Lessons from Oprah’s Lifeclass in Toronto: Part 1

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 18, 2012


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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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

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LizAshlee April 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm

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!!!!


Jennifer (The Gourmetour) April 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm

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.


Nadine Veroba April 19, 2012 at 1:04 am

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


Shannan April 19, 2012 at 8:33 am

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


Kristin April 19, 2012 at 8:48 am

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


Beth April 19, 2012 at 9:07 am

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 :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012 at 3:56 pm

congrats Beth! :) Such a great accomplishment


Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner April 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

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.


Kimmie April 19, 2012 at 9:57 am

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.


Moni Meals April 19, 2012 at 10:38 am

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!


Christina April 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Love this!


Laura April 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm

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! :)


Anna @ The Guiltless Life April 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm

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!


Leanne April 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm

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.


Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition April 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm

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


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thanks I will check it out :)


KellyB April 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm

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


Brooke April 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

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!” :-)


Nour April 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

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.


AGS @ west with flight April 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

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


Zestful Lou April 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm

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


[email protected] April 20, 2012 at 3:02 am

Beautiful ideas, thanks for sharing!


AGS @ west with flight April 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

#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.


Nikita April 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

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!


Amy @Health Hungry April 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

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!


suzanne April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

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!!!


alicia-joy July 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

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


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm

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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