Today we’d like to introduce you to Norma Hollis.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Norma. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I came to the planet with a clear knowledge that I was here to do something important. I didn’t know what it was and had no idea how I would find it. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, even when I had no idea where I was going or what I should be doing. Now, I find myself helping people internationally to find their authentic path in life. My story is about what happens when you listen to your inner voice, learn to trust it, and act on it. I am certainly an example of that.
My earliest memory is at two years old when I realized that my parents didn’t understand me. I knew I was here to do something specific, but apparently, they did not. This became clear to me, from a two-year-old perspective, when my father was undertaking the task of teaching me that my name is Norma. As young as I was, in my heart, I felt I had a different name and it was not Norma. I tried to tell my father the name I thought I should have but all I was able to say was ‘my’. In response, my father repeatedly said, “No, not my name, your name and that’s Norma.” I share the details not from my own memory but from my father’s story. What I remember is a wave of depression coming over me because I didn’t want to be called Norma. From that point on, my father and I never could communicate well.
Fast forward to age 28. By this time, I had accepted the name Norma and the person that my parents thought Norma should be. I had done everything they suggested, the husband, the car, the big house, and a great job. And I was miserable.
That’s when I dropped everything and went on a quest to learn ‘Who am I?’
I didn’t take a quick scan to understand myself. Instead, I spent 30 years going deep into nine different aspects that I discovered within myself. My quest was to understand what it means to be a human being. I later learned that what I discovered about myself would be valuable to people all over the world.
My entire life has been a commitment to this journey – of validating that I am here to do something, doing it, and taking it across the globe.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The challenges have been staggering. My friends say that the ‘T’ in Norma T. Hollis stands for tenacity.
Personal Obstacles and Challenges
One of my greatest challenges has been around health. At the young age of eight, I developed a perforated eardrum, which my father always referred to as a hole in my head. I was given antibiotics which caused hives. Eventually, I was taken to the hospital for a culture on the fluid in my ear to find out what medicine would eliminate the infection. The only thing that would work had to be applied topically, in the doctor’s office. It felt like acid on the inside of my head. The pain was excruciating! Then, I had to go back and have the procedure done multiple times. It was a very difficult and life-changing time in my life.
This was followed by a year of earaches that felt like a pinpoint on my eardrum. Neither pill, nor shots, nor drops would stop them. The only time I got relief was when my Baptist Minister Grandfather prayed on my ear and asked me if I would commit to do what I was born to do. Of course, I made the commitment.
The ear experience led to 55 consecutive years of ear infections, 40 years of taking oral antibiotics, 11 surgeries and lots of dietary changes. In the last eight years, I have been the healthiest and most energetic in my entire life.
It took me a long time to understand my value. With so much pain so early, in a family that I could not communicate well with, I became very introspective, original and independent. These were positive traits in my youth but no so much as an entrepreneur.
Then, the most difficult challenge I’ve had is the murder of my significant other in June 2015. He was my husband for 27 years and although we were recently divorced, we were best friends. It was obviously a very difficult time and it took over a year to get back on track.
Business Obstacles and Challenges
I started in business in 1996. My health challenges would not allow me to work a full-time job with an employer, given the energy it takes. My body couldn’t handle it, so I had to find something where I could have more control over my time and activities. I became the first black woman to own a speakers’ bureau for black speakers. Although I owned the bureau it was not my passion. Two women ran the company while I continued my journey of self-discovery. I was focused on uncovering my authentic path and learning what it meant to be a businesswoman.
The bureau closed in 2010 when my primary employee was diagnosed with diabetes and immediately hospitalized. Thirty days later, my second employee’s father became ill and she had to move back to Detroit. In 30 days, I lost the two employees who were running the bureau. Plus, the recession impacted the business and I knew it was time to make a change. I closed the bureau and focused on my work with authenticity.
By this time, I had already given events in 20 cities across the United States to share the system of authentic self-awareness that I developed. I didn’t know what it was, what it would do or what to do with it. A coach advised me to introduce the program to different audiences. Since I owned a speakers’ bureau at the time, and with the internet being new, I had developed an early presence online and had a good following across the United States. I reached out to my tribe and asked who would host me in their city. I ended up traveling to 20 cities and enrolling over 200 people in my program. It was a very exciting time.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Authenticity Movement story. Tell us more about the business.
My experiences have led me to recognize that everyone has an authentic path in life. Yet often, the path is compromised due to the influence of family, friends, relatives, teachers, preachers, and society in general. My business offers multiple ways for clients to discover and live their authentic path.
The tool that I use is the Authenticity Grid, a remarkable graphic from which people gain a blueprint to assess and modify their life. It is what emerged from the 30 years I spent understanding myself and others from personal, professional and spiritual perspectives.
I learned that we all want peace, happiness, love, resources to meet our needs and people around us who make us feel valued. We want to decrease stress, remove negative thoughts and habits that don’t serve us. We want to live life with ease and joy.
The Authenticity Grid leads you to acknowledge just one thing you can do now, to move closer to ease, joy and goal fulfillment.
What it is:
The Authenticity Grid is a graphic representation of components within you! It represents a systematic method for experiencing the human condition. Through the Authenticity Grid, you understand the nine dimensions of authenticity and how they relate to you. Once you understand it, you have a self-coaching tool that can assist you to handle many aspects of your life. You also gain the wisdom and clarity to identify one thing to ‘tweak’, within the nine dimensions, as a start toward improvement.
It is the foundation of all products and services of my companies.
What it does:
The Authenticity Grid will help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and identify the source of personal, professional or spiritual misalignment. It also guides you to discover where you need to place your attention to create the change that can transform your life.
How it works:
1. Through my online assessment and follow-up information, I lead you to find your authentic path in life. This is especially important if you are in transition. These people benefit from taking my complimentary Authentic Life Path Assessment which will help you examine if you are on the right track. This is particularly for:
a. Young people who are just starting out in life and seeking the right career path.
b. Those in career transition, especially those leaving a corporate job for something that is more aligned with their gifts, talents, and calling.
c. Retirees looking for what to do in the next chapter of their life.
2. Through training events, I teach you to use the Authenticity Grid as a self-coaching tool. I speak at community events and corporate training to help people ‘see’ themselves and others in more collaborative ways and create greater engagement between leaders and their teams. If this represents you I encourage you to submit an application for personal one-on-one time with me. We will discuss your goals and how the elements of being authentic can be valuable to you.
3. My team of coaches works with clients who want to be more authentic. Our coaches are in multiple states and cover multiple topics, all of which are related to authenticity.
4. I certify speakers, coaches, entrepreneurs, and corporate teams to deliver the program to others. The 3 to 5-day training programs end in an event where the students deliver a powerful assessment to their teams. I’m currently recruiting a select group of speakers and coaches who want to make a positive impact in the world.
I have a lofty goal of touching people all over the planet and opening their eyes to who they are and who they can be. In May and June 2018, I was in China teaching the program to university students. It was life changing for them and for me. Like students around the world, many of these young people were majoring in subjects their parents suggested, but which are not in alignment with their natural gifts and talents. I helped them ‘see’ themselves differently and that helped them make better decisions about their future. I will do it again in the spring of 2019, going not only to China but also to Bangladesh.
Why people value it:
There’s a lot of literature today, from academia and entrepreneurs, which says that authentic leadership is very important. We need authentic leaders who can transform organizations from the old-style industrial leadership to the new focus on the role of empowerment in successful companies. The secret sauce is self-awareness. The Authenticity Grid is the secret sauce that provides self-awareness.
In addition to the services I offer, I enjoy delivering my work in multiple ways. For example, I use games to teach many of the concepts and I also support my work with authenticity by conducting labyrinth walks.
The labyrinth is a meditative walking tool that dates back to Ancient Egypt. When you walk a labyrinth, you gain peace and deepen your authenticity connection.
I provided a labyrinth walk at the African Marketplace for 14 years when it was open. Now, through my non-profit, Global Authenticity Foundation, I do labyrinth walks on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday and when organizations request.
Labyrinths contribute to my work with authenticity because when you walk a labyrinth you strengthen your connection with your authentic self.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I attribute my success to believing in myself, no matter what. Given that my parents didn’t believe me when I told them I am here to fulfill an assignment, and that I bring something totally original to the marketplace, it would have been very easy to give up, join the traditional line and get a job to ensure my financial future. But my objective was more than finances. My driving force was the desire to return to the place I came from having done what I came here to do. There is a lot of talk about having a purpose. My quality is believing in my purpose and being steadfast and tenacious about fulfilling it.
Other important qualities include staying optimistic, keeping close friends around for support and grounding, forgiving myself for mistakes and lack of knowledge, continuing to learn and evolve, knowing where I am vulnerable and filling my gaps.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I see luck as the organized convergence of multiple energies and yes, it has played a big role in my life and business.
Luck is another word for coincidences which are often referred to as God’s way of staying anonymous, something I also believe. When you connect with your authentic self you have awareness of the energies that flow within you. That’s what my Authenticity Grid reveals, some of the energies that flow inside of you. When your intuitive self is aligned with your lifestyle, energy flows. When your integrity is reinforced by the people you are around, energy flows. When you understand the energies within you and your thoughts direct your energies, you create luck. It’s a deeper level of self-awareness, much like the law of attraction.
When I owned the speaker’s bureau, my staff and I kept files of coincides because they occurred so often. Exploring the deeper meaning of these coincidences have been a big secret to tenacity of my spirit and the peace and joy I live with!
- Online programs start at $19 and can be found at www.AuthenticityU.com
- The next public event, ‘Blueprint for Planning an Authentic Life’, will be held on Sunday, January 6, at UP Church, (founded by Della Reese), at 600 W. Queen St., Inglewood 90301, on Sunday, January 6 from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm, Register here for $27
- Take the complimentary online Authentic Life Path Assessment at www.AuthenticityAssessment.com.
- Website: NormaHollis.com
- Phone: 323-734-7144
- Email: Coaching@NormaHollis.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NormaTHollis
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/normahollis/