This past Saturday, I had the privilege to be at the Chase Center in San Francisco to take part in a day in the life – and not just any ordinary life. A day in the extraordinary life of Oprah Winfrey.

Daybreakers bringing the love

While this “Icon of Inspiration” was in town to deliver a workshop on developing our life’s vision, the back beat throughout the day was all about wellness: mental, physical and spiritual.

What kept that beat going was Oprah and her guests’ personal anecdotes about their own wellness journeys. You and I can’t execute on our life’s vision without wellness. It just can’t happen. Wellness fuels the fire of purpose and provides the foundation from which everything else in our lives flow.

Are you someone who believes that whatever happens to you is really meant to happen for you? It’s kind of like the question of whether you see the glass half full or half empty? When you and I adopt the mindset that life happens for us, even the most painful experiences become a necessary piece of our life’s tapestry.

Certainly, a lot of us know a little about Oprah’s humble beginnings and challenges, yet, her candor and message, as she shared her story, spoke volumes about her character. It’s rare for a person to rise out of those circumstances, and after decades, still want to create a platform to help people live better lives. What drove her to succeed ? Not only that. What drove her to continue to succeed and not rest on her laurels, rest on her trophies, or rest on her reputation as a beloved leader and teacher?

It seemed to me that Oprah is driven to fulfill her purpose and her promise in this life from and through the unshakeable foundation in Faith her grandmother introduced to her in early childhood. The prayer she shared with us when she was a young child faced with a heart breaking situation made this viewer believe, too, that there is a higher power watching over us all.

“Everything that happens is preparing you for the time to come.”


Jesse Israel turning us on to the relaxation response

I remembered first watching her on TV in the 1980’s on KGO and being delighted that someone on TV was unafraid to be so real, and simultaneously, be so devoted to excellence. Every time I turned on the show, Oprah created a new awareness or helped me to form a new connection in my mind about my life and about people.

Now, some thirty years later, I was still learning from her – only this time- it was about forgiveness.

Coincidentally, this workshop coincided with the anniversary of my mother’s death. A year ago, we were able to be in the room to say goodbye to my mother as she took her last breath. I can’t tell you how profound that single act was for me and my family.

So when Oprah began talking about her own challenges with her mother, I was thinking about mine. I actually had goose bumps as she relayed the struggles she experienced when trying to find the right words to say to her mother before she passed. That was one of the reasons why I had moved back to the Bay Area to take care of my mom for the last year of her life.

When you and I make the time to have that type of conversation with someone who had a big impact on our lives, we become satisfied. Satisfied by being heard. Satisfied by having the courage to say what needed to be said. Satisfied that forgiveness is a gift that we, first and foremost, give to ourselves.

One of the things that impressed me most about Oprah was the realization that she didn’t have to do this tour at all. She has become one of the wealthiest female entrepreneurs in history. She could have retired to her beautiful home in Maui and fully embraced her “JOMO” (Joy Of Missing Out) self, but instead, she is on the road bringing her wisdom, her teachings and her humor to us. Servant leaders are like that. They raise us all up.

Below are my top five takeaways from this workshop. Take what you need and share with others. My want for us all is to be truly satisfied with who we are and how we are showing up in the world.

Top Five Takeaways

  1. Clarity – You and I have to know what is true about us right now before we can create positive change in our lives. Assessments, journaling, conversations and brainstorming are some ways to become clear about where we are now in order to get where we want to go.
  2. Courage – Believing in oneself enough to take the right kinds of risks that help us get where we want to go. You are hardwired to be successful in life. What do you have to do to act on that belief?
  3. Present – How often do you find yourself half listening or hijacked by some conversation or memory from the past that then influences how you act? By creating the discipline to be present , you gve yourself the gift of accurate feedback and give your attention to what’s most important to you right now. What better way to make progress is there than that?
  4. Intention – We often forget just how powerful we are. We live our intentions and what we intend impacts others. It’s simply false humility to think otherwise. Consciously choosing your intention before you act changes the game.
  5. Forgiveness – I just love how Oprah describes this – “Forgiveness is giving up the belief that the past could have been any different.” When you let go of that, you are truly free from suffering.

Having played full out for 12 plus hour days of personal development marathons with both Brendan Burchard and Tony Robbins, Oprah’s kinder and gentler version of a day long worshop still packed the transformational punch that I’ve come to expect from a luminary in this genre.

Oprah Winfrey, through her example, has given many of us inspiration and permission to become the best we can be. If she is in your area, I highly recommend you make the time and invest your dollars to spend the day with her. You’ll be so happy you did.

You can learn more about the Oprah tour here:

Leave a comment, ask a question, I’m here to help.

Thank you so much for reading and until next time, make the most out of the time you have!

With love and respect,