank you so much! XXX

  24. Iwona Wilson
    Iwona Wilson says:

    Hi Lisa, Many thanks for the wonderful message. I had the goal of having my own company for quite a long time and I realized today that I have made it an optional. My #90days commitment is t create frameworks for two of my start up ideas and share first with my husband. Thank you !

  25. Anita Carroll
    Anita Carroll says:

    This was an awesome message and full of wisdom, it was right on time.I have been dealing with my weight for years and it has caused other health issues that I have made optional instead of being nonnegotiable. I have tried many diets, exercises eating healthy and still failed because it was an option I want to do it and I sm going to do it and make it nonnegotiable in the next 90 days. I also write poetry and hsve wrote many poems and I am going to get them published in a book and not let a lack of money stop me. It’s nonnegotiable. This is my dream. Thank you sister, I love you.


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