Lessons from Oprah’s Lifeclass in Toronto: Part 1

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IMG 3095   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.

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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:

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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!

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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!]

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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.

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[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 }

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.

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Vicky (Sweet and Healthy Living) April 18, 2012

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Catalina @ Cake with Love April 18, 2012

I can totally relate to the example with the glasses!

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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)

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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.

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Wendi April 18, 2012

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

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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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

Crazy! How did you get to speak with her?

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Jacqueline April 19, 2012

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

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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. :)

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Nikki @ Active Vegetarian April 18, 2012

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

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Tara April 18, 2012

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

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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!!!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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. ;)

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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.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 20, 2012

Awesome advice!

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Eva @ Committed2Nutrition April 18, 2012

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

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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!

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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!

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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 :)

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.’

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

whohoo…you show ‘em! :)

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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!

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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.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2012

I will be right there with you ;)

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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

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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

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Jess April 18, 2012

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

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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

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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!

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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.

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

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

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Jen @ Passport to Bliss April 18, 2012

How inspiring! Thanks for sharing Angie. :)

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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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012

oh that conference sounds amazing…have fun!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Meg April 18, 2012

I bet you were an AWESOME student in school huh?

I however, am terrible. lol

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Janessa @ Epicurious Vegan April 18, 2012

What an inspiring recap! Thank you.

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