On Saturday, 13,000 people gathered at the Forum in Los Angeles for Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour. Oprah carried the day with her vision, her abundant wisdom, her generous heart and spirit. But if you’ve read the news, there’s only one thing you probably know about the day: she fell. While giving her first address of the day, Oprah was sharing about the need for balance, and she fell. As she expressed on her Instagram afterwards, her fall became a meme. She deserves better. So do we.
Maybe it’s because she’s Oprah - one of the most celebrated, influential and self-made people of our time - maybe it’s because she’s a woman - maybe because she’s both, but when a powerful woman falls, the world bears witness. I’d like to shift the focus to the fact that she got up and kept going. With grace, with humility, with joy, with strength. Below, I’m sharing my top five Oprah quotes and takeaways from the day I spent with Oprah.
Express Your True Self
“We all want one thing in life: to live the truest, highest expression of ourselves as human beings.”
Oprah’s first, most powerful statement was a call for authenticity. Authenticity as the fuel for purpose. What did we come to this planet to do? That is the question Oprah asked of us. For me, I know I was brought here to uplift women. And through my work here at Fred and Far and with the Self Love Pinky Ring and The ABCs of Self Love, I’m proud to say I’m doing it. In that my work, my purpose, is aligned with my true self, I deeply feel what Oprah is saying here, and know it to be true. When you live your truest, highest expression of yourself, not only do you elevate your own existence, but you elevate everyone you touch along with you.
Your Story Matters
“All stories are valuable, and everybody wants to be heard.”
When self-doubt and a lack of self-worth cloud your vision, it’s easy to think that your story is insignificant. That one one cares. That you don’t matter. Oprah put these self-destructive thought patterns to rest. Every story matters, she exclaimed, and we all want the same thing: for someone to hear our story (regardless of whether or not they agree). Oprah reiterated the advice here that my therapist shared with me years ago (saving my marriage in the process): when you’re having a conversation with someone, or even a fight or debate, the best thing you can do is say, “I hear you” and then repeat what the person said. It’s not about agreement or acquiescence: it’s about acknowledgment.
Everything In Balance
“Wellness for me is all things in balance. Welcoming the constantly shifting flow of everything in your life.”
Balance. This is what Oprah was advocating for when she fell. And in falling: she taught the most important lesson about balance that there is: when things shift, you shift right along with them. You don’t break. Oprah got up, took off her shoes, and kept going. She found her footing when she could have easily given up and walked off stage. As I watched her resiliently continue without missing a beat, this is what I wrote in my journal: “When you trip, take off your shoes. Don’t stop dancing.” And that’s exactly what Oprah did a few minutes later. She danced across the stage.
Leave a Legacy
Oprah shared a moving anecdote about making biscuits with her mentor, Maya Angelou. Oprah was sharing with Maya that she believed her legacy was the school she built in Africa, to which, Maya responded, “You don’t know your legacy.” She went on to explain - and this quote can be attributed to both Oprah and Maya:
“Your legacy is not one thing - it’s not the big thing you think you’re going to do… Your legacy is every life you’ve touched.”
Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey
Again, Oprah brings it back to human connection. To impact. To the “heartprint” we leave on the people we engage with. How you live and treat people every day - that is your legacy. Not your ideas, not your wealth, not a business, not a building.
Give Yourself Time
During Oprah’s conversation with Jennifer Lopez, the guest speaker of the Los Angeles 2020 Vision Tour, age came up quite a bit. Jennifer Lopez just celebrated her 50th birthday, and some may argue this has been the best year of her life with a Golden Globe nomination, a Super Bowl performance, a tour, and an engagement to a person she loves and has a true partnership and family with.
“It doesn’t even start to make sense until you’re 40.”
As someone in her late thirties, this was incredibly heartwarming to hear. It’s so easy to feel like we are behind in life, that we should have accomplished more by now, that we should have it all figured out. To hear that for Oprah, and for Jennifer Lopez, it’s only getting better and more clear as they gain more life experience was truly heart lifting for me. Jennifer Lopez recounted that when Donatella Versace asked her to wear her iconic green dress for its 20th anniversary, what Jennifer experienced is that she is stronger and fitter and happier in it now, at 50, than she was at 30. And wearing the dress at 50 to close out the Versace show was her first time on a runway. If Jennifer Lopez is hitting her stride at 50, and Oprah is bouncing back from a fall and dancing across a stage at 66, the future looks bright for all of us.
There were so many more meaningful moments during Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour in Los Angeles. What made it extra special for me was being there with my mom, the two of us doing the workbook provided to assess our current wellness and help us plan our vision for 2020. For me, when I think about one word to describe what 2020 will be for me, the word is fulfillment. My entire life I’ve felt like I’ve never fulfilled my full potential. This year, I will recognize that I am fulfilled - in each and every moment.