Lessons from Oprah’s Lifeclass in Toronto: Part 1



Shortly following Oprah’s departure from daytime television, she & her team took on the huge undertaking of starting up the Oprah Winfrey Network, known to many of us as OWN. One of these shows, Lifeclass, focuses on spiritual growth, discovering our passions, and making the most out of life. I’ve watched quite a few of the Lifeclass episodes and have found most of them to be inspiring and helpful for my own life. You know I love a good quote!

Recently, Oprah announced that Lifeclass was going on TOUR and I almost fell off my chair when I found out they were coming to Toronto! This would be Oprah’s first time ever doing a show in Canada and by a stroke of luck, I got two tickets for Ange and I before the evening show sold out. The tickets sold out so fast, they opened up a second show in the morning, with each show maxing out at approximately 8,500 attendees.


Lifeclass was hosted at the Toronto Convention Center, which initially seemed like a decent spot, but we quickly realized one snag. The room, holding 8,500+ attendees, is a 1/4 of a mile LONG…without balcony seating:


As you can see, it wasn’t the best venue to see the stage…unless you paid a premium for the Emerald seating or you lined up for hours and hours on end to get in first. Ange and I got to the convention center about 1.5-2 hours early, but we were still behind about 8,000 people in the line up! We ended up sitting about 15 rows from the back of the room by the time we got in. Hopefully next time they will host it in another venue…perhaps the ACC would’ve been a better choice.

Other than the seating issue, it was a GREAT show over the course of 5 hours. I was just thankful to be there at all no matter where I was sitting.

Here we are ready to learn!


From 5pm-8pm, we were treated to talks from the following life coaches:

  • Iyanla Vanzant, spiritual teacher, author & television personality
  • Tony Robbins, motivational speaker & self-help author
  • Bishop T.D. Jakes, spiritual leader & author
  • Deepak Chopra , spiritualist & author


And from 8pm-10pm, the LIVE taping of Lifeclass began with Oprah and the coaches.

We took pages and pages of notes! [Ange, your writing makes me look bad!]

IMG_3105 IMG_3107

Oprah says it’s important for all of us to teach what we know to other people.

I can relate to this because much of the joy I get from the blog is when I try to share things I have learned or struggled with in order to have a better life. Most of us are looking for a better life, improved relationships, happiness, passion, better health, and purpose in all shapes and forms. It’s a wonderful thing to share the experience with other people along the way as we learn about ourselves and those around us. Eric got into Lifeclass too and we found that it got us talking about all kinds of topics that we normally wouldn’t have taken the time to talk about.

With that in mind, my goal for this show was not to only benefit on a personal level, but to share what I learned with you.

First up, I’m going to tell you about Iyanla Vanzant’s talk.


[image source]

This lady knows how to make an entrance!

Iyanla felt bad for all of us at the back of the room, so she entered through the back and danced her way to loud music all the way to the front! Everyone was on their feet dancing and cheering loudly! It was a blast.

She started off her talk by saying that each of us attending Lifeclass would touch somebody who wasn’t there and she echoed Oprah’s message to teach others what you know.

Here are some of the things I took away from Iyanla’s talk:

1. Have a Vision.

Iyanla saved her own life by having a VISION within herself. Her vision included what she wanted to do with her life and where she wanted to go. She says that we all must have a vision where we see our lives unfolding in a positive way. A vision will pull you forward! What unfolds is often better than we could have imagined. Once we have a vision and we start taking steps to get there, greater and better things tend to open up for us, bigger than our wildest dreams. It reminds me a lot of the Law of Attraction.

2. What you see or believe isn’t always reality

Iyanla began with a story about her eyes. After getting her eyes checked out by an optometrist, she found out that she needed glasses. “What do you mean I need glasses? I can see just fine!” she told the doctor. All along she was living her life thinking that her vision was just perfect because her eyes adjusted to it.

She said in life, we often convince ourselves that what we see is all there is. She said, “Your eyes will adjust to the level of deficiency present”, meaning that we adjust our expectations and desires to what we tell ourselves we can and cannot do. If we don’t think we can do something (e.g., be an entrepreneur), then we will adjust our behaviour to fit that story even though it’s not reality. In life, we make up these deficiencies that we think we have. She asks, how often do we adjust ourselves to fit what someone else tells us we cannot do? These stories eventually become such a habit we forget they can actually be wrong.

She asked us, “What deficiencies are we holding about ourselves and adjusting our lives to fit them?” It’s a powerful reminder to challenge the things we tell ourselves each and every day. For example, I used to believe that I couldn’t do yoga. So I adjusted to this “deficiency” and never gave it a real shot. Then one day I got sick of thinking I wasn’t any good and gave it a chance. The rest was history. This is just one small example of a way we can change the stories in our minds.

3. How to bring your vision to life:

  • Affirm your vision every day (use “I am” which is the creative force of the universe)
  • Know why you are doing it (clarity)
  • Have a daily spiritual practice of stillness & listen…don’t beg. Instead of ASKING or begging for answers, just listen and be still.
  • Know how you will do it


We need to “Listen for the instruction instead of begging for the direction.”

4. Never judge your vision based on the reaction of someone else

Iyanla says we are often scared to pursue our vision because we are scared of what others will think or say. She says never let others be your guide in life! Often, when someone has a vision for their life, other people just aren’t ready to see it or accept it when you want them too. Sometimes it takes time for other people to see your vision and that is ok…do it anyways! Never judge your clarity based on how someone else responds. Just because other people can’t accept your vision doesn’t mean it isn’t the right vision for YOU.

At the end of her talk she reminds us…success is the best revenge.

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{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 18, 2012

OMG – I LOVE Iyanla!!! I always wondered what happened to her after she stopped appearing on Oprah. I read her book cover-to-cover in high school.

She is so right about having a vision. and I have found that writing it down is one of the most powerful things you can do for your vision.


2 Vicky (Sweet and Healthy Living) April 18, 2012

Aw! Love reading your recap! Thank you so much for posting!


3 Katie April 18, 2012

Love the example about needing glasses and how we grow accustom to the circumstances we are in. There is so much to gain from believing there is another route or better alternative.


4 The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh April 18, 2012

What an amazing opportunity! I think I’d come out of something like that wanting to just do everything I’d ever put off for “someday!” Very true…success IS the best revenge! Thanks for the recap!


5 Amanda April 18, 2012

I was there too! Did you miss Deepak? He was actually the first speaker but I know people were still filing in as he was talking. Too bad I didn’t recognize you or I could have slipped you in the line where I was and you would have been about 4000 people closer! I loved Iyana’s presentation … I thought she was great and very thought-provoking. My favorite was that quote you mentioned above where she said your eyes will adjust to the level of deficiency present. Brilliant!


6 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

I think we missed the first half or so, but I didn’t hear much of it as I went to get food (gotta fuel up before the 5 hours show! haha) and then the bathroom.


7 Catalina @ Cake with Love April 18, 2012

I can totally relate to the example with the glasses!


8 Kim April 18, 2012

Hi, I’m turning the big 3-0 tomorrow and have been dealing with all that can mean to a person, if they let it. Thanks for a post that helps encourage others dreams – it means a lot :o)


9 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

Well happy (early) Birthday Kim!! All the best to you. From what I’ve heard, it only gets better.


10 Wendi April 18, 2012

Thanks so much for sharing your experience and the teachings with us Angela. Very kind of you. Greatly appreciated.


11 Jacqueline April 18, 2012

I was there and I actually had the chance to meet Oprah and talk to her. I think it was probably one of the most profound experiences of my life. She gives off the most incredible vibe and has a genuine heart. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was blown away, absolutely and totally. I’m glad you had the chance to go too despite being in the back. We learned so much!


12 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

Crazy! How did you get to speak with her?


13 Jacqueline April 19, 2012

My aunt and uncle set it up. They are huge philanthropists and have worked with her before.


14 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 18, 2012

Great summary Ange! Yes, she did indeed make quite the entrance! I loved the bit where she spoke about just listening and being still. So often, I’m so busy making lists of what I want to do next, but slowing down and listening would probably do me some good from time to time, and as a result, I bet I’d be able to 1) gain better clarity as to what exactly my vision is (even though that’s kinda the step before) and 2) actually work towards living it. :)


15 Nikki @ Active Vegetarian April 18, 2012

Wow, What a great opportunity!
Thanks so much for sharing with us! :)


16 Tara April 18, 2012

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!! I am soo jealous!!


17 Tamara April 18, 2012

Wow, this is great! I’m so excited for you that you were able to attend. Thanks for the recap… I look forward to hearing more about the other speakers!!!


18 Meg April 18, 2012

Wow! What an amazing talk to be able to be at! Thank you for sharing what you learned from it, definitely a lot of valuable information and ideas on how to look at our lives.


19 Jasper {crunchylittlebites} April 18, 2012

I seriously want to find out what the *best kind of revenge feels like :) on the way to success now, I hope


20 Adrienne April 18, 2012

What a great post! I’m really looking forward to the next parts. Now what if it’s your spouse that doesn’t believe in your vision? I find it very difficult to keep my head up!


21 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

That would be tough for sure. I’d probably try to prove him wrong, must be my stubborn nature. ;)


22 AGS @ west with flight April 20, 2012

Unless there is an ethical/moral reason for not believing in your vision, then this gives you that much more reason to believe in yourself and start taking steps to “prove” you can do it. I did this with my husband in one area. But you must take real, practical steps, that show you can and will do/stick with your plan. I found that once I got into it, my husband came on board, and became a huge supporter. But I had to take those first real steps.


23 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 20, 2012

Awesome advice!


24 Eva @ Committed2Nutrition April 18, 2012

Loved this post. Thank you so much for writing about it.. Can’t wait to read the next!


25 Willow April 18, 2012

What a an inspiration speech! And I have to say – I love that you reference The Law Of Atraction – I was starting to feel like the only one who knows what that is. :P

The other thing that this reminds me of is Chris Guillebeau’s “The Art of Non Conformity” (book and blog) about doing what you want with your life, even when others try to shoot you down.

It always amazes me the power we give to other people’s (and our own negative) judgments. So important to stay positive and remember that we really can do the things we dream of!


26 Nadiya @ Milk and Honey April 18, 2012

So jealous in a good way :P Thanx so much for sharing this with everyone. Love the glasses analogy because it is so completely true!


27 Sarah L. April 18, 2012

I’ve always gotten through tough times using a very similar quote straight from the mouth of Mom: “the best revenge is a good life.” It’s very freeing to think that we don’t need to feel, think, or act negatively to get ahead.

As Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother) puts it: “When I get sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead.”

Thanks for sharing! I’m going to go make an eye appointment now :)


28 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

I think I like that quote better! I always thought it should be the best revenge is happiness rather than success…but I think a good life incorporates more!


29 Andrea S April 18, 2012

Angela it looks like you had a great time here and I’m glad you learned a lot. As a huge fan of your blog (I read it every single day, and have made countless recipes from it) I have to be honest that I really miss your cooking and baking and all of your unique recipes!! I know you are still in the process of moving but would love if you went back to posting about your delicious food! Thanks for reading this, I hope the input helps!


30 Stephanie @ Legally Blinde April 18, 2012

Great post, Angela! That’s really exciting that you got to see Oprah live, even if it was from pretty far away :) I was heartbroken when her show went off the air. Thank you for summarizing Iyanla’s talk – there are some seriously powerful messages in there. I think I need to re-read this a couple of times and let it fully sink in. Thanks again – I’m looking forward to hearing more about the other speakers!


31 Michaela@pilgrimageofhealth April 18, 2012

After I walked away from a career in modeling, I was told that I was “giving up the biggest opportunity of my life.” Though I’m not a vengeful person, I feel sweet satisfaction that my success in other paths will prove them wrong. Success IS the best ‘revenge.’


32 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

whohoo…you show ’em! :)


33 Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles April 18, 2012

I definitely think too many life decisions and paths (my own included!) are made or followed due to pressure from others. I need to work on this, especially now that I’m seeing more and more clearly what SHOULD have been obvious: that it’s my life and I’m the one living it, so I should do everything I can to make sure I’m owning (and loving) it! Great post, Angela!


34 Janae April 18, 2012

“Just listen & be still.”

I think it might take my whole life to figure that one out.

Lucky girl, getting to bask in so much positive energy! Thank you for sharing.


35 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

I will be right there with you ;)


36 Kalee April 18, 2012

I can’t read to Part 2!!! Thank you for sharing all of this :) I love the line “listen for the instruction instead of begging for the direction.” I have a really hard time doing this, but I know I can get better…..after a LOT of practice. :P


37 Lorinda @ Everyday Endeavours April 18, 2012

Oh my goodness! I can’t believe you were actually there!! What an incredible, life-changing experience. I cannot thank you enough for sharing with us xx


38 Jess April 18, 2012

Thank you for sharing! I look forward to reading more about your experience.


39 Courtney April 18, 2012

I needed to read this tonight…I was meant to read this tonight. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to hear more <3


40 Averie @ Averie Cooks April 18, 2012

How amazing that you were able to attend! I didn’t even know she was going on the road and on tour.

I totally agree with #4 Never judge your vision based on the reaction of someone else — amen. If I stopped doing what I wanted to do every time someone turned up their nose at it, told me it was a dumb idea, told me they didn’t like the idea, etc…I should just stay in bed most days because it happens all the time. You just have to plow thru everyone else’s judgments and do what your heart, mind, and soul tell you to do!


41 Laura April 19, 2012

This was such a great reply to such a fabulous post from Angela. I had to pass your comment on to two people in my life pursing totally different work goals because your words were so dead on.


42 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 18, 2012

Ahh so jealous you got to see Deepak Chopra! Such an incredible individual.


43 Jen @ Passport to Bliss April 18, 2012

How inspiring! Thanks for sharing Angie. :)


44 Alex @ Raw Recovery April 18, 2012

This is awesome, Angela! I’m leaving for NYC Friday for a conference on Women and Happiness that sounds very similar! I’m excited to read the rest of your story!


45 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012

oh that conference sounds amazing…have fun!


46 Courtney April 18, 2012

Thanks so much for this post! I watched most of Oprah’s life classes and found them to be truly inspiring. I have them recorded to my DVR so I can go back and watch when I need a reminder. I watched her episode from Toronto and found the advice about the power of forgiveness to be so true!


47 Leanne (Simplicitlee) April 18, 2012

I just watched it tonight. So powerful. I wish everyone could watch it… Can you imagine how great the world would be if everyone forgave just 1 person? Amazing.


48 Sheena April 18, 2012

I was at the morning taping, what an experience!
So unfortunate that they picked the MTCC as the venue, it was mass chaos at the morning show. People who paid $300 per ticket were sitting in the back due to lack of seating…so poorly organized! My mother and I wandered around for almost two hours trying to find a seat, eventually we lucked out and they put us up in 4th row to make up for the situation.
That being said the actual show was a great experience. Did Tony do the gratitude exercise with your crowd?!

I loved Iyanla as well, such powerful advice. My favourite quote from her talk was ‘tell the truth to yourself, about yourself. If you don’t and someone else tells you the truth, you’ll perceive it as criticism.

Great post!


49 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012

Hey Sheena,

We saw the same thing going on for the evening show regarding seating. I would be very surprised if their team ever booked there again because I assume they had lots of complaints…that is so amazing they put you in the 4th row though! Total score :)
Tony did some other “meet & greet” exercises with it…it was a lot of fun!


50 Meg April 18, 2012

I bet you were an AWESOME student in school huh?

I however, am terrible. lol


51 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012

hah….the hardest part for me was getting to class! If I managed that I took decent notes.


52 carrie April 18, 2012

What a wonderful post!!! I was loving it and ready to read more, more, more…. guess I can wait for your future posts though!! Iyanla sounds to be rather dynamic!! Funny, at this time in my life, I feel that I am truly in a place where I am finally realising the truth in her words and beginning to not give a flying fig what the hey anyone else thinks of my aspirations!!
Keep sharing!


53 Kait April 18, 2012

AWESOME event and recap! I can so totally relate to #4…I was terrified to tell my fellow Hopkins classmates about my big dream because of doing sex coaching because, lets face it, its a topic that is still super taboo. But once I did, the support started streaming in. I took the first steps and steadily its falling into place. Thanks for the great reminder!


54 Janessa @ Epicurious Vegan April 18, 2012

What an inspiring recap! Thank you.


55 LizAshlee April 18, 2012

What an amazing opportunity!! I am SO looking forward to listening to the classes..my sis just told me about them last week! Thanks for sharing!!!!


56 Jennifer (The Gourmetour) April 18, 2012

Needed this post today! About to embark on some big changes to follow my dreams and I’m terrified!! The last one about not letting others affect what we think of our vision is soo true, and I need to work on it a bit. Although I have come to the realization that I am so passionate about what I want to do and now that it’s out in the open, I actually don’t care as much about what others reactions are as I used to.


57 Nadine Veroba April 19, 2012

Thank you so much Angela for posting this. What great advice! :D Needed to hear this today


58 Shannan April 19, 2012

Wow. This is right on track with things I have been thinking about (and need to remember) for my own life. Thanks for sharing!


59 Kristin April 19, 2012

EXCELLENT insights, so glad you shared…definitely a much needed reminder for me and my life! Thank you :)


60 Beth April 19, 2012

I love this recap! Definitely look forward to more. It’s so true that we sometimes paint ourselves in a corner by thinking ” I CAN’T”
Like you with yoga… I used to think I couldn’t be a runner (after miserable years of cross country in junior high) and last year I got over it and completed a half marathon :)


61 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012

congrats Beth! :) Such a great accomplishment


62 Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner April 19, 2012

It’s too bad about the location but what an awesome and memorable night! Loved everything that you shared in this post and can’t wait to read about the other speakers.


63 Kimmie April 19, 2012

Thank you for sharing what you have learned.
I want to comment about your comments about Yoga. I remember you starting Yoga last year and how relieved you were that you could do it and how much you enjoyed it. Now today I read how you brushed it aside all those years with your fears that you couldn’t do it. It’s so good to hear you talk about conquering those fears…trying things and pushing through it. I always felt that way about yoga too, but recently, per my sister’s recommendation, I picked up the Yogalosophy DVD by Mandy Ingber (my sister said it’s a nice way to get into Yoga as Mandy is a great guide). I tried the DVD earlier this week and halfway through it, I got a bit dizzy in my head and queasy in my stomach, so I quit for the night. But last night I tried it again, and I got through the part that made me dizzy and nauseated. I made it to the last exercise before feeling that way. The thoughts you have shared were in my mind this week telling me to give it another try. So glad I did. If I keep doing this, I might just get comfortable enough to join a Yoga class offered through my local community ed program. I’ve always been too fearful of what others might think of me. I am trying to work through that as well. I have posted a reminder where I can see it daily…it reads “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” I think it’s from Dr. Seuss. There’s a lot of truth to that quote. Thanks for your inspiration and motivation.


64 Moni Meals April 19, 2012

Wow, how great of you to share this wonderful info. You two are the best!

What a successful time and incredible info. Wish I could of gone!

Thanks for the recap!


65 Christina April 19, 2012

Love this!


66 Laura April 19, 2012

That last one is big for me. I am just now trying to launch a web site and business idea that I’d been dancing around for about 5 years. My husband just didn’t see it as a viable option, so neither did I. In the end, I found I was half doing it anyway, but only half. And half is not enough to make anything happen. I got stuck in the middle and nothing else was happening either. Well, a little push later, I’m almost there. Look for me in June! :)


67 Anna @ The Guiltless Life April 19, 2012

Great post – I love inspirational speeches and events, they just get you so pumped up! We appreciate you going and then bringing back the goods to share!


68 Leanne April 19, 2012

Angela – THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this! I am inspired already and feel like i just had an “AHA” moment. Once again I am so happy that you started this blog, I have learned so much from you and others.


69 Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition April 19, 2012

Oprah is such a wonderful role model.

The production company I work for just did a Documentary with her for OWN Network

Check it out: http://www.oprah.com/own-docclub/blogs/Tent-City-USA-an-OWN-Original-Documentary-April-5-98c


70 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012

Thanks I will check it out :)


71 KellyB April 19, 2012

Great to read your cliff notes from the show.
Looking forward to reading your notes from the other speakers!
thanks for sharing


72 Brooke April 19, 2012

I have no words to express how grateful I am for this post! My vision for life is to own an organic farm business. I just had a conversation with my boyfriend this week about my vision. He does not fully support it. He’s stuck in the mentality of adapting to our deficiencies. Because he can’t see how my vision is going to come to reality, he thinks it won’t happen. I’m working on this with him and I love Iyanla’s quote that success is the best revenge. I have been thinking about that this past week after our conversation, which is why this post is so awesome for me today. I’m going to make my vision happen. I’m going to be successful and I can’t wait for the random day where I look at my boyfriend (hopefully husband by that time) and say “Remember when you didn’t think this was possible? We can all make our dreams come true!” :-)


73 Nour April 19, 2012

Ahh, I’m totally a #4 kinda person. I always let peoples reactions discourage me… if they’re excited about something I say, then I get really excited. But if they give me weird looks I feel dumb.


74 AGS @ west with flight April 20, 2012

I’m there with you! I sometimes wonder if this is particularly difficult for women, who seem to often focus on being “pleasers”. . .


75 Zestful Lou April 19, 2012

The “listening and being still” is hard for me. I ask, ask, ask, but then forget to listen!! Thanks for the reminder!


76 Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 20, 2012

Beautiful ideas, thanks for sharing!


77 AGS @ west with flight April 20, 2012

#4 really resonated with me, Angela. Thanks for this write-up. I am actively working toward my own goals, and what I’ve realized time and again these last few months, is that many people have no clue why I’d like to get my pilot’s certificate — they just don’t get it, and so I’ve been told countless times not to bother, to focus on better “career” objectives. But life is not all about simply the next logical career move (though I’m working my little but off on those, too). It’s about doing what makes ME happy NOW and in the FUTURE. I’m the only one who has to go to bed with my own feelings and conscience.

I like the idea of VISION, too, and thinking about it each day.


78 Nikita April 20, 2012

Thanks for sharing, Angela! As much as I love your amazing recipes, it’s a nice surprise to visit the blog and find something like this!


79 Amy @Health Hungry April 20, 2012

I love this! My take-away: “Just because someone else doesn’t think your Vision is right for you doesn’t mean it isn’t!” I have spent many years letting what others’ think of me, or even what I think others think of me – dictate my choices. This has been especially challenging in getting my business started… as a “morbidly obese” woman trying to break into the Health Industry, I have had to hold tight to my vision, and carve my own space. Thanks for passing on the knowledge!


80 suzanne April 20, 2012

What an inspiring post! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful experience with us. So important to look at our words and our thoughts …. when we say “I am” we are attracting whatever words come after that…so do you want to say “I am tired” or do you want to say “I am energized”…We need to be in a place of desire – but not ‘want’…for want indicates deficiency and lack.
Oh – I just love this topic – Thank you AGAIN!!!


81 alicia-joy July 14, 2012

Hey Angela,

Thanks for sharing about what sounds like an amazing experience. I would’ve loved to have nabbed a ticket to one of her events but you painted a great picture anyway for all of us who didn’t make it there. Very inspiring. Particularly Iyanla’s insights about having a vision. Powerful stuff.
Thanks again


82 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 15, 2012

Hey Alicia-joy, I’m glad you enjoyed the recap! Thanks for letting me know. I hope she does more tours…:)


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