Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Oprah Winfrey live at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Truly magnificent in her glittering, sequinned pink frock, she captivated the audience with her presence before she even said a word.
As I gazed around at the crowd before she came out, I wondered why they were there. I wondered why I was there. What drove thousands of people to buy tickets to see someone who wasn't performing in a band or a theatre performance. I wondered what motivated them all to spend hundreds of dollars to see a lady who used to host an American talk show. What were their expectations? In fact, what were mine?
My friend and I discussed this on the way to the event. What did we know about the night really? What drove us to get the good seats to be in her presence? Having both established how much we value personal development and that education and growth will always be a priority in our lives, we assumed we'd be exposed to some of Oprah's great wisdom. Although we didn't really know what the night ahead would be like. Perhaps the offer of a glimpse of her insight was enough for everybody else too.
Beautifully intertwining her love of Australia and the fact that her ongoing vision and 'inner voice' got her to Melbourne to be with us, she touched on her upbringing, her intuition from the ripe age of 3 and her love for her grandmother. Her grandmother who told her to watch her wash and hang the laundry because she'd need to be doing it for herself someday. To which young Oprah's inner voice told her to say 'yes grandma' while she truly knew that she wouldn't have the same hard life her grandmother had had. She 'knew' from a young age that she had a bigger purpose. That something higher had a big plan for her.
Oprah was an exceptional reader as a young lady and having found herself in the position to recite William Ernest Henley's 'Invictus' one day as a 7 year old girl, she said the final part of the poem spoke to her. Although she didn't truly understand the meaning of what she was reading, she liked the part which said:
I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE: I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL
So much so, that she stuck it to her mirror and still today, it is a reminder of where she is going and to follow her intention.
A lot of what Oprah spoke about, I have read or heard before. But for some reason, perhaps in her delivery, some things truly resonated with me that hadn't seemed to hit that nerve as much with others. As always I had my trusty notebook and pen in my bag but couldn't write in the dark. I also felt inclined to stay in that moment with her and be truly present to what she shared and I'm glad I did. However, I did write a few lines in my phone. Things I felt I needed to remember and act on. These were my key takeaways for the evening:
- If you are searching for your purpose or your calling (however you'd like to define it), pay attention. What are you curious about in life? What's been consistently interesting to you throughout your life?
- Life is always speaking to you, pay attention to the whispers around you.
- Always ask yourself, 'what is this here to teach me?' Especially when you're faced with a challenge.
- There's no such thing as failing. You are learning and growing as you go. Every time you fall down, you get up stronger. Strength x strength x strength x strength = POWER
- Practise gratitude always. Especially in the challenging times. Have a gratitude journal by your bed and write in it at the end of each day. Keep going until you feel the shift for all that you have in your life.
And something Oprah learnt from brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor, who had this sign outside her room whilst recovering from a stroke.
- 'Be responsible for the energy you bring into this space.'
This last point truly resonated with me as we are all responsible for our own energy and how we use it. I'll be placing the same sign in my office space as a reminder that I am the master of my own energy, my intentions, my attitude. It is my responsibility and no one else's.
Oprah is one courageous, determined, purposeful, sassy, powerful, influential and incredibly inspiring woman. All qualities we can find within ourselves if we choose to recognise them. We don't need Oprah to teach us how to be authentic and passionate, or to help us find our life's purpose. We just need to be present, tune in to ourselves and truly listen. You have all it takes within in you to live an extraordinary life. Now go and do it, for you are the master of your fate: you are the captain of your soul.