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Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns

We Spent The Weekend With Oprah, Here’s What We Learned

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Sep. 30 2014, Published 11:02 a.m. ET

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Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns

“Why are you here? The reason I’m here is to help you turn up the voluuuume in your life,” explained Oprah in an arena full of over 10,000 people at the Newark stop of The Life You Want Tour.

Newark was the fourth stop on Oprah’s eight city tour. The energy was electric on the first night, after a lively opening set from DJ Kiss featuring classic hits from the likes of Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, and Marvin Gaye had everyone on their feet dancing. The second day was more reflective as attendees literally got to work, equipped with special workbooks as they listened to talks from Oprah and her trailblazers. The trailblazers for the Newark stop included Iyanla Vanzant, author of Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert, Pastor Rob Bell, and author Mark Nepo.

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Each speaker not only shared the highlights of their success but the struggles they overcame that helped them to land where they are, and the failures that helped them to build the strength to make the choices to allow them to become who they are today.

To say that the weekend was inspiring is an understatement. To say that the weekend was eye-opening and transformative doesn’t quite capture the magnitude of what happened in that arena. So, instead, I’ll let Oprah and Iyanla give you a glimpse into what The Life You Want was like in their own words. Below we’ve compiled our favorite nuggets of wisdom from the weekend.

After a full day of activities and makeovers in O-Town across the street from the Prudential Center, attendees settled into their seats for Oprah’s welcoming speech for the the first night of The Life You Want Tour in Newark. Oprah literally brought us on a journey through her life. From the very beginning being born on a farm in Mississippi to her journey as a news anchor, to her personal battles with her self-image, her weight, being abused as a child and her miscarriage. We won’t recap every story but we’re sharing a few of the highlights from the lessons and the wisdom she learned from her hardships and her victories.

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“I believe we have all been called. Whatever your calling or purpose it’s your job to feeeel it.”

“No gift was made for you to hold to yourself. Your life is validated through the sharing, through your service to others.”

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“My life took off when I truly understood I am the master of my fate. We are co-creating our lives all the time.”

Law of motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What you are putting out is coming back to you.”

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Principal of intention: “Don’t do anything unless you really intend to do it. Think about it. The intention will determine the outcome. If you’re doing it to please, the other person will be pleased, and then they return again and again.” (She said this realization changed her life).

“You are co-creating your life with the energy of your intention! You are responsible for your intentions.”

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“You are responsible for your choices.”

You become what you believe, you don't become what you wish.- Oprah Winfrey, Life You Want Weekend
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You have no power in someone else’s territory. So many people spend so much of their lives trying to meddle in other people's territory where you have no power. You only have power in your own energy field. Your greatest power is your ability to offer your validation and your love. That’s where your greatest power is.
"We are always walking in the direction of either love or fear." -Oprah Winfrey, The Life You Want Weekend
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Oprah took a moment to share a story that connects and humanizes even the biggest icons of today. She said no matter who it was, from Obama to Beyonce to former president George Bush, after an interview on her show the person would always ask: ‘was that okay?’ Did I do okay? Was that alright?’

“Every single person we are all looking for the same thing. We are all looking to know that we matter. We are all looking for validation.”

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“Anybody who has been through devastation in life if you’re still here it means you get a second chance.”

Failure is really life at its most poignant pushing us in a different direction. -Oprah Winfrey, Life You Want Weekend

“The easiest way to change your personal vibration is to be grateful. Step out of the history that has held you back or turn up the volume on your story.”

Everything that has ever happened to you was happening for you. Nothing that has ever happened to you is wasted, not one thing that has happened is wasted. The Times you felt abandoned and the times you felt afraid and the times you felt tested and the times you felt you were in turmoil this is what was happening. You were building strength. And strength, times strength, times strength, times strength times strength equals POWER! -Oprah Winfrey, Life You Want Weekend
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Day Two

Day two was a full agenda of speakers from Oprah’s trailblazers and also included an interactive presentation from Soul Cycle. There was a sponsored segment from Toyota called “Oprah’s Standing Ovation” where we got to meet two inspiring women: paralympic bronze medalist snowboarder Amy Purdy and Tawanda Jones.

Below are a few highlights from Iyanla Vanzant’s “Here’s To Life” talk:

“Life is a woman.”  (Why? She multi-tasks. She talks a lot.)

And Iyanla shared she learned from Maya Angelou, if it’s got hips and lips and brings joy it’s phenomenal and that’s a woman.

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“Sometimes in life, you don’t know who your friends are. Life is your friend life is working in your behalf.”

Iyanla Vanzant, Life You Want Tour

When you’re alone…”Be careful what you grab onto when you’re trying to birth something new in your life.You have to be willing to go through the pain the labor.”

Life speaks in simple sentences.  Yes. No. Stop. Go.  Life doesn’t speak in ifs, what ifs, because, life doesn’t speak like that.  Life speaks simply.  She keeps trying to tell us live your life in simple sentences.  The minute you get into a run on sentence, you in trouble Iyanla Vanzant
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“Negative thoughts and doubt are humping puppies. You have to train them.”

Life doesn't play tricks on you, your mind does. Iyanla Vanzant

“If you can’t breathe pray and be comfortable in the stillness your mind will play tricks on you.”

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“Your eyes will adjust to the level of deficiency present. Check your vision because you could be looking from a place of deficiency.”

Relationships are learned devices that bring you face to face with your own self betrayal. You will learn in relationship how willing you are to betray yourself for someone else's affection and approval.

Q&A with the TrailBlazers (Iyanla Vanzant, Mark Nepo, Pastor Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert)

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Live The Life You Want Weekend,New Jersey

Someone from the audience asked, how do you know the difference between the good whispers and the bad ones?

Pastor Bell explained the good ones he feels around the gut, and the bad ones are felt near the throat area.

A final thought from Oprah’s closing remarks:

(Note: this is adapted from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist)



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When you want something in your life all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. The universe can't help you unless you are clear. Your clarity of intention puts you in the reality you live in.
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By: Rhonesha Byng

Rhonesha Byng is the founder and CEO of Her Agenda— a digital media platform bridging the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. The site provides access to content and community that gives millennial women access to information and inspiration to help them get started or to move to the next level of their career. Rhonesha is an Emmy award-winning journalist and entrepreneur whose philosophy in life is established by her acronym of N.E.S.H.A. No one Ever Slows Her Agenda. This motto served as the inspiration for Her Agenda. Rhonesha was named to the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list and ESSENCE magazine named her among 50 Founders To Watch. Rhonesha is also the co-founder of the newly formed nonprofit org The Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute (BOMESI).

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