Mel Robbins’ practical, no-nonsense advice and life strategies teach skills that help people push through the everyday challenges we all face in life, work, and love. Her self-published book, The 5 Second Rule, is an international best-seller. Robbins’ TEDx Talk is one of the most popular of all time, with more than 18 million views. Beginning September 16, she’ll be the host of the new daytime syndicated talk show with Sony Pictures TV, The Mel Robbins Show. Here’s what makes Robbins feel powerful…
I feel most powerful when...
I say no. It took me a long time to learn that the fastest and easiest way to discover your power is by saying no. Every time I have the guts to say no and walk away from something or someone, I am saying yes to what matters to me. When you say no, you draw boundaries and you honor yourself and what works for you.
Power to me means...
Self-awareness. To be powerful beyond measure, you must know who you are. Your greatest superpower is you being you. Stop trying to fit in and have the courage to live out your unique calling. There is only one you, and there will never be another. Stop chasing all the outside shit and do the inner work to figure out who you are. When you know yourself, you will say no. You will speak from your heart. You will pursue things that call out to you. Self-awareness is critical. It is a skill. And it is something you work on for your entire life.
What do you do when you feel powerless?
I remind myself that if I can solve this problem with action, I don’t have a problem. You feel powerless when you believe you have no choice. The fact is, you always have a choice because you can choose what you think and do that in response to what’s happening. Heartbreaking things are going to happen to you during your lifetime. None of us can escape that. Life deals shitty hands, and often it’s not your fault. But how you play the cards is what matters. Stop dwelling on the hand you’ve been dealt. Focus on your next move, and you’ll get your power back.
What's your power anthem?
The 5 Second Rule: 5-4-3-2-1! My 5 Second Rule is my power anthem — it’s a simple, science-backed way to power through any excuse, self-doubt, anxiety, or bullshit that stops you. Here’s how you use it. The next time you feel the anxiety or fear rising, and you need to power through, just start to count backward 5-4-3-2-1, and when you hit 1, power yourself out the door to the gym, hit block on your ex, walk into your bosses office, etc. It works like a charm.
Who's your power icon?
I like troublemakers, which means any woman on the planet who has the audacity to speak her mind, challenge the status quo, fight for and cheer on other women, and whose life is a demonstration of personal power, activism, and self-awareness. That’s my definition of an icon.
The list is long and grows by the day, but women who come to mind in this very moment are Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Leymah Gbowee, Oprah, Ava DuVernay, Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Harriet Tubman, Gloria Steinem, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Holly Cooper (co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic at University of California, Davis), investigative journalists, and the female lawyers fighting for women’s rights every day at the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?
Sparkly high-tops, jeans, a blazer, and a big, powerful smile.
Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.