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Lessons Learned from Oprah Winfrey and Iyanla Vanzant

The Oprah show did it again. From time to time Oprah has taught me and/or confirmed a few life lessons. Yesterday’s show was another one of those life lesson learning shows.

The interview with Iyanla Vanzant which aired on 2/16/2011 was of particular interest to me. I had all but forgotten about Iyanla. It wasn’t until I saw the TV commercials for her appearance on the Oprah show that I remembered her. I used to enjoy her wisdom, humor and her candid teachings.

What I learned from the Oprah/Iyanla Interaction:

Find Yourself and Be Yourself

Oprah said quite a few things that resonated with me but the one thing she said that hit home the loudest was to be yourself. It appears that as part of Oprah’s grooming process when developing a new talk show host (i.e., Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Nate Burkus, etc.) she spends a lot of time with them helping them to develop their own persona.

In the world of television, it’s very easy to be forced into a mold in an attempt to raise ratings. If one thing is successful, everyone joins the bandwagon. That phenomenon is not limited to the media. In any given year, unless you’re an automobile aficionado, it is increasingly difficult to tell one car from another. When one car manufacturer modifies its shape and improve sales, the rest follow.

Receive What is Given

Iyanla, because of her background and situations she’s been through in life, had a very difficult time receiving what Oprah was giving her. In her own words (I’m paraphrasing) “It wasn’t hard. It was too easy.” So she couldn’t believe that Oprah was giving her such an ‘easy’ opportunity. Although Oprah saw what Iyanla had to offer apparently Iyanla didn’t. Iyanla was too used to fighting and scrapping for her rewards.

Life does not necessarily have to be hard all of the time. When you’re operating in your flow, things are easy. Some call it an anointing, some call it a flow, I used to call it “the jazz.” When you’re on the jazz and you know it, nothing and no one can stop you.

Iyanla was in her flow but didn’t realize the power of being in the flow. If she did, she wouldn’t have had such a difficult time accepting what Oprah was giving her. Because she relied on her old “work hard, scrape and scratch for everything in life” comfort zone, she made a poor decision and through poor communication, ultimately rejected Oprah’s gift.

Tapping into Yourself

Life has taught Oprah that she could not force anyone to be with her. If you want to be with her fine, if not you’re free to leave. It was one life lesson (among many) that she learned and incorporated it into her daily life.

Iyanla on the other hand, had not come into her own validation as yet. She is accomplished on many fronts but didn’t seem to recognize that she was in her flow and therefore unstoppable. When you’re in your flow and you know it, you cannot be stopped. When you are in your flow but don’t know it, you’ll seek outside approval and validation and open the door to confusion and inner turmoil.

Unfortunately, Iyanla didn’t receive the blessing for what it was. She over thought, spiritualized and ultimately made a decision that forced her back into the scrapping-scratching-fighting-for-what-I-must-get mode.

All things happen for a reason. Life presents tests. Life’s tests will continually re-present themselves until you finally pass them. It took Iyanla 11 or 12 years to pass a test that she was given the answers to. Oprah handed her the answer key but she was unable to accept it at that time.

Ultimate Lesson Learned from the Oprah/Iyanla Conversation:

  • Be yourself.
  • Find your flow.
  • Learn to recognize your flow.
  • When you’re in your flow and know it, nothing can stop you.

That’s my 2 cents and I’m sticking with it.

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